13 December 2009

Kindness Brings Hope

I've joined a special holiday Blog Carnival hosted on Blog Nosh Magazine
Loads of Hope for the Holidays

with the theme of "hope". Thanks to the sponsor, Tide Loads Of Hope (link above).

I offer this poem by Naomi Shihab Nye to those in the heartbreak of loss. It is offered in the comradeship that loss forges in my belief that kindness brings hope and saves us.


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then it goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

-Naomi Shihab Nye

Thinking Of A Change

This is part of the 100 word challenge of Velvet Verbosity on "Thinking".

100 Word Challenge

Thinking Of A Change

My writing could be a stretched string
some strokes of black on white that others
have to decipher.

But I'll take a chance write words
that pull souls like rafts toward shore
words that life eyelids and stagger
lovers who swerve and slide
down the slope of those they love.

Words that have affairs with other words
grow gravid with illicit seed
bear new thoughts with primal screams.

Write raw like you do sometimes in a row
with one you love taking the chance
that nakedness is its own beauty
if it can just be seen.

12 December 2009

Acts Of Kindness

Reading the post by Lou (Lou ) made me think about all the generous acts of kindness I've received and how they've touched my heart. One of the great outcomes is that we tell each other these stories and everyone has a happier heart. They're the alternative but real news of the day.

My husband was telling me that when a person does an act of kindness, it raises their immunity level and the levels of the one to whom they are kind and any onlookers as well! I wonder if that stretches to those who hear the story of that kindness? I bet it does. Maybe that's why our heart feels warm when we read them.

I received a "thanks" from American Airlines and it's surprisingly good. I'm sharing it here because it made me feel good watching it. It actually contains profound messages that are pertinent to this post: "There's joy to be found in the moment".

The American Airlines message is below.

Happy Holidays from American Airlines

Happy Holidays from American Airlines

Posted using ShareThis

08 December 2009

Poem Of The Week, Love After Love

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door,
in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the others welcome
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread.
Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your own life.

-Derek Walcott

I love this poem for so beautifully describing one of the most important but oh so difficult tasks to accomplish in this life phase.

07 December 2009

My Biggest Lesson

Yesterday was my daughter's birthday and it got me thinking about the wonders of raising her. I've always liked my daughter and her friends, still do. I'm very fortunate to have a great relationship with her, her husband and her 2 children. I do count my blessings daily for that!

Also makes me realize, though, how much work I (we) have put into this relationship so that it keeps growing, changing, being satisfying. We hit a snag at one point. All right, a gigantic hurdle that I actually feared I wouldn't be able to scale. Kelly was finished college and making (big, major) decisions that I didn't agree with.

We didn't get far on our own and went to a family therapist for some help. The one thing I was sure of is that I didn't want to lose my relationship with my daughter, nor did her father. Anyway, I was sure the therapist would see our side of things, agree and tell Kelly the error of her ways. I really thought this. I really thought I wanted this. It's not what happened.

What the therapist said instead was that our daughter was an adult making her own decisions and that our job was not just to accept her decisions but celebrate them. I was truly dumbfounded! I said to myself: "That will NEVER happen!". Later I cried and carried on to my husband. He heard me out. He's great that way. I came back to my bottom line- I won't lose my daughter over this, or anything.

Well, I did what the therapist suggested. Kelly wasn't asking for advice, she was telling me her decision. I accepted it and her and trusted her to do what was right for her. As for celebrating her decision, I had to fake it until I could make it, but celebrate it I did. Eventually for really real.

And of course 10 years down the road I've come to see the wisdom of her choice, that it was exactly right for her and was/is a blessing for her, for our family, for the world community (really!). I deeply respect and admire her, this daughter, this woman living her life so on purpose.

Motherhood has taught me a lot but I think this was my most important lesson and I'm grateful for the 3 of us doing all we had to do to make this happen. It was the transition from a parenting role to relating as adults in all that that implies. It smacked me up against my wants-to-be-boss-of-the-world side and my don't-I-get-to-be-boss-at-least-with-my-own-daughter side and put me in my place. In a good way. It got me into Codependents Anonymous and boy did I need that! But that's another story.

03 December 2009

RE: The Guest Post

Further thoughts from a new elder on Nan's guest post:

> I like the role she maps out for me as unconditional grandchild lover. Considering how seriously I took my responsibility to bring up their mother "well", I'm surprised how easily I let all that be their parent's job and not mine. Okay, okay I do have my standards but I really see the responsibility as primarily their parent's. It feels good to let that go and just enjoy and help them "feel special and adored" as Nan said. They are!

> "With grandparents, their lives are enriched." My grandchildren are citizens of 2 countries, USA and Trinidad. They live in a small village in the rain forest of Trinidad and their lives are rich in nature, beauty and the love of 2 parents who work from home. (See their home under "Links I Love") All in the safety net of village life. I, too, see my role to further enrich their lives by exposing them to a whole other world that we inhabit. Up to now- Maine, Antigua and Italy. This includes travel to these places (and Florida, Philadelphia, Boston), vacations exploring them and adventures they can't experience where they live. Everything from Disney World to museums and even some shopping excursions. Italy is for next summer and I can hardly wait! Is there a richer place in history, art, architecture or culture? I hope it expands their world as it is mine.

> Nan spoke of the role elders have in her life as well. Of her life being enriched by their education and experience. Hence the importance of continuing to read, learn, have adventures, explore and keep growing myself. Of course for me but also for my family. They can take care of themselves well, my job is to take care of me, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Make my life rich for me and to enrich others. That, and tell the stories, the "gossip", the family history, the thoughts and insights I have. I like her image of doing that over a cup of tea, or in between time together, via Skype, email, facebook and blogs. Communication, staying in touch, is the way the "glue" that holds family together is spread.

> Nan said the "New Elders" are an evolving phenomenon and that we're finding a place in the evolution of the species. I hope so. I think the world needs our voices. I'm conscientiously trying to find that place and speak up. And I'm reading other elder bloggers that are as well. They're my inspiration and support. So is Nan and my daughter, Kelly and my wonderful nieces. I love and admire these young women! Our future is in good hands.

> But my favorite thing Nan said? That we're "groovy young grannies"! It gives me a boost just to say it. Thanks for your gracious generosity and wisdom, Nan. It's good to know we're all in it together!