“Mothers and their children are in a category all their own. There’s no bond so strong in the entire world. No love so instantaneous and forgiving.” Gail Tsukiyama, novelist
What fun to totally let your mind roll first thing in the morning to a random prompt!
Joining the conversation is always a bit tricky. You leave to go to the bathroom, weaving your way among the tables, eyes searching for the ladies’ room sign, having chosen a spot in the conversation where you knew a little of what was being said. You’d heard that part before. Didn’t want to miss anything but, damn, you had to pee!
Time to pull out a toothpick? Get the salad out of your teeth? Apply some lipstick. Find a mint. Fluff the hair.
Returning to your seat, smiling as you go, you perk up your ears to see where the conversation is now, not wanting to interrupt, but longing to jump back in, as you replace your purse on the chair back, pick up your white linen napkin, scootch your chair back under the table and take a sip of water.
Randomly, the subject has changed from that of Cynthia’s husband’s mom’s foot that wasn’t healing well to an update on one of Lee Anne’s kids who’d gotten married last year in a grand affair in California you’d also unfortunately missed.
“Wait, sorry. What did I miss? Are Meredith and Jim pregnant? Moving back to North Carolina?! Did he get that new job??”
Rachel takes her fork and scrapes it across the empty plate, gathering remnants of the decadent flourless chocolate torte they’d all shared after their monthly meal, while Jaime fills me in on Lee Anne’s news. Abbreviated synopses allowed among these friendships, decades in the making.
Prompt: 5 minutes “Stand Alone”
Stand alone. On your own two feet. See what you can do without any others to stop you, to help you, to harm you, to interfere, to suggest other ways. What does your heart say? What is your heart saying to you?
Stand alone. You already do stand alone. But alone with a living God burning brightly inside your very heart chakra, comforting you, guiding you, suggesting ideas that will catapult you to the Highest Version of Yourself that you can imagine. We just don’t often take the time to listen to that part of ourselves. Yes, I believe the Holy Spirit is a part of each of us, so intertwined with every fiber of our being that we can never not be holy. If we listen.
Stand alone. I used to stand alone and mope inside about being alone. Why doesn’t anyone really understand me? I need them to understand me! I cried tears and sobbed guttural wails as I wrestled with the challenges of growing up, maturing, moving from an insecure teenager to an insecure adult, an insecure wife, mother, neighbor, church member, volunteer, over-achiever. Until it all came crashing down on me in the form of what would morph from one day of a swollen throat, fever, body aches worse than the flu, fatigue that slammed me flat to the surface of my water bed and wouldn’t let me go, into the woman I am now. Twenty-five years I’ve lived inside my body alone, alone in houses full of people who cannot understand this bizarre chronic illness. But now I stand alone – secure in Who I Am.
What a poignant essay. I love the straightforward approach, so matter of fact, so true, so full. Lovely.
by Ani Tascian
My dad had just finished what would be the first of three full rounds of treatments for Stage IV lung cancer. It was July 9, 2009 and this was his surprise birthday party. I pinned the rose boutonniere, carefully ordered two nights before, on his lapel. The multi-zippered jacket he was wearing was more Euro-looking than I was used to on him, most likely my mom’s purchase. “I’ve lost weight,” he said, rubbing his ribs with both hands and smiling, trying to make a joke but falling short. I smiled back and kissed him on both cheeks, “Happy Birthday, Baba.”
My younger sister Stephanie wasn’t speaking to me. “What is wrong with you? Why aren’t you helping? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? Your father has cancer and you can’t help throw him a party? I don’t care if you have three-year old. We’re all busy.” My sister…
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Boundaries burst every time. What the hell, you might say? I thought I’d learned that lesson and then you realize you’ve done it again — compromised your integrity, your soul, giving in to the pressures to be liked.
Boundaries burst when you’re a people pleaser. When you let yourself be guilted into making a different choice. “Sure, I’ll come to that.” “Sure, you can borrow my ________ ” fill-in-the-blank. “Sure!”
Boundaries burst when inside your head your voice is telling you one thing, reacting with a zillion thoughts, none of which come out of your mouth. “No problem!”
My husband calls it “Southern Belle Bullshit” — when (women) say one thing and mean another. He holds up his two outstretched hands: one motioning “come hither,” the other rigid, palm out, staunchly saying “No! Stop!” This always gets a laugh from an audience, but now when he does this, I notice at least half the time he has a point, has caught me sending mixed messages. Old habits die hard.
Boundaries burst when we throw off the shackles of our past. When we suddenly see, “Aha! Now I get it!” It might only seem like a tiny shift in perspective, but it’s an important one, a huge one, really.
Sometimes people have the tendency to overcorrect themselves — the gargantuan pendulum swing necessary for them to practice a new way. Off-putting, it can seem to others. Suddenly a shock. But no one is going to hand you permission to change on a silver platter when it means they no longer can rely on your co-dependence! Get real! But the brusque change can bristle others’ feathers, I’m just saying.
Boundaries burst for others, too. Let’s say you’ve had brick-tight boundaries, letting no one in. No one. Always protective of yourself. Emotions locked up so tight inside your chest, nary a tear has escaped your eyes in decades. Feelings bottled up, emotional expressions kept in check, invincible, strong. Well, maybe the occasional outburst, which no one saw coming or understood, because mostly you’ve never let anyone close enough to know the real feelings going on inside of you. But in the process, you have no intimate relationships. Not many anyway. Not really intimate. You’ve protected your heart with boundaries so clear it hurts. Boundaries bursting then are like a tight, full balloon ready to be tied off, but instead, something causes you to let it go, releasing it into the air in front of you. It sputters around the room in relaxed delight and you exhale and laugh and smile! You’ve let your drawbridge down, and others, timidly at first, start to cross the divisive moat you’ve built around yourself for years and years. Ah, yes. Love rushes in when boundaries burst. (time)
I love this piece written by my Holden Beach Writer’s Group friend, Joan Leotta!
July 4, 2015
Prompt: 10 minutes: “Silence”
Silence. There really is no such thing. For always there is the breath, the beating heart, the faint sounds of birds chirping or an air conditioner turning on or off, or the boiler crackling with its cozy warmth.
Silence. We fill our days with noisy life, and it is good, still good. Silence can be uncomfortable for many. I’m so grateful I’ve been meditating for over twenty-five years and enjoy the silence. Who knew that the thousand day meditation I did in 1992, 1993, 1994 would have such an impact. Thank you, God, for directing me to HarDarshan via the Wellness Directory I picked up at Harmony Farms, when I first got sick in 1990, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome giving me my first health food store experience, too. Oh how the silent hand of God nudges you in slight directions that propel you into a life you cannot fathom but in hindsight.
Or in the present. Yes, that’s where the silence is — in this moment that will not come again. THIS moment. This FULL moment. This lovely moment of conscious awareness. So much easier to sense, to feel when noticed in silence.
One can have a silent heart, a silent soaking in of the present even amid the chatter of children, young and old, that silence filling your heart until you think you might explode confetti joy all over the house, each other, invisible confetti joy.
My writer friend, Peggy Tabor Millin, had an unexpected “Oprah inquiry” about a sentence in one of her books — you rock, Peggy! I guess we writers really do not know which thought, sentence, passage may speak so to one person who decides to share it. Like a stone thrown into a still pond, your one line or metaphor, or character just might start a whole rippling effect — your words stirring a heart, who shares it with another, who shares it with another, who shares it with …
Check out Peggy’s story here:
I am most happy to share the words of my son-in-law, The Reverend Cameron Merrill, as we Christians begin our Holy Week. May this week speak to your heart, renew your hope, and fill you with God’s never ending love. Amen.
March 29, 2015
Text: Mark 14.1-15.47
Even if you aren’t a regular at church, you can tell that everything is all mixed up today.
We gathered outside.
Somebody handed us a bulletin and a palm branch and told us to get in line.
We all processed in, together, instead of just the pastors, the acolytes, and the normal procession.
Even now, the sermon seems to be coming before the scripture reading.
This is not a normal Sunday.
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