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Where I work there is a department called the Transitional Services Unit (TSU) that helps incarcerated youth return to their communities.  I understand that it was not that many years ago that this unit did not exist and that youth who had aged out of the juvenile justice system were simply released.  Set out on the curb so to speak.  Now each departing youth has a team who works with them and on their behalf to help them navigate the numerous changes and challenges. 

This morning, I realized that I need one of these TSUs of my very own.  Now whether or not I would make good use of their offered services, I do nots know for sure.  But I cannot help but think that there might be some comfort in just knowing I had this team of humans who were looking out and ahead for me, even for a little while. 

Because where I am today is a familiar place.  Familiar but full of danger and darkness.  This place where I end up after the ground opens underneath me and I experience the free fall into depression, a cavern of great depth.  This time, I did what I used to do many years ago, I pretended I was not falling ~ for a while.  That is until either the invisible tether securing me to the landscape of life, separated or the growing velocity of the plunge forced me to admit I was in this place, once again. 

I must snap out of my funk.  Create toe and finger holds to climb, pull and grunt my way to the surface.  Pronto.  Today is my middle grandson’s 14th birth day family celebration.  I love this boy, dearly.  I am to bring the cheese bread.  Cheese bread ~ his Grammie’s cheese bread ~ is one of his most favorite foods.  To not show up, cheese bread in tow, is not acceptable.  I love this boy. 

So I must figure my way out of this quagmire of self indulgent angst once again in order to leave my home, get in Buster Blue, drive to the grocery, purchase the ingredients, return home, make the cheese spread, drive to my daughter’s home, participate in the family birth day celebration and be part of my life ~ part of my middle grandson’s life. 

Where are the TSU personnel?  Hello?  Can you hear me? 

With or without other human help, I must assist mine own self.  I have been in this place before, many times in fact.  Surely I must know the way up and out.  I will look for some markers and familiar signs pointing ahead.

One of the wonders of modern living holds sway over me still and most likely always will.  The ability to turn on the tap and have potable water appear ~ instantly appear and then with a slight flick of the wrist make it hot or return it to an icy coldness.  Now that is life in the fast lane, baby.  And we haven’t even mentioned the luxury of the flush toilet.  Oh my!

I grew up in rural areas.  My childhood was a blend spent between the Pacific coast and the Atlantic Shoreboard.  The constant being the oceans and country living.  For most of those years we lived without plumbing or electricity.  Sometimes we had electricity and no plumbing.  My adoptive parents liked to say that they had running water, they’d just send me and my sister running to fetch it.  Yep, that was a real knee slapper, their little joke.  Explains though my life long awe of running water that does not require me walking for over a quarter of a mile or more and making like a pack mule hauling back 5-gallon bright red plastic jugs or multiple re-purposed white bleach bottles of the clear liquid. 

Although I have yet to taste a sweeter more pure cup of water than what ran in one of the springs on a homestead in a faraway place, I have to say that the trade off has proved worth the exchange over time. 

So earlier today while I was letting the hot water sluice through my hair I closed my eyes and said a little thank you to the Running Water Goddess and the Universe at large, for such a gift in my daily life.  This blessing of running water.  A blessing that millions of my species do not have access to, whose very lives revolve around the seeking and retrieving of this liquid manna. 

Life is about perspective.  At least my life today seems to be and just a little shift in my focus has helped me participate in my life in this moment.  Helped me send up a prayer of gratitude to the Running Water Goddess and loosen my hold on what was feeling a lot like the running water blues.

Should I stay or should I go?  This question has me off kilter, off balance, out of sync.  Centered I am not. 

It seems this question of where I will live or more specifically, where will I grow roots has been a long asked question.  One that hovers over me sort of like a lazy man’s lasso ~ too loopity-looped to really ensnare anything.  For all the years that I lived in California attending grad school, I was unsettled.  This condition was due, in large part, in knowing that upon graduation, I would be called upon to make a decision ~ to choose between a warmer clime and those whom I call my family.  The choice though is never that simple or at least it feels laden with much more. 

I chose to return to the Land of Almost Always Winter to be close to my clan.  And now here I am again at the crossroad of choice.  Do I apply for a position in a much warmer climate near the ocean or do I take a pass and continue on here?  If I take my familia out of the equation, I have to admit there would still be considerations.  Things like a regular paycheck at a job that I will have held for a year next week, a rented living space that I like (even with the leaky roof) and a few local friends whom I enjoy their company.  And then, of course, there is the little or actually big fact of not having to pack up and move, again. 

Now, some might say that I am putting the cart before the horse.  I mean really, why don’t I just go ahead and apply for the position and then consider all of this other stuff.  Well because in order to apply, I must request letters of recommendation and only want to ask this favor of colleagues if I am truly interested in the job.  Plus, I realized that it’s go time as in let’s get it together and figure out where I am going to commit to living for a while.  If I am going to stay put then I could and should (beware of the should says a little voice) begin taking the steps to open a small private practice in addition to my 4-day work week. 

Come on self.  What’s the hold up?  The hang up?  What exactly is the sticky wicket?  The answers are here within my heart and mind.  Right?  Allowing myself to know what I know is easier said than done in the moment.

I think that might be what happened this morning.  I may have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed.  I have felt sort of scritchity and grumpy off and on today. 

Good thing that I get to start over again at any given moment in any given season.  My slate can be wiped clean ~ a new page turned ~ a serenity prayer uttered and sent swiftly skyward bound ~ a cleansing breath inhaled and exhaled, leaving space for peace to enter. 

Yes, choices are a darned good thing.  I hope I choose to change lanes soon.  I could make a U-turn and head the opposite direction.  I could cross over to the sunny side of the street. 

And yet I sense that I am not quite ready to make the change.  Maybe I will just let myself drift in the eddies for a while.  There is value in each state of mind, each mood that visits us.  I think I will choose to be still and let myself breathe and just be.  Be, right where I am in this moment.

Sayings.  Quotes.  Trite little diddies.  Meaningful deep haikus.  A dollop of a thought.

Here’s one I read just the other day ~

Worrying

is like praying

for what you

don’t want.

The author of this profound quotation is unknown to me.  

Morning prayer.

Please help me

shed my ego

for today.

So that I may be

present in the moment.

The real me

not the puffed up ego driven me.

Please help me

be of service to my

earthly counterparts

through the gift of being

present and teachable

with my ear to the hearts of others.

@junemoon 02/2012

Get ready

Get set

Not ready, yet.

Just the other day, which at this stage of my life can mean a couple of weeks or months ago, I realized that if I were to die in that moment I would not feel ready to take my leave of this life time.  This realization arrived with no small surprise.  You see, I have spent big chunks of energy, time, effort, imagination and sheer will power to keep my precarious hold to this earthly planet.  And that is not to speak of my multiple beseechings of the Universal Powers to alternately open my eyes to the wonders that this life has to offer or to take me quickly to another place, another planet, another existence or to simply extinguish my flickering flame altogether. 

I have struggled with varying gradations of melancholy and depression as far back as my memories travel.  Years of spiritual searching and guidance seeking ~frequent findings and losings of faith ~ years worth of various therapies ~ book after book of helping myself books read, re-read, dog-eared and cursed ~ multiple sundry eating plans, herbs and self-medication, followed by much self castigation with equal amounts of guilt for being so un-grateful for life’s abundance.  

Scattered amongst this turmoiled angst, moments and sometimes days of brightened mood.  Such a welcome respite in a choppy sea of deep blue and inky black depths.  

A certain thought has cropped up now and then of ‘if I were to die right now… .”  The thought  followed by a variation of ‘it wouldn’t be a moment too soon’  or ‘a perfect moment to leave.’  So one might understand a bit more the surprise, the startle if you will, that I felt with that initial response of ‘no, I am not ready.’  Not ready to leave this life, my life, in this moment.  As I have mulled over this new response, which has remained, I have come to understand that my life feels more precious to me than in the past.  Many other realizations have crystallized as the marinading of this new experience continues. 

Today though I wanted to share that I am here.  I am alive.  I am not ready to leave.  I am living.

Some days you are the hammer and some days you are the nail. 

And then some days you are the gorgeous piece of art displayed from the hammered nail. 

Some days there is enough beauty to go around to everyone.  More than eye candy.  More like heart and soul candy.  Savor those days, my friends.  Savor the beauty. 

Some days.

It appears that a simple function termed threading of film onto a projector eludes me.  Baffles me even after some time and effort spent cleaning the very old equipment and online searching for helpful how-to instructions.  Not surprising I suppose ~ this road block of sorts.  After all, this is no ordinary antique projector.  This is my adoptive parent’s projector and the 8mm and super 8mm film reels housed in their bright yellow Kodak cardboard boxes hold family history  family secrets  family surprises.  This film plays silently with only the loud thrum of the machinery accompanying the grainy color images. 

At least that is how I remember the viewings as a child and young adult when after much pleading, my mother would finally acquiesce, giving my father permission to haul out the projector and the film.  As adopted daughters, my sister and I, yearned even more than the average kid to see again and again the evidence of our belonging, of our history.  A history that only went back to when we arrived in America, bought by these White American parents.  I was a Korean adoptee and so was my sister, arriving from different backgrounds and first families to form our very own little tribe of two in a land where no one looked like us ~ to a land where for all of our childhoods we were known as The Adopted Korean Girls. 

Fast forward many years and here you will find me.  Finally pushing through my myriad of fears, resistance and ambivalence to allow myself to figure out another piece of my foundation.  Sounds heavy for such a simple task of figuring out an old projector and watching a few canisters of film.  Simple or not, these actions have been many years in the making. 

It seems that the gathering of our lives lived through memories, yearnings, wishes and dreams is a life long journey.  A journey which offers experiences of joy, sadness, grief, longing, laughter, anger, tears, breath taking ah-ha’s, rage and acceptance.  I figure that I am somewhere a little past mid-way of this journey of this life time and it is looking more possible than naught that there will be future viewings of these little films.  Where those particular pieces of the puzzle will fit is not quite clear, yet.  Thankfully there is a focusing mechanism on this antiquated projector. 

 

Yes, let there be light.  And I don’t mean light-ly falling snow, although the snow continues to fall in this Land of the Good Winter Faeries and Sometimes Bad Winter Elves.  The light I make reference to is the returning daylight minutes, which the majority (meaning all but 1 or 2 chronic complaining types) welcome with great anticipation and appreciation.  Because here in this Land of Perpetual Winter Except for When It’s Not Winter, the darkness swoops in, takes over and is loathe to leave.  But leave us it must as the daylight minutes add up 5+ at a time with each passing day. 

My daughter’s parents-in-law visited from much sunnier and warmer climes this past Christmas and the father-in-law expressed not really understanding the big deal about Winter Solstice since he thought it would be much darker.  The implication was that we Northern Dwellers were just a bunch of whining Whinertons.  I might add that the in-laws arrived the day prior to our precious Solstice holiday with their psyches and souls all lit up from their much longer daylight days.  Daylight days that I might add that were mostly filled to the brim with sunshine and warmth with only the occasional falling rain drops.  The essence of this little vignette is that they knew not of which they spoke.  They spoke from a not knowing or some might say a place of sunlit ignorance.  Good people.  Just wrongly informed of the pervasive ill effects of daylight deprivation. 

But folks, we’re well on the other side of Winter Solstice and the minutes have quickly added up to hours and we are close to 9 hours of daylight, possible sunlight per day!  Oh happy day ~ oh happy day.  Sing it with me now ~ Oh happy day, oh sunny day ~

Consider my spirit considerably lightened ~ lit up from within, due to a large degree to the returning natural light.  Oh blessed be.

August 2019
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