Thursday, December 31, 2009

moments along the path

Happy New Year's eve to everyone out there. I have a few inspirations for the year ahead, most of them revolve around seeing things, people and experiences differently. I have challenged myself to have a show...a show of my photos, work and even writings, in collaboration with Shane's art. I have challenged myself to let go of being different, of being more, of being better. I have challenged myself to just "let go" this year. Throwing away the subtle aggression of trying to sculpt myself into something acceptable and just find the beauty in what I am and perhaps to shut up and listen to the life in and around me. Yep, those are my intentions.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

owen in the snow

Owen, Shane and Baba (aka Shane's pop, Ronaldo) drove all the way to Texas. These playful photos were captured along the way. I love to see the child in Owen seep out. In those passing moments his freedom and laughter are contagious, swelling my heart with joy and pride.

a very big old tree

We met this beautiful old tree at the Goose Island State Park near Fulton Beach. Below you can read the endearing quote taken from a plaque in the park.
Welcome to my home.
I am a live oak tree and I am very old. I have seen spring return more than a thousand times. I can remember hundreds of hurricanes, most I'd rather forget, but I withstood. There was a big fire once. I hate fire.
Around me are my offspring. We are an old-dune woodland community. We provide shelter and acorns for squirrels, jays, raccoons, bobwhite, deer, javelina and most other members of our community.
For most of my life I belonged only to myself. Now I belong to you, or so I'm told. Humpf! Branch breakers and root tramplers the lot of you.
Some years ago someone came and patched my cracks, trimmed my dead branches, killed my pests and healed my fungus rots. Was that you? I'm feeling much better, thank you.
I am tired now. You may leave me in peace when you are ready to go. Please leave my home as you found it. I have important things to do. The seasons are changing again and I must get ready.

our holiday trip to Rockport, TX

I have so many captured moments to share with you. I will try to edit, simplify and organize them in the hopes of sharing a bit of the sights along the way.

On the beach:On the water:
In the wind:At the docks:On the land:At the table:Inspiration along the way:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

holiday update

Okay, just to put things in perspective...as soon as I wrote my preachy "simplify" post preceding this one, I became a frantic holiday mess, over run by the Christmas train and bleeding money with an ongoing pang of more. Jeez. So much for my enlightening commentary. This year I simply feel overwhelmed and overdone.
New mantra...
RELAX!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Creating meaningful family traditions

Here is an edited version of an article I wrote for a recent newsletter:
Every holiday season, whether those occurring in spring, summer, fall or the most boisterous season of all, winter, I am astounded by the buying power of a celebration. As my children were born I began to question the rush and bustle of our cultural traditions and ask, “How can I make each season meaningful and nourishing for myself and my family”. Most of our holiday celebrations revolve around the seasonal shifts of nature, because nature is something that a child can deeply connect with. In winter the nights are growing longer and the days are getting shorter. The deciduous trees stand bare, while the evergreens alone remind us of greener days to come. The beginning of winter coincides with our most widely celebrated holidays, whether Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Solstice. If we are interested in making seasonal celebrations meaningful, personal and nourishing, we can employ an inquisitive lens to our existing holiday celebrations.
I did this a few years ago after a particularly manic holiday. My family celebrates both Hannukah and Christmas, often throwing in a dash of solstice here and there for good measure. A few years ago the frenzy of buying and wrapping, baking and stuffing led to a holiday that vomited gifts with a spasm of “more”. I was horrified. After opening presents for hours, I was spent. I watched my eldest son drunk with presents and asked myself, “Why?”. I realized that I didn’t have a reasonable answer. I spent the next year asking a lot of questions and I came up with a short list of goals that I hoped to achieve through family celebrations. The list included: peace, connection to nature and family, cultivating a sense of magic, etc.
Now, as I meet the winter holidays, I have several new holiday traditions that honor these goals, while incorporating some deeply nourishing family traditions. One important change revolves around my holiday mantra, “simplify”! Children don’t need chaos to experience the magic of the season, nor do we. In simplifying our seasonal celebrations I find peace, connection and a meaningful celebration with my family. In asking ourselves, “why” we do a particular thing or celebrate in a particular way, we begin to clarify our deeper intention and cultivate a seasonal celebration that is personal, meaningful and deeply nourishing for the whole family.
Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

some pictures from the road

Here are a few captured memories from my recent trip to Arizona with Owen.

The most bella Grande' Cia in all the world!!
Grandma Oni (aka my mama) and O in front of our favorite greasy spoon.Laughter at 98, I love this woman whose arms held me and now mine get to hold her.Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 4, 2009

growing up

'Tis the season and once again Owen has asked me, "Is Santa real", I answered with the same vague assurance that "Magic is real". This year it fell a little flatter than last, which fell flatter than the year previous. He is almost 10 years old and is asking a sincere question, hoping for an answer that he has already stopped believing true. Owen is growing up and although I have never been a proponent of holiday hype, the loss of Santa IS a rite of passage. I pondered Owen's question for a few days and realized that he was ready.
Tonight, while Bodhi napped, Shane and I sat with him and answered his question. We told him that the spirit of giving is real, the magic is real. Taking his hands, I invited Owen to join the circle of magic keepers. We lit a candle. We sat cross legged in a circle, Shane, Owen and I. We invited Owen to help keep magic alive. His eyes teared at the loss, rites of passage aren't easy.

As his Mom, I have witnessed Owen's arrival in the world, with his deep, penetrating eyes still swimming in a sea of infinite possibility. I watched him grow, crawl, walk, run, read, and cope with a divorce and it's accompanying sorrows. I watched him mature and each new thing has been a celebration and a loss. He is taking the early steps into manhood. My hope is that he will bring the beauty, the hope, the magic and the mystery of childhood with him. As Owen stood and left the circle I stared after him and was reminded that as we leave childhood our magic isn't lost, it just translates into hope and hope kindled will forever remind us of a world ripe with possibility and awe. A world that, as magic keepers, it is our task to remember.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

patience

"Be patient towards all that is unresolved in you and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms, like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Live the questions now."
-Rainer Maria Rilke
I can remember the first time I read those words. I was in my early twenties and I was composed entirely of the unresolved. Now, in my mid-thirties, I have glimpsed the hem of resolution. When a moment of clarity arises, I want to grasp it and hold it and in that attempt I crystallize around that passing glimpse of truth, hardening at the edges. This pertinent piece of advice from Rilke's, "Letters to a Young Poet", rings as true today as it did 15 years ago and I am reminded to breathe into the question and be patient.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I have been in a bramble of my own making lately...too immersed in my own glimmering reflection on the glassy surface of life to enjoy the wide horizon beyond. Like Narcissus, I tumbled into the clear water and for a while I floated uncertain in its murky depths and then something unusual happened...my gaze cleared and I found that where I once imagined myself isolated and alone there was now a feeling of buoyancy all around... a feeling of expansion...as if the wall of self expanded opening, breathing, letting go...and the petty "I" seemed like a dissonant chord in the distance amidst a mighty symphony of infinite beauty. AAAAHHHH! There is beauty all around.
As we approach Thanksgiving, I find myself overcome with gratitude for the whole of it. For the shit and the glory- for the year in total- for the losses and the pain, for the vistas and celebrations, for this moment of letting go.
Happy THANKSgiving
Happy ThanksGIVING!

Monday, November 16, 2009

snow

Snow, snow and more snow. Oh my! I must say that I have so little appreciation for all things cold and with winter dawning enthusiastically, I find myself dreaming of balmy nights and the swaying ebb and flow of sea on sand. Now I know how unproductive and un-present that is. I am not so far immersed in self pitying to miss my rebellion against what IS and yet when the snow falls in cascades of white, blanketing the city, I can't help but appreciate the beauty with a melancholic longing for Spring.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I woke up this morning to the busy chirping of 3 nine year old boys, talking Pokemon, talking girls, TALKING- at 6AM. I crawled out of bed and opened the door to tell them to keep the sound level down. I stumbled into the back room and my jaw dropped as I passed the window. The sunrise was extraordinary. As my eyes grew accustomed to so much beauty, I wondered how many take-your-breath-away-moments I have slept through. I savored this one alongside three oohing and awing boys and hope to wake up in time to enjoy the next one.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
- Albert Einstein
This incredibly gorgeous woman is my mama and the fabulous dog trainer and founder of Dandy Dawgs Nine Lives for Canines. I just wanted to show her off, to let her know that I am so proud of her and to tell the world how glad I am glad to call her friend and mom.
I know it's a wee bit sappy, but hey anyone who knows me KNOWS that I AM a wee bit sappy.

hiking again

We went for a hike up in Evergreen at Alderfer's Three Sister Park and it was LUSCIOUS. The weather was utterly dreamy and the constant visual feast of moss and snow, field and wood was satisfying in a way that only nature can be. Bodhi was dressed in his Pirate best and yelled "ON JARD (close to 'on guard')" to any passerby worth their salt. Owen looked absolutely dashing in Papa's borrowed hat and entertained himself with a constant dialogue of Pokemon sightings and adventures that drove the other members of the party to distraction, particularly those adult members straining for the nourishing sound of silence. Maya(the dog) made it all the way through the hike without serious threat of bodily harm from leash weary parents and Mama and Papa were just happy to be in nature with two happy boys on a brilliant afternoon. "Don't just do something. Stand there!"
-Buddhist saying