Today I went back to place I lived in Philadelphia. I haven’t seen since the day I ran away in 1968. That’s 50 years ago. It was an institution in Philadelphia called Stenton Child Center. My younger sister and I were supposed to feel fortunate that we were in such a nice place. Most of the places the state provided for abandon children were pretty run down. There is no place on earth that could be better than being with your own family no matter how difficult things are at home.
I didn’t know how I would react when I actually saw it. As we began to approach I felt only a moment panic, that quickly turned to curiosity. I couldn’t believe how much it looked the same after all these years. The memories so fresh in my mind and stories yet to tell. I couldn’t go inside because it’s now a shelter for homeless families, but I was okay with that because I felt like the monster it represented in my mind for so many years no longer had a hold on me.
On my way home I wondered about how this applies to what I wrote about yesterday in relation to place of shifting I find myself. Of all the different places I’ve been, this was by far the worst ground I’d ever worked in my life. But it’s also yielded the most growth in my life. It was a time of planting, growing, and nurturing. It was full of many cultivating opportunities that could have yielded many weeds, but instead continues to teach and bear much fruit.
I am not only in the winter of the season, but nature teaches another lesson in my life, that I am in the winter of my shifting cultivation. A time to rest, re-evaluate, contemplate, let go and chill out on a icebergs going with the rivers flow.
“It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”
-William Ernest Henley, “Invictus”
And God is the compass that points the way.
It’s up to me
which way I sail,
Which way I go
Is where I’ll be.
Sometimes I feel
Alone at sea.
Inside of me.
I look for an answer
A narrow telescope.
There is nothing in sight
But a seagull
Why do I forget
Its easy to see.
It can’t get lost,
For its inside of me.
I am after all
Of my soul,
But it’s the compass
That shows me
Way to go.
Sometimes life becomes as twisted as a vine. The tighter it wraps itself around one circumstance after the other it becomes hard to breath. Hard to understand. Hard to think. The desperation to reach and cling, and climb brings us to a standstill. In this place of resting we find the breath of life, and clarity begins to set in. We quench our thirst from a drop of the ocean, and we begin to see that we are a part of something much bigger then ourselves. We begin to feel the need for expression going deeper within where we feed on the nourishment we’ve collected along the way. In the process, we become a bud growing within instead of out. The need to express what we are becoming grows ever stronger until in the mist of all our twisted vines what we were created to be burst forth in all our beauty and glory.
We can become who we were created to be if we stop twisting ourselves up knots. If we stop fighting against ourselves and others. If we stop to listen to the voice…not calling in the wind…but the one that comes from within longing to be expressed through…you…and…me.
Today is International day of peace
I should change the name of my blog to “Flower Girl,” because I do love spreading peace. The thing is I want to be taken serious when I talk about it, and the flower girl tends to be looked at…as having no-clue. My brother told me not long ago that I always reminded him of Janis Joplin. I have no idea where he got that impression except I had a tougher edge to me when I was a teen. I needed that in order to survive the world I was thrust into. Maybe he was talking more about the way she looked, I don’t know. What I do know is that when caught between our own right and wrongs sometimes letting go of all the hurt and anger they cause us…opens up a space for peace to come in.
I was with a group of ladies the other day taking a yoga class. At the end, I stayed for a group meditation. In the space of time between yoga and meditation the heaviness of the world events was the subject of talk. One of the ladies asked if we could focus on gratitude. I was thinking to myself how much more attention we put on the things that go wrong rather than the many more things that are still right in our life. The beautiful thing about counting our blessings is that we always find more to be grateful for than all the bad things we place our focus on. Letting go allows the peace to come in and when the peace comes in it gives us a healthier outlook on what we can do to help and make the world a better place. We could all aspire to be a little more like St. Francis who not only said, “Let peace begin with me,” but lived it as an example to all of us.
May you have a peace filled day!
I’m learning that people sometimes want to turn you into what they want you to be. Do you know anyone like that in your life? Maybe they don’t like the way you do things, so they tell you to stop doing that. I get that a lot. Maybe they don’t like the way you say things so they tell you to stop barking. I get that a lot too. Maybe be they don’t like the way you dress so they put their clothes on you.
Little people are especially good at playing this game. They like to pretend that I’m a little person too. So they put clothes on me. I wish I could say the word stop just so I could be me. I mean how would they like it if I put a tail on them to walk around with all day. I bet it would feel as cumbersome as it does for me to wear a dress.The dog God made me special just the way I am same as He made you as unique as you are.
Yes-sir-ere, that makes me a lucky dog indeed.
Everyone has an opinion of what being in the later years of our life should be. That’s perfectly okay and normal because we each see and experience things from our own perspective. What goes into our perspective is a whirlwind of emotional, physical, psychological, social and spiritual experiences, and let’s not forget the learned behavior we’ve brought with us. The bottom-line is that we don’t know any more about this last stage of life then we did the other stages we went through. However, after many past stages of life I’ve learned that by embracing each one along the way I’ve been able to experience life from a different more deeper perspective than the one before. As I attempt to embrace the senior years of my life, I find myself looking back a lot. Not so much in a longing of wanting to go back, but more of how far I’ve come. These are the years that give birth to all the wisdom I now hold within, and as I discover this, there is a sense of satisfaction in how far I’ve come, what I’ve learned, the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen. As long as I have a clear enough mind I’ll always feel like I can do most things. It is in the trying that I learn my limitations. It is true that growing older is not for wimps. A lot of time and energy is used to get ourselves moving and being a part of life. I’m learning to embrace the limitations as they present themselves, and I work hard at not giving into the gravity that pulls me back into the sitting position where my body would be perfectly happy to park itself.
So, if I talk about being older at times, it’s because I am. If I talk about running out of time, don’t chastise me. Just bring me back to where I am right now. If you think I’m obsessing over it, don’t tell me how to think, but help me to embrace it. And if I can’t hear or understand you, don’t brush me off and say never mind. Give me a chance to hear what you have to say.
In closing I share my opinion of the later years of my life. I am a senior and that’s okay. I am getting older, but I’m not old in the sense of giving up. I’m not afraid to be where I am or say where I’m at in this stage of my life. I’m a senior and that’s okay with me.
At the end of the mini series “Genius,” Einstein is dying, and as his long time secretary looks at him with sadness, he takes a flower from an arrangement and holding it in his hand says, “Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.”
I looked at Tom with a childlike excitement, and said, “I learned that all by myself!”
Just a few simple lines, and yet they hold within them a great awakening, opening up a whole new world for us. You don’t even have to be a genius to discover it yoursełf. It reminds me of when my father-in-law had his cataract surgery. He said he could see things with such clarity and crispness, and the colors were so vivid. When our own blinders are stripped away we can also say, ” I can see clearly now.”
Today as I begin my meditation I’m giving a quote by Albert Einstin to ponder, “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”
A few weeks ago a friend read a quote to me by Napoleon Hill, “In your search for the secret of the method, do not look for a miracle, because you will not find it. You will find only the eternal laws of nature.”
I realized that sometimes I get so caught up in how to make the miracles in my life happen that I actually miss the miricles there are to see. I think to myself often that I know how to do what I need to in order to get from here to there. However, in the process of doing things the way I think I should, I miss out on all there is to see in between where the miricles actually exist.
In dormancy of winter we are like the seed have a time for deep thought and contemplation as we await a new awakening that comes in the spring of our life. We encapsulate all that we’ve learned and gained throughout our lifetime thus far. There is a sense of comfort staying safe within the bounders of our shell, but the spirit within longs to be free to experience more, and grow into the beautiful creation it was created to be.
In the process of new awakening we tend to forget where we’ve been and what we’ve learned thus far. Where we are heading becomes our focus and our senses go into high gear as we begin our journey toward new growth. We drink in the waters and feed off of the earth, and begin to feel an inner warmth that connects material life with the spiritual, pulling us instinctively upward. When we finally burst through the earth and the sun kisses our cheeks we know that which we were seeking was seeking us as well all along. It is in the spring of my new life I feel that warmth of love surround me, I in It, and It in me. Oh, if only I could remain in the warmth of light all the days of my life, but there’s much more life to see, lessons to learn, and growing to do along my journey as the spring of life begins anew…right here where I stand…right now.
“When a knowledgable old person dies, a whole library disappears.” –An old African proverb
I read an article today from my local newspaper titled, “Older people have knowledge to share—if we just listen” by Bob Rudy. It caught my attention for several reasons, one being that I spent time as a hospice volunteer a few years ago listening to the fascinating stories of people’s lives. Not only was it interesting to me, but the way their faces lit up as they told their stories turned out to be a gift for both of us.
I’ve also been working on my families genealogy for over 20 years now. I was fortunate to start it at a time when my parents were still alive, and as I dove into it I found myself wanting to know more about what their life was like growing up. They’ve both been gone a long time now and still I have question I wish I would have asked. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have never taken the time I did though to get to know them. It is true as the quote states as each family member passes away, a whole library disappears.
The other reason this subject is close to my heart is because I am a story teller myself, and as the younger generations calls us, I’m an older person myself. I like the phrase that getting older is not for wimps, because it is a time in a humans life when we have to work really hard to hang onto what we have. Sometimes it even feels like your slowly disappearing, fading into space as we lose our hearing, sight, coordination and many other facilities that make you feel like a child again. But ask us to tell you one of our stories and we become energized. Our eyes will light up, and just maybe we’ll feel like our lives matters once again, and you’ll hear a real live story like the ones you read in a book you borrow from the library.