Monday, November 2, 2015

The Art of the Matter: You Can't Make this Stuff up

Choose two characteristics that you’d like to reinforce in yourself. Recount one or two empowering stories from your past relating to each of these characteristics. 

I am able to synthesize information and experiences, and form meaningful stories that help me to see the, or a, bigger picture and re-story the events of my life into empowering reminders of the choices I have, as to how to see the world in a way that empowers myself and others to become aware of possibility.

At a pivotal time in my life, I decided to write a blog. A blog about my personal experiences, and how I metabolized them. It was a bold move on my part. I always have enjoyed writing and the power of story and had recently become aware, that what i enjoyed writing most, was creative non- fiction. Creative Non- fiction is, defined by Creative Non-Fiction Magazine, this way:

"In some ways, creative nonfiction is like jazz—it’s a rich mix of flavors, ideas, and techniques, some of which are newly invented and others as old as writing itself. Creative nonfiction can be an essay, a journal article, a research paper, a memoir, or a poem; it can be personal or not, or it can be all of these. "

There is actually more to the definition, or less:

"True stories well told" or "You can't make this stuff up." 

"...the creative nonfiction writer will show that subject, place, or personality, vividly, memorably—and in action. In scenes."

So I began to share some scenes from my life, in a blog and I found that, in the process of doing it, I found the story I wanted to experience most. The story within the story. I'd found my own little pocket monk inside myself. Ultimately my blogs were an online journal. I gave myself immediate permission to write whenever I  felt moved to do so. No rules. No expectations. I'd let inspiration move me. That in itself meant the stories I shared were meaningful.
I called the blog, Digging Deeper.

I use the word metabolize. Ultimately, I'd like to reinforce the ability to synthesize, which means at times I have to step back, as is suggested by Timothy B. Wilson in his book, Redirect, and wait for things to marinate in order to metabolize the experience in such a way that it digests. I have a choice.

Digestion takes time. The small intestine is how many feet long?

As a young friend who likes to read my blog once said, "Oh! It has a lesson!"
Forming meaningful stories takes time. Submitting to time is an art. Somewhere down the line, I changed the name of my blog to  "The Art of the Matter."

There were experiences in my life I was reluctant to write about. One was a time when, in the midst of it, I was overcome with "what if." When I did write about it, by the miracle of digestion, some enzymes came along and broke it down for me. And I could see it twenty-twenty.

In order to reinforce, we have to remind ourselves. So I affirm:

I am able to synthesize information and experiences, and form meaningful stories that help me to see the, or a, bigger picture and re-story the events of my life into empowering reminders  of the choices I have; as to how to see the world in a way that empowers myself and others to become aware of possibility.

I haven't written in my blog in a while. It's not that I haven't felt inspired. I have. Some things just take time to marinate. To metabolize. To digest. It's an art.

Question: How can I step back to see the big picture so that I can give myself the opportunity to reinforce the skills of synthesis and forming meaningful stories?

Can I create meaningful stories in which I choose to see benefits of a situation, and point to possibility?

(This exercise was taken from The Certificate in Positive Psychology Program I am currently enrolled in  through Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sleeveless Dresses, Easter Hats, Baby Chicks and Greener Pastures

One of my favorite times to dress my kids up when they were little was Easter. As a child myself, Easter was always a time we got new clothes. Sleeveless Easter dresses, Easter Bonnets, little cotton ruffly socks and new glossy white maryjanes if you'd outgrown last year's; maybe a little purse if you're lucky.

I remember black and white photos of my siblings before I was born. My Brother Paul with his little Gangster hat, suit and tie. My sisters with their woven hats with ribbons trailing behind, and full taffeta sleeveless dresses, little purses dangling from their arms as they ran along with their Easter baskets in tow, all hyped up on sugar. One year, My brother Mike, I am told, via someone else's memory, got a baby chick in his Easter Basket. A chick that became a Duck. A Duck that followed him around the backyard, until one day it didn't. I'm not sure if it went off to "live on a farm" like so many children's family dogs end up doing, or if it left to seek greener pastures.

My kids are 24, 22, and 20 now, and are at the stage where they challenge the need to go to Church on Easter Sunday at all.  Their Easter baskets are cotton bags with magazines and Artisan Chocolate bars, Power bars and Gourmet Soup mixes. But, My Little Terrence in his Madras plaid shorts and polo shirt, his little Fila Tennis shoes; Lindsey and Avery in their pastel dresses and pink hats. I can't say my heart doesn't  sink when Terrence says he won't come to mass.  It does.  I see the younger parents little children in the Toddler corner at mass all dressed up in their sleeveless dresses, playing house with their new little stuffed rabbits,  their ruffly little socks peeking out from under their dress as they sit on the rug and wait for the priest to invite them up to the altar.  My heart is soft for the days when I was a younger parent and  my favorite little people eagerly awaited the arrival of the Easter Bunny, and did their best to sit through mass, while peeking at Pokemon cards and matchbox cars in their madras short pockets and Polly Pocket dolls in their little pouch purses.

My own brother Mike has a grandchild of his own, who wears a pretty little taffeta Easter dress and hat. Maybe she will get a little live chick in her Easter Basket too, one day which will grow into a duck and follow her around.

But every Easter, as far back as I can remember was much too cold for sleeveless dresses.
We are awaiting warmer temperatures and the new life of spring, letting go of outgrown clothes, and shiny Mary Jane shoes. We are wearing sweaters over our sleeveless dresses, eager to step into new seasons, but holding onto what we must to bear the chill that comes before change arrives. We are holding dear the memories of Easter's past, with hopes of Easter's future; Grandkids with shiny Mary Janes and ruffly pink socks. Ducks that follow you around the yard but only for a short time, as greener pastures are seeking them, and they are seeking greener pastures, dotted with pastel Easter eggs as far as the eye can see.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Awakening

The mountain awakes at 5 am
Before that
audible silence

I  go out with my camera.
To experience the awakening
of the birds and my new camera lens

I  take  note of  the direction
from which their songs arise;
Their communication
with themselves
each other,

One  by one
they arrive
together, a crescendo

 one song

I notice  them
throughout the day
they, now
my  co-pilots

and then
In the same manner in which their song arose
They decide on silence
A time for every purpose

and suddenly
only their silence remains

It seems like I am alone:
but only for a moment.

Awake or asleep
I revisit
how pure the revisiting

away for a moment
or  an eternity
Awake or asleep

Only for a moment
at a time.