Friday, July 31, 2009

And so it begins

my year of spirit and health. Meet me there.

You Say It's Your Birthday?

Happy Birthday to Me! Yea, I said it. I am over pretending to be humble and diminutive about my existence. Woo Hoo, Keisha is on the planet! That is a much better way for me to live my life. As I got older I really thought that birthdays would take up less importance in my world. After all, I wasn't a child anymore so there were no parties or presents to be excited about. But I am excited. And I plan to celebrate because me being alive is a good thing. As is your being alive. And it is not just because I faked out death (several times - you ever see me drive on the highway?!)it's because I am not an accident. None of us are. I may not have a firm grip on how and why we all came to be here but I am pretty sure that us being here is a blessing. So party like a rock star today. And think about all the things that bring joy into your life. Here is my list:

My kids
Vivian: She is the kindest, most gentle soul ever. She takes great care of me and her brothers and her daddy. Her heart is too big for her chest so it gets beat up sometimes when it meets the outside world. And I hope she never builds a barrier around it because the love she gives should only get bigger.
Max: Oh he makes me laugh and shout and throw things. He is my greatest challenge in patience. He has definitely been here before and wants everyone to know that. You see his light across a crowded room.
Buddha: So smooshy! Buddha and I are still getting to know each other. And everyday I am more and more in love with what I learn. He teaches me how to be silent and to enjoy my own company. And how to circle the ones I love - keeping them close and giving them space at the same time.

My husband: There aren't enough words!

Flowers, music, Bono, Tom Jones, minivans, silence, prayer, nature, friends, time, the color red, orange, malas, toys, books, kindles, lavender, lilacs, apples, Saving Grace, Tony Shalhoub, Sacha Baron Cohen, reggae, Bob Marley, the sky, rain, hammocks, peace the list could go on ad infinitum. Write one for yourself and have a happy birthday!

we are blessed may we recognize the blessing

in peace

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Grass Is Always Greener - Really?

I think from the outside of most people's lives things can look pretty good. When we view other people through our own prisms we unconsciously (or maybe not) pick people who don't appear to have the same problems we have at the moment. Like, I pick people whose cars are clean and their children seem well-behaved. Because messy cars and ill-behaved children are my achilles heel (along with many others). But I realized a long time ago that if I take their clean car and well-behaved children I have to take their pain in the neck mother-in-law or recurrent yeast infections. I don't want that.

We want to pick and choose from other people's lives. To create and combine our perfect existence without any problems or difficulties. Now that sounds nice. But every lawn has weeds. And if they don't have weeds then the drugs they're giving that lawn is not worth the cancer in later years! Ya feel me? I have spent too much time coveting other people's perceived realities. I stopped doing that but was still dissatisfied with my own life. No longer.

Princess V asked me the other day if I would play Clue with her. I told her I was tired and that I would play tomorrow. She said, "There is no tomorrow, Mommy. You told me tomorrow never comes it is always today." Oh, a moment I will appreciate when she is 20 but right then I just wanted to rest. Needless to say we played Clue and I thought about having my own words thrown back in my face. It is always today. This is the moment I get to make a change. This is the time for things to happen. Even if I have to wait on other people sometimes that doesn't mean that I stop moving toward freedom. My life is as green as I see it. Anybody got a pair of green-tinted glasses I can have?

We are blessed may we recognize the blessing

in peace

photo: Brian.Neudorff

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ch ch ch ch changes

Okay. I have looked over this schedule and plan several times and some adjustments and caveats need to be made.
1. I am going to switch black beans with bitter greens. Not because black beans raw is a problem (although it is a definite challenge for 30 days) but because bitter greens should have been in the spring. Dandelion and mustard are early spring greens.
2. August 3rd I am going to see Depeche Mode, so that is a different artist allowed day. And in October I am going to see U2. So obviously I get to listen to U2 that day - those tickets were too fricken hard to get!
3. This blog is about a lot of stuff but I don't think I want it to be exclusively about post about this project. So I am going to start a new blog (I like starting blogs) just for posts about this topic. No need to sign up unless you want to. I will add a link from here to there on August 1st.

****** Oh and if you have an aversion to cursing and questionable female descriptions - don't listen to the playlist past Aretha. I had to put some Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog on. So you may want to turn it off and not play it around your kids! :)!******

we are blessed may we recognize the blessing

in peace

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Vision Quest

Oh I love my friend Mary. I have written here about her before. She is presently recovering from another surgery - her "takedown" surgery. I am thinking of her and holding her close. And in honor of her I made my usual sojourn to her blog Papergirl. I went back to read about her Art/Lifeproject. For a year she is embarking on a plan to do a series of things every month. Eat one particular food, wear one color - only, listen to only one kind of artist, read only one author, explore only one filmmaker, exclude one food. She is focused and tenacious that Mary. And she has inspired me. She is turning 30 and I am turning 38. I am also beginning graduate school (which will end around my 40th birthday) and hopefully preparing to move my family to a new home and a new set of possibilities.

I want to support Mary and honestly, I think her idea is beautiful and amazing. While my interest is not in melding art and life together it is in opening myself to health and spirit. So, the criteria will be different. My goals are different. I plan to post here about these changes - there are so many. Now, I can hear a lot of you saying: why are you putting more things on your plate? Ultimately I think I am taking more things off my plate. Removing temptations and habits and helping me focus on my own health and personal enlightenment. Mary had a very exhaustive list of what she wanted to do and the things which fell into each category. Mine is much smaller. Mostly I am planning to focus on my physical health, my food intake and my spiritual awareness. I would love to add things like reading only one author for the entire month - but I don't think I will have the additional time to read while working and going to school. I am going to list the categories and I would love it if you all added your suggestions.
Physical Activity - to be done every day for 30 days
Eliminate One Food
Add One New Healthy Food Habit
Reading at least one thing about a different religion or spiritual tradition - the religion remains the same for the entire 30 days - every day for 30 days (can be as brief as a wikipedia entry)
Incorporating a healing technique from the tradition of the month
And my favorite: listening to only one musician for the entire month (this is going to kill my kids!)

So please send your suggestions. Suggest artists, foods, physical activities, send questions. Get involved. I look forward to hearing from you.
This year of vision questing begins August 1st - the day after my 38th birthday!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My Mamas

I had a very wise therapist tell me once, that no one woman could be everything to a child. As the child grows they will find other people to fill in the missing pieces and create a tribal mother - a multi-faceted mother. I always liked that idea, especially because it freed me from being angry at my own mother for all the ways I felt she had not fulfilled my needs. She did the job she was sent here to do and as the Ashanti say: "the child chooses the mother" so she did the job my soul needed her to do. It also released any guilt, and let's face it jealousy, I might experience when my own children sought out other mothers to nurture and feed them.

As I have grown I have widened my mother circle. Some I know in real-time, others have loved me through the pages of their words. Some of them are older than me and some younger. All of them have helped shape and create the woman I am today. And if I stand tall, it is "because I stand on the shoulders of my ancestors" those of blood and those of spirit.

Even though it is not mother's day, tomorrow is the birthday of one of my many Mamas. She is my mamasita, who is in no way small. The space she takes up in the world is large and noticeable. She takes no static. She has given me the gift of laughter, compassion, the absence of should, the freedom to curse and be myself at all times. Her love comes with only one condition, that I give it back. And I do with joy. This Mama and I are also joined by cancer. Me before her. And I count it a great gift to have been available for her through her journey as she was for me through mine. My love for her is boundless and my gratitude without measure.

Tomorrow is her birthday. And I say - Happy Birthday Mama, Norma. I love you deeply.

We are blessed may we recognize the blessing.

in peace

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why I am Angry With Elizabeth Edwards

I know, this is old news, but I JUST saw the Oprah episode where she was on discussing her new book and the infidelity of her husband John Edwards; who I was planning to vote for for awhile. Then I realized he was a bit smarmy long before the "scandal." I am not upset with Elizabeth because she stayed with John. I am also not upset that in the interview she seemed to be in either deep denial or lying the way she kept looking at the ceiling and searching for an answer. What I am angry about is this statement, that whether the child is John's or not does not affect her life. What the hell?! I cannot believe she said that. I also cannot believe that someone who would want to protect and forgive their spouse for not giving them the ONE thing they asked for shouldn't care about another life. Should care about a life that might be partly her husband. I don't think I could remain married to a man who did not live up to his responsibilities. What makes her and her children so different and more deserving than this woman's child? If in fact the child is John's. Because she is married to him?

Now let me back up. I am not usually interested in the goings-on of politicians. But I liked John Edwards and I believed in his message. And I don't really care if he was unfaithful or not. But what moved me about his campaign promises was his commitment to poverty and uplifting people in poverty and that includes, implicitly single-parent homes. Now I know the woman he was having an affair with can probably afford to raise this baby on her own. And that she is probably a single mother by choice. I get that. What I don't get is how, even if you are not going to marry the other mother of your child you wouldn't be responsible for their presence on the planet? What kind of baby daddy are you? I don't know all that happened behind the scenes. And I definitely don't know if a paternity test was given, but come on. Really? You're not going to find out and take responsibility? And if you do decide to be responsible for this other life your wife will not be affected by it? It won't impact Elizabeth's life? She is lying. You cannot in one sentence say that you think women should treat other women with respect by not interfering with their marriages and then say - well, the life of that women and her child will not affect me. I like Elizabeth Edwards. Really I do. But I am pissed as hell with her right now. And maybe since the original airing of this interview she has changed her position some. But right at this moment, having just come from watching it, I am disappointed at the level of her denial and lack of care for the life of a child, no matter who their father is.

Just my thoughts!

We are blessed may we recognize the blessing!

in peace

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Middle Places

I have written a lot about being in the middle place. Waiting. And I know I have also written about how I am not good at it. Once again I find myself in that place. Waiting. Decisions need to be made and since I am a grown-up now (perish the thought!) I don't make them by myself any longer. There is something wonderfully beautiful about having your life depend on others and something outrageously annoying about it too.

I like to stick with somethings long past the expiration date. Hanging on to old habits and old people even when they have obviously become toxic for me. And then there are opportunities that arise that I quickly discard, perhaps noticing how healthy they could actually make me. In light of my last post I am contemplating surrender. Letting go of those things that don't serve me anymore. And most importantly not giving a damn about what other people think about it. I hold myself hostage a lot.

My family is standing at a crossroads. One road is the one we have been on for years. It is familiar and can ultimately be damaging. Another road - well I can't really see it for all the overgrowth. And I think Frost wrote about this already. It is dark and scary that way. There are more people depending on me and so that makes the safe choices look more appealing. But it feels as though this time, and at this particular crossroads we know better. We are better equipped to get through the forestry. Or is that wishful thinking? How do you know you aren't making the same mistakes over and over again?