Move

I’m looking at this landscape with the intent to blog. It’s been AGES. But I’m stuck looking. It’s so beautiful. I want to walk across the field and see what the camera side looks like. I’ll do that Sunday, weather permitting.

Oh. Did I tell you that I have moved? I haven’t moved here, but I have moved close, and I’m not finished moving.

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Burn

My heart is the wick of a blown out candle. It once burned hot and cast warm light into the dark of night. Now it is cold and curled, bent over, burned, and covered with suet. A dark presence even in the light of day.

And yet, my heart exists. Is it waiting to host a flame again? Does it hold that memory? Dried as it is, just one spark would ignite and restore it.

Light the candle. Burn, baby. Burn.

The List: An Update

I’m only two days into working The List, but I’m already aware of benefits. What I have learned, or perhaps remembered, is if my mind and body are not disciplined, then I tend to obsess over circumstances that I cannot affect or control. Since the pursuits and activities on The List are goals I wish to accomplish, then even small successes create happiness. It seems a small accomplishment, indeed, to have mowed the yard, but having done so makes me happy.

I know next to nothing about psychotherapy, but I think training the mind to focus on that which makes one happy is a big part of it.

I have learned (or, actually, remembered) that happiness is often a choice I make.

The List

I have a list of wants and needs that swirl around in my head and I’m determined to either address them in earnest or cross them off and let them go. I’m convinced that allowing the items to occupy space and energy in my mind without doing anything about them is negatively affecting my mental health by causing anxiety and even depression.

My plan is to post the beginnings of the list here and come back to it, adding to it if I need to. I can already tell that I will need to. It will take honest reflection and untapped courage to admit these desires to myself and to confess them to persons who might read what I reveal. From the list, I will break out entries and record my progress in unique posts, giving myself a means of accountability and a way to measure success or failure.

One more thing before the list: I remember the original intent of this blog—the plea, the demand, the awareness of the presence of grace. For ’tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead this list.

  • Achieve financial security
  • Walk Gracie every morning
  • Practice yoga daily
  • Read daily
  • Write daily
  • Get rid of junk and clutter in my home
  • Get rid of junk and clutter as it applies to the way I use my time
  • Plan a vacation in another state or country
  • Intentionally maintain and grow relationships
  • Garden

Why Is Madonna Making Me Cry?

I mean, she’s good. I remember thinking when I first heard the album that she sounded richer, fuller, and the music was much more diverse and interesting compared to her previous pop offerings. But I’m not a music critic. The quality of the work isn’t what’s making me cry.

I have a friend who would say, “You’re in your feelin’s.”

On this lazy Sunday morning, I’ve got the time, so I’m going to take the time to figure out why I’m in my feelings, even if I have to put Ray of Light on repeat.

The album was released in America in March of 1998. Ruth was 1 1/2 years old. That makes Ben 3 1/2 and Sam 4 months shy of 6.

Those mathematical calculations may be completely off. I have always been terrible with dates and with nailing down the events associated with them. I rely on the kindness of others to correct me and set me straight. But if I’m right, in March of 1998 I was in the throes–IN THE THROES–of wrestling with my sexuality. I was living in fear, and I was scared to death. I was also excited at the prospect of joy.

Unpacking all of that is something for another post (or perhaps a book). But within it lies the answer to why Madonna is making me cry. 20 years later I feel the same way: I’m still afraid, and I’m still exited at the prospect of joy.

If I’m alive, I expect that 20 years from now I will still feel the same. The key is for there to be more joy than fear. When I compare now with 20 years ago, I can say with conviction and gratitude that there’s more joy than fear. While present fear brought to light by Madonna this morning may be the source of my tears, there’s also a healthy dose of joyful gratitude mixed in.

Nothing takes the past away
Like the future
Nothing makes the darkness go
Like the light
You’re shelter from the storm
Give me comfort in your arms
Nothing really matters
Love is all we need
Everything I give you
All comes back to me

–Madonna, “Nothing Really Matters”

Happy New Year

Hi, y’all. I’m still here! It is the last day of the year and I’m taking stock, as is customary.

Except I’m NOT! I’ve done that before and I’m not convinced year-end evaluations are the healthiest of activities. Specifically, how does retrospection mesh with living in the now?

I have two friends (not the same friends described below) who challenge me to live in the now, sometimes with patience and sometimes with exasperation. I confess I find it difficult.

How about, in lieu of an end-of-year evaluation, I describe what is happening right now?

Let me begin:

“The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel just queued up from a playlist of similar songs. My mood is mellow and enhanced by a fourth-day dose of steroids intended to relieve the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection.

I sit comfortably at a kitchen table sipping my second cup of coffee. I’m full after having eaten a breakfast of two fried eggs, a biscuit with sausage gravy, bacon, and pan-braised Brussel spouts. The table belongs to a friend/lover. His friend/lover is in the other room (also my friend)—and now I hesitate as I struggle to describe not the people themselves but my relationship to them. Why the hesitation? Perhaps I’ll reemphasize how I started this paragraph and restate: I sit comfortably ….

My friend smiles and I interpret it as a question: What are you doing? I read aloud what I’ve written and the conversation between the three of us quickly deepens, touching on topics such as truth, honesty, tmi, perceptions, and, most importantly, the definition and pursuit of happiness.

I write this post via my phone and for a considerable amount of time I stare at the screen, searching for the point. I think the point for now is: comfort and happiness intersect. Right now—in this moment—I am deeply comfortable; right now—in this moment—I am deeply happy.

Happy New Year.

10 Things That Happen in Your 50s

  1. You wake up at the same time every morning no matter what time you went to bed and no matter what you have planned for the day. 
  2. Your skin loses its elasticity. Under your chin, above and around your eyes, the creases of your elbows, the sides around your stomach, your butt, your ankles.
  3. You care more about some things, and care less about others. 
  4. Your happiness increases, or your bitterness does. 
  5. You have to find this middle ground regarding clothes. You don’t want to get stuck wearing what you wore when you were in your 20s, but wearing what 20-year-olds wear now makes you look like you’re trying too hard. The same thing applies to how you cut your hair. 
  6. You spend more time in doctors’ offices. 
  7. You begin to look at material processions differently. 
  8. You have to form new relationships with your adult children if you have them. 
  9. You lose track of how many mid-life crisises you’ve had,  and you realize the words “mid-life” no longer apply. 
  10. You write about being in your 50s.