Week 5/ November 1/Passions and Obsessions - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 54 Old 11-07-2004, 12:30 AM
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How I was mothered...

I was mothered ingeniously. The stuff she was going through, being married to my father. His treatment of her, of all of us, as if we were posessions. To be controlled, displayed, he loved us deep down but dare not act like it.

I've said, my spirt was floating around, knowing what I wanted to do with this life, how I wanted to set things up so I could at last be with Dh, and like the announcer in a railroad station, I heard the call: We have an opening. It'll get you to all the places you need to go. The father is a problem, but the mother is worth it. OK, I said.

In a cold house, she managed to make me feel loved and happy. Amidst siblings all with different needs, she tapped into knowledge of what particular things I would enjoy. When I was a skinny, overachieving outcast in school, she made our home a refuge where the cruel words of the other girls never had much of an impact on me. She understood I was a nonconformist and encouraged me. For a long time, I viewed her a perfect mother.

So I hesitated for a long time to see myself as someone who could have a child. After all, I could never be a mother like she was. Having a perfect mother can be problemmatic, because for me, I figured why even try. So I worked on finding something else to be perfect at, or at least very very good at.

Then my life took the wild turn it had been heading toward all along. I found true love and got married, and my husband eventually suggested we stop trying not to have a family. I was petrified. I guess that's why he caught me. I found out I was pregnant and worried how I would be a mother like my mother.

But my baby talked to me from inside. She told me that she knew all about me, and came not despite all my flaws, but because of them. She told me that my mother was perfect for me, but I wasn't going to be my own mother, I was going to be her mother. She had different needs, and I would be perfect.

So I forgot about striving to be like my mother, and throw myself into being the kind of mother I can be. My mother looks at me in some situation or other with Dd, and says, how did you ever think of that, you're such a great mother. And often I look at her, and say, you did it.
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#32 of 54 Old 11-07-2004, 02:14 AM
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I had the hardest time writing last week... kept sitting down to do it and reviewing the homework and NADA. I thought maybe it was the topics, maybe my state of mind ?? Over the last couple of days I did manage to do the homework. I am glad I did... learned a thing or two, though I still don't know if it was the topics or just me (or both)!!

A marking, an acknowledgement, a script, finding meaning. Constructing, passing through, change and growth. An event, a gathering, coming together. Ceremonious… though isn’t that slightly negative?

Commitment ceremony… more than a party. Rite of passage, ritual, symbolism. Wedding ceremony. Wedding Reception. Oh! Family Reception. Public or private.

Ceremonies in my life: graduation, awards ceremonies (in high school), weddings, funerals, 100-days

Ceremonies in others’ lives: baptism, circumcision

Ceremonies missing in my life: puberty, new family

So painful… these topics from week 3!!

Well, now I know what it’s like to write when uninspired… better than not writing at all, huh?

Hm. This morning I heard an author on Mind Over Matters, who was a Zen Buddhist and Peace Activist and he spent much of his time on pilgrimage, in the truest sense of the word, traveling by foot and without money and only bringing what he could carry on his back. When he arrived in a small town, he would go to the places of worship in that town and explain who he was and what he was doing, and ask if they could offer him simple accommodations (just some floor space, really) and some simple food. If he was declined, he would put his two palms together and bow toward them, thanking them, silently, for the opportunity to experience being declined. (He didn’t tell them this.) If everyone declined him, he slept outside and ate no food.

Anyway, so now I think of this, and I am thankful for this opportunity to experience what it is like to write when not “inspired” by the topics, to feel the drag of the pen, the yawning expanse of the page, my sludgy mind, the ticking of time. I am thankful for this experience, to feel the wheels turning oh-so-slowly, to feel them turn at all, to sense them creaking and moaning, gaining momentum.

Or not.

Moving On
I can’t help it. I think immediately of Moveon.org. How appropriate, considering I’m doing last week’s homework now, and here we are, after the election. Time to move on once again.

I wasn’t that active in politics in the last four years and I find myself now wondering what (if) I’ll do in the next four years. Torn between wanting to capitalize on the momentum now and cynical about how much of significance there really is to do, especially now. For instance, how can I influence the next democratic candidate? And aren’t they chosen a long time from now anyway?

And then: Back to Basics. Back to Buddhism 101: Start with yourself. What I can do for world peace? Find peace within yourself.

Okay. And after that?

In the last four years, what have been my political actions? My actions for peace?
  • I voted.
  • I donate money to political and local groups (who aren’t necessarily political…)
  • I educate myself… by reading newspapers, listening to the radio, reading books
  • I love my son… I mean, really loving him and learning true compassion, with him, and others.

After I gave birth, my heart was opened. I mean Open. I was in awe of this feeling, and of my desire to learn more and to connect.

Before I gave birth, before I was pregnant, I had started to read about Buddhism. I practiced yoga, had for years, but I could sense how things were changing.

And then I gave birth. I felt, I knew, there had to be others out there, information and stories out there, about this connection between motherhood, peace activism, meditation. I hardly knew the words for it… but something to do with peace and community, and parenthood, and Buddhism.

I remember talking with my friend Jennie, telling her: “It’s interesting, because you’d think that having a kid, becoming a family, would bring my focus inward, that I’d become more insular (cuz that’s our societal bias), but in fact, I feel, I don’t know, expansive, and outward-facing. I feel open and welcoming. It’s like my heart has blossomed and my eyes have opened.”

And slowly and surely, I started finding books and communities. Connections.
  • Attachment parenting
  • Mothering magazine had an article about breastfeeding as spiritual practice, and then one about kids as our spiritual teachers
  • Books like Buddha Mom, Buddhism for Mothers, Everyday Blessings… and even other books that didn’t say Buddhism but resonated with it

I started attended meditation classes when my son was 6 months old. I was miffed when the teacher said you couldn’t practice unless you were well-rested… at least eight hours of sleep a night (Ha! I had a six-month-old baby!). Anything less, he said, don’t bother coming.

Hm. Well… I kept coming. But with sitting time at 7:30 PM, it is nearly impossible to attend regularly. Bedtime for baby.

So, I nurse my baby and follow my breath. I try to follow my breath when I can. I read about Buddhism, which I know can’t replace practice, but it helps me remember to practice. No, I don’t get that uninterrupted, purely dedicated time, which would definitely further my practice, but I try, in my way, to find peace.

I didn’t even realize until now – moving on. That is, in essence, the practice of Buddhism… or no, not even. There is no need to “move on” from each moment if you were never stuck in it. I move on by simply being present, each and every chance I get.

© 2004 Stacy M. Lewis
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#33 of 54 Old 11-07-2004, 11:50 AM
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My mother’s heels on a Bronx-bound train
hover beneath my arches. The tar of my grandmother’s
cigarette pools in the well above my clavicle.
The stench of my great-grandmother’s steamer trunk
fills the cavity between my shoulders.

My body is an archipelago of memory,
slowly drifting away from home
Collecting in layers of briny sediment
the artifacts of
a dying race.
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#34 of 54 Old 11-07-2004, 11:52 AM
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To re-envision the writing life as an inclusive project that supports and enriches motherhood.
To make peace with family and make meaning of my mother’s death through writing.
To record and process this wild experience for my sanity and my son’s future amusement.

To prioritize remodeling projects around my passions (to build my own ‘clean, well-lit place’)
To be gentle, but disciplined with myself.
To write regularly, regardless of mood or inspiration.
To develop tools for getting in and out of writing mode quickly.

To take risks in writing and promoting my work.
To seek collaborations and alliances with other creative women.
To submit one essay/poem for publication by the end of the year.
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#35 of 54 Old 11-07-2004, 11:53 AM
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I’m writing this week from the guest room in my mother’s house, where she lived with my father for eight years and where she died 11 months ago. I’m here to unveil her tombstone and to lay my grief to rest.

This room is undeniably hers. It’s where she found peace from the unexpected responsibility of my father’s paralyzing stroke, where she escaped into soap operas and chat rooms, where she dulled her pain and disappointment with oxycontin and marijuana. The walls read like a catalogue of her passions and obsessions. Everything is pink. From the carpet to the bedspread, the spray-painted lamp base to the fabric-covered TV stand and the monogrammed stationery on the wicker writing desk. Silk flowers and old Florida chintz mix uneasily with wrought iron Judaica and Asian-inspired needlepoint.

The most salient feature is an extensive collection of clowns. Dainty porcelain figurines, layered oil paintings, faded watercolors, and hand-painted ceramics fill the walls and shelves. At the center of this strange collage, hangs a poster I bought for her at a school fair when I was in the third grade. Despite its obvious low quality, my mother framed it in an elegant gold frame and hung it among her favorite artisan pieces. In muted pastel tones, the print depicts a tall, thin clown standing before a mirror, shoulders hunched with a mandolin dangling carelessly from an open hand. Like many of her much beloved figures, the clown’s expression belies a sad, inner longing that contradicts the wide smile on his heavily painted face. Did I understand then about the masks that women wear to protect their children? Was I trying to tell her that I saw the truth beneath her well-painted exterior?
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#36 of 54 Old 11-07-2004, 01:51 PM
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Okay, last post... I wrote another one, from last week. Sorry to take up so much space but I wanted to get it all "out there."

What Brings Me to My Knees

Despair. Overwhelmed, when I am feeling overwhelmed and at my wit’s end.

When I find myself begging my 15-month-old to please please please just let me put on this sock, not only am I literally on my knees, trying to grab his foot, I am on my knees inside, at a broken place and a resource-less place. It’s a kind of funny place, too. Sad-funny. I can even see the ridiculousness of it while it’s happening but instead of trying a different tack, I stay the course, so stubborn, and end up begging my toddler to let me dress him.

I’ve had prouder moments. I’ve had smarter ones.

I begged my husband, once, to please please please help me. It was the week before I was due to give birth, and we were in bed, talking, and I said, “ I’m scared.” And he didn’t really respond for a while and then said, “Oh, don’t worry about it.”

“But I’m scared.”

And somehow it got really tense and I felt and spoke strongly, and he retreated, which made me need him more so I spoke more strongly, until I was begging him: “Can’t you please show me some compassion? I can’t believe you can’t show me any compassion! I am about to give birth and do this really scary thing and all I wanted to say is that I am scared and that I need some compassion.” !!

I ran away, naked, into the other room, sobbing uncontrollably, with my hands over my face. I would say I was on my knees then.

The ocean makes me kneel down inside, and when I visit, I do bend down at the shore, and I place my hand in the sea and then I touch my fingers to my lips.

Yoga folds me over softly until I am supine, my spirit soft, my heart bowed down and open.

Hm… gotta keep the pen moving, eh? For 20 more minutes! Ack! I guess maybe it is these topics… Does that mean I am afraid of going “deeper”? I don’t think so…

Being soft and open, and reverential to the world, and respectful of others. Finding a quiet space inside myself, and the ability to speak slowly and constructively. For my words to flow softly. To be respectful. This is a bow.

To beseech, to worship, to beg and plead. To be in pain (the knees aren’t meant for kneeling, not for long), and tight in my body. To need, to be at the mercy of someone else. This is kneeling.

And no, I wasn’t raised Catholic! You would think I had been with all these connotations I have. No, though I was baptized… just in case, and to please my mother’s father.

I try not to go on my knees. Being on my knees usually means I’ve set up some sort of conflict or power struggle and I want it to end but I’m not quite ready to admit my own participation in it, so I capitulate by begging. Or the other person has gotten so angry or lost, that I want it to end so badly, whether or not it is actually resolved, so I resort to begging.

But I know, there is this other connotation of “brings to me knees,” as in “it melts me.” Or it brings me to the breaking point and causes me to bend. To give. Softly.

What makes me bend down in awe and respect?

•the ocean
•the moon
•the sun, especially the rise and set of it
•my husband
•my child, his personhood
•a leaf
•this, that, and the other person: people, humanity
•I don’t know… the connectedness of it all….

Ack ack.. can I keep going? Keep the pen moving, oh yes, my response to the topics of this week:

•construction not destruction
•people who truly look at the positive side, of everything, every time
•the Internet
•the cuckoos on the Internet
•monumental pieces of art
•the guy who makes art out of nature

When I feel soft inside, it is like I am bowing. When I feel soft inside, my heart is open and I see the world, in a flash. I feel a pain straight to my heart, I am shot down, to my knees, with love, pierced with perception and flooded with sensation: I am alive. Right here and now. I am alive.

© 2004 Stacy M. Lewis
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#37 of 54 Old 11-07-2004, 06:22 PM
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My daughter has brought me a joy I never could even dream of. I can’t imagine how I lived before she was here. The joy, the love in her eyes is beyond my wildest dreams. I often worry about how we’ll raise her. Will we do the right things? How will she turn out? Then I remind myself to enjoy every second I have with her right now and not look too far into the future
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#38 of 54 Old 11-07-2004, 06:23 PM
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How I was mothered makes me realize how I’ve been able to rescue myself. My mother and I are friends now. I love her, I really do, but she never should have been a mother. She was cold and distant even though she would hug me (ouch!) and tell me she loved me. Somehow, I ended up with no self-esteem, no confidence and not much logic. It’s taken me years to believe in myself and to know who I am. I want to start dreaming again. Not when asleep, but wildest dream type dreams. I want to raise my baby to believe in herself, to know who she is, to dream big. I want her above all, to be happy and make good choices in life.
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#39 of 54 Old 11-07-2004, 06:24 PM
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Hard labor yielded me a gorgeous baby girl. I had a relatively easy labor. I was only in hard labor for about 3 ½ to 4 hours. It was the most earthy experience I have every had in my life. My body knowing what it had to do. I just had to succumb to the pain and the force, the power of what was happening. All modesty to the wind. Opening up to life. Hard labor spewed a child from the depth of my belly and found her slippery and wet on my still bloated tummy. My heart soared.
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#40 of 54 Old 11-08-2004, 03:55 AM
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I love the grass when it is soft and new
like velvet beneath my feet
early spring
when the earth is moist and smells rich and fertile

I love the moon when it is a mere wisp of a smile
and when it is round and full and bright
when it peeks through the trees
when it glows, softly hidden in the clouds
when it is huge and yellow, ripe for the harvest

I love the desert at night
when the heat has lost its intensity
and quiet descends on the world
I love driving through the desert at night
with the wind in my hair
sweat prickling the back of my neck
and drying tight upon my brow

I love the laughter of children
the laughter of joy and innocence
of girls who have stayed up too late
deliriously laughing over silly jokes
friendship, adventures, and boys

I love the chill in the autumn air
the leaves changing colors and falling
dreamlike to the ground
the smell of woodsmoke in the air
the pause the earth takes
before it sleeps beneath a blanket of snow

I love being near my children
absorbing them, inhaling them
I love tending to them
showing them everything
recognizing myself in them
seeing them in myself

I love what I am becoming
I love what I have become
what mothering has shown me
the doors that have been opened in my heart
the lessons I am learning
the love that I feel inside
love that grows without end

"The best things in life aren't things."

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#41 of 54 Old 11-08-2004, 08:46 AM
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My goals:

To send out 5 queries a week!

To try my best to get my novel published.

To write for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. And to not feel as if I should be doing something else.

To believe in myself.

To get one article published somewhere, and so I guess, to write a few articles!!

Not to get discouraged!

First Kiss

Two young lovers, fingers intertwined, sweaty palms anxiously cupped, walk along the edge of the water . The waves nip at the sand, the tide, going out now, rarely tries to surprise them with wet feet.

Two young lovers, walking slowly, their talk stuttering, staggering, as they try to find their way.

The sun, a bright orange ball sinking slowlyu to sizzle into the sea on the horizon. It slips, sinks, settles. Orange, fuschia, lilac, glowing embers of teh suns rays, turning her hair inot a golden, glowing treasure, calling out to his fingers, begging to be stroked, petted.

His smile seems to take on and intense whiteness, brightened by the setting sun. She knkows, knows, now, that he will kiss her.

Hopes he will. So they walk. And she waits, waits for him to be ready, to make the first move. With each stumble in the sand, each trip into a hole, she waits.

They head back, darkness falling fast now, goossebumps rising on her arms. THe anxious fear gripping her gut, tightens its grip. Maybe he wouldn't! They would just walk home, say good-bye.

It had been forever, this waiting for the first kiss. First ever kiss. Tinight.

Tomorrow, she wanted to blush and tell all of her friends, "yes", he had kissed her. She, too, was worthy of a mans' /boys' attention. She, too, was found pretty, worthy, sexy, ready.

They started toward the road, toward home. The stone of dissappointment rolled, then dropped to her feet.

Holding his hand tightly, she stopped. He turned and the last pink and gold-tipped rays lit his eyes. A question in his eyes, a tightness, a panic.

Knowing it was in her hands, in her power, she leaned quickly toward him, her eyes half closed, focusing on his lips, slowly, slowly, inching closer, her stomach in knots, the waves and her blood pounding in her ears.

A shock of electricity, mor intense than static, a flash of fire as they touch, dry, warm, soft. The knots in her belly unravel, unwind, then explode, implode. There's a rush of heat, unknown til now, an awakening, a breathlessness.

The sun slips slowly below the edge of the earth, gone. Her first kiss. Gone.
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#42 of 54 Old 11-08-2004, 02:08 PM
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1. Daily Minute-Diary:

Today Sybil ____________

Today Ella ____________

Today I ____________

Tomorrow I want to ____________

2. Escape reality for 15 minutes each day by writing about whatever I find inspiring, soothing, what I would like my world to be like

3. Top secret writing goal: to write the story that is currently partly in my head and have it become hugely popular with no need for book tours or interviews and have it make enough money if necessary by being made into a movie with actors I don't like and that ends up being nothing like the book so that I can make a living out of writing because I am starting to think that writing might be the only occupation that gives my soul enough room to breathe and that can be done in the isolation I seem to crave either because I am just genetically that introverted or am so damaged by my past that I don't seem to be able to maintain any type of long term social involvement with people and don't think I could survive having to go back to working for the man again
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#43 of 54 Old 11-08-2004, 10:41 PM
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The wildness within me is sleeping
Deeply hidden from the rest of the world

Can you hear me?
Can you forgive me?
How can I let you out?

You’ve been asleep for so long
You’ve been caged far too long
You need a chance
To show me my wild side

Is it beautiful? Is it ugly?
Is it hard, is it soft?
I think I am ready
I am ready at last
For the wildness within me
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#44 of 54 Old 11-08-2004, 10:50 PM
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My child’s father is the rock upon which I stand
He’s the beacon of light in my foggy despair

He’s a beautiful man, my child’s father
He’s strong in spirit, strong in body
Passionate and compassionate

My child’s father has long fingers and an artist’s soul
He wanders in a garden where the plants grow differently
But he stands by my side like a mighty oak, giving me protection
Easing my fears

How loving and caring is my child’s father
A man like no other
A father, a teacher, a friend, a lover
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#45 of 54 Old 11-08-2004, 11:43 PM
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He says oo oo oo oo (for dog)
And mama

He putters around endlessly

He’s a fascinating little person
With his own unlived dreams
Simple needs and joys
Complete vulnerability

Balls of every shape and size intrigue him
Fill him with glee
He points, he looks at me and jubilant, exclaims: baa!

It’s wonderful getting to know.. my son
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#46 of 54 Old 11-08-2004, 11:59 PM
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I love the power of mothers, the simplicity and wonder of breastfeeding, the smile of a little boy while still on the breast..
How I love the smell of fresh-baked bread and cookies, the sizzle of chicken and steaks on a grill, the drizzle of champignon sauce on a perfectly juicy filet mignon.
I love the vast expanse of green and broccoli-shaped trees, the chirping of birds in the morning, a skylight to tell you time.
I love a tiny finger on my nose, a tiny hand in mine.
The comforting, slow, deep breathing of my husband at night.
A 70-degree breezy day in November..
I love waking up in the morning with little eyes looking straight at me in their innocent beauty.
I love lying in my husband’s embrace at night, feeling his love and support.
I love the sound of the door and the dogs signaling that my husband has come home in the evening.
I love the smell of oatmeal, almond and coconut soap bars and the heady fragrance of a plumeria flower. I also love the sweet smell of pineapple.
I love the Internet and its infinite diversity of subjects. I love researching, digging, knowing, comparing, evaluating, analyzing.
I love psychology, its applications in relationships and family life, I love education, I love Aruba. I love languages, reading, books, bookstores.. knowledge.
I love how you can see a moment in time as if in a frame, and capture its art with the click of a button.
I love grilled vegetables.
I love this country.
I love my son, my husband, my mother, my father who passed away too soon. Too soon. I love being a mama to my son.
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#47 of 54 Old 11-09-2004, 12:11 AM
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I don’t love fish in the sea, but I respect them. They have such lifeless, glassy eyes. Are the really animals or did God make them like that so people didn’t feel so bad about eating them? I don’t know.
I don’t love the fact that I have to work at night and miss some time with my family, but I can’t complain. I do get to spend lots of one-on-one time with my son all day. You can’t begin to put a price on that kind of quality time.
I don’t love myself sometimes, but I’m working on it. I don’t love the fact that I’m so undisciplined at times, that I don’t do the things I’m supposed to do. I don’t love my mom’s phone calls about agony and distress in her life. But I listen. And that I let it affect me sometimes. I don’t love the way our dog’s been acting.. barking loudly at every person or thing near the house and going bananas when we either come in or leave the house.
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#48 of 54 Old 11-09-2004, 12:27 AM
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Aaaah, today I dance at last
After months it seems like
I let my body loose into a passionate and uninhibited display
I experience the rhythm which is echoed through my veins
My heart pumps in unison
I twirl, I move my feet in geometric and circular patterns
I imagine an audience, watching me, captivated
I feel pure joy

The other day I listened to music
Really listened again
I felt each instrument rise, then fall
I could see what the composer was seeing.. or at least my interpretation of it
I felt the urge again to play, to produce music like what seems so long ago
I closed my eyes and smiled

I’ve been singing a lot lately
Testing my voice against the best
Failing, alas, to Sarah Brightman’s highest note in the song Phantom of the Opera
I used to know it so well
Am I too old for that high note? Am I not a soprano anymore?

What I find strange is that it doesn’t matter anymore, really, what other people think about my voice.
If it moves them like it used to move them.
What really matters now is if my son finds it pleasing.
I feel an initial nervousness creeping up when I clear my throat to sing for him.
I feel the responsibility of singing well for him, because he’s the ultimate listener.
He’s a listener without judgment, a pure listener and based on what he hears, he will decide if he likes singing or not.
Whew! And I though playing the piano in front of an audience was pressure to perform!
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#49 of 54 Old 11-09-2004, 01:07 AM
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1. I am going to write every night before bed, whether a little or a lot, whether I hate it or love it, I am going to just keep on writing. And then I'm going to re-write until it's good enough to print. And then I'm going to submit until it gets published.
2. I will never miss a deadline.
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#50 of 54 Old 11-09-2004, 02:29 AM
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My writing goals are.......
Simple. I have never(other than essay's that were mandatory in school) written anything. This year I have started to write a journal everyday. I use this to help heal and grow, also to remember and in the future, reflect. I have decided to join this writing group not as a professional at all but merely a mother hoping to find her path to inner peace. So, I do apologise if my 'writing' is dreadful to you. My intentions are not to pain anyone's eyes but to only open my heary again. Thank you for being patient with me.
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#51 of 54 Old 11-09-2004, 02:48 AM
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Thank you all for the inspiration to write.
I've been trying to keep up with the writing but I am have a hard time transcribing it onto the computer. Sometimes the days turn into to weeks and I'm not sure where the time went. My writing goal is just to keep writing. To try and get something down on paper. The timed writings have been so helpful for me. Get a subject and go. It is good for me to have to keep my pen moving. I'm new to this and have really been enjoying it. I've been making space to write and I want to keep it up.
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#52 of 54 Old 11-09-2004, 03:13 AM
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But as I read the topic and homework and then some of your responces I felt myself shifting mindset and convincing myself I could at least try tonight. The topic of passions and obsessions is bery drawing because I have been thinking about my passions a lot lately. So here it goes.

Since the homebirth of my first son I have become extreamly passionate about getting gentle birth information to every pregnant woman possible. My obsession continued to grow in intensity as I have expierienced the home births of my second and third children. All were significantly different labors and births. But all ended with a brightly alert, uncrying, perfect baby in my arms within my own sanctuary and surrounded by the people who love us. I have come to know what a spiritual journey birth is. As much as I revel in the memories and my ponderings of how I changed through each one, I am aware of, and fear, the robbery of power and space to move through the expierience in ones own unique way that is taking place in many hospitals. I fear for the mothers, especially first timers, who don't have the motherwit passed down to them and surrounding them when it's their time to travel along the path of surrender. Trusting your body and how it was designed to do this amazingly hard task is so much harder when you don't have someone you really trust. Sure OB.s have their training, you trust them, in you head, but during labor and birth you don't care about degrees, you know who you can trust with a wildwoman's instinct. A midwife knows many different birthsongs. She knows each body and babe does it differently. She knows there is a wide range of normal birth. Her knowledge is what gave me the courage to do it almost completely on my own. I say almost because my second was a bottom first presentation. Her feet folded up by her head. My stubborn little girl just would not turn. She took a little more finess. She weighed exactly what I did at birth and I too tried to come bottom first. My mother and I were robbed of our journey together by the knife weilding OB who threatened to make her leave the hospital if she didn't agree to a cessarian. I'm amazed, but not that surprised that I was almost given back my own birth by delivering my only daughter frank breech and vaginally. It was also the only birth my mother was able to attend. If that wasn't somehow a healing for all of us then I don't know what to call it. We didn't plan it. We only discovered her hard to recognise position days before arrival. The presentation is not common, and I delivered my two sons, one before, one after, both head down. Please I call to you my sisters, don't allow the medical establishment to rob you and your child of this much more spiritual than medical journey. Your birthsong should not be squished into someone else's agenda.
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#53 of 54 Old 11-10-2004, 04:00 AM
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Please pardon my tardiness. I'm reaquainting myself with deadlines.

Writing goals:
To write and illustrate a children’s book.
To maintain an ongoing documentary of my boy’s lifes, as part of our family.
To write at the end of each day for about a half hour, at least.

From my list of Passions and Obsessions:

It’s unbelieveable, inconceivable that I’d move onto a zero lot in suburban Dallas; yet here I am, a gardener lost in a sea of concrete. Earth movers and bulldozers, motor graders and backhoes leaden the air I imagine might smell of wildflowers and grasses. Moving from the West Coast and the net of frien dships was hard enough already, settling 10 minutes from my husband’s office within easrshot of Oaklahoma was the final blow. After a good cry, I resigned myself to liking it here in North Texas, like it or not. Proving my tenacity within the confines of a cracker box Aryan assylum is a new ambition. I’ve begun in the garden, because our Homeowner’s Association breathes down my back; a green indoor oasis will have to wait.

My son and I have begun to carve and adapt our habitat to meet my green needs. In time, our garden will ramble with life, but not without a few first awkward years of growth. We have a long atrium entrance that has served as a focal point for our facade. With little hands he has helped me cradle new plants within colorful vessels, deliberately arranging texture and color under a large rectangular slice of sky. The light has bathed and fostered a busty brugmansia whose night trumpets attract swallow-sized moths with heady bittersweet notes. A family of herbs serve as ambassadors from our kitchen. Beyond the herb border: our evergreen front bed is fluffed with swaths of feathery basil, long gone to seed and still flowering, which makes our yard buzz all day with the song of bees. A hidden handmade blue birdbath that my aunt made conceals sparrows when we’re sweeping the patio, in the future it will be cloaked in creamsicle naturtiums. For now, it is bare-based, looking for a skirt.

I imagine the day we move from our home, tripping over patio vines as we haul heavy boxes to the driveway, looking back as we finally drive away and missing the newly matured landscape. While it’s hungry now for an arbor and bulbous provencial masses of perennials, the garden is still growing and evolving. This winter will dismiss summer’s swaying basil and invite a floor of peeping crocuses among the sleeping native perennials. Little rocks, painted during trips along the road trip to Maine, will place little breaths of color across the bed, keeping the empty space company for now.

Travelling in the Airstream
We are too tired on Fridays to pack the Airstream for a weekend away from home. Now that home has a foundation, and the suburban IV drip is in, we’ve lost a great deal of freedom and everything we could possibly need, save culture and enrichment, is within a mile radius from home. But there was a time when we lived in the trailer, and remembering it makes me feel young and adventurous by comparison to the way we live now, even if her patina is only two years old.

In the trailer, we learned to pare even the necessities down to a minimum. There was a staple outfit with two or three accessories, one pack towel for both of us, one versatile cast iron dutch oven, one iBook that served as our lifeline, our tv and mobile dj. With a small box of refridgeration, I was forced to shop daily for produce and fresh ingredients for dinner, and garbage could never exceed 1 cubic foot. It was a pure, homely arrangement that felt completely right and carefree.

Without stuff, there is space, a clearer mind. I miss exploring new places during the day, parking on a rocky ledge in Maine and letting the fog roll into the windows, across my bed and out the opposite window. I miss smelling pine trees and brine, grassy meadows and even the smell of campfires. I am reclaiming my senses this winter, as I prepare for a road trip out West. I want to sleep in a foggy grove of bay laurel, redwoods and madrone when we finally rest in Santa Cruz.

Riding fills a void that nothing else has ever been able to do. It’s a special place in my soul, like a puzzle or a lock. Trust me, I’ve tried many times to satiate myself, and break out of the expensive hobby. The problem is, this is not a hobby. It’s a part of who I am and regardless of the riding subculture and the cost of a month’s board and turnout, I’m willing to sacrifice EATING in order to ride. That is, until I had kids.

For now, it’s good enough to dream about it and envision the years ahead, hopeful to get back into the saddle when the children are busy writing book reports and taking care of their own animals. All I will need is three hours, three times a week, to hear the soft heavy swishing of hoofprints on shavings, and feel the sinuous power of a large, beautiful, honest creature rocking me forwards into a comfortable, nurturing zone.

I love the sensual experience of caring for a horse.
When I arrive early in the morning with a cup of coffee in one hand and a halter in another, listening to the whispering sounds of ten horses chewing their breakfast of rich, sweet molasses oats, I am reminded that heaven is on Earth for some people.
I love the gutteral whinnies that greet me as I walk by, the occasional snort and the tiny mews from the barn cat, hungry for company.
I love the smell of a horse’s coat, it differs from one animal to the next, but even blindfolded, I could tell a difference between the coats of horses and cattle. In the horse, subtract all acrid nitrigenous layers and add a honey mellow maltiness. Night and day, the horse is so different from other quadrupeds.
I love the feel of cooperative, eager large muscle. It is the equivalent to a German sportscar: a soft touch yields tremendous power. In some breeds, this power lasts for hours, breaking beyond foamy sweat, tenacious to the most respectable degree.
After an exercise, I love the soft sigh of a relaxed horse, proud of another showy exhibition, understanding that our communication was again flawless and knowing he’s earned an entire bagful of apples and carrots.
I love the way the steam rises off his back as I loft off the blanket, coat slicked down with lather, a dark silhouette of a job well done, even the way my black fleece coat now has a thousand new gray hairs from a single grooming, a charming reminder for the rest of the day that life is so much better when I’m at the barn.

I don’t love mainstream America. I feel embarrassed to be associated with our country’s greed and excess. Living in suburban Dallas has exacerbated feelings of ill will, watching neighbors pull into garages with slow trepidation, from the glossy platform of a new Hummer H2. The current advertisement suggests, “Want to impress your kids and make them feel accepted in school? Drop her off in the new Hummer H2 and watch her classmates gawk.” There is something very sick about the messages sent to mainstream America in the most ubiquitous ad campaigns. It makes me sad to know I’m right here, in the middle of it all, struggling to breathe individuality and foster it in my children, while we are bombarded with the power of conformity and and the pressures to belong. Where is the freedom in America? It’s not in Texas and I doubt other states and metroplexes are struggling with this any less. Save for several intelligent think tanks in our counrty: college campuses on the East and West Coast, and our good neighbor Los Alamos, most of the American landscape is riddled with the wrong kind of progress and growth: wasteful, excessive consumerism has replaced my utopia and labelled me as fringe. Why can’t we all be more humble and respect indiviuality? Must everyone live in a 3500 square foot starter home and seal the windows shut? I’m so out of love with my neighbors.

1. What I carry...

I carry the guilt of three decades or more, borne to me by my mother
who could not wrestle her neurosis.
She gave me an imprint, indelible and stubborn.
Something to “work on” and “manage” and transcend.
(God bless her)

It’s a burden to worry
about whether I’m right,
or whether I’m wrong,
or whether I’m crazy...should I see a therapist?
Or should I save the money for their college?

To appear perfect is lying, so I tell my sons:
“I don’t have an answer for that, but I’m studying it,
I don’t know enough yet.
Give me time to think about how I feel,
allow me to decide.”
while I writhe in a secret sludge.

3. My son.....

My son wears a golden halo before me,
standing tall and eclipsing the sun.
His grin, from ear to ear, is partially hidden among a sea of ringlets
his brown eyes peep behind flaxen strands, bobbing in the breeze.
Stout, sticky fingers clasping the blue rails of the slide:
“Look mommy, Look mommy! Look mommy! Watch me! Watch me.”
I can’t answer him over his pleas, I’m tripped by his beauty anyway.

4. My child's father......

My child’s father stands alone, shadowing my cheerful facade like a Russian ex-con.
At playdates, parties and breakfasts, his presence disturbs me
as I stifle laughter in submission to the judgemental look of a detached chaperone.

I don’t remember envisioning my progeny with him,
and now look: they’re miracles with personalities and promise
and and
my strength and determination will see us through ups and downs, because
I’ll learn to live with this. I promised that I’d grow old with this man.
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#54 of 54 Old 10-03-2008, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by mama_o View Post
I love…

trees. I really do. And all plants, their poetry and color and texture. Their stature and shape, and their interplay. And how they change, and grow, and respond to the world, and overcome (seem to) obstacles, squeezing themselves into cracks in sidewalks or happening upon a clogged gutter or sailing down the river and managing to grasp a log or a rock or something, and setting down roots and blossoming up and turning toward the sun with a smiling good morning. I love how they fill up space and ask for more, and how their roots grow upon themselves until they are given an opportunity, and then they set out searching again. I love them for their quiet persistence and extravagant eloquence. Their stubby shortness and their reed-like skinniness. Their colors, their poofiness, their fuzziness, their shinyness… Oh! I love them for showing me how to grow and for teaching me how to support growth, and how to fathom it and let it go. Basking in it. I love them for showing me steadfastness and sneakiness and showiness and loneliness. I love them for getting all together and creating fields and forests and green. And for teaching me how to breathe; in fact, for making it possible for me to breathe. I love them for giving me breath and for showing me that we’re connected.

And I love my worm bin, too. Because it’s so cool – the cycle of life in there, in my kitchen scraps, watching waste become rich soil that feeds the plants that feed me.

I love to vote. I love to go to the public library, and ride the bus. I don’t know why. All these cheesy civic things.

I love the sounds of the bells of the church near my grandparents house in Manhattan Beach, California.

I love the ocean, the lapping foaminess of the night-colored sea. I love the saltiness and the chaos and the rhythm. The power. I love the creatures who live within it and on its edges.

And I love the ocean in its warmth and simplicity, its dazzle-shine-blue and happy shores. The warm sun, the swimmable sea. Surf.

I love my mother… though I am feeling far away from her right now. I love her at the same time I realize how little I know her.

I love my son… I just love him. It is a satisfying, simple love and it is a shocking, complicated love.

I love Rom. I just love him, too. This love is a core love, something that was so right and so deep almost immediately that is seems like it has always been a part of me. I don’t know how this happened. I feel lucky. It is a lucky love, a profound love, hard work and fun.

Keep moving…

I love … people. I really do. I feel honored to be a person among people. I try to remember this. I try to maintain respect and connection.

I think of love and I think of the four types of loves in Buddhism:

sympathetic joy

© 2004 Stacy M. Lewis

stacy are you still around?
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