I took swimming lessons at the YWCA the summer that I completed the fourth grade, the summer that my sister died. Treading, from afar on the tiled deck, seemed almost relaxing. The counselor had on her swim cap, with the elastic strap and fastener held under her chin. She invited us in almost lazily with a large smile on her face. I couldn’t tell from my angle that her legs were moving furiously under the water. I was tested a couple of weeks later. I timed in for a full thirty seconds. Treading water was something that has always remained a challenge for me. I can float and swim both on my belly and on my back at a decent rate. Treading water seemed synonymous with how I walked on the earth back them. Everything seemed hard.
I haven’t written since January 20. Shortly after that date we’d received the call from the hospice nurse that my Dad was declining. By the 25th, she suggested that we call family for last good-byes. He was moving quickly into his transition. We sat with him for the next three days. We prayed. All of us. Family members wove in and out of the room. He knew us. He gave a little wave of his hand whenever we were in his vision. He crossed over on the twenty-eighth of January. I feel as though I’ve been treading water since then.
There’s usually a check list in my head at all times. It’s part of my monkey-brain. I jump from one thing to the next, making sure that everything is okay. The check list has changed from making sure my dad’s needs were met, to funeral arrangements, and business calls, to now. My check list has turned to re-checking. Was I there enough for him? Did I do the best for him? Was he comfortable? Mostly, was I fully present as his daughter? My head tells me yes. My heart has tricked me a couple of times into feeling I could have done more. My head reminds me that I did the best I could for the man, who at all the stops of life, did the best he could for me. We were a great team.
Last night I woke up thinking that a big part of my life is gone. Duh! Of course, it is. Yesterday, I had a short meditation and there he was walking toward me readying for a game of dominoes. This is a process, not an event. At some point, I’d placed a picture of The Never-Ending Story on my Facebook page. The quote is “Nothing is lost… everything is transformed.” I will see how that will manifest in my life. I feel him. I see him. Our love continues. He is with Mom, my sister, and his parents and siblings again. I’ve been blessed to have him all of these years.
I’ve the deep desire to go to the beach. I know that I can feel him there too. We spent many afternoons there during the last couple of years. It’s too cold to jump in the water. I won’t tread furiously. I think this time I will let the ocean’s energy wash over me in the cold breeze. I will allow the healing to be a gentle process. I will just be.
What could I possibly write about the full Super Blood Wolf Moon? I can say that it coincides with the only full lunar eclipse of 2019. I’ve read Chani Nicholas’s and Heather’s at Rising Moon Healing Center takes on it. They are experts at reading the moon and I expect you to run over to their websites and learn all of the intricacies of what this auspicious moon brings to your life in star and sun signs and all the rest. To me, the full wolf moon is the time to remember the homeless and the hungry. The ones who pull blankets over themselves as they lay against the cold concrete sidewalks and the ones who do the same in forests, less visible, but are there never the less.
In the image, I see the wolf howling for those who are still in need. I hear the plaintive cry to be heard. The wolf who is true to his purpose, sticks steadfastly to his message, to his relationships, to his mission. I too call out into the night and hope that I can stick to my purpose too. The challenge of praying to the moon is to be aware of prayers answered and to proceed with intent and love. The notion that I or my life will be transformed with the full moon is just that- a notion. I must heed my task throughout the year along with the waxing and waning of the energies of the moon. It’s the time between the astrologer’s blog post that counts the most. I must stay true- like the wolf.
Tonight, I shuffled Graciella’s oracle deck. I breathed, centered, and with Graciella’s energy melded with mine, we chose a card from the deck. We pulled the South-Sur Card.
Walk in trust and innocence. Know that you are taken care of. Look to the sun and let it caress your face. There are things that may be unclear, may be harsh, or that you are unable to understand. Drop your shoulders and breathe. As the energy of the moon, as the energy of the sun, and the stars enfold you, know that there is something much bigger than you in process. Being vulnerable, allowing that we don’t know everything, or have all the answers all of the time is often felt as burdensome. Look to see where the magic is. Grant that Something, wonderful and good, the power to calm and to soothe you. Love is the answer.
Yesterday I updated my blog site and I’m totally unfamiliar with this new style of blogging that is all behind the scenes to the finished product. That just about wraps up the way everything is going in my life. The exterior seems fairly smooth but the interior me is adjusting to all things new and different. Last Sunday evening, Graciella and I drew the Change/ Cambios oracle card and it was on point as always.
Today was filled with holiday shopping, visiting my Dad at the assisted living facility, and grocery shopping. It all went off without a hitch other than the increased traffic that’s to be expected at this time of year. It all seemed mundane except for the car that was pulled over on the expressway filled with bullet holes. It made me think of how fortunate I am and that my loved one or myself wasn’t in that car or that I don’t have a child in a cage awaiting deportation and that I walked throughout the day with my spouse bickering at times like spoiled teenagers. I’m truly blessed. I wrote a few pages in my second Daisy novel WIP and got a nudge from Graciella. It was time to pull this week’s card
We smudged ourselves and the Oracle. We shuffled the cards, fanned them out on my writing desk, and pulled the one that called out. Together we pulled the East/Este card.
I immediately think of Morning Tobacco prayers that call to the four directions. The East is the place of the new day, new beginnings, the light that is within us and in our surroundings. It is the place of Eagle spirit that according to Sams in her Animal Medicine cards tells us to stay in the light of Spirit and not to get mired in the mud as can easily happen when we don’t stay in the light.
We learn to shine our shine as very young children. At some point it becomes a choice whether we want to be in the light and not get stuck in the negativity that is so prevalent as we age and are offered choices to gossip, to be mean, not to give an answer, or maybe laugh if someone fumbles or trips. This card reminds us about the peace and tranquility that comes to us in the simplicity of illumination. Today I see the image of the card as one of growth and of being tethered to beauty if we allow it. The barren trees may be from our backgrounds, maybe we had a childhood wasn’t that great or happy, but today we still have the opportunity to meet and greet the light of the sun that is rising. That whatever the background or our baggage we can still make the choice to be in the light. That whatever is going on around us in this chaotic and dark world filled with charlatans and persons who may not want to be in the light, we can not only be in the light but be the light.
Make your choice, pray to golden eagle, that you too, may fly high with Spirit!
The notion of in-between times was so romantic to me when I first heard of them. I’d learned of the power of Spirit coming through at dawn and dusk. Those were the times to meditate and to slide through those slivers of space where I could experience more than my seeming regular world could afford me. I learned to scry water, to read cards, to listen with all of my senses and slowly built a foundation to always be in touch with Spirit.
This mid-morning, I find myself sitting at my computer. I am writing a few more pages in my slowly emerging second Daisy mystery novel. There’s a strong feeling of peace within my heart. I’ve placed all other things aside for this time. I’ve come to realize this is an in-between time too. We received the shipment of our boxes of personal belongings that we sent up from Puerto Rico as we prepared to place our house on the market. We opened them last night and pulled out pots, pans, and art work from Puerto Rican artisans that we cherished and enjoyed several times a year on our trips to the island. I placed a few pieces of art up on my wall and can now enjoy them every day of the year.
This in-between time is bittersweet. I loved my little house in Puerto Rico. This is a time of letting go but also a time of accepting new things into my life. As I wait for a call from the realtor, I pray that the family who is meant to have the house ambles through the serene neighborhood. That they may speak with one of the vecinos who were so helpful to me over the years. The ones who shared food with my Dad. The ones who helped fix the television for him when he started losing the ability to do the things that we take for granted. The ones who called me to tell me it was time to check on him and that the time he needed me more than he wanted had finally come.
This chasm of time is one for Spirit to come through. The feeling of serenity is strong in my office/spiritual space. It is strong within me. It reminds me of walking through the Camuy caves in Puerto Rico. The bats hung above us occasionally tittering. The rocks whispered secrets from our ancient ones. The waters trickled- gently guiding us- ensuring we wouldn’t skate on the slippery paths we tread. I am grateful for this time. I can accept the changes that life brings and anticipate the beautiful new days ahead. I can sit in this moment of time and listen as Spirit tells me that all is okay for today.
The full pink moon called me out of a deep slumber this morning. I realize that I’ve been writing a little something about the full moons this year although I admit I don’t really know anything about astrology or astronomy. I do like to think about what the month will bring in terms of the phases of the moon. The moons just call to me. I am a daughter of the moon.
The idea of a pink moon is compelling. It reminds me of things new and tender and gentle. The image I chose to represent this moon is one of beauty. As I think about the moon a few images jump out at me. The weather has started to change here in NYC. The flowering trees are budding. The bushes are showing growth and the streets are cleaner from the heavy rains that are kinder to our neighborhoods than many of us are.
Yesterday, I was picking up the smaller branches left over from the nor’easter that devastated our area in PA. As I was walking across the lawn, piling up the remains, I felt a sense of loss and grief about the beautiful pine tree that had come down in the storm. I knew deep inside that the other trees missed it too. I told my spouse and we planned to do a corn meal prayer to acknowledge all that it has meant to us over the years that we have been on the property.
We had thought about taking the tree down a couple of years ago. It groaned. It whistled. It made all sorts of noise and it was huge. We were fearful that it would come down on our house or fall toward the front of the property and come down on cars on the road. We had a tree specialist who came out and told us that the tree was just talking to us. That it had some years left in it and we should leave it alone. We did. It left when it was ready.
The tree meant many wonderful things to us. It shaded and protected us from the sometimes harsh elements. It was a home to many a crow, blue jay, or hawk that came to a stop there for a rest. It also gave the hummingbirds a place to sit between their jaunts to the feeders filled with sweet waters. The tree was life. A gentle life that we experienced as we sat on the porch on many a warm sunny day. We are thankful for our time with that tree and we our now getting used to the openness in that space. The sun shines into our living room a bit more now without the tree’s foliage blocking it.
Bringing those thoughts to the pink moon, I am again visualizing new things. Things that are new need gentle tending to, like plants, flowers, new friendships, projects and especially, our feelings. This is a time of growth. Of being gardeners of our lives. What have we let go of that no longer serves us? What needs pruning? What would we like to see bloom? How is it do we wish to be in the world?
Welcome to the newness of the spring and to the newness in ourselves!
Social media forums such as Facebook and Twitter have me thinking about all the books I haven’t written and all the planned creative work that sits on the shelves in my mind and office. I curl up my toes at the photos of people who are seemingly doing it all. They are guest appearing and guest blogging all over America, while getting their writing published. On my good days, I cheer the completed projects and am contented to be connected with such illustrious people. On gloomy days, I ponder all I haven’t done yet.
I remember being taken aback when I went to Julia Alvarez’s website that showed the covers of her published books and a note that said something to the effect of ‘I’m not blogging because I’m writing.’ Boo-yah! This was on the heels of being advised of the necessity of blogging to connect with readers and writers alike. I’m told my writing career depends on it.
If you take a good look at my blog post dates you’ll see I don’t blog all that often. People haven’t swarmed to read every word and make insightful and inciteful comments. On a day of light, I congratulate myself on the creative work I’ve offered to the Universe and on a somber day, think it’s never enough and possibly, I’m not enough. Being in the middle is a perfect reminder that ‘shoulds ‘and ‘coulds’ are to be avoided in my vocabulary of words.
As a ‘literati’ (dubbed years ago by my doctoral dissertation chair) which can be defined as one of the educated class or one interested in literature (I like the second definition better, yup) I must be true to the rhythm of the words that flow through me and to the ever changing patterns of life. I’m well aware that to compare is to despair.
I’m proud of the creative work I’ve completed and birthed into the world and excited about the new creations waiting to be born. Gestation periods vary, some creations are birthed rather quickly, others are high risk and need extra help, while others are endured and enjoyed simultaneously. It’s essential for me as a writer to ‘be in the middle’ and do my part just for today.
Blogging has helped me to develop the muscle of not ruminating over a brief written piece, to happily realize I can change my mind about my opinions, and to continue developing my voice on paper. I also get the pleasure of sharing myself with others and that is something that is often missing in the isolation of writing as a practice. So for today, I will blog, as well as continue digging into my other projects. A few are standing in the wings, readying to take their places on stage.
At my playwright unit at The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, one of my fellow members mentioned that I was already a writer when I started the school year. While that is true I was quick to interject that I'm brand new in terms of playwriting. Somehow or another my journey has taken me to this very new world and one that I am totally loving.
When I was still struggling with my first drafts of my novel, Covering the Sun with My Hand, a friend/producer saw the possibilities of the prose turning into play. I hadn't even finished the book and had quite a ways to go. What she did was to plant the seed for future growth. We chatted over it at dinner and stole some office time creating the vision. This was over five years ago and we both moved on but the seeds began to grow slowly.
The tender green shoots are starting to emerge from the fertile earth. While the novel was published in 2013 it's only since Autumn of 2014 that I've seriously sat to craft the play. The guidance of the directors, Mario Golden and Andreas Robertz, at the PRTT, along with my peers have helped immeasurably in the process. This is not one of those things one should do alone. Some of it, yes, all of it, impossible!
Playwrighting is not an alchemical process. I get to sit and develop dialogue without the pleasure of explaining ideas and concepts through my character's thoughts. It's all action! I critique the other student plays, listen to their opinions and possible solutions about each other's various scenes and monologues. I get to sit quietly and pay close attention to what they've suggested for my work and go home and work some more. Very unglamorously glamorous. I carry this process wherever I go, on the train, in the supermarket, and often jot down notes wherever I happen to be. Much of this is like my novel writing but also very different.
If I'd been told I was going to be a novelist I wouldn't have believed it. Playwrighting is yet another thing that has taken me by surprise. Recently during one of my morning meditative runs I felt the presence of my mother who crossed over about fifteen years ago. Her loving energy along with her pride infused me. I know that my childhood filled with outings to Broadway plays and musicals is the compost that enriched the soil. The nutrient rich humus of my early life have made today possible. I've been preparing to be a playwright for a lifetime. My mom wanted me to know something different than the life we inhabited on the daily. Our lives were good but she wanted me to experience other things than what was on the street in the Park Slope of Old.
On May 20, 2015 I will be sitting in the audience of a beautiful theatre once again. The difference is that this time I will be listening to the words that I put down on paper, creating a story of a family that is troubled yet whose members are devoted to one another. I so look forward to also hearing the words of my fellow PRTT playwright unit members come to life on stage.
This evening of reading is an open event and free to the public. Check out the details for this and other events at http:pregonesprtt.org
Hope to see you there.
-Let's do something new together.
I spent a good part of my Friday writing poetry. I was really happy about what I wrote and decided to share one of my ‘poignant’ pieces with my spouse. Since we’ve talked about poetry being memoir, she looked at me quizzically and asked if what I wrote really happened to me. It had. She continued to ask me questions about events and feelings that I thought were quite apparent in the piece. I guess I should have reread it a few times, aloud, before reading it to someone else.
Reading and rereading one’s work aloud is highly recommended. It sounds different. Errors are caught that are easily missed when reading in one’s ‘head.’ The piece I read to my spouse sounded flat even to my own ears. In my mind’s eye, the images were real and colorful. The rhythm of the words was there until they came out of my mouth.
It’s interesting how I can spend long minutes on social media- reading stuff that is not at all meaningful and that whittles away at my quality time. I should use some of that valuable time doing valuable things. Sometimes when I do read something I wrote out loud I rush through it. I get bored. I don’t like it very much. These are exactly the reasons that I should take the time with my work that it deserves. It actually may not be at all good and should go out with the trash. Sometimes I’ve listened to readers who just say words out loud and don’t really seem to be sharing a message. The pieces are a bit like ‘word salad’ or ‘echolalia.’ Just because it rhymes doesn’t mean anything. If a writer is writing to impress with extraordinary vocabulary, make sure that piece is read with extraordinary people. Most of us, maybe just me, wants to enjoy what we are listening to and not trying to figure it out.
For myself, I will go back to that poem and redo it. The tale behind it is worth it. I’ll read it loudly in my living room. I may even eventually like it and then when it’s ready I’ll share it with someone else.
There are seasons for a reason, I suppose. I look around at the barren trees and know for sure that they will be abundant with leaves during the coming Spring. When I garden, I do so in accordance with the higher laws of nature. I won’t sow seeds in December, that is a time for quiet; the time to be still and empty, readying for the time of growth.
It’s the same with writing. I designate a couple of days a week for ‘serious’ writing- whatever that means. Sometimes life taps me on the shoulder and reminds that I have other things to do; visit friends or family, go on errands or take care of a cold by wrapping myself up in blankets while sipping on a hot cup of tea. If I listen to the laws of nature it’s important for me not to get too rigid about my writing schedule.
A woman I knew once told me about her father who was a fairly appreciated author. She said he would close himself in his office after dinner each evening so he could write. For me, this image is a poignant one. The closing of that door seems quite interesting. For him, I’m sure, it was an image of fulfilling one’s dream and promise as a published author when he entered his office filled with his beloved writing tools. For her, the door closing signified a time to be separate from her father who was away at work all day. The melancholic tone in her voice told me it was an image she regrets from her childhood.
As I write this, I think I am giving myself permission to interact with my loved ones. I can use my train time for writing my poetry, jotting notes about the characters in my current project, and meditate on the course of action that a particular protagonist is taking. There have been times that I’ve not been pleased to put the pen down and then have been blessed with a particular insight or observation that enhances my writing. So for today, I will write according to nature’s laws.