Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Moon

Also found in the box in my office...

"The moon is following us," four-year-old Katie giggles.
"It is not, Katie!" Max, 6, corrects her. "It follows everyone."
"How does it do that?" I ask.
"Everyone has their own family moon," he explains.
"What if I go this way and you go that way," I ask. (A true scientist must suffer many doubters.)
"Then it breaks in half and you have a half moon and so do I," he says.
"Oh, of course!" I laugh. "And then it grows into a full moon."
'Yes," he says. "Everyone starts with a little piece of moon and it grows up."

The next morning at the bus stop, Max elaborated, "I think it starts as a neighborhood moon. Then as each person wakes up and goes out, their little piece of moon follows them."
"Does it all go back together in the night?" I ask.
"No, you get to keep your piece."

Max is 22 now. Katie is 19. The moon's still following them - and me.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A letter to my daughter and my son

I was clearing out my office this week when I came across a box I hadn't opened in a while. It was filled with the kinds of things writers save: Pages torn from a notebook, magazine clippings, a brown paper lunch sack with a scribbled grocery list on one side and notes for the novel I never quite finished on the other.

In the box, I found that novel - with its paper-clipped sections, it's marginalia in blue, red, purple and green ink. There was also, perhaps the most precious, a note, written to my daughter when she was three.

It's handwritten in the loose, barely legible style I employ when my thoughts are moving faster than my pen. As I read it now, I am filled with mother love - for, though much has changed, my little girl is 19 now, the advice and the feeling remains the same.

It could also have been written, with few adjustments for gender, to her brother, Max. He's 22 now - and everything I wrote then - and copied, word for word, here, goes for him, too.

----

Dear Katie (and Max),

Now that you are three (and 5), there are some things you should know.

1) Your body is your own. No one, not even me or Daddy, has the right to touch you in a way that you don't want to be touched. Though at three you may find it hard to understand or enforce this rule - as you grow you will gain confidence and you will get taller and stronger and learn to push people away.

2) No hitting. Unless someone hits you. Then, hit back (and make it count) or leave. Immediately.

3) When you see something you don't like, speak up. Firmly, but with love. Don't worry if someone doesn't like what you've said. Say it anyway.

4) Spend time thinking about God. Spend time thinking about time. Spend time looking at the sky.

5) Nothing is as good as it looks on TV - especially life.

6) You can do anything you want. Anything. Make sure to do something you like.

7) Be prepared to meet what life brings to you. As my mother taught me, always wear clean underwear.

8) You will attract what you expect. Expect to be happy, healthy and successful.

9) Your brother (sister) loves you. Even though he's more interested in his friends right now, you are his sister, his first best friend. That will always come first.

10) Other girls are not the enemy. (This will mean more later.)

11) Neither are boys. (Boys are shy and scared sometimes, just like girls. If you want a boy to like you, be nice to him. Help him to feel comfortable about himself.)

12) There's so much more to the world than the mall. Make sure that you travel. Even if Daddy and I don't manage to take you to see it all, see as much of the world as you can.

13) Do the best you can. That's all anyone should ask of you.

14) Be nice. But not too nice.

15) Your body can heal itself. Avoid drugs. Sleep is usually the best medicine. Tea with honey is good medicine, too.

Finally,

- When you sleep at a friend's house, if you have to get up in the middle of the night, make sure the seat is down so you don't fall in. And don't forget to flush.

- I love you and I will always be interested in what you have to show me, to tell me. Even if I seem distracted, I'm here for you.

With all my heart,

Mommy

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A dream I had

This morning I woke up sobbing. I’d dreamt that a dark line of blood had begun to collect under the skin of two of the fingers on my right hand. At first, it was just a kind of outline of the veins. But it started to spread – and deepen.

The blood was bright purple, the color of concord grape juice - and the pressure had built up enough that the blood had burst a small hole in the skin and was trickling out – this hurt a lot but relieved the pressure enough that I was able to use my fingers again. But the hole sealed up and the blood began to collect there again.

It’s only two fingers, I told myself. It will sort itself out. As the condition worsened, it also spread – and now you could see the blood pooling under the skin of my palm – like a deep pool that I could look into and see things.

It will stop, I reassured myself. But when I got dizzy. I told my sisters, who’d miraculously appeared in the dream, “I have to go to the hospital.” Of course you do, they nodded, exchanging a glance that said. CLEARLY SHE DOES! But being kind and calm with me – the way people are with a crazy but ill person.

Beth led me toward a bench and told me to sit down. Jenny ran for our mother – who, as it turned out, was unable to help, having just had open-heart surgery. Oh, that’s right, we realized together. Right now, we are helping her.

Beth called my husband who poofed into the scene with us.

"Can you put some pressure on it?” he asked.

“She has to go to the hospital,” Beth insisted.
“I can see that,” my husband said as he ran away, calling over his shoulder. “I will do what I can.” Halfway up the block, he dissolved.

Beth led me to the hospital, which, as it turned out, was right next door. Dreams can be so convenient – or, as it turned out, inconvenient.

The nurse behind the reception counter (who looked suspiciously like the woman at the DMV where my daughter and I went to renew her learner’s permit last week) nodded when I showed her my hand. “That does look serious,” she said. “Take a seat.”

There were already a lot of people waiting in the long row of blue plastic chairs. The chairs were all connected to each other so you couldn’t drag your chair over to a corner if you needed a little privacy (which I did, which is why I noticed this.)

The thing is: I really didn't want anyone to see the mess I was making -

... or could make at any moment if the blood, which was really building up again, decided to burst through.

And the chairs had those stupid metal armrests that were never intended to support soft, fleshy human arms; but were designed to keep people from spreading out across more than one chair and sleeping. So you had to just sit in these rows with your feet splayed out in front of you.

You know, like in a real hospital.


For the next few hours – or days (You know how dreams (and hospitals) can be) doctors came flapping through doors at one end of the room and exiting out through flapping doors at the opposite end. They looked very busy in their white coats and blue paper surgical caps. But no one looked at me. No one was looking at any of us patients. It was weird.

Maybe I’ll just leave, I thought.


I stood up. I got dizzy. I sat down. The dizziness reminded me of the blood. I looked down. Uh-oh. It was going to spring a leak at any moment.

And I really didn't want to make a mess

I walked to the exit doors. I was having trouble thinking. But I’m still standing, I reasoned (not a good thing to do when you are having trouble thinking) and so pushed open the exit doors and …

“Wait a minute!” a young doctor in blue scrubs grabbed my hand and looked at it. “You’re not going anywhere, Missy.” Walking me backwards, I let him push me back to the blue chairs; then, he left.

ANd my hand started to bleed.


I showed the receptionist. (Funny how there was no line but we were waiting so long.) Anyway, she said, Wow, that really is worse and pushed a clipboard toward me. “Here,” she said. “Fill this out honey.”

I pushed the form back toward her. “The thing is,” I said. “I don’t have health insurance this month.” (I have learned to say it that way. Makes me sound, at least I think so, less indigent. More, you know, respectable. Like a real person.)

“You don’t have health insurance,” she whispered, backing away from me.

“It’s just recently…” I stammered. “My husband lost his job…”

“What are you doing here?” she spit.

“If I could just talk with the doctor,” I said, and with everyone looking at me because they could hear the blood in my whole body pulsing like a drum.

(Or maybe they were looking at me because, you know, I don’t LOOK like the kind of person who doesn’t have health insurance. I look so normal, so successful. I have these nice clothes and a steady freelance job that pays pretty well (though not well enough to pay for health insurance, of course. Not when I’ve got two kids in college and a self-employed husband whose home architecture practice was ABSOLUTELY DEAD for about a year after the housing and financial meltdown.)(And all of that passed through my mind in a glimmer – in that way that thoughts can do that. Like this great download of excuses mixed with shame mixed with grief mixed with no idea what to do or to say anymore…)

“WE CAN’T TOUCH YOU!” The nurse was shrieking at me now.

“Wait!” I pleaded. “Just tell me where you send people who don’t have health insurance.”

“We don’t send them anywhere!” She said. “That’s not our responsibility.” She backed into a group of nurses and other receptionists, and raising her arm, she pointed at me, saying, “Get this woman out of here.”

I ran. Through the swinging doors, clutching my hand: I have to remain calm. I just have to get home. I have to keep walking. I can’t fall down.

Of course, with all of that stress, my blood pressure was WAY up and the purple stains on my palm began to leak and then to spurt. I took off my shirt – the white button down I’d just purchased at the thrift store that I was going to wear on stage when I became a famous author. I

I will never get this stain out, I sighed and my heart broke. No, I mean, it actually broke - splitting neatly in half like a coconut.


And everyone was staring at me. One woman called out, "Honey, you should go to the hospital, you’re bleeding!".

I didn’t answer her. I just kept running. Until…

From out of nowhere, a tall and beautiful black man materialized, moving quickly from behind and caught me around the waist. Pulling me backwards against his chest in a warm, firm hug he whispered, I’ve got you,

His voice was musical and cool, like water - and cleansing. I’ve got you, he repeated, catching each half of my heart in one of his hands and just letting them rest there.

Then, another man, stepped behind that man and wrapped his arms around us both.

“Yo tengo…” he said,

... and I understood him perfectly though I don’t speak Spanish, even when I’m awake. But I thought it meant, “I’ve got you.” And he held me too. They held me together.

And I sobbed. I just leaned back in their arms and let the tears come and let the blood pulse through my arms and out of the torn seams in my fingers until I was completely covered in purple blood. And there was no one there but me - and these two gentle men, holding me.

” You are the first person to hold me since this whole thing began," I wept.


And then I woke up – and I sobbed some more.

--

I invite you to help me understand this dream. A few notes to consider when taking this dream apart, should you wish to do so:

1) Think symbolically
2) Think archetypally
3) In this kind of dream, the structure of the story also matters.
4) Think about my actual life and my spiritual life
5) This kind of dream is not a prophecy

What does purple blood symbolize?
What mess might I be trying to conceal?
What is the white shirt?
What about the blue chairs?

Who are the two black men?
Who was the nurse? (symbolically)
Who was the doctor who pressed me back into the chair? (symbolically)

Let's play!

For my subscribers: If you have any questions or comments on this one, I'd love it if (instead of emailing me) you'd click through to the blog and post them where everyone can read along, in the comments section following the post.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Come see! Come see!

I've been working on my new website all month. Today, I'm ready for the big reveal.
it's not perfect, of course - and I've finally learned that that's not required.

What matters is that we begin...

Hope you'll stop by when you get the chance and leave a comment!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Today is a day about love

The following post is copied directly from my Twitter stream. If you have never been on Twitter, let me explain a few things. If you're familiar with Twitter, just skip ahead...

Twitter
Each line of this post is a single 'tweet.' A tweet is a one line message, limited to 140-characters, sent out into the Twitterverse one at a time. There are codes and abbreviations to help tweeters maximize the limited space.

-Each person on Twitter has a Twitter name. That name is preceded by '@' (So my Twitter name is #amyoscar)
-'RT' means 'retweeted from" and indicates that I copied something another tweeter wrote into my stream so that my own followers could read it.
- 'IRL' means "In real life"
- As in other social media - texting, facebook - 'LOL' means 'laughing out loud'

Hashtags
On Twitter, the hashtag or "#" is used in many ways. I use it to punch up my copy; to drive a point home, as you'll see below. Many people use it to group tweets into categories. (Examples: #Poetry #Quote #BreakingNews)

Some people use hashtags as a search tool, allowing them to easily find the tweets they're searching for. This is particularly helpful for people who're following a news story. And some examples of this from today's headlines would be: #OilSpill #Haiti #Israel #GoldenGirls

Finally, there are hashtags that help people 'meet' on Twitter for group conversations. An example of this would be: #amwriting which, theoretically, could be searched to locate other writers who're hard at work. (Of course, it you really think about it, people who claim #amwriting are really #NotWriting because they are on Twitter!)

Anyway, that should help

The following tweets are in reverse order: in other words, the last one I wrote appears at the top of the list, the first one at the bottom.

I could have gone through and rearranged them but I like it this way. It still works.

---------

Tweets


Clearly I am #NotWriting

This is what Fire Yoga does to me #Apparently #ILikeIt

RT @RayBeckerman: RT @ksquared3 Bamboo is remarkably soft, more so than cashmere, like old worn silk.

RT @jenlouden: Marketing idea for today: read some Hafiz, study the sky, sip some tea: connect with yourself and your desires to serve first

@ace5950 :) Thanks

@IrishArtsCenter And HERE is someone that I love IRL!!!

@ladieswholaunch Hi Beth. Following you now. Nice to find you here on Twitter.

@jenlouden :) xxoo

:) Thanks for being a space where I could do that. @SquarePegKaren

Feel around for it. Find the love that is there, waiting patiently for your invitation.

Where are you blocking the flow of love that comes, that lives right beside you because it is so wide, so vast, so REAL?

So here is Q for you: Where are you withholding love from yourself?

#love

Love that I have not been able to flow; love that frightens me with its intensity. Love. And as it burned thru me, I let it scour my heart.

And all of this feeling, all of this missing, all of this sadness was pure joy, bursting through me - all of this sorrow was also LOVE.

I felt my husband, working so hard to take care of us all, so hard. And I missed him, even tho he is here - because all that work takes him

I felt my son, working four hours away this summer, at a beach resort, and I missed him, too - and I let myself feel that

I felt my mother, recovering from open heart surgery, slowly drawing toward the end of her life, and I missed her - with all my heart.

I lay on my mat in shabasana, tears streaming into my ears and I FELT MY LIFE.

Today in yoga, we did fire breath - and eventually, my heart cracked open and I let myself cry.

YES! RT @shaboom: RT @AmyOscar: Today is a day about love << Let's celebrate!

What if we ALWAYS followed the guidance that came to us? What then?

So full, so full. So rich and bright.

@adamslisa Headache healing angels speeding to COnnecticut.

And we are love too

All of these gifts - freely given - are MADE OF the Divine's precious love for us; they ARE love; just as the Divine, too, IS love.

When we examine this love, we see that it is the same love that we find in sunshine, in rain, in the air we breathe, the water we drink.

@pattidigh ahem... I can spell #congratulations

@pattidigh I will have champagne after MY book edits are sent back to editor! (Then we will celebrate!) #COngratualtions

Eyes open, heart open - meeting what comes with a clear mind, focused on love.

Well, thank you - and so are you! RT @elissastein: @AmyOscar You are truly sunshine today.

However.... even as we are dropping into the endless pool of love, we must stay awake. This is the challenge of our time.

When I invite love to live through me - to express love's-self through my voice, hands and heart - I, too, am love. And so are you.

When we peel away all the things that WE add onto love - fear, longing, misunderstanding, competition, terror, doubt - there is love.

Love, love, love - love in all of its forms.

Today is a day about love

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June - A note to myself

This June, I will be participating in Dian Reid's blogger challenge.

Dian writes: I’m engaging my community (that’s you!) because these thirteen topics can change the world. They can change the world, but not just if I write about them; only if we write about them.

This makes sense to me. And so, because I have been working in my own life with putting my action where my mouth/thoughts are, I will be writing about each of the following topics at some point. Feel free to drop me a line and share your own story - and I might share it on the blog.

Compassion
Intention
Self-Awareness
Courage
Love
Fairness
Laughter
Optimism
Truth
Vision
Wilderness
Wisdom
Authenticity