Archive | February, 2012

Did I Teach You Anything?

29 Feb

Did I teach you to be curious?

Did I teach you to how to find your answers?

Did I inspire you to walk, to run, to skip, to jump, to fly? To leave home, to leave me, without looking back? Did I teach you that you always have a home, wherever I am and after that, wherever you are? Did I teach you that the world is your home, that you are ever her beloved son? Do you feel at home, in the world? 

Did I teach you to feel? To stick your hands in the sand? In the mud? In the dirt? In the running water? Did I teach you to wade in and feel the surf bubbling between your toes? Did I teach you to jump in the ocean, the lake, the pond, and kick for the surface, over and over again? Did I teach you to ride the wave? Sit on the rock? Dangle your toes in the stream on a hot day?

Did I teach you to look at the sky and to read the clouds?

Did I teach you to watch and listen to the birds and the lizards?

Did I teach you to sit? Be still? By yourself, with no external distractions?

Did I teach you to look at our mother, the mountain? To respect her and honor her?

Did I teach you to sit outside in the rain, and not get wet? 

Did I teach you to hug properly? Full-frontal, with both arms wrapping around? Did I teach you to greet someone the right way? Face to face and eye to eye, really seeing them? 

Did I teach you to love? Full- frontal, heart to heart, open and willing?

Did I teach you to recover from mistakes? From hurt?

Did I teach you to be creative? To pull something from your soul and share it with the world?

Did I teach you to work? Inside? Outside? With your hands and body and strength? With your mind? At a desk? With others? Alone?

Did I teach you that you can choose the way in which you earn a living? That you get to choose the life you want to live?

Did I teach you that you can change your mind? That you can have as many do-overs as you like?

Did I teach you to re-invent yourself when needed?

Did I teach you to burn yourself up and rise from your own ashes? 

Did I leave you unencumbered? Unburdened by my interpretation of my history? Unburdened by my things; by anything? 

Did I teach you to be free? Free to develop and grow into yourself? Free to form your own beliefs and way of doing things?

Did I show you who I was and what was important to me? Did I see you and learn what’s important to you?

Did I teach you to be present and mindful? 

Did I teach you to be kind? Loving? Compassionate?

Did I teach you to say “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Will you forgive me?”

Did I teach you to say I love you; that whatever the question or the situation, love is the answer. 

Did I teach you that I love you? Did I show you in my actions, not just by my words?

If I have not, then I say to you now, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Please forgive me. I love you.

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Death and Love and That Special Day of the Year

15 Feb

I spent time with death and love these past few days.

Last Friday I was at a lovely, memorial mass for a firecracker-of-a lady that had recently passed away. The aunt of my dear friend and co-Mom, “Auntie” was in her 90’s when she died.

Without religious training, not one yoga class, not a single retreat, darshan, sesshin, vision-quest, vision board, life-coaching session, visit to a shrink, no anti-depressants or anxiety meds, no years of finding herself, Auntie lived as love every waking moment of her life.

She was what you would call the “maiden Aunt”. Never married and with no children of her own, she loved and cared for several generations of her family’s children. Her great-niece named her child after her beloved Auntie.

Her heart never stiffened or shrunk despite loss and pain. She lived through poverty, depression, world wars, death and more death, poverty, uncertain times, broken hearts, caring for her parents, hard, and unrelenting work.

At family gatherings, she was always the center of a circle of love. She was interesting and interested. Because of that, even the youngest family members would hang out with her. She accepted everybody as they were, without judgments or criticism. She was always positive. She never gossiped or spoke badly of anyone, even when they had left the room.

At my friend’s wedding 20 some-odd years ago, Auntie danced to “New York New York” and cleared the dance floor. Her Rockette-style high kicks at the end of the song were so exuberant; we insisted the DJ play the song again so she could reprise her performance.

Auntie continued to radiate love even when she lost her eyesight. Even when she couldn’t get around on her own. Even when her care was completely in the hands of others. She simply lived as love. Always.

At her memorial, I learned of another death; the 27-year old son of a friend’s friend – full of despair he had shot himself.

I have a son near to his age.

Later in the day I received news of another death. A 15-year old boy at a local high school had taken a running jump off a school building during school.

My youngest son, the same age,  has friends at that school.

Still later – the death of Whitney Houston. So famous and loved for singing, “learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all…”

I had to sit and ponder…..it took several days. Valentine’s Day came and went…

So many people in pain. So many people suffering from loneliness; loss; fear.

Fear or Love. It’s one or the other.

Love is expansive and inclusive; like Auntie.

Fear shuts us down and keeps us stuck.  Makes it near impossible to see the possibility of hope or change. Fear makes it difficult to ask for or accept help. Fear shuts us down and keeps us in the house, ignoring the ringing phone.

Fear makes us think we are different from others; that “I’m the only one feeling this way.” Fear compares and we always come up short.

Fear insists we look for something to immediately numb the pain; a drink, a cupcake, a dozen cupcakes, sex, cutting, piercing, a pill, more pills, a gun, a leap.

Fear tells me, “Laura, you have nothing to contribute to this world.”

Love tells me, “Laura, go ahead – press ‘post’.”

Love is not a created day that rolls around once a year. Love is not chocolate and flowers once a year. Love is not finding that special someone that completes you.  Love is not a small Tiffany-blue or Cartier-red box tied up with a bow.

Love is not an external.

Love is an inside job. It begins with loving-kindness for yourself first and then loving-kindness for  everyone dear to you, then everyone around you, then everyone in the world, then every thing in the world.

Loving-kindness is compassion in action.

Loving-kindness sees no separation between you and me or us and them.

I am that – That I am.

I am you. You are me.

You are in pain. I am in pain.

I am love. You are loved.

Not just February 14th, but every day of the year.

Love Is Letting Go

3 Feb

This isn’t what I planned to write for my next post. Who am I kidding? I didn’t have a plan. You know how to make G*d laugh, right? Make a plan.

I’m having a yard sale tomorrow. I have been getting rid of things that I no longer fit into, or use, or need or want. It’s a great feeling to let stuff go. Clutter in the house makes my head feel cluttered. I feel peaceful when my surroundings are clutter-free. I’m not a pack-rat or hoarder, but I’m a natural clutter-bug so I have to work at it. 

I’ve been to enough yard-sales and estate sales after an elder has died and the family is left to sort through 60+years of household goods and dust-collecting tchotkes and old bath-robes and salad spinners. 

I love my children so I don’t want to leave them with a house and garage full of crap to sort through, struggling with holding on to things as a way to remember or honor me. 

Today I’ve been pulling things out of the garage for tomorrow. I was almost done. The box of old baseballs and bats, a dry, empty fishtank, a lawn-mower and a bicycle are in the driveway ready for their new owners to claim them. There was one box remaining, labeled “photos and memories”. I thought it was a box of my things, from my youth.

I lifted the lid and saw that these were my moms’ things.

Back in 2009 when my mom died instantly at home alone one beautiful morning much like today, I did what I needed to do as the need arose. That meant cleaning out her apartment quickly so it could be re-rented, sorting through her things to give away, boxing pictures and memories and storing them in my garage. 

Life went on as it does. I continued to work and take care of my son. I sat on the couch a lot and thought. I retreated into a quiet world for the better part of two years.

Last year or the year before, I gradually starting going through some of her things that I had stored here at my house. I went slowly, only went I felt like it. There wasn’t much, as she had very lovingly gone through all of her stuff before she died so she wouldn’t leave me with a bunch of crap to sort through. She loved me very much.

This last box contains small, framed photos of me, her grandchildren, a six-year old’s hand print in plaster and small books about a mother’s love.

I opened a book I had given her years ago. This is what I wrote inside;

To my mother~ you are my inspiration and comfort.

I am the echo of your heartbeat.

We are mother and daughter from my birth, but friends forever.

Love and kisses.

Lo

 

Love is letting go…on many levels, all at the same time, over and over and over…

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