Friday, November 20, 2009

Monday on my Mind - Through a Grandmother's Eyes

Whew! As we get back in the groove after our trip to the Northwest, I am so thankful that my Angelgirl has so many people who love her. She could do no wrong in the eyes of her grandmother and great grandmother this past week, and she literally glowed from all of their love. Watching Grandma Ole love on her grandbaby got me thinking about my own great-grandmother.

They broke the mold when they made Rubye Alice. We called her Ninnie, and she had two children, five grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren when she finally set off on her final adventure. She could drink and cuss like a sailor, but she loved gospel music and her Southern Baptist church. She had a glass eye and a small square hole in her chin that she swore she got when an Indian shot her with an arrow. She travelled from a small town in Texas to the far corners of the world, and she never backed down from a dare, even if it meant jumping off the high dive at the age of 75!

What I remember most about Ninnie, though, is her enormous capacity for love. She wall-papered her bedroom with newspaper clippings about her "babies" and every picture and letter those babies ever sent her. Layer upon layer of fingerpainting and crayon drawings covered those walls long after we had graduated from crayon. Anyone who ever visited Nin's house had to tour her gallery. They would also have to hear about her six great-granddaughters. It got to be a family joke. Anywhere she went, she would tell anyone who would listen, "I got six great-granddaughters, and they are the most beautiful great-granddaughters God ever gave anyone." She took the six of us to the movies once, and when we were in the bathroom, yes the bathroom, we could hear her telling every lady who walked in that she had brought her six great-granddaughters to the movies, and that we were the most beautiful great-granddaughters God ever gave anyone. When you're thirteen, you can be embarassed by that kind of love. Decades later, you crave it.

That kind of love is a special gift. Watching Angelgirl's grandmothers watch her, I remembered how my grandmother watched me. Through our grandmothers' eyes, we are perfect in our imperfections. We are beautiful and talented and unique. We aren't awkward or insecure or just an all out mess. We are divine and precious and loved.

So today I am going to try to see myself through my grandmother's eyes. I can't think of a better way to start the week.

Today, take a moment to look in the mirror through your grandmother's eyes. What do you see?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday -Leaving on a Jet Plane

Every Wednesday, the ever-wise Jamie Ridler encourages us to stretch our wings by casting our wishes out into the universe. This week, she asks, "What do you wish to embrace?" Finding my answer to this question was quite a journey:

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go . . .or maybe not. We leave tomorrow for a nine day trip to visit the in-laws for Thanksgiving. My list of things to do before we leave keeps getting longer rather than shorter. Now, I am a seasoned traveller. I moved overseas when I was three years old. I travelled between various Latin American countries and the United States for twelve years. I did the Europe thing as a teenager, and I travelled back and forth between Texas and Alaska for years. This trip, however, is about to put me over the freaking edge.

I remember back in the 70's when travelling was quite glamorous. People got dressed up to fly on a plane. They fed you real food on real dishes with real silverware. The back of the plane, aka the smoking section, resembled a cocktail lounge rather than a plane. People stood around drinking cocktails and chain smoking and making new best friends.

Fast forward 30 years. Travelling is just a hassle. Forget the fact that you better pack your own food if you want to eat, but don't you dare try to bring your own beverage. You have to practically strip to get through the metal detectors. Forget about wearing your cute shoes because they are too hard to slip on and off to get through security. Oh, you also have practically unpack your carry-on to display any liquids you might have, and god forbid you should leave your laptop in its bag. You consider not taking a carry-on to avoid the hassle, but then you have to pay to check your bag. No wonder people are so surly by the time they get on the plane. Still, at the end of it all, you arrive at someplace new and exciting with adventures waiting.

With all of the hassle, a husband who hates to fly, and a surprisingly independent and spirited four year old, I'm almost tempted to just stay put. Now, instead of just packing a bag and jetting off in to the wild blue, I have to pack enough activities to occupy my two "children", I have to take the dog to the vet, get the mail held at the post office, arrange for someone to check on the house, empty the fridge of any potential science experiences, and on and on and on.

Travelling is a lot like life sometimes. When we are young and want change, it is exciting and glamorous and relatively easy. We dye our hair black, get a few piercings, buy some different clothes and totally change our identities. As we get older, changing and growing and transforming become more of a hassle. They involve a hell of a lot more baggage. Our friends who encouraged our younger transformations suddenly resemble a hostile TSA agent: "You can't do that, you can't wear that, please come with me . . ."

Still, the after all the hassle, we wind up someplace new and exciting with adventures awaiting.

So this week, I wish to embrace the often infuriating, always frustrating process of getting from here to there. I wish to embrace the journey with all of its messiness.

How 'bout you? What do you wish to embrace this week?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday on my mind - Fear and Loathing in the Pages

So, I've been kind of AWOL from blogging lately. I have all sorts of "legitimate" excuses - too much work, sick kid, blah, blah, blah.

The bottom line, however, is that I just haven't been able to face the page, or in this case the screen, in a while. I've been afraid of what I might say, what I might need to say. I blame it all on the Morning Pages.

I've been doing Morning Pages* religiously for a little over three months now. I've surprised myself with my dedication to the pages, but I truly love doing them. They are the one place I can be completely honest. That's part of the problem. The pages have forced me to become brutally honest with myself. There is no hiding from myself in the pages. I've had to face myself as I truly am - warts and all.

This has been a little uncomfortable sometimes. Facing my true self rather than the artificial mask I wear to fit into this carefully constructed suburban world has made me angry. I'm so angry with myself for letting Me be marginalized so that I could conform to a lifestyle that represents everything I loathe. I guess, at some point, I thought conforming would be easier. Maybe it has been, but I no longer recognize myself in the mirror. The sparkling green eyes I've always loved are dull, dead.

I feel like I've been "lost in a haunted wood" for the past five years. Now that I am finding my way out, I am really pissed off at myself. Getting myself out of this situation is going to be a lot harder than getting myself in to it. I have to, though. I'm tired of being afraid. I'm tired of being angry. After filling two notebooks with my fear and loathing, it is time to do as my granny used to say, "Shit or get off the pot." I can't fill another page without taking a step in a new direction. It doesn't have to be a big step, but it has to be a step. If nothing changes, nothing changes.

So, on my mind this Monday is - What can I do today to put Me back in the captain's seat of my life ship so that I can turn my ship to my true North?

I'm not sure yet. I'll let you know. In the meantime, check out this post from Patti Digh at 37 days.

What step do you need to take to align your life with your true North?

*The morning pages consist of three to four pages of stream of consciousness writing that are part of the creative recovery process outlined in The Artist's Way.