Did You Get the Script?!

two pictures: mother & child; wife & husband

Greetings!

So it’s the day after Mother’s Day and yesterday got me thinking about an experience I had not too long ago.

It was a really pretty, sunny day. And my mum and I were chatting away about nothing as we sauntered across the parking lot of our local grocery store when we spotted Rose, the young woman who works as the office administrator in Dr. V’s office. And in tow, she had three of the cutest little kids, a son, a daughter, and a nephew.

So we greeted her excitedly and I made the casual, small talk statement, “So there’s life outside of Dr. V’s office?!”

Rose’s reply was swift, definite, and full of pride of achievement: “Yes, there is. I am a wife and a mother too.”

Her words and the supreme confidence with which she stated them got me thinking and examining the idea of roles and how they have applied to my life.

newborn baby

All the world’s a stage. ~ WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

From the first moment our lungs expand with the acceptance of the breath of life, we begin playing our first, inescapable role: a daughter or a son.

Then, depending on how the roles are casted, you may be a sister or a brother too.

Next, as we grow into life, we hopefully become a loyal friend to someone and they to us.

And if you choose it and/or Lady Fortune has her way with you, you may play the role of a wife or a husband — legally or in spirit — and then,  a mother or a father.

While there are other roles one can play on the stage that is a human life, these roles are fundamental. For most of us, these roles are a way of keeping up with the passage of time. That is, they provide evidence — milestones, if you will — that we are here, that we are engaged in the interplay of living, that we have given something back to life.

Like it or not, these fundamental roles often define us, for better or worse; provide us with structure; lend us purpose; and even give our existence a greater depth and range.

But the way of life and individual human nature is random and the path uneven and littered with obstacles and interference.  For one reason or another and/or misfortune, we can fail to meet our destined co-stars.

Or, maybe like me, you had certain instructive experiences in your youth that coloured your entire perspective and, therefore, the choices you made along the way.

Since I had only witnessed indifferent or unhappy marriages and I had always sensed that life was a dark comedy with just a enough light moments and delusions interspersed between the dark to keep most of us in the play and on stage, I decided to not be a wife (what man could I trust with forever) or a mother (why would I pass on uncertainty, injustice, sickness, and death to another soul).

I don’t know, maybe life did send me the wife/mother script a time or two, but I had already said an emphatic “I’m not interested” to both early on.

And while I do not regret my choices and I have a pretty good idea of the pros and cons of what I missed out on, I can’t help but wonder sometimes: Am I no one if I have never been a wife or  a mother? Have I lived an incomplete life? Did these choices make my life less?

Call to action: In the comments below, how do you feel about the fundamental roles and how they’ve played out in YOUR life?

Every Generation Is Right

marble statue of a woman thinking

Greetings!

Every generation proclaims that their generation is the worst ever. And guess what?! Every generation is correct. The ugly truth is: The heart of humankind, collectively, has always had a deep streak of deceit, perversity, and wickedness. Yes.

And today, like no other time in the history of humankind, thanks to the reach, grasp, and speed of the Internet that feeds our insatiable and predatory greed and envy; to various technological “progresses;” and to very sophisticated instruments of destruction with which the most evil among us can very efficiently annihilate other souls en masse, human existence has arrived at a record low of utter chaos, unbearable despair, and unparalleled ridiculousness.

This weekend in the news, in one part of the world, the British royal family welcomed its newest member — a girl — into its inner circle of privilege, while in another distant part of the world Nigeria, hundreds of kidnapped women and children were finally… finally… finally rescued from terrorists’ camps. When I examine the gross disparity between these two news stories, I can’t help but ask: What is optimism?

For those crushed beneath the lack of to satisfy ravenous consumers;

For those whose hunger will not be fed to satisfy those that know not “enough;”

For those whose bodies are pillaged and peddled to satisfy base carnality;

For those whose spirits are trampled to satisfy those too weak inside or too stupid to be good and kind;

For those who have not the luxury of leisure and stability to anguish over what or who to be or how to choose between good, best, and even better;

For those whose destinies are stolen to satisfy the means to another’s end.

Every generation proclaims that their generation is the worst ever. And guess what?! Every generation is correct.

What is optimism for those who die
unwashed, unknown, unloved, without.

It’s for them I despair; it’s for them I grieve, for they are us and we are them.

So optimism may well be an illusion for those of us whose bellies are round and full and whose skin is smooth and cool to the touch.

Call to action: In the comments below, share if you agree or disagree with me that optimism is an illusion of the West? And how do you feel about how Lady Luck metes out privilege or opportunity to a few and sorrow and injustice to, too many?

Love Fights

love doesn't make us fight for it. love fights for us.

Greetings!

I want to give you the 411 on real love, whether it be friendly, familial, or romantic:

Love does NOT toss you away like a used Kleenex or a Dixie cup. EVER.

Love is steadfast, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

Love has integrity and will NEVER make you beg or make lame arse excuses for why it failed to attend. But if it is real and your life depends on it, it will get down on its hands and knees, even crawl across hot asphalt strewn with broken glass on the hottest day of summer, and beg for you (figuratively, of course).

Love is as dependable as sunrise — even when you’ve really pissed it off.

Believe these words like your heart and the quality of your life depend on it, because… because… they do.

Call to action: In the comments, please share with us an instance when love fought for you or you for it. Then, go out into the world and look for opportunities to fight for someone you love.

And if you missed it, check out my earlier post So “Connected,” So Alone.

Also, if you want an exceptional model of real love, check out CBS’s Blue Bloods. Ooh, I love the Reagans! Heck, I want to be a Reagan!

So “Connected,” So Alone

picture of lighted candles

Greetings!

Pam Crenshaw was a bright light in the lives of all those she loved and who loved her. She always made me feel worthy and beautiful in countless ways. And even when I couldn’t, she embraced with love and understanding the unique details that make me, me. She was sweet like caramel brownies topped with a swirl of caramel cream cheese frosting. She was lovely. And she was my true friend.

It has been years now since breast cancer sneaked in like a stinking thief in the dark of night, ravaged her body, and then absconded with her spirit and her light. On Thursday, we had talked at great length and she was still fighting for her life. She was hospitalized on Friday. And by that Saturday, she was taken.

I remember clearly that Saturday evening when I got the call that she had died. My reaction was stunningly immediate. Even after all these years, I can still, to this day, feel how my heart broke: As I dropped to the floor in a heap and curled up tightly into the fetal position, it felt like a very large, angry man had kicked me swiftly and violently in the very center of my being, with all the force his large body could muster.

Within a year of her death, her brother brought together about four of her closest friends. Most of us were unacquainted with each other, but it was clear that some of us had loved her dearly.

As the years have gone by and my memories have softened and faded, I now only vividly remember two things about that gathering:

  1. How angry and shocked we all were to lose the bright light that was Pam; AND
  2. That woman, who by her own proclamation called herself a close “friend” of Pam, BUT had only learned of my friend’s death SIX months after the fact when she finally decided to pick up a freaking phone and call Pam to check in AND, get this, how she wanted me to drive with her six hours to visit Pam’s grave

Huh! Wait… Did I forget to mention: Pam had been battling breast cancer? Cancer! The Big C!

OK! Let me pause to take a moment to inhale and exhale deeply… because… because this r-i-d-i-c-u-l-o-u-s-n-e-s-s still makes my scalp itch and my armpits very hot and sweaty. Yes, I am still disgusted by that woman, and I am sadden by the drought of real, meaningful connections then and now.

picture of a smartphone

Like androids in a Sci-Fi movie, our smartphones are now a tightly integrated extension of our physical self. In the west, the modern person cannot even take a shit without the damn thing tightly clutched in one hand or perched precariously close by. (Eww) And still too many of us cry we cannot find time to call those that should matter.

It seems that while our phones were getting smarter, we got dumber and dumber!

We have an exhausting number of social media platforms today. Exhausting! We collect meaningless “friends” on one. We pin like a mad person things we will never cook or make, places we will never visit, and things we will never buy on another. We chat unintelligibly in 140 characters or less on the next. We snap and over share photos on the go of the minutiae of our lives and, regrettably, our scantily-clad or naked bodies on all of them — Hey, another selfie, anyone?! How about a butt shot?!

And while everybody is following everyone and no one, our relationships are as shallow as a puddle on a busy street with very good drainage after a light rain. Instead of connected, we are starved for true friendship, unable to converse with any depth in our first language, and without any true concept of shame.

Today, there are many lines of “communications” open, but we are distracted, unable to connect in any real, genuine way. All that can be heard on both ends is frantic tapping noises or the sound of neglect, nada.

We live in an age where we humans have amassed an impressive amount of knowledge about everything and nothing. BUT we are, sorrowfully, still incapable of working our way to world peace; stopping ourselves from creating and/or living in our own personal, and often secret, worlds of hell; or showing up and staying for those we claim we love.

Read my poem I Wonder Why.

Call to action: Share in the comments below how you feel about the current state of disconnect in our world day? Or, if you are one of the few who is blessed with real connections, then share how being connected adds value to your life?

Oh, and when you’re done, how about picking up the phone and CALLING — not texting or updating your status — someone who matters!

Are You Hiding and Hoping?!

car headlights on a busy road
It is really about value.

We all live in hiding. In one way or another, each of us conceals pieces of ourselves from the rest of the world. Some people hide because their lives depend on it, others because they don’t like being seen. And then there are the special cases, the ones who hide because… because… because they just want someone to care enough to look for them.”  ~ U.S. Marshal Mary Shannon, “In Plain Sight, Season 1, Pilot”

I love Mary Shannon. Why? Well, I love her honesty, her bluntness, her sarcastic wit, her self-acceptance, and her exceptional intelligence that allows her to see right through people’s lame, shitty behavior to the truth, get right up in their face, and then call them on their bullshit without hesitation or apology.

And I love that under all that honesty, that bluntness, that sarcasm, that self-acceptance, and that “pretense” is a woman with a wildly caring heart, a wise heart, a broken heart. Yes, contained within her is the disappointed and broken heart of the little girl she was (and still is) and the woman she has become — she’s so human and so much fun to watch.

Mary Shannon is the baddest, bad arse marshal in the whole damned Witness Security Program (WITSEC). I love Mary Shannon.

And I think the quote from the Pilot episode (2008) is brilliant. Brilliant. We all want to really matter deeply to someone else. We all want someone else to care deeply enough about us to miss us if we disappear. We all want someone else to care enough to actively take the effort to come searching for us… Every. Time.

So, please, stop and really think about the last sentence in that quote, the theme for the series, as well as real life. And then…

I hope with all my heart that you have a sure “who” to both questions.

Call to action: In the comment section below, ask yourself these TWO questions: (1) If life’s disappointments, betrayals, regrets, and heart breaks were to shove you  into hiding, literally or emotionally, do you know who would care enough to come searching for you and keeping on searching for you until they found you? (2) And if the tables were turned, do you know who you would search for and keep searching for?

Advice to My Younger Self…

picture of an hourglass
No matter your age, time is always running out.

Happy Monday!

I had a lovely Easter. I hope you did too. Now…

Since arriving at a “certain” age, I can’t help but contemplate my life and the choices I’ve made and the ones I didn’t and how my life could have been, possibly, different — better — if only I had known this or known that, so I would’ve done this instead of that.

It is no easy thing to arrive at a point in your life somewhere between the beginning and a little too close to oblivion and stop and evaluate. But since I believe the “unexamined life is not worth living,” I think the following question is a great one to ponder not only for the value it offers us, but also for the value others may derive from the hard-won experience wrought from our personal disappointments, heart breaks, and regrets.

Grr, if only I was all-knowing and understood all things, then I wouldn’t have to ponder this question at all.

So I ask myself: “Janine, what advice would you share from your heart with your younger self?” And here’s what I think I would say to the girl I was whose heart was still whole and hopeful and naïve:

  1. Sorry, sweetie, I know you wanted to avoid them, but you will have regrets. Lots. It seems that regrets are part and parcel of being a human being who isn’t omniscient.
  2. By choosing a job, a neighborhood, or a man, you choose a life. So, I suggest that you deliberate, deliberate, deliberate on each as if the quality of your life depends on it (it does), and then choose wisely.
  3. Beware of arseclowns who pretend to be harmless as sheep but are inwardly vile, heartless, extremely narcissistic wolves. They are everywhere. They will deceive you. They will break your heart. They will try to murder your soul. Afterwards, they will walk away casually as if nothing happened. You’ve been warned.
  4. You can depend on this: Other people will hurt you more than you deserve. Maybe it is personal; maybe it isn’t. Either way, for the sake of your sanity and your way to be, don’t take it personally. Don’t!
  5. True love and friendship stays, keeps their word, and proves themselves. You do not EVER have to make excuses for good, honest men — or women.
  6. Yes, love is the answer to every question. But, sadly, it will conquer nothing most of the time. But it is still the answer.
  7. Starting now, push, pull, squat, lunge, hinge, and carry every day. Every. Day. At 50, your body will thank me. Trust me.

Then, I would give me the kind of hug that is warm and snuggly and seems to go on forever, and thank my younger self for never smoking, doing drugs, or drinking alcohol and for giving up soft drinks and fast/processed foods. Those choices saved my life!

Call to action: In the comment section below, regardless of your current age, please give it some real thought and share ONE thing you would tell your younger self if you could?

I Wonder Why

Human existence has reached a nadir of utter chaos, awfulness, and unimaginable r-i-d-i-c-u-l-o-u-s-n-e-s-s.
How sad it is that today our emotional lives aren’t even as deep as this puddle.

Happy Monday!

I wrote a poem:

I wonder why…

Why is life but 70 seconds long
Yet pain and disease a constant companion for some
And Mr. Death mocks us all
Never letting us for a second forget
Forget how suddenly he can extinguish our life’s light
On just a whim, we’re gone
Nevermore

Why do some toil at nothing more than
A sport, a show, a song, a “certain look”
Yet their coffers burgeon with treasure for their puny efforts
Of doing nothing at all
While others toil, toil, toil all their days
Just to keep the wolves of insolvency at bay
Or lay down their lives to serve and protect
Or find value in bringing knowledge to the hope of our future
For nothing more than the jingle jangle of pocket change

Why do we exalt the rich and “famous”
Could they exist without our adulation
Without the pedestal we’ve erected in their honor
Of course not
Yet we pay homage to these “gods” we’ve created
All shiny and inviting on the outside
But black, hollow, even messy on the inside
With no heart, with no soul

Why is love like the breath of air itself
So critical, so crucial to sustaining our very life force
But so many are suffocating
And dying just a tiny bit each day
Way down deep in the secret corridors of their hearts
Where no one wanders
For lack of love—for air itself
Our faces hard, with no hope
Our hearts resigned, bitter, with no hope

And I wonder why…

Call to action: Share in the comments below what makes you wonder: “Why?”

Biracial, a Source of Uniqueness?!

I'm biracial, so uniqueness resonated inside me...

Happy Monday!

Well, spring is here. Sort of. Saturday was stunningly spring-like, but in my neck of the woods, we have already had a few days that felt seriously like the dog days of summer intermingled with the return of chilly days! Sadly, the trees are confused; so all the prettiness of spring — trees dressed up lusciously in pink or white, showered in sunshine — that I love is already fading. Ugh!

Anyhoo, last Friday at my dentist’s office, I was glancing through an old issue of Self magazine from some years back when I stumbled upon the quote above in an interview article on a young, Japanese-African American singer. And it got me musing over what really makes a person unique.

So, of course, I got questions:

Can being biracial, in and of it self, be the primary source of what makes a person unique?

And what is the substance of uniqueness that is fundamentally based on being biracial?

Further, from where I sit, the future of skin colour in the USA looks very caramel; so what happens when everyone is caramel-coloured? Will those with the “biracial uniqueness card” have their uniqueness confiscated?

And if there is at least ONE person on the planet who is unique, but who isn’t also biracial, isn’t the statement above nonsensical.

There are millions of us out here who are not biracial and for whom uniqueness IS certainly an indelible part of our DNA.

Now, I know that all this may seem a little nit picky and I know that the authoress of the above quote was probably making a harmless, casual (if thoughtless) comment, but really, in this day and age in the USA, being biracial is NOT a source of uniqueness.

Here’s the thing: There’s more to what sources our individual uniqueness than the random hookup of two people from different races! Fact is, there are millions of us out here who are not biracial and for whom uniqueness IS certainly an indelible part of our DNA.

So to authoress of the above quote: Honey, you may very well be unique, but it ain’t because you are “biracial, so uniqueness resonated within you.”

Call to action: Think about it. What do you think really makes us unique? Share in the comments below.

I Don’t Like All Black People…

Black or White, the movie

Happy Monday!

I saw the Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer’s movie “Black or White” (2014), which is based on a true story, over the weekend with my mum. And yes, we enjoyed it!

In case, you’re planning on checking it out. I will include no plot spoilers. However, there are several scenes that I found particularly interesting, and I would like to share one of them with you.

Let’s start with just a little information about the key players:

  • Elliot Anderson is a heartbroken father and husband who has lost both his daughter and his beloved wife and who is grandfather to a biracial seven-year girl Eloise.
  • Grandma Wee-wee (Rowena Jeffers) is the delusional and ever hopeful mother of the pointless arseclown who spread his seed willy nilly and who is the worthless other 50% of why Eloise is here.
  • Jeremiah Jeffers is a highly educated and successful attorney and brother to Grandma Wee-wee and, much to his chagrin, uncle to the worthless arseclown.

They are in court, because the arseclown’s mother, Grandma Wee-wee, is suing for custody of Eloise after the death of her maternal grandmother. Elliot is on the stand and Jeremiah throws out THE question:

Jeremiah Jeffers: Do you dislike black people?

Elliot Anderson: Not all of them.

I don’t like all black people either.

The beauty of this scene is in the way Elliot answered the question: direct, simple, honest — no hemming, no hawing. Just the TRUTH, so help him God. There is a fabulous court scene monologue that follows, but you’ll have to watch the movie for that. I’m not revealing anymore.

Here’s the thing: Eliot is a white man. I am a black woman. And my response IS exactly the same, especially… when it comes to a pointless, drug addled, irresponsible, festering crap-egg of a black “man” who knocks up a teenage girl, and then discards her and the baby with little or no thought. What a cliché!

Truth is,  I’m inhaling and exhaling deeply and rolling my eyes as I write this post just as I did during the movie, because it pains me to think that anyone, especially an “educated” lawyer — in real life, would stoop so low as to ask this flawed but kind and loving man this illogical question in light of the facts.

Fact is — this wasn’t about black or white. It was about right or wrong.

As I said earlier, I enjoyed this film and I would recommend it. It is rich with so many important realities about the misconceptions and truths each race can have of the other. Plus, there’s just so much humanness: sadness, sweetness, sacrifice, love, stupidity, and humor. And I think it did an imperfectly decent job of handling this emotionally charged race issue even-handedly. Bravo.

P.S. Quite frankly, I still don’t understand why any girl (or woman) would be even remotely attracted to a “man” who flirts with her by referring to himself as “her street nigger.” Mm-hmm.

Call to action: Tell me in the comments below do you like Elliot’s honesty as much as I do? Do you dare call a spade a spade regardless of race?

Face-off: Men vs. Women

man and woman divided

Happy Monday!

Recently, I had an experience that has been gnawing and gnawing at me. And, you know what happens when that happens. Yes, that means something needs to be said, has to be said.

OK, picture this: My mum and I were out enjoying a beautiful Saturday afternoon — you know, the kind of day that had us looking pretty and feeling hopeful. We were at the local Trader’s Joe in the checkout lane, checking out our little goodies with the cashier,  a very pleasant man of a certain age.

So after he packed our goodies into a bag, he and I both grabbed the bag at the same time to place it into the cart. Immediately, he started apologizing all over himself for offending me.

I was a lot flummoxed and so I asked him, “Offend me how?” He said, “Well, I know women today like to help themselves.” So I smiled and said, “I’m not one of those ‘women.'”

I am not.

We’ve Got an Ugly Problem

Feminism is a multifaceted movement to define and to establish equal political, economic, educational, and social rights for women under the law.

While I believe in the movement as stated above and I know that men can be more than a little dense, I am not interested in being labeled a feminist. Why? Because I cannot sanction the lost of clarity and anger it carries around like a badge today.

Please for goodness sake, how did we go from feminism as defined above to the stupidity and confusion that now exists between men and women in the arena today?! Yes, the arena.

How does a man opening a door for a woman reduce her humanity and obscure her equality?

How does a man pulling out a chair for a woman at a restaurant or allowing her to be presented with her meal first diminish her power?

Why is who picks up the check relevant to what can happen between a good  man and a good woman — who love each other or could potentially love each other? (Please note the use of the word “good” twice.)

How is a man helping me with my bag of groceries offensive?!

Why does she bringing home the “bacon” and getting equal pay have to divide two beloveds when they turn the lights down low and go up stairs?

There is no doubt that men had it wrong — again. It was right and true and good for women to seek equal opportunity and to demand recognition of their value. Yes, we were then as we are now equally valuable as any man — whether we choose to work outside or inside the home. What we bring to this world and to life as women is immeasurable! Immeasurable!

But I believe the feminist movement has lost its focus along the way and picked up a shit load of anger, bitterness, and confusion. And I am not interested in wasting one second of my puny life examining why or placing blame or carrying around that kind of poop. We’ve danced around in the ring, trying to sucker punch each other long enough. Can’t we just stop the madness and grow up?!

The good fight for political, social, educational, and economic equality should never have entered the bedroom. Ladies, we are so much smarter than the way it was and the way it is. It should not have become personal. It should not have become the dividing, destructive force that pits one gender against the other.

Here’s the Thing

Men and women are NOT the same. We are NOT. There’s a yin (feminine) and yang (masculine) — soft and hard, protected and protecting; both are essential to the balance and sweetness of life. It is nature’s design.

The issue of feminism and its effects on gender relationships is complicated, complicated, complicated. But being recognized and valued as a fully functioning human being and being treated like a woman by the man who cherishes her are two entirely different things to my mind. That is, we are multidimensional. We are both: a human being and a woman or a man.

It is good when a woman can take care of herself and be all that she can be, and she should be proud of that, but it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t need him OR he, her in a myriad of ways that cannot be quantified and counted and that have nothing to do with politics, society, or economics.

Our relationships, especially those involving love or the possibility of love, should not be diminished to childish games of one-upmanship. Let me say it again: Grow up.

Ladies and gentlemen, if we are totally honest, this hot, hot mess that we have today is not what we wanted either. In obtaining one essential thing we lost another. I think Blanche Devereaux put it best:

Blanche: Oh Jerry, I don’t want to be treated as your equal.
Jerry: You don’t?
Blanche: Why no! I want to be treated a lot better than you — like a goddess.
~ The Golden Girls, “Commitments” episode, Season 7

Blanche, I couldn’t agree more.

Call to action: Do you think we can fix the hot, hot mess that currently exists between men and women? Can we undo the damage?

Check out this related article by Allison Hatfield on the Daily Worth website. I particularly loved the comment made by Sara Robinson, a wise and generous woman.

You Must Create

trees in early spring

Happy Monday!

I can imagine the roads lined with cherry trees, dogwood trees, crape myrtle trees dressed to impress with pink buds… white buds… new life… new possibilities. I can almost inhale the sweet smell of fragrant blossoms wafting through the air, tickling my nose. I can feel the gentle fingers of a cool breeze lightly caressing my bare shoulders and arms like a new lover.

Yes, there is still a chill in the air, but it’s almost here. And I — oh wait a minute while I …. achoo, achoo — can’t wait to welcome spring with wide open arms and shed these layers and layers of clothes! (Plus, you know it is also such a perfect season to fall into love too.)

Anyhoo, I’ve been sharing pieces of my  heart  with you for a few months now; and it occurred to me just yesterday that the onset of the season of rebirth and growth would be a perfect time to pause, inhale, and take stock on why we should create in whatever form that thrills us.

Currently, my form of creating is sharing my inner world through the words I share on this blog. And because our motivations and intentions are so crucial to living an examined life, I would like to share why I write with you. So here it goes:

I write to share my dreams of life and love, because I can’t bear the way it really is.

I write my thoughts and feelings, because I hope that maybe one person will find refuge or value in them as I have in the writings of others.

I write because you shouldn’t have to be famous or rich or notorious to feel your voice has value.

I write because I hope… I hope… that there are others out there just like me and that we’ll find each other.

I write because some things need to be said, have to be said.

I write because I hope… I hope… that there are others out there just like me and that we’ll find each other.

Lastly, I write because my mum has pleaded with me to do so for years, so I finally said, “Yes.” Because I want her to be happy and so proud.

A creator to my mind is someone who expresses his inner world outwardly — you could be an originator of words; or paint or photograph visual orgasms; or compose music that soothes, connects, or transports; or play an instrument; or dance as a way to embrace life; or bake sweet confections and share; or thoughtfully dress uniquely your way; or…

Our world today is starving more than ever for more of us to take up the grail and become creators of love, of beauty, of good, of peaceful expression.

So I would urge you to join me: Stop, pause, and ask yourself: “What can I create?”

Call to action: In the comments below, if you are a creator, share with us what and why you create. And if you haven’t yet begun to create, share why not, and then, be brave and share something you yearn to express outwardly. Talk to me!

This post is inspired by Leo’s post Finding Your Voice. My favorite line from his post is: “I write of simplicity in a world that’s needlessly complicated.”

No, I Don’t Understand How It Is

stormy seas

Happy Friday!

Brother: It’s good to hear your voice. It’s been a minute.
Sister: It’s been more than a minute. It’s been four years.
Brother: Really?! Well, you know how it is?!
Sister: No, I don’t know how it is.

Sigh! Sigh! Two or three more meaningless exchanges — and click! Sister wanted to scream!

This was not a happy conversation.

1,460 days; 35,040 hours; 2,102,400 minutes ago, sister told brother she had a brain tumor. A brain tumor.

For split seconds, seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, terror was sister’s constant companion and relentless tormentor.

Every. day. for months, terror kicked her hard in the gut and kept on doing it. All. Day. Every. Day. Sometimes, still…

At the most unexpected moments, terror would sucker punched sister hard, knocking her to the floor and leaving her there for an eternity — bone chilling cold and simultaneously moist with sweat, quivering, curled up like a helpless fetus still in her mother’s womb.

Brother left. Brother had disappeared. Brother had abandoned sister during a time in her life when she was broken, impoverished!

Sister and brother used to talk for hours on the phone. Satisfying hours. And do lunch.

Brother lived just one town over. One town over and 30 minutes away. 30 minutes.

Much later, sister heard that brother had found a new lover or two. Sister supposes that brother pursued these women ardently or semi-ardently with phone calls and dates and attention until they succumbed to his dubitable charms. He even traveled on at least one occasion… all the way to Canada. Canada. Brother even found time to reproduce — a baby girl.

Life is turbulent in the best of times. And other times, the waters are deeper than deep and the giant tidal waves of adversity can crush and swallow.

And still brother did not call…

I tell you this story to say this: Life is turbulent in the best of times. And other times, the waters are deeper than deep and the giant tidal waves of adversity can crush and swallow.

It is only by love showing up on bad days, ordinary or extraordinary, that we have any hope of making it through to some semblance of smoother sailing.

That brother may say he cares. But did he? Does he? I think not. Because if he had, he would have showed up not just for his sister’s sake but for his own. He would have wanted not only to be a “life jacket” for her during this raging storm, but also he would had a desperate need to know for his own sake the “why,” the “what,” and the “where” of someone he really valued.

So, I will say this to you: If you care — really care — show up! Do. Not. let someone you profess to love or care about flounder and drown alone.

Call to action: Can you feel me on this? If so, share your experiences with showing up or not in the comments below.

Love Is Magic #4

Happy Wednesday!

Ah, this is the last week in February, and today, the last Wednesday. And so these will be my last official quoted images on love. Can you believe how super fast this month went by?!

Anyhoo, here are four more of my absolute favorite quotes on love:

The bottom line in love is not whether someone loves you, but whether someone chooses you.

Call me greedy —- I want BOTH! Not only should we be loved beyond reason, but we must be chosen too. I deserve it, and so do you!

I've earned him. He's such a good person.

DO. NOT. Do not believe any of that rubbish about unconditional love. Love by its very nature is discriminatory and conditional. If not, what’s the point?! Honestly, do you want to be loved in general terms; or do you want to be loved specifically and precisely for your unique details? The things that are true of you and no one else. Real love, romantic or platonic, is earned — and it is this very fact that shelters us in this life. The value of love is in the earning.

He is like a tree. He shelters me. I lie in his shade.

When the violent, raging wild fires of reality and disappointment sweep in and threaten to annihilate to a black, burnt up crisp every hope and dream we’ve ever had, love shelters.

What is the one thing a person can do do destroy a relationship without fail? Nothing.

The act of loving isn’t hard labor — it should be approached as one would joyous work. Approach actively loving someone with the right attitude: To express love is to give joy and to feel joy.

Well, it has been great fun thinking and writing about love. It has been fun making these lovely quoted images. I hope you’ve enjoyed them (and my posts) and I hope they have made you really look at and expand your definition of love…

Happy loving…

Call to action: Shelter someone, won’t you.?!

I’m pretty proud of this post, so check it out: Who’s your sweetie?!

Who’s Your Sweetie?!

mother and son

Happy Monday!

Mother: How come you didn’t call me on Valentine’s Day?
Son: Are you my sweetie?

Ouch.

Ouch!

Yes, this actually happened! And he wasn’t joking! I hope that you are as incredulous as I was. I hope.

Let’s begin with the standard definition of romance as defined by Merriam-Webster. (Read that? Good. Now, let’s move on.)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found too many dictionary definitions to be circular — unclear; too layered — too many disjointed meanings; or incomplete — not nuanced enough or too shallow.

For me, romance is one of those words desperately crying out for an added layer of meaning.

At this point, if you’ve read my earlier posts for this month, it is no secret that I am a huge, huge fan of romantic love as it is often imagined between lovers. To me, it is, well, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Really, it is fantastic!

BUT…

But, sadly, most of us aren’t gonna to win the romantic love lottery in this lifetime; and even if we do, it is often fleeting, fraught with disappointment and/or oh so bittersweet. Let’s face it, romantic love may as well be a pipe dream buried deep under all the other realities of life: eating, sleeping, working, pretending, … eating, sleeping, working, pretending… dying.

It is rare and it is tenuous! In other words, its track record: SUCKS! But just because that is true does not mean we cannot choose to infuse our lives with romance.

Little acts of romance can happen every day if we expand the definition by making it more inclusive of all the people we love, and then finding tiny ways to weave it through the everyday fabric of our lives and the lives of our beloveds. For example:

  • Maybe you present your mum with the most showy or simple bouquet of her favorite flowers on YOUR birthday;
  • Maybe you send the cutest cards, each carefully chosen, to your best friend forever (BFF) every week for months, because you know she’s struggling;
  • Maybe you call your elderly father every morning and every evening without fail, so he knows that someone still cares;
  • Maybe you write the sweetest love poem to your BFF on her birthday because you really love that girl or guy; and
  • Maybe, heaven forbid, you even call your loving mum on Valentine’s Day, because she IS your sweetie.

Make no mistake. These are romantic gestures too. No, the recipients aren’t lovers, but we love them, right?! And at the very heart of romance is the desire to express love and deep affection for someone.

Plus, these acts of romance are for the people who are likely to always be there for you. In fact, these people are the very ones that prop you up when romantic love abandons you again! So why would you want to starve them of a little romance?!

For goodness sake, I cannot. I will not. I do not accept that big love is limited to just lovers.

After all, if our lives and all of our relationships are not infused with romance, all we have is just so much bookkeeping.

So to the son mentioned in the opening lines: Yes. Yes. Yes. She is your sweetie — your very first.

Call to action: Am I cuckoo? If you think so, tell me why in the comments below. And if you see it my way, please share how you infuse your life with romance.

Rumi loves, love too!

moonlit lovers

Happy Friday!

EXCEPT that I am really not so very happy. This forever-ness of bleak, bitter coldness has bitten not only my ears, fingers and toes but also chilled me to the core and numbed my heart. And I am left feeling, well, nothing, but C-O-L-D.

So, today, I will leave you with one of the most beautiful love poems ever. It was written by Rumi, who was a 13th century poet, jurist, Islāmic scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic. (Whew, busy, busy, busy man. However, did he find time to dream, dreams of love?!)

I wish you a very good weekend and I will try my best to warm up for Monday.

Be nourished by love!

**

I am your moon and your moonlight too.
I am your flower garden and your water too.
I have come all this way eager for you,
without shoes or shawl.
I want you to laugh, to kill all your worries,
to love you, to nourish you.
On sweet bitterness, I will soothe you and heal you.
I will bring you roses.
I too have been covered with thorns.

~ Rumi

Call to action: How has love healed you? Or have you healed someone with your love? Share in the comments below and inspire us all.

And if you feeling like exploring more on love, check out my earlier posts: Are you in love?Love Is Radiant, True, HopefulI’m finally in love–with my daddyFall in Love, the 11th Commandment; and Mommy, I love you!

Love Is Magic #3

Happy Wednesday!

There is only one happiness: Love. Every thing else: Bookkeeping.

There is only one happiness: to love and be loved.

Today, too much of what is called love smacks of convenience. People shouldn’t be “loved” because they are convenient.

You love someone for their details -- the things that are true of them and only them.

Pledging your love to each other should create something so much more than a sum.

Love requires a new math: We are more than one and less than two.

And finally, love does not conquer all, but it does trump it all!

I don't know if life is more than death, but Love is more than either.

Call to action: Are you loving? I want you to think hard about the act of loving. Today, more than any other time in history, we live in a cesspool of discontent, stupid excuses for not showing up, and downright evil. Yes, a cesspool! And the only thing that can save us is: Love. Love in all its glorious, healing and life-affirming forms. So I ask again: Are you truly loving?

I’m talking about love for the entire month of February. If you love, love as much as I do, check out my earlier posts: Are you in love?Love Is Magic #1Love Is Radiant, True, HopefulI’m finally in love–with my daddyLove Is Magic #2; Fall in Love, the 11th Commandment; and Mommy, I love you!

Mommy, I love you!

I believe in love at first sight, because I've been loving my mom since I opened my eyes.

Happy Monday!

I wrote this poem to honor the woman who I admire most and who has been my rock in this turbulence we call life.

She is my heart. She is my center. She is everything to me. I love her. I love her. I love you, mommy. And that’s all there is to it.

I was not coaxed easily from the safety and
warmth of your womb, my first home
I was blissfully curled up in the darkness and
silence and solitude
And an unknown part of me knew I just wanted
to stay snuggled up close
To who would become my second heart

As I’ve stumble through life, you’ve been my
dearest friend
You know my best; you’ve lived my worst
And when your child comes home,
bruised and battered from life and love
You hold me near, cocoon me with your love
And whisper, “My girl, you’re above this all”

But mostly, you’ve been my champion
Protecting me from the inner beast
Who sometimes roars and calls me names
And when it comes gnawing at my soul
You roll your eyes and suck your teeth
And roar right back: “I don’t want to hear it
Not one more lie about my child”
And the beast shrinks back
In the presence of a mother’s love

Words can say a lot
But sometimes not enough
So I’ll just simply say,
“Mommy, I love you
Mommy, I love you
I really do”

Call to action: Do you believe in love at first sight? Who did you fall in love with at first sight?

I’m talking about love for the entire month of February. If you missed my earlier posts, check them out: Are you in love?Love Is Magic #1Love Is Radiant, True, HopefulI’m finally in love–with my daddyLove Is Magic #2; and Fall in Love, the 11th Commandment.

Fall in Love, the 11th Commandment

It should b a crime against God to deny yourself love. It should be the 11th commandment.

Happy Friday!

Really, is there anything more delicious than being love?! Let me answer that for you? No!

Today, I’m reminded of a charming movie from 1949 called The Lady Takes a Sailor, starring Jane Wyman and the very delicious Dennis Morgan.

OK, it begins with the typical, impossible 40’s meet cute. He is a top naval engineer working on a top-secret, government mission. She is the trustworthy head of a very serious institute that is in need of more funding to keep its doors open.

She goes out sailing, a terrible storms comes, and she almost drowns. Of course, he rescues her from certain death. But by saving her, he compromises the secrecy of his mission.

To protect his mission, he lies to her, drugs her, and then ditches her on shore. (See what I mean about impossible.)

When she awakes, she tells her story. But everyone thinks she’s gone cuckoo. Her career and credibility is in ruins. So she spends the rest of the movie trying to get the evidence to save her reputation.

After much madcap craziness, she has it! She has the evidence she needs to vindicate herself. But she realizes as she walks the floors of her big, beautiful, empty house on the lake with only the company of her BFF: She loves him.

Yes, it is a moment of choice: Career/Public opinion — or Love.

As she vacillates, her BFF, played by the delightful, wise-cracking Eve Arden, hits her with the 11th commandment: “Come a REAL cold night — and the biggest business in the world is just so much bookkeeping.”

BAM! Different words but still the 11th commandment.

So I ask you, which will it be? “Bookkeeping” or butterflies? “Bookkeeping” or the ardor of a lover’s embrace? “Bookkeeping” or being flung into the heavens and your every day reality pulverized? “Bookkeeping” or feeling high in love?

I know which one I would choose — what about you?

Call to action: Share your experiences with the 11th commandment in the comments below. I would love to live vicariously through them.

And if you enjoyed this post, check out: I’m finally in love — with my daddy; Love is Radiant, True, Hopeful; and Are you in love?

Love Is Magic #2

Happy Wednesday!

Frankly, I have never given a rat’s behind about Valentine’s Day. It is a cleverly made up “holiday” by very smart marketers who prey on our dreams of and yearnings for love by turning “love” into a commodity that greases the wheel of economy.

Here’s what I think. If you’re my man, every day better be Valentine’s Day. Every. Day. And my man should expect the same from me. Seriously, life is just too short for anything else.

In fact, we should regularly do little acts of love and attention to show those we care for — including daddies, mommies, brothers, sisters, and BFFs — that they complete us too.

With that said, I’m in love with love and February 14, Valentine’s Day, is just a couple of days away. So today, let me fill up your heart with a few of my favorite words on love:

Yes, Yes, Yes, Carrie. I’ll have what you’re having.

I'm looking for real love. Real love. Ridiculous. Inconvenient. Consuming. Can't live without each other love.

 

Helen Keller may have been blind, but she saw deeply into life and what truly matters.

The best adn most beautiful things cannot be seen or even touched; they must be felt with the heart.

And finally, I gotta quote Sex and the City again, because life is just too short to settle for anything less than…

Some people are settling down; some people are settling; and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.

Call to action: Enjoy thinking about love…

Here are my other posts on love: I’m finally in love… with my daddyLove Is True, Radiant, Hopeful; and Are you in love?

I’m finally in love — with my daddy…

Happy Monday!

It all started with my daddy.

two images: daughter hugging her daddy and a son walking with his daddy hand in hand

If you are lucky, you know who your daddy is.

If you are luckier, he was a constant in your life, preferably in the same home.

If you are luckier still, he was deserving of your love and your adoration — your heart.

Because for a girl, her daddy should be the first man she falls completely and madly in love with and he with her. Daddy should be a shining example for the future of what she absolutely deserves and what she absolutely will not tolerate in a man.

And for a boy, daddy should be the model of what a really good man talks like and acts like and how to treat every woman like the awesome being she is. (After all, it is woman who receives, carries, gives birth to life, and then sustains it with milk of her body.) In other words, a son should always be able to look up, look up to his hero, Daddy.

The simple truth is that daddies often sets the direction, or at least the very tone, of their little girls’ romantic life. And for boys, daddies are the force that can save thousands of broken hearts and shattered lives.

I knew who my daddy was. We “lived” in the same house. And he loved me. And I loved him. But it wasn’t until I was age 47 and he was 78 that I was finally able to fall in love with him.

Call to action: In the comments below share your thoughts about daddy. What impact, good or bad or indifferent, did or has your daddy had in your life?

If you enjoyed this post, check out my earlier posts: Are you in love? and Love Is Radiant, True, Hopeful.