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Archive for the ‘not-knowing’ Category

00 -finding pinecones-

Two Sunday mornings ago when the rain finally stopped, I ventured outside. Fallen branches greeted me, a bit embarrassed to be on the grass.

That’s because three Tuesdays ago a fierce Westerly Wind roared over the water, ripped past our town, raged up the hill, right through and around MacMurtree the tree. Try as Mac might to be flexible, the Wind won the wrestle, ripping off branches that crashed to the ground.

02-findingpinecones

And nearby those branches, all over the yard, I found pinecones. Knocked loose from their limbs, still tightly coiled and sealed in sweet sap.

I felt sorrow to see them sprawled on the lawn because I remember last summer, how I sat on my picnic blanket, witnessing dainty gold-dusted fairy seeds fluttering free.

I herded the pinecones into a pile. They didn’t know what to do next, stunned anxious at their unexpected separation.

“How are we supposed to seed forests?” they cried, rolling around on the ground in dismay. “We’re supposed to stay on our limbs and open up slowly. We’re not ready for this!!”

“I don’t know,” I replied, feeling their angst.“Come up on the porch. Come sit with me and we’ll figure it out.”

03-finding-on-porch

While they gathered themselves and their thoughts, I ran inside and brought back a book. I thought they could use some encouraging words.

Pinecones - 1

“I know you’re not where you thought you should be. That means your Plans must become entirely new. You’re gonna need Courage for that!”

Pinecones - 3

The pinecones lined up to listen, and we all wondered what words might spill forth from the pages to bolster their spirits.

Pinecones - 5

I fluttered pages at random to see what the old book hoped these friends might find out. A bird pulled up a fencepost to listen.

Pinecones - 7 bird

“Give us, O give us, the person who sings at her work. I found words by Thomas Carlyle. One is scarcely sensible of fatigue whilst marching to music.”

The bird whistled Yes!

“What song might you hear in your heart?” I asked the pinecones.

“Lollipop, lollipop!” one pinecone piped up after the briefest of pause.

“We are the Champions my friends” sang another with lyrics.

Pinecones - 10 text

After the singing slowed down I read further down on the page.

“No pinecone is born into this world, whose work is not born with her.

Pinecones - 11

“Like the tree seeds within me!” said this pinecone who then sat up straighter.

Pinecones - 5

I sat up straighter, too, realizing that Book’s favorite words in her pages weren’t all that these pinecones needed to know.

“Do any of you remember the wonder of where you come from?” I asked the dear lovely tree seeds.

Pinecones - 6

“We come from our mother, MacMurtree, a Deodar Cedar. She’s at least a century old, probably more,” said the eldest pinecone.

“We each belong to the Deodar family. In Sanskrit that’s devadāru, which means wood of the Gods.”

Pinecones - 12

“Why that means me! Daughter of the tree gods. Oh my! I better get up!” this one said out loud to herself.

Pinecones - 13

“Imagine the many trees waiting inside us!” said that one out loud.“There must be a way to get our Possibilities into the world.”

“I have an idea,” I said.“I have friends all over the planet. What if I put you each in a box and ask the Mail to take you someplace new? That will be like the Wind carrying your seeds, except this time you get to go along and see where they land. You’ll meet the most amazing people!”

“You can ask them to bring me inside where it’s warm,” said one pinecone.

“And put me on a table by a window so I can see where I am,” said another.

“I would enjoy spending the holidays with a family,” added that one.

“And,” I said,“as their fireplaces heat up their homes, your wings will unwind. And your fairy seeds will unfold from inside. Just like they would have next summer if you had stayed here.”

Their excitement was mounting as plans started to form.

“And perhaps, just perhaps,” I suggested, “they will know a good place with soil and sunshine and some magic. And on some sunny day, when a soft breeze is blowing, they’ll toss your seeds into the air and away they will float, just as they should. Just as they would have, but somewhere exotic and fun. It’s a bit avante garde, I suppose.

“How about it?”

Well, it took us a week to figure it out. We gathered up boxes. I found my address book. And seven brave pinecones volunteered for adventure.

Pinecones - 15-inbox

Into boxes they jumped. Tucked in with some branches. And a note with instructions.  P.S. Watch out for the sap, we said.

Not everyone wanted to travel. And that is just fine. One for sure is staying with me. Another one asked to be strapped by the birdhouse so she can try spreading her wings in the spring.

And this group, well they’re having fun talking. So they’re hanging out on the porch for a little while longer. They don’t mind the rain.

Pinecones - 16-rain

Check your mailbox!!

Here’s the wordless musical version:

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I found a tiny pink seashell

It was half-past high tide and love at first sight
when the tiny pink seashell
caught my heart from her spot on the sand.

She paused in her talk with the shell-shard and seaweed
to blow me a kiss of hello.

Pleased to meet you

“Oh, hello! Pleased to meet you,” I said
as I sat down and scooped her up in my palm.
“I’ve never seen anyone like you before in this cove.”

“That’s cuz I’m new here,” she replied.
“Can you show me around?”

We went down to the driftwood

We walked up the beach
and I showed her some sights
she’d never seen from the height of my hand.
At the Driftwood Plateau we met a lone plant
who had grown in the sea-tossed-up soil.
“Seashell, meet Dandelion.
Dandelion, Seashell.”

Seashell, meet Dandelion.

“I thought dandelions were bright yellow with petals?”
Seashell asked with a pure questioning heart.
“I am still a yellow dandelion,” said the flower,
“But my yellow has transformed into seeds.
What you see now are my daughter ideas
almost ready to spread.”

“Is it true I can blow on your face
to make my wishes come true?”
asked Seashell.

What you may not know
(Because I know I didn’t)

is that dandelions can make wishes, too,
by blowing into the face of pink seashells.

Who's making the wish?

Each blew hard as they could
to send their wish flying.
Seashell did a backflip.
Dandelion launched seeds.

Shell's wish to stay

“Ha! Now my wish can come true,”
laughed the shell when she landed.
“I’m hoping a wave will arise
and sweep me back to the sea. That’s where I belong.”

Dandelion's wish comes true, too

Without a word Dandelion smiled,
Trusting her wish would come true.

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emotikin-bluedoor600

Blue doors have been my thing for a very long time. I’ve always claimed blue as my favorite color, sometimes periwinkle, sometimes cornflower. But blue. I’ve never had a blue door though I’ve painted blue walls.

I have a blue door in the alpine meadow of wildflowers where I go when I meditate really deep. It stands there, no walls, in the middle of the meadow, as if I’m supposed to go through.

But I couldn’t. I would sit down with my back against the door. I heard a laughing invitation to just walk around the side, that I didn’t have to go through. But I couldn’t. I was stumped.

Another time, not long ago, I landed in my meadow out of the blue. I opened the door. Beyond it was a dark midnight sky full of stars. I stepped through and soared through the stars for a bit, tethered to the doorway by a silver cord. I didn’t stay long.

A few weeks ago, I finally stepped all the way through, not just that door but a whole series of doors. I erased some hard parts of the past, walked down paths now easier to see and to choose. And I heard, “Trust and believe. Expect miracles.”

I didn’t expect what happened the very next day. I saw my blue door, live and in person, around the bend in an old country road, in front of a cottage for sale, with a tree swing out front. I screeched the car to a halt and pointed. “Look! A Blue Door!”  We sat there in awe. Then we got out of the car.

bluedoor-sq-600

bluedoor-opening600This blue door beckoned. It seemed to lead to a land of bliss and enchanted forests and talking trees and one friendly sit-on-your-shoe kind of squirrel. The cottage holds a piano, built-in bookshelves, and wrap-around windows with a view to the sea. Only a cane in the corner would have made it feel like our own Miracle on 34th Street. It seemed to say, here is your doorway to heaven. You’re welcome. Come in.

So the question is whether this cottage for sale, this land of bliss, this tree swing, this door, this meadow with room for a horse and some chickens, is supposed to be ours.  It sure feels like a soul sign. It sure feels like a miracle.

I do know, at the least, that this real-life blue door is a sign from my soul to pay attention to miracles. To pay attention to gifts that come out of the blue. To open the door and walk through, with courage not fear. With hope, not with doubt. With wonder and more wonder and more wonder yet, and some patience to wait for the answer to “I wonder what this all means?”

I don’t know the answer. Not yet. We’re doing some work called Logistics and Research. That hard human work that makes miracles happen for real. Or at least invites the result. Accepting the invitation to a miracle takes as much courage and work as you can muster, it seems.

And I’m waiting to see if the sign was a “Yes, this is your home.” Or if it means something else. Trust and believe can mean anything. But I do believe in blue doors. And I believe that miracles might have a different answer than the one I first thought of. I don’t know the answer. Not yet. I just hope I am asking all the right questions so the right answer will come when it’s time.

Trust and believe.

Fingers crossed.

 

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The other day as I was walking home
I found these green pod things.

Seed pods?

Aliens?

Seedpods?

It was getting dark, so I brought them inside for a better look.

What were they?

I wondered if those spiky spiny things were good or not.

Like anything, it depends on how you look at them.

Three of a kind

I wanted to look at them up close. Roll them over. See them from all sides.

Like little ideas.  Seeds of ideas.  Good or not?

Juggling ideas

Do you weigh your ideas,
or stack them up against one other?

Bigger?

Do your ideas turn into worries
and get heavier. Bigger?

Anxiety?

Do some ideas just overwhelm?

Or maybe they’re good, growing stronger.

Cradle them

I decided I liked these ideas.

We all did.

We each took one

My family each took an idea.
Tossed them around.
Wondered what to do with them next.

Wait and see, we decided.

Wait and see.

So we waited.
One day and one night.

And the seed-idea seed-pods dried up.
Seeming sad to no longer be green.

But guess what?

Those pods had a plan.

See

Shriveled up seedpods
turned into teapots
and poured out a
hundred new baby ideas

like stars in a sky
made for wishing.

A galaxy of new ideas sprouted

A galaxy of new ideas!

Wonder what will come of those?

 

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stacks of texture

Can’t help but sing this song:

One of these things doesn’t belong

Can you guess which one

Doesn’t belong

By the time I finish my song?

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Yin Yang Vitruvian Emotikinyin yang
Vitruvi-kin soul

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gretchen-posterized

In my dream, she looked taller and thinner, and wore her pearls,
The way she might have chosen to look as a glamorous grandmother.
In my dream, she said “I left my car down the street, like last year”
and handed me the keys, meaning, “Please park the car for me.”
I don’t know what party I was having in my dream. I’m glad she came.

This is the Emotikin who lived with her at the nursing home
for the last six months.
She’s a Fairy Tale Fairy wearing butterfly wings,
with a spool of pink thread as a bracelet,
(because she taught me to love fairy tales and sewing)
and she’s dancing.
I wonder where it went when she died?
Perhaps it went with her.

gretchen-bella-book-posterized

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Does Emotikin’s wife have an ever better view of that damn sword?

Under the Sword of Damocles

Get out from under that Damocles Sword

Read Damocles’ Wife to see how one family learned how to get out
from under that sword and finally embrace life with all of its changes.

Read Damocles' Wife

Damocles’ Wife: The Inside Story of Cancer Caregiving & Long-Term Survival in the Midst of Motherhood, Marriage & Making Life Matter
by Shelly L. Francis  

If you’ve ever wondered how you might find the courage, hope, and faith to face the challenges of cancer and caregiving, you’re not alone. Damocles’ Wife reveals the inner journey of a cancer caregiver, a young wife and mother whose husband becomes a long-term survivor of brain cancer.

Follow their story, inside and out, through nine months of treatment: brain surgery, radiation, tumor doubles, second opinions, second surgery–this time awake–with photodynamic therapy, chemo, chemo, chemo, then high-dose chemotherapy with stem-cell rescue. Recovery…

Given a prognosis of two to five years, maybe ten, for his astrocytoma, Scott invoked his inner samurai to face aggressive traditional treatment, combined with integrative medicine like Healing Touch. Meanwhile, Shelly called on her inner resources, plus the rest of Scott’s caregiving crew, so that she could take care of him, herself, and their preschooler son, Wil, and still be standing no matter what.

This is the whole family’s story of learning to cope not only with the practical aspects of cancer and caregiving but, most essentially, how to really survive—in your soul. Join their journey as they learn to take down the Sword of Damocles hanging over Scott’s head and finally embrace life with all of its changes.

The first caregiver memoir to address long-term cancer survival, Damocles’ Wife will resonate with families facing cancer of all kinds, families dealing with chronic illness, disability, and dementia, as well as families of returning soldiers now facing life with traumatic brain injury.

What is the Sword of Damocles ( DAM-uh-kleez) ?

Read more about Damocles at WikipediaIn Damocles’ Stories, the foreword written by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD (author of Women Who Run with the Wolves), readers will gain insight into the cultural legend of the Sword of Damocles (pronounced DAM-uh-kleez) from Greek history and her own “peasant” family’s stories passed down through generations. The anecdote originates from the 4th century court of Dionysius II, as told by Cicero. A courtier, Damocles, so admired and pandered to the king that Dionysius invited Damocles to sit on his throne at a feast. But he arranged for a sharp sword to hang over Damocles’ head by the single hair of a horse’s tail, proving to Damocles the sense of constant fear under which “the great man lives.” (Illustration from the Damocles entry in WikipediaRichard Westall’s Sword of Damocles, 1812.)

In 1981, researchers named Gerald P. Koocher, PhD, and John D. O’Malley, MD, authored a book called TheDamocles’ Syndrome in which they described the long-term, persistent fear that survivors of childhood cancer feel, ever wondering when their cancer might return and kill them.

In Damocles’ Wife, Shelly Francis offers her own viewpoint of how cancer caregivers are perhaps even more aware of that Sword of Damocles’ hanging over the head of their loved one and what the threat of cancer recurrence means for their own unknown future. Here is an excerpt from Damocles’ Wife:

“Only Scott and I knew, as we feasted, that a sharp samurai sword hung in the air over our table, over Scott’s head, his Sword of Damocles. From where I sat, I could see it quite plainly. Is that the caregiver’s curse—to notice that sword on a thread more often, more clearly, than the patient himself? It was time to step out from under that sword.”

Download Chapter One (PDF)

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Wishing on a rainbow

If I could, I’ d paint a rainbow on the sky
and I’d make a wish on every color.
Every wish would be for you,
wishing you just what you needed
today, tonight, and tomorrow.

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 A story sans words…
Oh no! Can you breathe?
Let's get you out of there!
This'll work. You're almost out.
Ta da! Whew!
You must be hungry. Here, have some carrot.
Okay. Thank you.
Did the Gnome really need rescuing?
Did the Gnome really need rescuing?

 

 

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