Connections

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March 16 … was feeling depressed.  I note the date, realizing it is the anniversary of my mother passing away.  No wonder.  I am sure that my two sisters are experiencing this too.  We mourn her absence in different ways that are meaningful and special to each of us.  I remember her by lighting a candle near her photograph, put a flower from my garden in a vase and light an incense stick.  For many years I relived the moment when I heard of her passing suddenly in India …  I was in the U.S.A.   In more recent years I recount the close and happy times, our last conversation and the times we laughed and joked together.

At one time each of our umbilical cords, my sisters’ and mine,  were connected at different periods to the lady who carried us for a total of twenty-seven months between the three of us.  At each birth these cords were physically cut but remain connected yet to her and to each other.  We shared the same womb at different times and left it through the same place to enter the world.  We three know the same space, the quiet and hush of sloshing fluid which sustained us for nine months.  These cords have been stressed and tight sometimes but the tension collapses over and over again to bring us even closer. That is what she would have wanted and we feel each time that we have not failed her faith in us.

We miss her but lately I found solace in a beautiful passage in a book “Nothing Special” by Charlotte Joko Beck.  The essence of our mother lives on.

“We are rather like whirlpools in the river of life.  
In flowing forward, a river or stream may hit rocks, branches, or irregularities in the ground, causing whirlpools to spring up spontaneously here and there. Water entering one whirlpool quickly passes through and rejoins the river, eventually joining another whirlpool and moving on. Though for short periods it seems to be distinguishable as a separate event, the water in the whirlpools is just the river itself. The stability of a whirlpool is only temporary. The energy of the river of life forms living things—a human being, a cat or dog, trees and plants—then what held the whirlpool in place is itself altered, and the whirlpool is swept away, reentering the larger flow. The energy that was a particular whirlpool fades out and the water passes on, perhaps to be caught again and turned for a moment into another whirlpool.

 

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Connections

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March 16 … was feeling depressed.  I note the date, realizing it is the anniversary of my mother passing away.  No wonder.  I am sure that my two sisters are experiencing this too.  We mourn her absence in different ways that are meaningful and special to each of us.  I remember her by lighting a candle near her photograph, put a flower from my garden in a vase and light an incense stick.  For many years I relived the moment when I heard of her passing suddenly in India …  I was in the U.S.A.   In more recent years I recount the close and happy times, our last conversation and the times we laughed and joked together.

At one time each of our umbilical cords, my sisters’ and mine,  were connected at different periods to the lady who carried us for a total of twenty-seven months between the three of us.  At each birth these cords were physically cut but remain connected yet to her and to each other.  We shared the same womb at different times and left it through the same place to enter the world.  We three know the same space, the quiet and hush of sloshing fluid which sustained us for nine months.  These cords have been stressed and tight sometimes but the tension collapses over and over again to bring us even closer. That is what she would have wanted and we feel each time that we have not failed her faith in us.

We miss her but lately I found solace in a beautiful passage in a book “Nothing Special” by Charlotte Joko Beck.  The essence of our mother lives on.

“We are rather like whirlpools in the river of life.  
In flowing forward, a river or stream may hit rocks, branches, or irregularities in the ground, causing whirlpools to spring up spontaneously here and there. Water entering one whirlpool quickly passes through and rejoins the river, eventually joining another whirlpool and moving on. Though for short periods it seems to be distinguishable as a separate event, the water in the whirlpools is just the river itself. The stability of a whirlpool is only temporary. The energy of the river of life forms living things—a human being, a cat or dog, trees and plants—then what held the whirlpool in place is itself altered, and the whirlpool is swept away, reentering the larger flow. The energy that was a particular whirlpool fades out and the water passes on, perhaps to be caught again and turned for a moment into another whirlpool.

 

Why do you write?

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An exercise at the end of the first chapter of a book entitled Writing Creative Non-Fiction required me to answer this question – Why do you write?  My then handwritten response to that question in my journal is produced below.

I express myself best through the written word.  I write when there is an unceasing flow of thoughts.  Many times I want to write at moments which are not really conducive to writing … in the shower, in the car … for it is then that my mind is free and deep thoughts come flooding in.  Despite capturing those moments later on the page I found that the essence was weaker … the intensity of the moment was gone.

I write when I feel the words are too many to carry inside and need to spill out on the page, thus making room inside me for more to come in … like Feng Shui the space is cleared and the energy flows.

I write to share my thoughts.  I write to thank when I really mean it.  I write to console when someone’s loss resonates so deeply within that I need to speak through my felt pain which connects us for one timeless moment.

I also like to write I am angry.  It helps to sort my emotions.  Years later I get to read and savor these rantings and wonder where I was at that past point in my life, what has changed, how I’ve changed (hopefully for the better).  I write because when I read my old journals I notice the rare depths I experienced in those jottings of long ago.  At times I laugh at my past naivete and childlike nature which was yet untainted by life’s sometimes tough experiences.

I love the feeling of a smooth pen nib on paper, the swirls and formations of writing that are physical interpretations of my nebulous thoughts.  I like to write because our written words become a part of a record, perhaps casting light on situations shared by us all.  I like to write because it is an act of creation.

My deepest connection with any human being would be through my writing.  It would be only for that person and for one moment in time that special feeling would be worth it, for the words, content and delivery are unique to that person alone and I am not afraid then to speak with my soul because the words are unfiltered.  It is pristine because that’s just what it is … without a thought to diction, tone or volume.

I connect through writing.

Pattern

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via Daily Prompt: Pattern

Right off the bat an image of my dear mother appeared.  One line of purl, one line of plain stitches or variations on the number of lines of purls and plains….her knitting needles clicking away, while she would deftly insert the needle over the previous stitch or under the stitch, without glancing down and carrying on a conversation all the while.

From the first casting on of stitches which looked awkward and showed no promise of the finished garment, to the final row when the pattern was revealed was a labor of love. There was the basket weave pattern, the cable stitch pattern, the chevron pattern …she knitted them all.

 

 

Nuance-a subtle difference in shade

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I first learned about nuances in shading when I took sketching classes.  My teacher Tim would stand behind each of us and suggest squinting to observe the subtle shades of black and grey in the sketch we were copying.

There were the darkest areas, easy to observe.  Within each dark area were medium and light shades, almost fading to a grey white.  I got lost in these nuances of color , alternately keeping my eyes wide open and squinting to catch the subtlety of the shades.

I remember thinking about life and how nothing is really black and white or even grey for that matter.  Everything seems to be shaded, nothing carved in stone.  As I stood back and looked at my sketch Tim came over and said “Frame that one”.  It was satisfying on both the level of accomplishment as well as embracing life as it is … nuanced.

Dining alone

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You see them in coffee shops and restaurants…hunched over their plates not making eye contact as if the generic white plate has totally enchanted them.  They could be reading a book or busy scribbling in a journal or texting/ talking on the cell phone.

One is a lonely number and I am fascinated by solitary diners.  Really.  I make up stories about them in my head and one time,  just to experience this solitary situation, I ate lunch at Pine Street Cafe in my local Nordstrom and at the same time observed my fellow diners.

“Only one today?” asked the hostess sweetly.  “Yes” I replied and felt like a few heads turned in my direction.  Of course I made up stories in my head about them thinking thoughts like “Poor thing she is lonely”.  But that was just me.  I’m sure that to them I might have been a shopper who decided to take a load off and grab lunch, and just as quickly they went right back to their lunch and conversation.

I came prepared with a lined, yellow pad and pencil and already knew what I was going to order, being familiar with the menu.  I set the scene…bag next to me on the seat, cell phone and yellow pad on the table.  Once I had ordered I started writing on the pad beginning with “Today I am dining alone at a cafe…”.  My writing was flowing and within a matter of minutes I was very comfortable.  There were no stares coming my way and I rather grooved into this experience instead of feeling awkward.

Odd snippets of conversation drifted my way like how a maid of honor was humiliated by a Bridezilla friend to a young mother raving about her “gifted” child.  The thing is when you are dining solitary you are free to soak in other conversations having no one to talk to and observe humanity. I love people-watching.  It was a pleasant experience and I struck off one more item from my list of things to do alone.

But that was lunch.  Dinner?  Not that brave!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruminate – on life and why we are here

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Ruminate…to think deeply about something.  Also, Chew on something…same meaning, except that I just learned that the English word derives from the Latin ruminari, which in turn derives from “rumen,” the Latin name for the first stomach compartment of ruminant animals (that is, creatures like cows that chew their cud).   Interesting!

I ruminate on my life and why am I here?   Why the particular parents I had?  Why was it meaningful that they met (fate?) and had me as their child?  Why in that family, why in that country? Why do I engage with certain people right away?  What is my purpose in this life?  Do we really need to have a purpose?  We can spend hours and hours in our lifetimes spinning theories about our purpose.  I once asked a radio psychic, very respected person from England, what my purpose was in this lifetime.  After hearing him tell other listeners about altruistic purposes for their being in this world, I waited for 20 minutes on the line to hear him say something really mind blowing to me.   My hands were clammy on the telephone receiver when he said “Hello”.

“Your purpose in this lifetime is to be Mother…not only to your own family but to many others who will need you in this role.”  “Oh” I said, “Is that all?” and hung up.  No famous future for me I thought at that time and went about my business, disappointed.

Fast forward several years and I still ruminate about that short conversation with the psychic.  He was right.  I did play that role for others besides my immediate family and in those moments I did give the psychic his due.  Ruminate – on life and why we are here