You never know all the sums and pieces of a ripple's influence. Yesterday was my Grampa Eckberg's birthday. An engineer, a remarkable man, someone I never remember meeting except maybe in a part of a three year old's heart gazing at an old kind face. Today cousin Carol Dick messages me on facebook, a woman I don't remember meeting, who we have been connecting this year over painting and illustrating birds and nature and our shared common ground and her kind reading eye of my poetry. Gratitude. Gratitude for sowed seeds. Gratitude for grandfathers, for a mother whose heart misses an old kind face, gratitude for a mother's willingness to stop arguing sometime even if she doesn't "get it". Gratitude for people like Mom who don't even use facebook. Jamie Brown, Jamie Brown you're the wisest girl in town. Gratitude for tears. Gratitude for new friends. Gratitude for faith. Faith in self. Gratitude for when the product sold ends up being a better idea than any of us initially thought. Gratitude for leather and knives given at the wedding of my parents. Gratitude for the passage of time even in finding the need for their divorce, came wisdom. Gratitude for gratitude. Gratitude for life mentors. Gratitude for a professor's husband who once asked his wife if I could live in their basement for a while. Gratitude for kindness. Gratitude for being saved from being stuck in the bleary. Gratitude for always having good bosses. For being luckier than everyone. For being magic even at 35 and for finding at least someone who gets that. Gratitude for common language. Gratitude for touch. Gratitude for honesty. Gratitude for gentle, appropriate, lessons of order in how things work generally. The man gets the door for the woman. We don't stick dirty fingers back in bags of butter popcorn. Gratitude for being a found object, at first found by motion, the spinning of my own body, my father in the ocean with me uncomfortably taking a risk because he wasn't sure he could save me if lost, me four, needing to be thrown, and finding that I am the kind of fish the dolphins chose for friends. Gratitude for always having a good father even though he can be a gremlin. Gratitude for a nephew I never have not had. Gratitude for a recent opening to say I always can call. Gratitude for little children. Gratitude for 4 or 5 specific children if I started naming there would be 5 or 7. Gratitude for grand nephews and nieces specifically. Self forgiveness for being distant in a time of teen aged maturing. Gratitude for the best nephew and niece (grand) in terms of just basic goodness. Gratitude for a liberal city to nurture my blood. Gratitude for emerging. Gratitude for being invited and being faithful I will at least someday be invited. Or hopeful. And hopeful. Gratitude for streams of gratitude flowing into rivers and seas of gratitude. Gratitude for what will never be known but might be. Gratitude for grandfathers.

Posted Fri Mar 2 06:47:35 2018

Coming back onto my feet vocationally after not working a long time this seriously. Wish other disabled people were given opportunities they deserve as I have. The end game of chess is defeating the opponent. Feeling I am on course currently. Not thinking MFA is the best option for June and July. Found some supportive friends this week. Feels pretty solid. Sorry to disappoint people in terms of a mother who sacrificed financially for me to pay the enrollment deposit. I was waiting to shine in work again for the right work. I thought I could calculate and decide what that might be but I think that is just art. Art is of the most important things in life. Art inspires and conveys beauty. So can writing. My heart is feeling more into the job than the education. I have been someone to go back and forth before but I say this decidedly that I feel very strong about popcorn now. Or just business or where the current path is leading. Maybe my mind doesn't always see that my powers of convincing through honest connection could help the world. But we do live in an economy. The lack of money has always been something that I have weaseled around. I found education that was free and traveled the world even on gifts from friends. Economically it is time to carry my weight. Economically it is time to find how to teach needed skills to people. empowerment is what this is about. Because I myself was able despite weird odds, I never knew what I am learning in this vocational experience. It is better to dive into mystery than to shiver alone at the edge of the known. Am I no longer a writer? No. I am more of a writer. I am adding the genre of business writing. My mind has the capacity for logic in addition to intuition.

Posted Fri Mar 2 20:49:25 2018

I suffer impatience. Possibly the worst thing wrong with me. Wondering how to balance. The obvious answers are silence, breathing, meditation, journaling, exercise, time, additional space.

At Berea my life mentors invited me into a home of contemplation. Prior to 2011 I had dug a lot. I had written a lot. But in their basement I found quiet. There were some sounds, shagbark hickory nuts dropping on the deck outside. Dripping rain. My mentors living their lives up stairs. My own noises.

Then times of music streaming out of a computer, or too much horrible TV, or chatter on telephones, even screaming sometimes at my mom because I was somehow still in pain. Perfection does not come over night. It doesn't come.

Today I learn something about my impatience. I can make a basement studio like that in my soul. I can draw on my inner quiet. I can wait a week for a day and a month for a week. I might wait forever and in waiting something of peace is lengthened. Our ability is strengthened.

The voice in me says, limit yourself. If your mind requests an hour, take five minutes. A rule hard to follow for the excited of us. Control of self comes counterintuitive.

Posted Sun Mar 4 02:18:11 2018


Oh, hello again thoughts.

Oh, hello again thought.

Hello just you.

I am releasing you now.

For now, I am releasing you.

Posted Sun Mar 4 15:51:00 2018

If ever you find someone with blind devotion for you, do not fear it. Float together in deep waters. Be helped to the shore with it. Wait until the choppy bits subside. See what peace you can learn from it.

Posted Tue Mar 6 02:15:30 2018


Oh to live for daylight hours

yet waking for a tiny spell

of writing prayers of faithfulness.


Somewhere

deep in the ocean of darkness

someone is caring after you.

Posted Wed Mar 7 04:33:23 2018


Very few things do I know.

Not how many waves per minute wash up against the shores of the Atlantic.

I don't know that

and if I had to approximate,

I would guess based on the rhythms of my own heartbeat.

But I really only know a thing or two.

Not what time it is if the clock were covered

tho I am a good guesser

which is what got me through college.

Still it took 12 years

so losing track of time seems a potential weakness.

But there are a couple things I know.

And you might ask me how I know?

But I just know.

Posted Thu Mar 8 04:18:38 2018


We both have two paths in front of us.

Our life depends on bravery and wit.

If I ever find a way inside,

God have me stay a bit.

Everything is up to God

and the wind's direction.

Of course I know what I must do

for a chance for your affection.

Posted Sun Mar 11 11:14:17 2018


If you live to have a daughter

pray she know he strength

and draw on it internal

when thoughts need to collect.

Pray she listen inner

before asking someone's thoughts.

Pray she stand their ironing

if he washes the pots.

But if he just sits on the television sluggish

grant your daughter strength to know her wish.

Sometimes knowing what you want

means just to sit a while longer

other times when answers daunt

the questions make us stronger.

So trust in the questions.

Let them be prayers.

Dig deep inside of them.

If they rush you beware.

Posted Mon Mar 12 12:14:53 2018

Once a kind man gave me a wooden heart. I tied it around my neck. A demonstration of knowing I was loved.

Once a true friend was always there for me. I never lost his faithfulness though distant we have drifted. That was all for me he left.

Once a kind man gave me shelter from winds baring on my soul. A quiet place surrounding me. Peace.

Posted Thu Mar 15 13:01:08 2018

Question 1:

When I am a jerk, let me rest. When I am rested, only when the sun streams from my eyes will I stop doubting for a minute. Past the doubt may I find a faithfulness in you. I know, even broken, that family is always family. I know, fractured and crying, that you will always be kindred. Why do I ask questions that just cause pain? Why do I have to be a jerk to see clearly? Do I have to be a jerk? Is there a way to learn something better?

I am but a humble jerk, for you.

Fighting

Maybe I cower from fighting, maybe I fumble at finding strength for arguing words, maybe I have strong reasons, history of struggle, this is my cycle, I get overwhelmed, I pull inside my shell, I rebuild, I try to repair the broken bits.

Today, I am here to learn to stand up for myself, to ask for space, but also to will myself into speaking. I am someone. At least, I want to be someone.

Posted Tue Mar 20 11:05:49 2018


Quit everything.

Hope for forgiveness.

Hope for a way back in a river impossible.

Hope for everything back.

Hope for just one minute an ease to shenpa.


Shenpa ate the river.

Shenpa ate forgiveness.

Shenpa ate hope.


Grasshopper, quit quitting, they say.


Grasshopper perishes in a flicker.

Nobody teachin' grasshopper to stay

- fight the mockin' bird.

Fight the river.

Fight time.

No - grasshopper dies each time.

Sometimes daily.


Quit hoppa

hope hoppa hop.


Give up.

You are impermanent.

Let the shenpa ride your back.

Let shenpa take you.

Let shenpa own your soul.

Shenpa is a wave.

You are meant to go.

Posted Tue Mar 20 23:59:55 2018
Lie


The poets asked for a soothsayer to sing the rain.

When she came, she was imperfect.

The good boys told her to lie.

So she found a bed of pansies and rested.

The worn women of the ward came worrying with consonance.

They spent their rag money to get close to her.

They saw their lives flash in her.

Lie they said.

Lie soon.

Unarmed and unprotected, she trusted them.

Immediately she lay beside a cruel man in an alley.

He staggered her way as the women dispersed homeward.

One turned back to her begging her to lie before skirting.

The girl lost her innocence on that day when asked why she rested there.

She kept to the truth before he assaulted her.

She fought hard but she was small.

A lump of flesh with a soul stumbling homeless for shelter that night.

All the eyes looked crazy.

A barefoot man approached her.

He asked if she needed help.

He did not tell her to lie.

He did not cover her beady eyes.

Accustomed only to honesty, she chirped yes.

He took her to his library.

She was given a room and a meal for the night.


The next morning, she was so confused.

She started to leave, but the barefoot man returned with books.

He said she was leaving too soon to know the truth.

That is how she learned to read.

Reading gave her the answers she needed to teach others.

On Friday nights she wrote letters to her students.

She learned to see when doors were open.

She learned to shut and lock doors.

She learned to sing to the rain.

She prayed to never lie.

Posted Wed Mar 21 00:23:43 2018


That was before.

That was before rocks weighed down Woolf under the river.

Night blasting over Europe.

Bodies melting in Auschwitz.

Books were burned in her library.

So she learned to lie.


I am with the Germans, she lied.

I am one of them, she lied.

This man is my husband, she grasped for her dignity.


Her books were burning.

Poetry was banned.

Children were murdered for not being able to walk.

Children were murdered for their parent's religion.

Babies too.

Take off your shoes, step in.


She was glad she had read the Book of Lies.

She saw a little Jewish girl in the street.

The generals went down the line.

Asking to see these children's lies.

If they refused, blasts went off.


The girl was too far off.

The girl did not know how to lie.

She died then and there, shoes on.

Three bullets in her side.

Posted Wed Mar 21 00:47:30 2018


They wondered how to get to the top without climbing on the backs of others.

Wanted to know the path up because level ground was miserable.

A bleak fact of being trampled.

Being a worm pressed in the ground.


Are there other options here?

Caterpillars learning they have wing appendages.

Is there hope for butterflies?


Collaboration of some children's story from the 70's.

Still rings true.


Choosing heart shaped wings.

Posted Wed Mar 21 14:14:50 2018

From the Upside of Stress by Kelly McGonigal PhD People respond to stimulus based on their beliefs and expectations about it. Perceptions change our bodily responses. Can stress be positive if we expect a positive response?

Recently I have felt my brain chemistry change. I have felt my emotional state alter as depression and stress crept in and my mood became more vulnerable. I have felt broken down. I slept several days in a row, more hours than are good for me. I considered quitting the next stage of my life before I tried it. I disbelieved in my abilities, felt unhinged, did things that were out of my usual normal, and I lost connections that matter a lot to me.

I had a very sad talk with my father in which I seemed to guide the conversation into a really dark dis-empowered place. I felt as if he and most everyone else, is unwilling to invest hopefulness into my future, due to my mental illness and common response of quitting. I had a similar talk with my mother. I remember in my early 20's I felt pressures that were external that said achieve, do something amazing. Lately I have felt sad because I don't think anyone in the world wants me to achieve great things with my life, except for maybe me.

So when my brain starts going into unhappy zone, and when I feel bogged down by how I think about my abilities, I have felt the impact of a negative mindset, at least lately. Until this morning. I guess what changed this morning was when I woke up, I was talking with myself about gratitude. I deeply was grateful because yesterday I did two things that many people could not do, because of bad health. 1. I went to the dentist and got a clean bill of health. 2. I donated blood for the gazillion-th time.

Maybe these are just basic common occurrences, but in my world, health is more important than wealth or fame. "When you have a more positive view of growing older, you are more apt to do things that benefit yourself over time." McGonigal So this morning I woke up with hope, thinking I will maybe live old like my grandmother who made it to 92, or my great-grandmother who lived to 102.

So how am I thinking about stress? My mindset is changing. I have been feeling a breakdown of a positive mindset this past couple of months, but it doesn't have to be the story of my life. In fact, I learned several lessons this year that I could not have learned without the brief stint in the job that I quit suddenly.

So what have I recently learned? 1. The difference I am seeing between successful introverts and struggling ones like me, is that successful introverts talk to others and go into public when they are feeling their best. So if I learn to not go out and talk to others, not to make phone calls, or not to immerse myself among others when I feel bad, I could overcome a good chunk of my illness/negative disposition. 2. Along those lines, I need boundaries that I set, so that when I feel pushed I can say no solidly. But if I don't have it in me to say no solidly, I do have a second option. I an always just kill a grandparent.

One of my favorite people in the world once told me about grandparent killing in the face of excuse needing. She said she was impressed that I graduated from Berea without lying about reasons for doing things, but that I don't have to feel bad about making up some excuses. I think she had a point. Specifically, she said I should kill grandparents as much as I want, when I need an off day. This goes with the first finding, I don't necessarily need to explain my depression when I feel low. All I need to do is draw myself out of the bad situation until I feel better. Hence, say my grandparent died, and do it as much as I want. In fact, killing multiple grandparents in one week can add extra space. I know this sounds morbid, but all my grandparents really are dead, so it might be better.

  1. If I start withdrawing emotionally, I need to just go home. Even if I feel like verbally fighting, or whatever I feel is the best way forward, I am better off just retreating for a while.
  2. If I feel I am becoming unhinged, I need to find help somewhere, even if I think the world seems to not care or think I am wrong, stupid, or impossible to help. Chances are that is not what actually is happening. 5. Everything bad that happens to me can become a building block for improvement. 6. Tomorrow is always another day.

Posted Fri Mar 30 14:11:25 2018

Did you know that when people start in a new program or a new incoming class, everyone tends to struggle with social belonging. Nobody feels they fit in at first, but this changes with time. Most people don't express that they don't feel belonging. Thankfully, by the years' end, when people stay in school or programs, they come to a place of feeling more inclusion.

The new classes don't fit in with what they find in their predominating surroundings. The ones who form close friendships with other struggling incoming students find shared belonging. Makes sense to me.

Posted Fri Mar 30 15:56:27 2018

Helping others improves cholesterol, self esteem, and tend to befriend mindset to start the list. One interesting fact I found in McGonigal's The Upside of Stress is that survivors who are put to work and given ways to help counterbalance their/our need for help. There was a story of vulnerable youth who were trained to be EMS workers and their lives turned around because of the altruism they were giving. It might not be obvious that it is better to give than to receive, but it is an axiom with the richest depth of meaning. I recently saw a TED talk that spoke about apathy, saying that people really aren't apathetic almost ever, we just are struggling to find a way to help or be helpful in a society that structurally dis-empowers quite often. What would be awesome would be if systems of care giving and helping were given to locations everywhere so that people had more opportunities to help others. People want to volunteer, to help. Not just "able bodied people" but all people benefit when they have an avenue to help someone or something in need.

Posted Sat Mar 31 19:37:01 2018