I woke up this morning thinking about my mom, and how she did what she did to make my and my brother’s childhood fun, and really…magical.
She absolutely loved the holidays, and would buy decorations for every one, even the smaller ones. She hung cloth banners in the skylight of our house for all of them. Christmas, though, was her favorite. We got stockings and presents under the tree every year, and the house was decorated to the nines with Christmas lights on the roof and Frosty the Snowman lit up outside, with some reindeer. Inside stood her nutcracker collection, a talking Santa and many other delights. She wouldn’t rest until the banners were up and all holiday details and decorations were in place, up to and including the wreath on the door.
There are good moms everywhere, but I’ve never seen anyone take the job of “Mom” and run with it quite the way she did. She went all out, from Easter egg hunts for us and our cousins, to camping trips with the cook stove so we could all have delicious meals while at the ocean or in the wilderness, and she always had an excited gleam in her eye to be out there camping.
As we got older, her coolness spread to our friends and youth group. For years, we went on summer trips to a beach house in Oregon that I remember with fondness, and we also put on a haunted house in the old barn at our church. We all had such a blast dressing up and scaring the bejesus out of people.
Mom’s way of meditating was taking care of the plants all around the property – 3 levels worth of plants. It was a huge undertaking but she did it lovingly.
I never got the feeling that she was happy to see us head off to school. If she ever had that, she hid it well. She took such joy, delight and pride in being a mom that I don’t think it ever crossed her mind to be “rid of” us, even for a while. The pure essence of loving kindness surrounded her, always and it really did make it hard to leave for school – up to and including university. In a sense, now that she is gone I’m sad that I did, or didn’t go to a closer college, because I would’ve had that much more time with her. Luckily, during our elementary school years she would take us to the ocean once a year, letting us skip school that day so we could fly kites with our family dog, and go on the go-karts and bumper cars, and many other fun little places.
Since I did go away to school, it gave me the ability to return to see the precious gift I had in her. I appreciate that she always encouraged the writer in me – and didn’t mind so much that I never had kids. She always said “I’m not old enough to be a grandma yet” with a little smile. Deep down, I think she knew that it wasn’t in me to give birth to babies but to stories instead, and she was cool with that. My dad always wanted grandchildren but my mom didn’t worry about it…sort of the reverse of most families. I credit her for awakening my imagination as a child. She read so many books including the Oz books, which she collected and which I now have, to us as bedtime stories, so I went to sleep dreaming of those characters. My own books lay dormant within me until the time was right to write, and out came the story of Ninja Nanny and her adventures in babysitting and in becoming a superhero.
For my birthday this year, my boyfriend got me the Wizard of Oz box set which has the original movie in 3D and special features, and a number of other Oz memorabilia, which I’ll add to my mom’s collection when I can display it all. Awesome gift! It also came with a journal, which I wrote this by hand in before typing it, in honor of Mom – Sharon. Thanks, Mom, for being such a powerhouse and an example of how to be, all life long.
Though most of you reading this didn’t know my mom, this is the way I spread her unconditional love out to you, and I hope you feel it. She loved everyone. You have her love, and mine as well.
It’s the season I love the most, autumn and welcome to it! As much as I love the other seasons, this one makes me feel magical, mystical and creative, and it is usually when I become the most inspired, and productive in the creative process. The world is cooling down again to prepare for the hibernation of winter, but life is gearing up as school begins once again after the playful summer, so it feels like there is a swirling of energy and a natural balance occurring. Also, maybe I feel most at home as I was born in late October. (I was supposed to be a Halloween baby, but my parents went dancing on 10/28 and I think that made me want to dance my way into the world a few days earlier than expected!)
Right now I am focused on the reds, ambers and golds of the leaves as they change colors. This is not as apparent here in the Phoenix area as it was in Washington state where I moved from last year, but if we drive a bit north, we can still witness it. These colors are the colors of the first three chakras (red, orange, yellow), so the issues of survival and having a solid foundation tend to arise during the autumn, for me and for others I know. I’m doing several things at the moment to bring in money, but at the heart of it, a writer I will always be, to the core.
As you know, I have two fiction books out and I’m going to be taking a break from those to write a self-help novel in November, during Nanowrimo. (If you don’t know what this is, go to nanowrimo.org and check it out). I’m very much looking forward to these intense periods of writing during which I will sequester myself with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate – creative juice -and try to reach word count by month’s end. I have other projects going on as well, both literary and musical, and hope to gain some ground on those also. I’d love to connect with fellow creative souls. Let me know what you have going on right now. Let’s inspire and encourage each other! Please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do my best to respond in a timely fashion.
Whomever you are and whatever you’re up to, I hope you’re enjoying the energy of autumn and the current lunar cycles – harvest moon and hunter’s moon and all the festivities that go along with this season.
One copy of YA Fiction book Ninja Nanny: The Beginning being given away – Someone WINS on June 16th. It could be you. Good luck!
Just kidding. Your mama doesn’t need the drama either.
Someone complimented me the other day on my “quiet strength.” Although it can be difficult to see that within oneself, whether we know it or not we all possess this. Reaching your power and holding onto it can be more challenging than seeing it in the first place, but not impossible. Here are some ideas on how to do so, how to deal with what happens in the world, and how to regain your balance:
Sit quietly and watch the world go by. This simple technique can be done anywhere there are people to watch, once you have a half an hour or more to yourself (when the kids are asleep, when the party is over, when the spouse is away, at the park, at the mall, on your lunch or dinner break, etc…hopefully you can carve out this time within your day or night. If not, there are larger issues that should probably be addressed).
Meditate. This is a slightly different version of, but can be used in combination with, the above. You can make this unique to YOU. Do you prefer a yoga class full of people, or a room where you can close the door on the world and be alone? Music, or silence? Incense, candles, or not? A blanket, a meditation pillow, a simple yoga mat, a beanbag, sofa or chair?
Exercise. There is really nothing that compares to this. It helps you digest better, sleep better, think, look and feel better. Find, if you haven’t already, the exercise that brings you to a blissful place—running, martial arts, skiing, swimming, tennis, walking, hiking, climbing, soccer, football, dancing…If you need to pick back up where you left off a while ago, give yourself permission to do so and don’t punish yourself for taking said break. Obviously it happened for a reason.
Read. Step away from your computer, your phone, your TV, your iPad, iPod, Kindle or Nook or whatever screen is staring you in the face, and go for a walk in nature, or have coffee with a friend. Change it up…if you usually get your coffee to go, sit and talk. Reduce your screen time and increase your face time. It’s a healthier choice.
How many times have you stretched today? How much have you enjoyed your physical space, being without doing, in the past week?
Those were the easy ones. The others might require less physical, and more mental/emotional:
Be careful what you give your energy to. Are you in a relationship drama? Office drama? Friend drama? What takes up much of your awake-time brainwave activity? Energy flows where attention goes. How can you make your thoughts more productive and conducive to getting things done? Furthermore, how much are you at peace with your own self? Do you allow yourself space to make mistakes without judgment or criticism? If you give yourself a break, might you be better at giving others a break as well? Perhaps it is time to ease up.
When drama happens, you choose how you react. Do you freak out and get emotional, or do you sit and stew about it unhealthily? Do you think things through logically, or do you listen to what people are saying with their gossipy mouths and choose to believe them? Are you looking for a person to place the blame on? Remember that when you point a finger at someone, three fingers are pointing back at you. If you have done something wrong, own up to and rectify the situation if at all possible. And then move on.
Or, instead of reacting to drama, do you turn and walk away, shifting your focus to face something that brings you peace for some clear thinking before forging ahead to take action and improve the situation? Sometimes shifting the focus off of the situation for all the time it takes can really improve it once we turn back to it.
Visualize how you want your world to be, and then slowly, step by step, bring the vision into the realm of your reality. I recommend visualizing your troubles aboard a ship, and letting that ship drift into the distance. To make a visualization stronger, make it more active, i.e. write what troubles you on a piece of paper, and then burn it in a safe container. There’s a lot of power in practicing visualization, and solutions can become more clear by sending these subconscious signals to the universe to help you with them.
Whether you know/believe it or not, your world is your oyster—your own creation. Your reactions to things reverberate and rattle if they are loud. If they are calm and quiet, they increase the peace of this place.
My final suggestion is a general, blanket statement, meant to be like a warm fleece blanket of comfort over you: don’t get too caught up in whatever is going on that you miss out on joy. Days, weeks, months, and years of your life—make them your own to experience and to live happily. Bring bliss into each moment. Let go of drama. Go out and enjoy color, space, sunlight, moonlight, water, trees. Breathe. Replenish your soul. Let go.
People you meet who want to know what makes you tick and share what makes THEM tick, and the all night conversations that sometimes come from such encounters. Ghost stories. Love stories. The sound of waves. Lots of color on walls, whether paint or art. The feeling of a big bear hug. My cat’s purr. Overhearing someone saying something NICE about someone else. Kissing. Coffee. Compliments. Cookies. Especially fresh peanut butter ones. People who go out of their way to do something that ends up taking your breath away when it’s done. Paying it forward and walking away without hope of a reward. Exercise highs, natural highs, epic evenings after self-induced highs. Loud music that just works. Cleaning a whole house while listening to said loud music. Days when it looks like it’ll rain but then sunshine takes over. Spontaneity and spontaneous trips. A good mystery and a good cup of hot chocolate together. The Central Market. Making jewelry. Dancing. A salad with tons of yumminess in it. Drumming. Learning an art you haven’t tried before. Fresh squeezed juice. Swimming in the summer. Crying because you miss someone so much when a certain song comes on that reminds you of them. Maya Angelou. Sweet-ish red wine. Dark chocolate. Hell, any kind of chocolate. Finding new ways to cook foods you’ve had already but in different combinations. Secret passageways, tree houses, trampolines, tire swings, rope swings over water, hammocks. Stories about people doing what they love and flourishing in whatever that is. Stories about survivors. Movies that make you think long after they’re over. Barbecues, old fashioned picnics, meaningful text messages, stupid hilarious random text messages, boating, sandy beaches, seemingly random but truly cosmic encounters. Portland, Oregon. Oregon coast. Auckland, New Zealand. Hiking. Massages. Sangria in Spain. London. Ellensburg. Road trips. New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment. Reunions. Manette Side Bar. Barnes ‘N Noble. Spiral staircases. Baths. Surprises. Planting trees. Singing. Camping. Doing martial arts. Doing yoga. Camping. Thunder storms. Dressing up for a night on the town. Casual day (or week…if the boss is on vacation) at work. Post Alley. Seeing people you know from home in Europe or Hawaii or some other place far from home. Havarti with dill. Spoken word poetry. Speaking French and Spanish. Good vibes.
-I wrote this on May 19, 2009. Sometimes it’s good to get back in touch with ourselves. 🙂