What Makes Life Happy?

Today I saw this meme on FB. From Writers Write. It describes me of late.

editing

Sometimes it’s a paragraph. Sometimes it’s a poem. Sometimes it’s a whole blog. But I find myself writing, editing, over and over, and then once I have fixed it as much as possible, deciding it’s a bunch of drivel, and deleting it.  Or saving it to “Unpublished stuff.”

So is that writer’s block? I don’t know. Really.

I used to just sit down here, and write about whatever was on my mind, as a way to find out what was on my mind, and look at it, and observe it. Doing that is a good thing, but not always something that should be published. I found that I got caught up in the drama, either self-created or created by someone else, but caught up in it.

That realization brought me to want to make changes in my writing, at least, in my published writing. But it leaves me trying each day to find a worthwhile subject. A positive thought, an idea which, while perhaps not new to the world, might be an epiphany to me.

The epiphany I’m having this morning is this. That not getting caught up in the drama, that allowing life to unfold at it’s own pace, doesn’t always bring the day to day profound thoughts that I dreamed about writing, once I gave up the day to day drivel. I’m not going to have an epiphany every day. Thank God, I realize. My head would probably explode.

My days are filled with laughter, friends, fun, and a time of reflection. And housework, and errands. It’s a wonderful life, here where the weather forecast for the next 10 days is sunny, and 82. It doesn’t make exciting reading, and it’s repetitive, but I’m so lucky to have it.

I had 3 friends over for an Easter dinner yesterday, 3 friends who would otherwise have been home alone. Which, actually, would not have been a problem for any of us. But instead we got together, they are all in my loosely formed “writers group”. We discussed writing, spirituality, lessons learned, and somehow interspersed those discussions with laughter, the kind of laughter that makes your stomach hurt, and tears roll down your face.

Tomorrow I’m going to my sister and brother-in-law’s over on the island til Thursday morning. Before tourist season, which hits my sister hard with revolving company, I was going over about once every 2 weeks. I’ve only spent one night there, the one I was with my son, in the last 2 months. Things are settling back down now, company is not so fast and furious for her, and I think we need some sister time.

This week I will be going to a play that a friend is in, and Sunday doing a fundraiser for the Veterans Art Center. And of course, open mic night.

These are the small things that I do, that make a nice life. There is nothing profound in any of it, but perhaps the joy I get from a well-lived life. It was not always that way. You know the saying “The best revenge is a well-lived life.” I don’t think it’s revenge. I think it’s just evolution maybe, that collectively takes most of our lives to arrive at.  At least, it has for me.  To be able let go of old hurts, and to let go of worry over outcomes, to find our passion, to spend time with people we love and enjoy, and put it all together in a place where we just want to be.  Doing the “living in the present moment” thing.

I know I’m blessed. I am so grateful that I’ve arrived where I am in time to spend some years of my life just being happy. I want to share it, and maybe help others find their way to it, if that’s possible. At least, to show that it is possible to just be happy most of the time.

My friends yesterday said to me, “Remember in high school where there was one person’s house that you always hung out at? Whose mother was the cool mother? This is that place for us, your house.” Is that not a cool thing to have someone say to you? Especially, these people who are collectively some serious creative genius. One is in a play at the community theater this week, and sings regularly at open mic night.  One is a sculptor and she’s making me a sculpture of Quanyin, the Goddess of Compassion for the alter I’m creating, and she’s also an writer who just wrote a one-act play which was entered in a competition, not to mention she is an actor and a teacher of acting.  One is a professional singer, who has encouraged 2 people I know well to get up and sing at open mic night, and she writes very deep poetry.  I am happy, and so grateful, to have a place that nurtures these friendships, and creativity.

I guess this blog is all about reflection, and understanding what makes life happy for me.

Love and light, everyone.

Sunday Musings

I went with my friend, B, the singer to see our good friend sing Frank Sinatra songs in a fundraiser for his church last night. It was called “Frankie and Johnny”. Our friend was Frankie, and another guy did Johnny Cash. I didn’t realize it would be set up like a lounge show, with tables for 8, and a small buffet, and a bar, and a dance floor. Neither B nor I wanted to drink, we just had bottles of water. It was really Karaoke, but both men were very good. The man who did Johnny Cash was in country bands most of his life and recorded many songs. Our friend P….he just has this awesome velvety baritone voice that is so perfect for the types of old crooner songs he sings.

He was all dressed up in a tux, he looked so handsome! His family had a table, and he invited us over to meet them all. He paid us a lot of attention when he was not singing. At the end, we were leaving and his whole family was trying to take a selfie, like 10 of them. I stopped and offered to take their picture for them, and they got P to join them.

It was a different kind of evening out, but was fun.

This afternoon my bunch of girlfriends is coming over for a first meeting of our loosely formed writers group. We’re just going to eat and drink wine and talk about what we want to accomplish with this group, since we all like to write.  And, like my friend B said last night, “I know what we’re gonna do, we’re gonna drink wine and gossip.”  LOL.   I know I’d like to be able to read some of my work, and have these close friends hear it and critique it. I know my good friend D, the actress-teacher-sculptor-writer already has an idea for a play. She called me yesterday and asked me if she railroaded me into having this, because she said she feels like every time she sees me she’s asking if we can do it again. lol.  I told her no, of course.  We’ve been talking about doing this for awhile, and I wanted to do it before my son came because after that is Easter, etc, and it would get pushed way back probably into May. They love to come here for some reason. I think my deck lends itself to the group, with my Buddha face on the tree and all, lol. It’s a small deck but it works. I have to go put another bug bomb under it though. With the rain we had the other day, I’m afraid the mosquitos have been breeding.

I’m going to try making homemade guacamole for them. I got my sister’s recipe, and I’ve watched her make it a few times. These girls are big guac fans, lol. And I’m going to make some “Glorious Morning” muffins. I’m really making those for my son’s arrival tomorrow, but the recipe makes way too many for just him and I, so I can give some to the group today. They are my son’s favorite. They’re kind of a carrot cake muffin, with carrots, grated apple, walnuts, raisins, and you can add crushed pineapple and coconut if you want. I don’t have any crushed pineapple or coconut, but they’re good without them.

Can’t wait for my son to get here. I’ll need to nap tomorrow, to be picking him up at 10:40 at night, but that’s ok. It was really the only choice he had. He seems excited too! I hope the weather holds for him. It’s been such lovely weather, except for the t-storms we had the other morning, it’s been typical FL, sunny and warm.

Feeling blessed this morning, to have so much good stuff in my life. Love and light, all.

Not An Effortless Morning

Writing can be difficult. At times. At others, the words flow onto the page effortlessly. We all know this. I love the effortless times. I think it’s probably when my work is at it’s best, when nothing blocks the flow from my heart to my head to the page. Those are usually the poetry days.

This morning is not one of those effortless times. I had a difficult sleep last night, though I was exhausted. I finally got up and wrote 3 different posts, trying to clear my head. It worked somewhat. I fell asleep after. I got up this morning and re-read what I’d written with my eyes closed last night. Two of them got filed in “Unpublished”. One got discarded, the last one, when I finally became too tired to make any sense at all.

I had a wonderful time last night. And I talked to L, no matter very briefly. A friend called me just as I went to bed to tell me the evening was live-streamed on FB. I told her I’d look in the morning, but I couldn’t find it this morning.

The girls are coming over Sunday to read my friends play. I only have to provide some guacamole, lol, and a place to sit.

My sister is coming this morning with her step-daughter. I have a fundraiser tonight at a restaurant in St. Pete. I’m almost out of half and half for my coffee, so I need to get some at some point today or I will be really upset tomorrow morning, lol.

I want to talk to L. More. I think I will call him this morning. Because when he calls I will be with my sister or at the fundraiser and I want to be able to talk, privately. No distractions.

If I’m honest, which I try to be even though it’s uncomfortable at times, I will admit that the nameless one interjected himself too, in my thoughts. I wish I could say that I only remembered the good things, but with him, every good thing had two or three bad ones, and I just wonder why the hell I held on so long. Then I get into the connection that can’t be broken, or whatever it is, and know I have to find a way to ignore it, if I want to fully move on. He is still blocked, and apparently has not figured out how to find my phone number, or just didn’t/doesn’t bother, because there are no blocked voice mails. That’s a good thing, really. Blocking him is my way of trying to break a connection that seems to have a life of its own, but has, in the end, never brought me anything but heartache and sadness, and I just want to move away from it.

I know at some point with L, if it proceeds as I expect it to, we will discuss the nameless one, and what will I say? I loved him, it was misplaced, but I did, and now I don’t? How will I explain the repetition over and over? Can I tell the story without too much detail? I will try. I suppose a lot of it would be TMI for L anyway. He will just want to know that I am past it. That’s what I want to know too, lol.

My ex is much easier for me to deal with. I was out of love, fully and finally, when I left the marriage. There are no left-over emotions, and certainly not a connection that continues despite the time and distance.

All this stuff was in my head last night. I suppose I was stimulated, so had a difficult time just settling off to sleep. I hopped from one thought to the other. I changed the meditation music I always play. I read, I wrote. I’m tired today, and I have a busy day.

Funny as I started writing this, I couldn’t put two coherent thoughts together, and now that I have written down all my incoherent thoughts, I feel much better, lol. I actually thought I should maybe stop writing for a week, and see what happened. But I love to write, and it keeps me sane, and I’m committed to it. So here I am sharing my sometimes stupid, sometimes profound, very ordinary thoughts again. My sister apologized for not reading my blog, and I said, “you don’t have to read it, it’s really boring for the most part.” Because it is, these blogs about my life where I’m just trying to glean some lesson from my experiences. Sometimes my poetry is worth reading I think. I get a lot more views when I write a haiku or a poem than when I do this….an essay on why I couldn’t sleep, lol.

But I’m grateful for all of you who do read it, and comment. It gives me a wider perspective, and often more profound insight. In the end, I feel blessed, always. For all of it.

Love and light to everyone.

Not Foolish, nor Destined to Repeat the Past :-)

The sun was almost up when I awoke this morning. Daybreak had broken, the eastern sky was alight. I slept the sleep of the dead last night. I didn’t go anywhere, both of my friends who were going to go to the artwalk with me were sick. One with a cold, the other with a migraine. As it turned out I fell asleep on my couch from 5 to 6, and then stayed up late because I wasn’t tired.

I was in quite a mood last night, and yesterday, with those poems I wrote, Foolishness and Destined. Today my waking mind was in a far more indifferent place. It is always therapeutic lean in to that discomfort when it shows up, to write those feelings out, and send them out to the universe.

This morning I’m out on my deck, sipping my coffee under the canopy of the banyan tree in my nightgown, feeling quite content. I am still seeking a love that can last, but have no regrets over the past, nor really any attachment to it. Just moving forward, and expect what will come will come when it’s supposed to, if it’s supposed to. In the meantime I have friends and family here that I love and who love me, and a wonderful life. There is no reason to feel bitterness or angst.

And who knows? I had a short text with C last night. He’s always up, it seems. In a good place. It’s a refreshing change for me. I hope I hear from him again soon.

I always say that the people I loved I will always love. But really, some of those people are out of my life for a reason, and the reason is that they were in it to teach me, part of the lesson my soul needed to learn. They’ve taught me and we’ve both moved on to our own next lessons. Today, I am grateful for the lessons, and for the fact that I have such a wonderful starting point for my next adventure. Love always? Yes, I suppose so. But maybe not desire, not hope that things will be different. Oprah defined forgiveness as giving up hope that the past will ever change. I think that’s where I am. Glean from it what we can, and go on.

Like my horoscope said, I am an Aries and I like to move forward. I can backslide like anyone else, but not for long. I don’t like that place. I hate covering the same real estate twice. A relationship that takes me over and over the same ground without ever moving forward is not compatible with me.

Feeling so much more myself today. I’m going to go down to the water, take a long walk. Go to the grocery store and get the stuff I need for Christmas food. I’m making baked stuffed shrimp for Christmas Eve at my sisters. And for Christmas night, my traditional raspberry angel food cake with Raspberry Amaretto Sauce. And whatever my sister and I decide we want for Christmas Day. We’re invited to a friends in her neigborhood for Christmas night, which will be fun. It will remind me how I always went to my bff’s in CT on Christmas night. I was often the only non-blood family there, but that huge family always treated me like one of their own.

I have been really blessed, haven’t I?

Love and light, all.

Reconnecting

I had a very hard time getting to sleep last night. I was up at midnight, writing. I have heard wakefulness is a curse of many writers. It seems to be mine lately, for sure. I wrote, some things that I won’t ever publish, just trying to express whatever it was that was stuck inside and trying to get out.  Leaning in, as Brene Brown advises, to the discomfort. Often that helps, just to write out whatever comes to mind, without a whole lot of worry about the mechanics. But still, as I sat on the couch, I was wide awake.

Saved on my computer is a short meditation, “The Great Bell Chant (The End to Suffering)”. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1ZwaEzMtJw ) . It has always given me some peace to watch this video, or simply to listen to it. I put it on, and after the first minute, closed my eyes. It isn’t too long, about 7 or 8 minutes. It is the first thing that helped me to begin to relax, and center myself.

When it ended I clicked on another suggestion on Youtube, for an Om Chant. It said it was 3 hours, but I thought, just let me listen for a few minutes, maybe it will clear my mind, remembering years ago a meditation group in which we listened to chanting for at least an hour, in the dark, and how I was always able to somehow shut down the monkey mind in my head. This video was simply a recording of Buddhist monks chanting OM, over and over again. Deep resonant voices. Listening to them, focusing in on them, my eyes finally began to close, and restfulness finally came to me. I found the same video on my phone, went to bed, and put it on. It was supposed to play for 3 hours. I don’t know if it did, lol, because finally I fell asleep, and slept until about 6:30. Only about 5 hours of sleep, but enough, especially for someone who’s retired, lol.

A few times in the last couple of days I’ve seen the term “metta” associated with Buddhism. Not because I was in particular reading or looking for information on Buddhism. The word just showed up, on FB, in my email newsletters. So this morning I googled it, and found a fascinating (to me) article on what it is, and how it’s practiced. ( http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/facets_of_metta.php ) It’s one of the 4 sublime states of Buddhism that leads to enlightenment. It kind of goes along with my post about unconditional love, but extends that love to oneself equally with extending it to others. You have to make yourself happy first, basically. And in serving others, you will find you make yourself happy. But, you can’t defer to others wishes if doing so makes you unhappy.

I slept well at my sisters, because I was helping her, and her friends, and it made me very happy to be there. I came home, to my little house that I love, but it was empty, devoid of that human connection, or so I thought. But connections remain, there is no space or time in regards to a connection. In focusing in on the OM meditation, I reconnected to myself, which reconnected me to all in a loving way. And I went to sleep.

And so the journey continues. Love and light.

Fiction Writing? We’ll See…….

About 2 weeks ago, I saw a link to a fiction writers course in a FB post by my dear friend Michelle at https://heartwordsforpoetry.org/ , sponsored by the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. The course was free, is about 6 weeks long, and entitled “How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women.” It’s taught by well-known female authors, with video classes, and assignments, and feedback.

The Iowa Writers Workshop is one of the most celebrated creative writing programs in the world, with 17 Pulitzer Prize winners coming from it, in addition to 6 US Poet Laureates, and numerous National Book award writers. Graduates of the Writers Workshop earn a Masters in Fine Arts degree. So, this course has good genes.
I signed up for it, because I would like to learn to write fiction. Almost all of my writing is personal experience, and I’d like to try my hand at fiction at some point. However, getting my car totaled kind of set me back, and though the first lesson came out a week ago, I hadn’t looked at it until today.

This morning I woke with a very upset stomach. I got up at 6, then went back to bed at 8, and by 9 I felt somewhat better, so decided to keep my appointment with my new endocrinologist. I was supposed to go to karaoke on the beach with my friend and a couple of people I met last week. But honestly, I was beat, still didn’t feel all that well. So I opted out. I napped for about an hour. Then decided since I had the afternoon, to take a look at the assignment.

I did the required reading. I watched the 50 minute class video. And now I’m trying to write a story which needs to be between 1000 and 2000 words. I’ve been on this class and assignment for 3 hours, with only a break for a phone call.

I feel grateful to have this opportunity to explore fiction writing, and see if it’s something I actually like to do. It is taxing my creative abilities, and I hope at the same time, stretching them. Anyway, I thought I’d take a break and touch base here.

On another note, I got my 400th follower today! I am so excited about that! Thank you Nicky M! Check out her blog at https://theshimmerwithinher.com/ . And just so you know, I am grateful for ALL my 400 followers, I just have to shout out the milestones, lol. Ego…..

Love and light all.

A Few Words on Words

words

Words….

I have been accused of being too wordy, by some. Funny, my ex-husband, in his pre-alcholic days, disliked my reticence. I learned to keep my mouth shut around him, so he’d have nothing to get fired up about, nothing to twist into some crazy attack on him, nothing to make me defend myself against.

I once told his mother, who was calling him at 8 AM, that he’d call her back when he got out of the shower. OMG, the tongue lashing I got for telling her he was in the shower at 8 AM. Geezus. When you live with someone like that for almost 40 years, you learn that the less you say, the less he knows, the better off you are. (Why I stayed is another story, in fact a book, but abusers are good at making us shoulder the blame for their anger.)

When I left him, I gradually found my voice, and my words, and I vowed no one would ever silence me again. Much to the chagrin of at least one other man.

But what else do we have, to express ourselves? Rolling of our eyes? Hand signals? Hanging up the phone? Withholding in bed?  I’m sure I use the first 3 of those, in combination with the words.  The last?  Not really my style….

All that stuff….may communicate pleasure or displeasure, but it doesn’t let someone in. Some people don’t want anyone in. Fear. Afraid if someone gets in they might get hurt. We all probably have that fear at times.

My greater fear is that no one will ever get in. That forever, I’d be alone with my thoughts that I didn’t have the courage to be vulnerable enough to say out loud.

I can say “I love you” if that’s how I feel. There could be a million reasons why it’s not said back. But there also might be a reason to say it. Like, it’s just how a person feels. Maybe me saying it first takes away the fear of saying it back. Maybe not. But maybe. And it may be worth the risk to me.  The bigger gamble for me would be to spend my days wondering “What if I’d said it?  Would he still be here if he knew?”

I like the truth out on the table. I like things to happen based on the truth. Not on games that people want to play. Not on being manipulated into a position. I know who I am. There is kindness underlying my truth, most of the time. Unless I sense injustice. I hate injustice.

But words, written words in particular…have taken me from the dark days of an abusive marriage, they enabled me to help my son to climb out of that same dark cave. The words brought me through an intense affair that ended in terrible betrayal, to the joy I feel in this moment, because the words have allowed me to be true to myself. They have allowed me to tell my story, to form relationships with like-minded people, all over the world. They let me see what is in my head, and decide if what I was thinking, and what I’m saying is actually true.  I have discovered, along the way, that the truth rings.  If it’s not ringing in my head, it’s most likely not true.  At least for me.

Just some thoughts on words.