Peace Dog, or I Wanna Be Your Dog

or Dogs of War, or Who Let the Dogs Out??

I can’t decide on a title for this post. Blame it on the dogs. All of them.

I am not a planner. I’ve talked about that before.  When I have to teach a yoga class I can’t really make a plan because I never know who will show up, what their practice is like, what injuries or limitations they might have.   But I do try to make a loose plan.  Usually when I’m in the car on the way there.

Yesterday I was driving to teach and I was trying to come up with some ideas. What poses would we do? What part of the body would I concentrate on? What was my theme going to be? I started going through a flow of poses in my mind and then I started to get involved with the song on the radio. “Your dreamworld is just about to end”  Wow. Midnight Oil. I used to love them. What ever happened to them?  I haven’t heard this song in years. The last time I heard it I was at the…

Stop it!  I have to plan my class!

I turned the radio off, and brought myself back.   Back to the poses.  I’ll do warmups and then we’ll do some sun salutes. Sun salutes. Sunshine. Sunny day. Look where the sun is now. It will be dark before 5:00 today. I hate daylight savings. 

Stop it… Plan the class!

I can’t plan. You know that. It’s the puppy mind. 

I think Stephen Cope may have coined the phrase ‘puppy mind’, but I’m not sure. It’s often used in yoga circles, just like the monkey mind is.

Driving along, I started a conversation in my head about how my brain is a puppy.  I imagine a cartoon brain. It has little legs and a dopey smiley face. Its tongue sticking out, panting as it jumps around.     It wants to run here and there. It talks at a frantic pace. I wanna go look at that thing over there. I wanna smell that?! What is that? Who is that? I know that smell? Let me pee on this.

I have my puppy on a long leash and I keep trying to pull him back.  Come back to what we were doing. Get back to what we were thinking. Concentrate on this right here right now.  Weren’t we planning a class? 

My mind tries to make me believe that I am already concentrating. It is concentrating on the idea of a puppy-cartoon-brain.  Isn’t that concentration? One pointed focus?  This is a clever trick,  distracting me from the task at hand.  My brain thinks it is already working. Working like a dog.

I have realized that for me the image of a puppy mind is wrong.   My mind is more like a cartoon drawing of a brain-shaped dog crate. The crate is filled with an entire litter of puppy-brains. 101 freakin’ dalmatians. And while it may be a challenge to train one puppy, it is damn near impossible to train an entire litter at the same time.

Even as I am writing this blog all of the other dogs are out and about.

One of my puppies is sitting up at the top of the stairs.  She is listening to Shannon and her friend as they play in the bedroom. Curiously tilting  her head and lifting one ear. What are they doing? What was that noise? What is so funny in there? 

Another puppy is sitting at a turntable in my head playing the song “How Much is That Doggy in the Window?” He has his paw ready to pick the needle up and put it right back to the groove at the beginning of the chorus every thirty seconds or so. Over and over and over. The one with the wag-gely tail...

There is another puppy at the dining room table writing a completely different blog post on his PC. This post begins:  Dear Santa,  All I want for Christmas is Pharrell Williams’ real skincare secrets.  And a lifetime supply of beer.  And chocolate. And Snausages.

There is one puppy running around in circles,  breathing heavily and saying some words that  make no sense at all.  I think he’s trying to get me up off the couch so I will go outside and run circles around the yard.  He is obviously the one that is most effected by my caffeine intake.   He really needs to chill right about now.

There are several others, sitting by, tails wagging, ready to pounce on the next thought that passes by the crate. Mine, mine, mine! That one’s mine. I’m gonna run with that one!

It is my job to round these brain-puppies up, put them all in the crate, and get them to take a nap. At the same time.  Preferably without excessive amounts of alcohol or Xanax or acepromazine.

But how can I stop my mind from thinking?  How can I be still, really still?  I’ve been working on this for a long time now. When I took my very first yoga class I couldn’t sit still for thirty seconds, and my puppies were yelping and howling.

And now, years later, I can proudly say that I have moments of complete stillness. Moments when my mind is totally empty.

But wait.  The word moments makes it sound like minutes. And I’m not talking about minutes.  I’m talking about seconds. Seconds when all of a sudden I realize: Holy shit. I wasn’t thinking anything at all just then!    The puppies were all sleeping at once!  Woo hoo! 

And of course, all of the excitement wakes the dogs up. I haven’t yet learned how to let sleeping dogs lie.

Maybe that should be the title. Sleeping Dogs Lie.  Because they do.

 

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If you want to quiet the dogs, try this simple (hard as hell) meditation.

Close your eyes (after you read this all) and start to take deep breaths in and out of your nose.

Count your breaths in your mind. Try not to think about anything else but the breath and the countdown.    Inhale 99, exhale 99. Inhale 98, exhale 98. Inhale 97, exhale 97.And so on and so on.

See how far you get before other thoughts creep in, but keep counting. Even with another thought, you can still keep your count.  A couple of other puppies might get out of the cage.  One might be a song. One might be a to-do list. Ignore them, let them go, just keep your count.

When you realize you have lost count, and you certainly will, simply start again. No judgment.  See how far you get this time. Then try again tomorrow. And the next day.

The goal might be to get to zero some day without any puppy interruptions.  But there are so many other goals that can be achieved along the way. Yours will be unique to your dog crate.

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Pick an earworm. They are all playing in my head at the same time….

Peace Dog

I Wanna Be Your Dog

Dogs of War

Who Let the Dogs Out

How Much is that Doggy…?

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Shower the People You Love With Love

It’s 7:00 AM on Election Day. John has the day off, but I have to teach for a few hours this morning. My girls don’t have school. They are both still sound asleep. I have plenty of time to get ready, so I’ve decided to take this opportunity to enjoy a long hot shower.

The water flowing over me. My eyes closed.  Getting lost in thought. Thinking about the classes I’ll be teaching today. Planning and scheming how our family might spend the afternoon.  Thinking about how nice it would be to spend some time with  Ewan McGregor.  Lost in deep, deep thought, when suddenly I am startled back to reality.

“Hey!” Shannon says loudly outside of the curtain.
“Ooh- you scared me! You should knock first.”
“Oh sorry,” she says “I’m only here for the steam.”
She has had a bit of a chest cold for the past week or so and is here for the steam.
“Why are you even awake?”
” I heard the water running. I’ll just sit here quietly.”
Sigh. So much for Ewan.

Showers are a a luxury since I had kids. I can remember shortly after Maggie was born wondering how the heck I was ever going to take a shower again.

At first, I brought her into the bathroom with me in her car seat. I sat her down on the floor. And I peeked out of the curtain every ten seconds. The entire shower lasted about four minutes. Five if I decided to shave my legs.

Then she progressed to the exersaucer. It was sort of like a walker, but it stayed still. It was too big for our tiny bathroom so I placed her right outside of the open door. I kept the curtain open just enough so I could see straight out into the hallway. Peeking out to watch her playing,  Singing songs to her and making eye contact to let her know I was right there. Still, the showers lasted five minutes if I was lucky. And there was no solitude, no time to get lost in thought.

When she became mobile a gate went up at the top of the stairs. I would sit her in my bed and tell her to watch tv for a few minutes.   I tilted the bedroom door just the right amount so that I could see the full length mirror from the shower.  When I looked out through the shower curtain, I could see her reflection. Sitting on the bed. Watching the Berenstain Bears.   I called out every so often to make sure she was all right. And if I lost sight of her or didn’t get a response I would walk out of the shower dripping wet, covered in soap, to find her happily playing with a stuffed animal on the floor in front of the bed.

“What are we going to do today?” Shannon asks me.
“I thought you were going to be quiet?”  I say to her. “You know, pay no attention to the lady behind the curtain?”
And just as she starts to respond I feel a cold draft. The door has opened. Again.
“I need to poop” Maggie says. “And Daddy is in the bathroom downstairs.’
Sigh. My life.
“But I’m sitting here.” Shannon says. “I need the steam. “
“Just move to the radiator,” I instruct her.

Now they are both in here. So much for that long hot relaxing shower.

They start talking about the posts they are reading on tumblr and instagram. To me.
Talking to me. Hey Mom, this. and Hey Mom, that.  This was supposed to be my quiet time!

Once, when they were about four and six years old I was taking a shower. They were playing Barbies in their room. I left the bathroom door open a crack just in case there was some sort of Barbie War that I had to mediate. It was one of the first chilly days of the season, so the bathroom window was closed. Our smoke detector is on the ceiling just outside of the bathroom door. And it is, as I learned that day, very sensitive to steam.

As I was shampooing my hair and enjoying a brief moment of solitude, the alarm began to sound. So loudly!  And I freaked out!

Where are the girls? Is there a fire? What is going on? Not realizing the whole steam sensitivity thing in the moment, I thought it might be a real emergency.

Holy shit. A fireman’s wife, left her kids alone while she selfishly took a shower, and they set the house on fire!

I jumped out of the shower, wrapped a towel around myself, ran to the girls room, and tried to open the door. It was locked! It’s never locked!

“Open the door! Open the door!”
“No!!”
“Open the door, dammit!”

I tried with all my might to break the door open, to no avail. Then I ran to the alarm keypad in my bedroom and entered the code to stop the alarm. My wet hands slipped and entered the wrong number. The siren kept sounding. It was so freakin’ loud!

I tried the keypad again, and I could hear the phone ringing. The alarm company!  I looked in the cradle and the phone wasn’t there. Standing, dripping in the middle of the room. Trying to hear the location of the phone over the sound of the siren.

The Siren. Stop the damn siren! I entered the correct number on the key pad and the alarm stopped. I frantically ran around the room until I found the phone, but it was too late. I knew it was too late. The firemen were probably on the way to our house already. John’s coworkers. And here I am. Naked!

Clothes!! I need clothes!  Hurry hurry hurry hurry! No time for underwear! Pants!

I grabbed a pair of jeans from my dresser and tried to get them on. It’s not so easy to put jeans on when your legs are dripping with water. The first leg got in all right, but as I hopped to wiggle my second leg in, I fell flat on the floor banging my head on the dresser on the way down and throwing my back out as I landed.

Lying on the floor in pain, I began to scream “Girls open the door! RIGHT NOW. Hurry up! The fireman are coming! The firemen are on their way!”

I got up from the floor and ran to their door, just as they were opening it. Standing in front of them dripping wet, topless, with the towel now on my head, yelling “We have to go downstairs!”

I could hear the sounds from John’s fire radio downstairs. Calling out my address. I could hear the engine’s siren screaming down my street. I grabbed for the first thing I saw, my daughter’s robe hanging on the back of the door, and I wrapped it around my torso.

“Let’s go! Let’s go! Hurry!” I yelled.

We made it to the bottom of the stairs just as the doorbell rang.  I quickly opened the door and stepped outside. A child’s robe wrapped around my upper body, a towel on my head, a look of sheer terror on my face.

The lieutenant looked at me and smiled, and shook his head. He held his radio up to his face and said “It’s just Redstone’s wife, taking a shower.”
“Could you repeat that?” someone on the other end replied.
Oh, dear god no,  don’t repeat it.
“Redstone’s wife. She was taking a shower and set the alarm off.”

Yes. Yes I did. Because of those damn kids… Sigh.

As soon as we were back in the house, I went upstairs and I broke the lock on the girls’ door. That fixed that problem.

Occasionally now,  I can take a peaceful shower.  And I know that someday, in the not so distant future, our nest will be empty.  All too soon, when those days come, I will take long luxurious showers. I might even take a bath every now and then.

And when I do I will long for these days. I will wish the door would open.  I will miss the startling sound of “Hey!” and “I have to poop.”

So I will try to enjoy these moments.  This moment.
”Ewww. Flush the toilet. That stinks.”
”You can leave if it stinks! Tell her mom, she can leave.Tell her to leave.”
“You can both leave, you know?!”

Some day they will both leave.

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Truly, Madly, Deeply

October 14th will mark the 10 year anniversary of my dad’s death. So around this time of year I began to think of him even more often than usual. And I may be even more apt to cry than usual.

I remember that shortly after he died, it was the moments of stillness, the moments of quiet that were the most difficult. When everyone left. When the kids were sleeping. When I was alone in my car. When I didn’t have distractions. So I avoided those moments and I looked for distractions.

A couple of weeks ago I was out to breakfast with friends and we began talking about death. I of course began to think about my father. And I, of course, began to cry just a little. Teary eyed and snotty nosed, I grabbed a napkin and continued the conversation. And it passed, as it does.

When we were leaving one of my friends said he was sorry that the conversation made me sad.  And I found myself saying, “No! Don’t apologize. It’s not sad at all. It’s good that I cry. It’s actually quite lovely. It reminds me that I still miss him so much.”   And I do miss him so much. And that is both sad and wonderful.

The other day I was on the phone with a dear old friend of mine. He called to talk about about some terrific and tragic childhood events, spurred on by a blog post I had written. He said that sometimes, it was so overwhelmingly awful that he could just sit and cry. I realized in that moment that it was not awful at all.

I said,“The ability to feel things deeply means that we are not dead inside.”  We are alive and well.  They didn’t win. They didn’t get us. We have such empathy for those children that we once were that we can cry for them. And we can also rejoice in the fact that we made it through.

We made it through because we kept ourselves distracted. We found ways to keep ourselves from falling apart. We kept our minds occupied with other things, albeit not all good things. There were books and music and movies and lots of poetry. There were also addictions and risk taking behaviors. Thankfully, we had each other.

But as we grow older we are shedding our addictions and letting go of some of our distractions. As we grow older, there are more quiet moments.

He recently became an empty-nester.  The moments of stillness are upon him once again. Older and wiser(?), as scary as it may be, he can now choose to sit with these moments instead of running away from them. If he chooses to sit, I can sit with him. I’ve been practicing.

It takes a lot of practice, because sitting in stillness is not easy. I can do it now, but it used to be impossible. Forget the stillness. I couldn’t even move slowly. I wanted to run! I couldn’t stop my monkey mind for one second. I hated the silence. I didn’t want it. It’s why I thought that I would hate yoga. Because I knew that it was in those moments that I would really feel things. In those moments, I would no longer be keeping it together. In those moments I would fall apart.

It is true that in the moments of stillness we completely shut our minds and feel nothing. But in those same moments we also completely open our hearts, and feel everything. And everything is a whole lot of things. It is all of the feels. It is everything, and nothing.

We have to realize though, that it is neither good nor bad. Pema Chodron says that “nothing in its essence is one way or the other.” Nothing is either good or bad on its own. It doesn’t become good or bad until we judge it. So I can choose to judge things that arise as neither good nor bad. They simply are. And as for events in the past, they simply were. And now they aren’t any more.

Even though they are no longer, they do still live inside of me. Like my father does. The love that I have for him still grows every day. As I think of him while I raise my own kids, that love still changes. It grows and changes. It is still a living thing. Every time he comes to mind he is alive again in a sad and wonderful way. I want to nurture his memory, so the love can keep growing.  Sometimes, when I think of him, I will cry.

The bad things that happened to us when we were young are still inside of us too. Our relationship with them keeps growing and changing every time they rise up. The thoughts are still alive inside of us. They don’t have to be buried by distractions. They can be dug up in those moments of silence so we can nurture them and let them grow into what they will be. So we can grow into what we will be. And sometimes, when we dig these things up, we will cry.

We will cry because of sadness. We will cry because of joy.   They are they same.  We don’t have to say we are feeling sad, or we are feeling joyful.  Just…

We are feeling.  And we should feel it all.

Truly. Madly. Deeply.

 

 

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Teach Your Children Well

September was back to school time. And back to school time means that campus rape stories and statistics have been all over the news again. Every article I read stirs up a lot of emotions for me. Because I have two daughters. Because I was once a young girl. Because I was raped.

This is the first time I’ve ever written those specific words in a non-poetic and matter of fact way. And just moments before I published this blogpost I spoke to my mom about it for the very first time.  I had never told her before.

I’ve only ever spoken about it to a few close friends. It’s something that is in my very distant past, and I don’t ever want to give it too much weight. It is simply one of the pages of my long life story. A page that made me strong, built some serious character, a page which continues to reward me in positive ways.  It has given me the ability to feel deep empathy, and to truly forgive.

Throughout my life I have worked through the experience on different levels. I can clearly remember a day when John and I were driving up the Parkway and I started to cry. I don’t want to have kids. I can’t have kids. What if I have a girl? I can’t do it!
I was so afraid to have a daughter because I was so afraid that someone would hurt her. Like I was hurt. And I was so afraid that I wouldn’t be able to protect her.

And here I am now, with two daughters. Daughters that I worry about every day. Daughters who are getting older and who are spending more and more time out of my direct line of vision. Sending them off to pre-school was the beginning of the end! I knew that one day I wouldn’t be able to protect them. I could no longer be there every second of the day like the neurotic crazy person inside of my head wants to be. So I let them go a little more each day. They are slowly on their way to becoming strong independent women of the world. Sigh.

I continue to work through my experiences on different levels as my girls grow and change. Just as we all do. Parenting through our own experiences, no matter what the experiences were.

I’ve read a lot of articles lately about campus rape, and date rape, and sexual assault in general. It’s out there in the news and it has been in my mind to write my own story. Then one day recently my high school freshman told me in casual conversation that she had heard a rumor about a boy who “pressured a girl” into having sex with him. A rumor. It may or may not be true. But I immediately thought about that girl and I thought, if it were true, she probably wouldn’t report it. She will keep it to herself and not tell her parents or her counselors or the authorities.

I never did. I never told my parents, or counselors or authorities. But I was only ten.
And I had already been systematically abused by my grandfather at a very young age. My ideas of attention and love and intimacy had already been severely distorted by the time I was four years old.  I had already been conditioned not to say a word (perhaps a story for another day).   So when I was ten and I was raped by a boy who was 15 or 16, I didn’t tell anyone.

There are so many reasons not to tell. Girls are pressured into sex all of the time and they don’t tell. And yes, they all have their own reasons not to tell; shame, fear, living in a victim-blaming world.

I decided to use this rumor as a teachable moment, just one more in a lifetime of teachable moments. We have talked about this before, but now that my girls are getting older and spending more time out in the world our conversations will become more frequent and more specific.

We have always talked about trusting their instincts and leaving any situation that they find uncomfortable in any way. We’ve discussed not being alone with anyone behind closed doors, and sticking with a trusted friend at all times. They know that as they start to go to parties, they should never drink anything they don’t pour for themselves. They know that there is a possibility that someone may try to do something bad to them at some point in their life.

I have also explained to them that
any unwanted physical contact at all
under any circumstances at all
while wearing any type of clothing at all,
in any location at all,
in any state of mind of at all,
is sexual assault.

I am almost ashamed to say I have even gone so far as to tell them not to wear clothing that shows too much skin. Basically, I am teaching them how not to be victims. Which makes hardly any sense. It’s like teaching black boys that they have to walk around with their hands up. It sends them a message of guilt and blame before anything ever happens. But this is the world we live in and I have to protect my daughters.

I only have daughters.

I would like to think that if I had sons, I would teach them how to treat other people,
how unwanted contact of any kind is assault,
how no means no, even if it comes after a string of enthusiastic yeses.

I hope that people who have boys are teaching them how to treat girls, because the scary statistics tell us that 1 in 4 girls is sexually assaulted in her lifetime. And every time it happens there is a boy involved! A boy who is using charm, pressure, coercion, alcohol, date rape drugs, accomplices, force. A boy who is someone’s son.

Parenting is not easy. I know, no one ever said it would be. And I knew that it would be a huge undertaking when I finally decided to have my kids. But I have never doubted that decision for one crazy neurotic second.  I just hope that I am teaching them well.

Every page of the story builds more character.

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If you or anyone you know needs information about sexual abuse and/or assault visit: RAINN.

Teach your Children Well  by Crosby, Stills Nash and Young

 

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Losing My Religion (this is blasphemy)

Most of my life I’ve been wrestling with gods and with demons. I’ve spent just as much time on prayerful knees as I have shaking my fist at the heavens. It has taken me a long time to get to the place where I am today, at complete peace with my belief system.

That being said, I think it’s time. I’m starting a new religion! I’m not sure what to call it, though. Maybe I’ll just call it FLUGGism, after FLUGG, the main deity.

In order to be a member you have to have a personal relationship with FLUGG. You must put your trust in FLUGG and know that all will be just as it should be. Be still and know that FLUGG is.

Who and what is FLUGG? Look inside yourself and you will see. FLUGG is whatever you choose to believe in: Fate, Luck, the science of the Universe, God or Goddess.

Here’s how it works, the Golden Rule of FLUGG:  You choose to believe whatever you want to believe. I will choose to believe whatever I want to believe.

That’s it.

For clarification you can refer to the following commandments.

1. Don’t be a dick. Just be nice. Ideally, all of the time. Ideally, to everyone you come in contact with. Even the assholes.
2. If you find yourself trying to change someone else’s mind, change yours instead. And by the way, stop doing that. Stop trying to change people’s minds. You don’t get extra points for conversions.
3. If you think you’re right and someone else is wrong, then you are definitely wrong. Because you are both right. Because FLUGG.
4. Stop judging. Everyone already has a judge. Their FLUGG is their judge. You have your own FLUGG to deal with.
5. There is one road to salvation, and that road is called “your life”.  Search for salvation while you are alive and you will find it. You will find a little bit of it every day in the things that make you happy, the things that you love. Find it in music, in relationships, in church, in exercise, in relaxation, in books, in service, in nature, in food, in non-attachment, in meditation, in material possessions. Find it wherever the FLUGG you can. But remember, just be nice about it.

If you’re interested in joining me, maybe we can get together some time and not talk about what we believe. Have a FLUGGing meeting.  Share a little bit of salvation over a beer. Or not. Whatever. Do what you want.

 

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Charlie Says…

Sometimes I think the world is a mess.  It’s falling apart.   People are mean. And intolerant.

I try to have faith in humanity, and remain positive, but once in a while I think it just isn’t get any better.  Watch the news.  Read the papers. Does anyone read the newspapers any more?

I know Charlie does. (Pronounce this as Cholley. With attitude. Like in The Pope of Greenwich Village.)

Charlie is my 93 year old father-in-law.  He is also a guru. When he speaks, I hear history.  I hear a very different point of view.  We don’t always agree. Especially when it comes to politics. But I respect his wisdom and his experience.  He has lived a long time, and seen a lot of things.

He came from a much different time and place.  Hell’s Kitchen.  The Great Depression. Cold Water Flats. CCC Camps. The stuff of gritty black and white movies. Where people say things like “He was a freakin’ mutt, dat guy.”

I’m happy to have him here visiting for a few days. Happy to debate about politics and to listen to all of his stories.

Today he told us a fantastical tale about a friend of his.

Tommy Fitz was a fellow steamfitter (in the steam, as Charlie says),  and godfather to one of Charlie’s 12 children.  One night Fitz was at an uptown bar (a tavrin as Charlie calls it).  Fitz bet someone $100 that he could land a plane on the street right outside.  There was $200 sitting on the bar as Fitz walked out. Within the hour, a plane was on the street outside.

Of course I had to google it to see if it was true.  He is, after all 93 years old. He could make up all sorts of stories and I might believe them.  This is a real one.  Read about it.

Somehow, along the way the conversation turned to kids these days. As it often does.  We were talking about how Maggie went to a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance)  meeting yesterday, and about how kids openly talk about being gay or straight nowadays.

“Everything is out there. It’s all out right out in the open.” Charlie says. “Nothing is hidden. Like it used to be.”

By the look on his face I wasn’t quite sure where the conversation was going. Was I going to have to debate about this?

“You know”, Charlie says, “when I was a little kid there was this family.  They lived up the block.  They had a son. He was born all white. With really pale skin. and pure white hair and pink eyes. What d’ya call that there….?”

“An albino?”

“Yeah. He was an albino.  And they kept him locked in the house.  They didn’t let him out. He couldn’t go nowhere or do nothin’.  Just locked in the house his whole life because of the way he was born. Was that right?  We didn’t know.  We didn’t even wonder if it was right or wrong. It was just the way it was back then.
But that wouldn’t happen now. Because people realized it was wrong.   People are still realizin’ what’s wrong. But kids today already know what was wrong.  Things change.  Things are still changin’. Things are gettin’ better.”

Charlie says things are getting better.

Maybe we’re not such a mess.  Maybe change is just coming a little slower than I would like.   Ask me again when I’m 93.

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facecharlie

Pop’s first experience with Face Time.  “Holy cow. Wouldya look at dat. Hiya!”

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Tintinnabulation

(for Jayne who inspired me after being inspired by Mr. Cohen)

There is a crack in everything.
There are certainly some cracks in me.

The broken bits, the chinks, the lines,
the marks of failing miserably.
Cracks in my heart, scars on my knees,
the holes left by an absent friend.
The road rash from the falling down
and getting up to try again.

Scars from assaults and accidents
I managed to survive somehow.
Remnants of the lessons learned.

Lines from furrowing my brow,
squinting in the too bright sun
and smiling when I see your face.
They get deeper. Let them deepen.

They need no fillers, only grace.
The souvenirs that I’ve collected,
reminders of this life of ours.

Why would I spackle up the cracks?
Why would I cover up the scars?
Each crack lets in a bit more light.
(That is what Leonard says they’re for.)

So I won’t waste time filling cracks.
I need that time to make some more.

I’ll toll the bells that still can toll.
I will not envy you your bells.
I’ll gather rosebuds where I can
before I lose my sense of smell.

I’ll ring the bells that still can ring,
turn up the radio and sing,
no matter what this world may bring,
I’ll let the light get in.

Wrinkling and cracking again and again.
I’ll break another hundred times,
seek out each bell that might be rung,
and make that music mine.

I’ll sound the bells I still can sound,
and f#ck all of those broken bells!
I’ll still put on my combat boots
and dance like holy hell.

These are my cracks, my lines, my scars
Point, laugh, and judge them if you must.

But I will crack into a million bits,
before I crumble into dust.

So this,
my perfect offering.
I’ll ring the bells that still can ring,
embrace the cracks in everything.
I’ll let the light get in,
day after day, year after year.
And the only thing that I will fear
Is that one last bell.
Which I won’t hear.
So this…

 

**************************************

Hear Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem”

 

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