Jimmy

open-gate-bo-bartlett

Tuesday.

I’m leaning back in the chair.  The bodies on the teleconference are shifting, their paper shuffling is booming on the mic. The update continues, I’m fading, drifting. I look up at the clock and it tugs me back, way back.

It’s hidden inside, in a dark space, deep in a corner on the edges, frayed but biting.

~ 1967

I was a child. You were a child. A Boy.

The schoolhouse had two classrooms, three grades in each room, one row for each grade, four to six students in each grade.  Three rows of heavy steel, four legged desks, each having a pocket for school things.  We were in the First Grade.

He was oversize in first grade, having been held back. Tall, thin, with hunger hanging from his bones. His brother was already categorized as a Juve, his Father an alcoholic, in and out of small jobs and a Mother desperately trying to keep it all together, and losing.

Faded jeans, not from stone washing, but from hand me downs from his older brother, or from a flee market sale. Everything wrong-sized, tattered and carrying a whiff of moth balls. Laces on too-big shoes loosely tied. Hair long, unruly and badly in need of a sheer. [Read more…]

little tummy roll that has helpfully crept over the bottom of the iPad, so that it might help you type?

Anne Lamott, from a Facebook post on November 25, 2012:

Quickly, and probably with lots of typos: I am beginning to think that this body of mine is the one I will have the entire time I am on this side of eternity.

I didn’t agree to this. I have tried for approximately fifty years to get it to be an ever so slightly different body: maybe the tiniest bit more like Cindy Crawford’s, and–if this is not too much to ask–Michelle Obama’s arms. I mean, is this so much to ask? But I had to ask myself, while eating my second piece of key lime pie in Miami last Sunday, and then again, while sampling my second piece of Crete brûlée in Akron, if this is going to happen.

For the record, I do not usually eat like I do in hotels while I am on book tour. But I have a terrble sweet tooth and I am just not going to be spending much more of this and precious life at the gym, than I already do, which is at best, three times a week, in a terrible shirking bad attitude bitter frame of mind. I go for three one-hour hikes a week. I’m not a Lunges kind of girl.
And even if I were, I’m shrinking. I’m not quite Dr. Ruth yet, but I used to be 5’7, and now am–well, not.

But the psalmist says I am wonderfully and fearfully made. Now, upon hearing that, two days after Thanksgiving, don’t you automatically think that “fearfully” refers to your thighs, your upper arms, the little tummy roll that has helpfully crept over the bottom of the iPad, so that it might help you type? [Read more…]

Come On Ladies. Let it Go!

forgive-forgiveness-study-chart-depression-psychology-health


Notes:

  • Source and read more at: wsj.com: The Healing Power of Forgiveness
  • Post inspired by: “It’s hard to move on if you don’t forgive,” he said. “It’s like trying to dance with a lead weight on your shoulders. The anger can weigh you down forever.” ~ Diane Chamberlain, Pretending to Dance
  • And inspired by: “I have simplified my life to just three principles, which I try to practice. I cannot say I have mastered them. I attempt. I fall, I falter and I attempt. I call my spiritual rowboat Surrender — complete surrender to the will of the Greater Power. The act of surrendering is so important that Who or What you surrender to becomes insignificant. It is the surrender itself that is important. My two oars are instant forgiveness and gratitude — gratitude for the gift of life. I get angry, I get mad, but as soon as I remind myself to put my oars into action, I forgive.” ~ Balbir Mathur

 

Rain

rain-poem-raymond-carver

~ “Rain” by Raymond Carver


Source: Schonwieder

H is for Helen

Helen-macdonald-hawk

Q: What moves you most in a work of literature?

A: Honesty, vulnerability, moments of forgiveness and redemption, and a recognition that we are all small and our lives so short.

~ Helen Macdonald: By the BookThe author of a 2015 Best Book of the Year“H Is for Hawk” 


Notes:

  • Inspired by: “Read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read.” — Werner Herzog
  • Photograph: thetimes.com

I was wondering why so many people had turned out, when suddenly: an electrifying moment.

forgive

“On a weekday evening in early September, more than 400 people, from their late teens to their early 80s, crowded into a standing-room-only event on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The topic was not politics, film, fashion, celebrity or any other subject that could be expected to draw such a crowd. The topic was forgiveness. Sitting in the audience, I was wondering why so many people had turned out, when suddenly: an electrifying moment.

About halfway through the discussion, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, a speaker and the author of “Jewish Literacy,” asked this question: “In how many of your families, at the level of first cousin or closer, are there people not on speaking terms?”

Two-thirds of the people in the room raised their hands. I, along with everyone else, gasped.

“I know,” he said. “It’s a staggering figure…

~ Bruce Feiler, How to Ask for Forgiveness, in Four Steps 


Notes: Quote – Thank you Susan. Photo – Stefano Corso.

Let me get back to you on this

anne-lamott

Who knows, maybe those two rogue leaders, Gandhi and Jesus, were right – a loving response changes the people who would beat the shit out of you, including yourself, of course. Their way, of the heart, makes everything bigger. Decency and goodness are subversively folded into the craziness, like caramel ribbons into ice cream. Otherwise, it’s about me, and my bile ducts, and how unique I am and how I’ve suffered. And that is what hell is like.  So whom was I going to echo, Gandhi and Jesus, or Tammy and me?

Look, can you give me a minute to decide?

Do you want to be happy, or do you want to be right? Hmm. Let me get back to you on this.

~ Anne Lamott. “Pirates.” Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace


I just finished Lamott’s new book and loved it. It’s my first foray into her work. Be forewarned, this book has more than its fair share of suffering and grief, but the sun’s rays do peak in. I’m drawn to her rants and her candor on her neuroses (but could have  done without the political barbs). I marvel at the authenticity of her self-reflection and the beauty and clarity of her observations of life.  The book roars out of the gate for the first half and tends to run out of steam.  For Lamott lovers, you should note that this book is a compilation of new and selected (aka previously published) essays.

Find the book on Amazon here: Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace


Photo Credit: TimeOut

 

Monday Mantra: Just Do It.

stephan-wurth-woman-wind-breeze-hair

#13.
How do we forgive ourselves
for all of the things
we did not become?

~ David “Doc” Luben


Notes:

  • Excerpt from “14 Lines from Love Letters or Suicide Notes” by David ‘Doc’ Luben.  Luben was the feature poet on August 5th at the Vancouver Poetry Slam.  Find the youtube video of the performance here. Original source: Artpropelled.
  • Photograph: Stephan Wurst via Tri-ciclo

Where is everybody? Inside your breast and skin, the entire cast.

Saul Bellow

“And now here’s the thing. It takes a time like this for you to find out how sore your heart has been, and, moreover, all the while you thought you were going around idle terribly hard work was taking place. Hard, hard work, excavation and digging, mining, moiling through tunnels, heaving, pushing, moving rock, working, working, working, working, panting, hauling, hoisting. And none of this work is seen from the outside. It’s internally done. It happens because you are powerless and unable to get anywhere, to obtain justice or have requital, and therefore in yourself you labor, you wage and combat, settle scores, remember insults, fight, reply, deny, blab, denounce, triumph, outwit, overcome, vindicate, cry, persist, absolve, die and rise again. All by yourself? Where is everybody? Inside your breast and skin, the entire cast.”

– Saul Bellow


Saul Bellow (1915 – 2005) was a Canadian-born American writer. He was born in Lachine, Quebec and died in Brookline, MA.  For his literary contributions, Bellow was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the National Medal of Arts. He is widely regarded as one of the 20th century’s greatest authors.  Bellow grew up as an insolent slum kid, a “thick-necked” rowdy, and an immigrant from Quebec. As Christopher Hitchens describes it, Bellow’s fiction and principal characters reflect his own yearning for transcendence, a battle “to overcome not just ghetto conditions but also ghetto psychoses.  The author’s works speak to the disorienting nature of modern civilization, and the countervailing ability of humans to overcome their frailty and achieve greatness (or at least awareness). Bellow saw many flaws in modern civilization, and its ability to foster madness, materialism and misleading knowledge. Principal characters in Bellow’s fiction have heroic potential, and many times they stand in contrast to the negative forces of society. (Source: Wiki)


Credits: Image – Flavorwire. Quote: WhiskeyRiver

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