Spirit Blog

Personal reflections on a spiritual journey...

My all time Favorite

i carry your heart with me

by e.e. cummings

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
                                  i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

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Remember

“In the infinity of life where I am,

All is perfect, whole and complete,

I no longer choose to believe in old limitations and lack, I now choose to begin to see myself

As the Universe sees me --- perfect, whole, and complete.”

Louise Hay

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Wildflowers

(Written Fall 2018)

The wildflowers are cut. The circular garden where the early morning sun seeps in streaks of rainbow light, making an 1866 Gothic church look like a castle to my children as they shriek and laugh through it in those last few yards before the opened school door, is no longer. Now, like a manicured lawn, all the magic is gone.

The man who sat among those daisies last Sunday, who crawled over pavement, streaking blood up to the yellow line on St. Paul’s Avenue, before someone came to help, had been sitting on a lawn chair with a ripe tomato and a cold beer before the attack.
The church Reverend says, “that if the man's story is true, the incident highlights an ongoing issue of people who are not parishioners trespassing on church property.”

My children trespass too.

Chopped down to deter loitering, to prevent crime, but before they were raked away, these fallen flowers, in yellow, pink, and white, were strewn across the ground as though over a grave.  

It sits sour in me. It speaks a nauseating reality about what I have made home. It inadvertently tells the story of my, decades long, unraveling revelation that this place isn’t mine.
For years and years I loved this island.
(I am forgiving.)
But this is my farewell tour.

It started with the sawdust covered vomit and the janitor’s push bucket mop. The smell of that 1987 New York City public school cafeteria still lingers. I was terrified. It was too loud inside but outside was worse. Each morning our principal, with that white mustache curled up on each side of his angry mouth in circles of tacky wax, would pick kids arbitrarily off their class lines to stand ashamed against the chain link fence in front of the whole school. I was so shy, so sensitive, that this environment ripped me open, unpeeled the safe, innocent, parts of me, daily.

At home it was the same. Perfection. Compliance. Silent fear.
Stolen Oreos and drunken parents. I sat in that dining room chair next to the window all of the first grade. Crying in my mind, soaking thoughts. He told me that if he didn’t pull out my loose baby teeth with a string then I’d swallow them and choke. And I believed him. Hours I sat there, shaking. Each tooth rocked in my gums, painful, and slowly coming undone.

All of this could have happened in another place, a different town or city. But it didn’t. It happened here on Staten Island. And it has shaped my perception of home. Of what it means to be home.

But to languish over the manifested moments of my past, the ones that, in no particular order, scream at me in dreams: the open wails from my mother’s cancer ridden mouth the night before she passed; the boy who convinced me that I was like a dead fish after the first time we had sex; the years spent dragging a comatose parent past empty wine glasses out of the nicotine yellow kitchen and into bed for the night (I never felt like it was okay to leave her there); the countless days of mindless, disordered, eating I used as a survival technique; the drug tales; the poor pre-adolescent choices; (the entirety of it) would conjure the same woeful, self-loathing, story of not being enough that we all tell ourselves secretly in the night.

Instead, I’d like to create space for a recollective of that which made me stay so long when I could have left. The times that dug me deeper into this claypit. These are the tiny pieces of my past that I choose to embrace:

He, with circular glasses, sat under a tree on the vast grounds of Mount Loretto reading a book. The first time I saw him. He was quiet and we never spoke much. It was a sticky July filled with laughter and irresponsibility. A few years later, in cooler weather, under a street light on Cebra Ave., we finally kissed. I’ve never been the same since. My dearest, deepest, love.

Each of our four babies were birthed here on this island. At Staten Island University North. In summer mostly; one in fall. After years of fertility fails and epic depression they came to us in a myriad of miracles. All Grace. And now I have nothing but intense appreciation for that tumultuous miscarriage- ridden experience. How could I be me now, or they, them, if not for that timeline?

During my own childhood years, whenever there was an evening rain storm we gathered, the four of us, as a family, on the chalice windowed front porch in Castleton Corners to watch the rain race down the street in torrents, listen anxiously to the thundering claps, and search for lightning and hope among the open sky above our neighbor’s roof.

Sometimes on a Saturday morning my mother would take out her Beatles record to play “I Want to Hold Your Hand” or maybe The Rolling Stones “Satisfaction” and we would dance wildly on the golden inlaid wood of our living room floor. It felt like freedom.

Fresh mozzarella, mortadella, and Sopressata on semolina bread. That was my north shore childhood lunch. It was everything. I thought everyone was Italian.

Poppy made homemade rectangular pizza. He always carried mint from the garden in his dress shirt pocket. We would often walk up to Nixon Ave. together and into yards that weren’t our own.

Grandma Muffy shuffled over the blue carpet of my elementary school years to gift canned peaches in white bowls. At night she would caress my back to help me sleep. I let my fingers dance in circles over the white painted metal chair back, the one with the canary yellow cushion seat, that she had pushed up against the couch so I wouldn’t fall from my dreams.

My dad’s marigolds are deep orange happiness. His garden of zinnias and sunflowers and life overflows onto the Windsor Rd. sidewalk every August. He starts them in the coolness of early spring, the seeds pressed gently into boxes of soil. He keeps them inside, under light, until each is big enough for its own plastic cup. Then he plants rows and rows when the weather warms. It is heaven.

I’ll always attempt to emulate the elegant loops of my mother’s Catholic school trained handwriting. Her perfect signature. Patricia Plankey. Patricia Lamberti. Elena Lamberti. Elena Capofari.


On hot summer days we would walk through Grasmere from Twenty-one Eighty Clove Rd to Brady’s Pond. The Cameron Club. I learned to dive off the green AstroTurf covered dock and swam out to the Road to discover old tires sunken from years ago. The white sand they shipped in from the Virgin Islands had tiny cylinder shaped shells.

My dad bought me all the Nancy Drew books. I had a golden yellow bookshelf filled. The covers were painted pastels pretty and I wished to be brave like her.

Then there were Weezer-filled middle school sleepovers with Lauren and the wildness of no one watching while we ate countless cups of Ramen noodles.  

The monastery on Grymes Hill was the abandoned buildings of St. Augustinian’s  Academy. The bare hallway walls were coated in brightly colored graffiti. It was cold and beautiful and made mostly of adolescent dreamscapes.

Tommy had keg parties each Friday night in the Royal Oak woods. I didn’t know him very well but everyone was invited. It was spirited, mostly inclusive, teenage socialization. It was perfect. And I could walk home afterwards in giggles.

In the early high school hours she let castle candles coat wax across our desks and cover all our insecurities. With a platinum pixie and leopard print stilettos she taught me how to speak in rhymes and paste my pain to the page. Then Ms. Decker. Then Dr. Decker. Now my lovely friend Helen. Thank you.

I found God on New York City transit. The bus up Victory Blvd. from the ferry, to be exact. I was wearing black, slip-on, Pumas and felt like regret but he told me to meet him for yoga at Shakti anyway. And so it began, deep loud Ommmms in the pouring rain and calling out for the Divine Mother. I’m still asking Her to rescue me here from this moment but it is much more routine than desperate.

On Thanksgiving we go to Clove Lakes Park to run the Turkey Trot at 9am. We bring cans of food to donate or cash if we’ve been lazy. Everyone in brightly colored woolen hats. Everyone cold and happy.

I like to drink hot Hazelnut coffee from Beans and Leaves when there’s no reason to rush.

And I must always remember:


Our Occident Ave. family of neighbors: Ferd who Paul would call to as soon as he learned to speak; Charlyn and Marietta, separately, with hours of chit chat yoga; Tony who cut our lawn even on days he had chemo;  Susan and the red cat who crawls across our yard; Bernadine, Cathy, Lisa, Lorraine, Jim, and little Josephine...

The hum. The boxed in movement and sluggish crawl. The internal silent meditation of the Staten Island ferry…


The soft gray moonlight seeping trapezoid shapes through the that skylight...


The solitude of Silver Lake on a weekday morning in autumn…


The grapefruit pink winter sunrise from my old bedroom window…


The half mile walk home…


And


Snug Harbor. Where we got married in December. Where Rita learned to love Art. Where there is a hedge maze with wild brown fur bunnies. Where Henry, our best dog, used to run free. Where we have picnics on summer days and kick a soccer ball around. Where Paul plays little league baseball. Where Andy explores happily in the Children’s Museum. Where Julia rides her blue scooter or climbs the stone wall. Where the flowers bloom like they are boasting. Where we make the most of it.

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The Caravan From Honduras 2018

(Written Fall 2018)

Hoping for a better life. Their children same as mine. But they sleep on the street and walk for months and wait on long public bathroom lines and eat only what is gifted them from local governments. 

And here we are in Staten Island praying for God’s grace to sell a home for half a million to make a better life for our family.

It isn’t lost on me. I’m numb. 

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Full Moon Prayer

Full Moon Forgiveness 

By Catherine Ponder

"Under the glorious Full Moon, I forgive everything, everyone, every experience, every memory of the past or present that needs forgiveness. I forgive positively everyone. I also forgive myself of past mistakes. The Universe is love, and I am forgiven and governed by love alone. Love is now adjusting my life. Realizing this, I abide in peace. I bring love and healing to all my thoughts, beliefs and relationships. I learn my lessons and move on. I call on my soul fragments to be cleansed by the Full Moon and I call on them to rejoin me. I send love to myself and everyone I know, and everyone who knows me, in all directions of time. Under this glorious Full Moon, I am healed. My life is healed. And so it is. So be it.”

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Evelyn.

(written 10/2/2018)

The clink of cheekbones in embrace

Her skin like tracing paper

The carpet shuffle 

Evelyn

Like wind chimes

Or morning birds with 

Big bright blue eyes 

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Our Dog Henry

It was Labor Day 2007, my mother was in hospice, and my dog, Jupiter, a tiny, feisty, white Maltese was inadvertently confiscated by my father whom, after dog-sitting him for a weekend, had decided my tiny canine was his new lease on life. Despite feelings of extreme sadness over my father's new desire to keep Jupiter, I couldn't say no, given the intensity of our family circumstances as my mother lived out the final weeks of her life. 

Nick, my husband, consoled me as I got back into our car, having left Jupiter at my parent's home. He said, "Let's get another dog...Right now." It seemed ridiculous and impulsive, but we did it anyway. 

I searched online and quickly found an apricot colored, miniature poodle in need of adoption about a two hour drive away, in Pennsylvania. I made the trip there the next day. He was in an outdoor cage, down a dirt road, in the middle of the woods, at a humane society. I questioned how humane the society was given the conditions in which he was living. He was timid and shy, terrified and shaking. And very dirty. He was our Henry. 

I drove back all those miles with him in the passenger seat of my car, as he leaned as far from me as he could get, shivering with eyes wide open. Those first few days he tried to stay awake and would fall asleep sitting up because he was too afraid to relax. But in no time, he was happy and accustomed to his new life with us. And he quickly became the best dog friend a person could have...

Just a few months ago, ten years after we met him, he left us. He had become very sick right after our fourth (and final!) baby, Andrew, was born last July. We spent months going back and forth to the vet, trying various medications, injections, and tests in an attempt to cure his ailment. But nothing seemed to work and it soon became clear that he wouldn't survive. 

The last night he was with us, we gathered as a family around him and we all said aloud what we liked best about him. Afterwards, the children went to bed and I retreated downstairs, unwilling to look at Henry one last time. It was too much. But he felt differently and ran from Nick just as he was being taken out of the house. He found me. We held a long gaze. And it was as though he knew that it was our final goodbye, that he wouldn't be coming back from the vet this time. 

Nick returned home a few hours later, devastated. I hadn't anticipated the heaviness of this loss. And in the weeks that followed I kept expecting him to still be with us. When the doorbell rang, I waited for his bark. When I sat to watch tv, I missed him on my lap. And I stopped taking walks through the park. 

I've begun to think about the part he played in the decade he was with us. During those years, he sat with me as my mother died, as we struggled through two miscarriages, and three years of infertility that included four failed IVF procedures. He traveled with us. He attended every holiday. He was there to welcome each of our four babies home from the hospital. And he got to eat all the fallen table food as our babies became toddlers. Eventually, he was pulled on his leash by three of four children as we walked him around the block after school. He played fetch with them. He lay near them while they slept. And we all loved him dearly. 

We will miss him. He was an integral part of our early marriage and growing family. And I can only pray to be as blessed to ever have a dog again as good as Henry. 

Motherhood

When my first born was seven weeks old he was colic and, after trying for many years to conceive, I was crumbling during the first months of motherhood. Everything seemed to be falling apart. I couldn't believe that this is what I had spent countless fertility treatments trying to obtain. It was awful. And, due to a tendency toward perfectionism, I was not about to admit that I wasn't loving every second of it. 

Then the morning came when I carelessly left him on the couch and walked into the other room to get something. I didn't see him fall but I heard the thud. And by the time I grabbed him off the floor just a few seconds later, his tiny head already had a golf ball sized bump.

No no no no no this can't be happening...

In hindsight, I realize I should have called an ambulance but instead, alone, I put him in the car seat, and rushed to the hospital, panicked and driving erratically. I ran with him into the emergency room. And I watched them, now in slow motion memory, check him. They put his little body, strapped down, flailing, into an MRI machine. The whole day is a blur but there are moments that stand out. Like his brain image on the screen when I found out he had fractured his skull...

He is fine now and, like the doctors predicted that day, shows no evidence of the accident. I have since forgiven myself for that but at first it was a shameful secret of my motherhood. Looking back, I made a terrible, mindless mistake. He is fine. I am blessed it wasn't worse. Beating myself up about the past doesn't help the present. And that notion is something I hope to instill in my children. 

As mothers there seems to be an inherent culture of self doubt, of potential regret over the big stuff and all the little stuff too. Is the child stimulated enough? Overstimulated? Eaten too much sugar? Has enough independence? Disciplined correctly? Did he sleep well? Is he happy? Does he feel safe?

The idea that this tiny being is going to become a man one day and carry the scars of my mistakes into future decision making and relationship is almost terrifying. That he might learn how to feel guilt and regret and self hatred because I have mirrored it for him, that he may be damaged because I was damaged, and the cycle of psychological patterns repeat generation upon generation, can be a debilitating thought.

But in reality, most mothers are doing the best they can given the circumstances of life up until that point. And most children survive, thrive, and succeed beyond expectations. Nothing good comes from self criticism, regret, shame. Choosing gentleness of mind, body, and spirit is the only way heal and be truly happy, in life in general, and motherhood especially. 

Patricia Rita Lamberti

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Today would have been my mother's 68th birthday. She loved birthdays (and I do too) so I celebrate her today by remembering:

her big smile; her contagious laugh; her ease, grace, and strength; her independent spirit and fierce determination; how she danced wildly with me to the Rolling Stones when I was little; the shape of her eyebrows and big almond colored eyes; the way she kept her nails; her generosity; the completed Sunday Times crosswords; the big red pots on the stove simmering away; her hands as they pushed the rolling pin for the latticework pies; the musky smell of her perfume; her mathematical mind; her big hugs; the way she welcomed everyone; the piles of read fiction; the half-done puzzles left on the dinning room table of my childhood; her energy; the herb garden; her natural radiant beauty; and how she might celebrate a joyous occasion:

 

A dry martini, some cake, and lots of laughter...

 

 

Parable of Immortality 

by Henry Van Dyke

 

I am standing upon the seashore.

A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze 

and starts for the blue ocean. 

She is an object of beauty and strength, 

and I stand and watch until at last she hangs 

like a speck of white cloud 

just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. 

Then someone at my side says, 

" There she goes! " 

Gone where? 

Gone from my sight . . . that is all. 

She is just as large in mast and hull and spar 

as she was when she left my side 

and just as able to bear her load of living freight 

to the place of destination. 

Her diminished size is in me, not in her. 

And just at the moment 

when someone at my side says, 

" There she goes! " 

there are other eyes watching her coming . . . 

and other voices ready to take up the glad shout . . . 

" Here she comes! "

 

 

Today, the Only Day

 "In the entire history of the universe, let alone in your own history, there has never been another [day] just like [today] and there will never be another just like it again. It is the point to which all your yesterdays have been leading ... It is the point from which all your tomorrows will proceed ... If you were aware of how precious it is, you could hardly live through it. Unless you are aware of how precious it is, you can hardly be said to be living at all.  

... If you waste it, it is your life that you're wasting. ...  

Today is the only day there is."

- Frederick Buechner, Beyond Words

The above quote landed in my inbox last week. Since then I have been looking at the ways I avoid being present. 

Letting go of the past, finding forgiveness, is an invitation to be aware, to notice and honor this new moment, and in doing so, embrace my highest self.

I have been practicing forgiveness by watching my thoughts, giving pause when past emotional patterns arise, and gently guiding my mind into an affirmation for peace. I follow it up with a silent prayer of gratitude because I know that if I surrender in this way it will work, so, confidently, I can say thank you in advance for release from the mental head game. 

Stuff comes up, it always will. My choice is to ignore my old, repetitive, victimized storyline. I am far happier when I take a few deep breaths and let it go...

A Poem:

Sum Days

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This is the day I sit heavy, hunched, 

A fallen daffodil. 

Tears like winter rain 

Roll into puddles of worry 

Like prayers for chaos 

Swell on the kitchen table.

I see you, in your thirties, slumped here too. 

Deep breaths do nothing to soften tornados of Truth. 

Circles and spirals and cycles of it. 

I am born again. 

Birthed into the wretched routine I needed to know 

To be the me who has become me. 

Overcome me. 

I was alone and afraid. 

I made friends on the paper, 

Between syllables, 

Sisters who swept me into safety,

Into hours that ticked always, only 

Lavish love. 

The wooden door closed. 

Stuck with scratch-and-sniff stickers,

It shut. 

I cried and begged for that red apple. 

Just one red apple. 

But harvest hadn't happened

and the fruit wasn't ripe. 

Instead, 

Inside I was the one with rot, 

With bruises and bitter parts. 

Enzymes of your sadness seeped in me 

So your regrets became my reality. 

Your organs soaked in wine 

And my heart drowning in waves of numb. 

I taught myself early how not to feel,

How to cope with coming out of the womb, 

With the undone doing of coming home. 

Chocolate was the first word I learned to spell. 

I was schooled at the decorated dinner table:

Patterned china plates, cloth napkins, white lace,

Over an overflowing glass of scotch, 

With seventeen seasons of quiche,  chicken cacciatore, and butter. 

Blurred yet bold, 

It was clear that, 

"We get what we get and we don't get upset."

Reincarnated into the Now,  

Into the Know. 

But left decayed with memories that wreck this moment. 

The Present smells like sandalwood

Or cigarettes. I can't tell which. 

I remember when we held hands 

And you said, 

"I love you. 

Be happy." 

Yet, 

This is the day I sit heavy, hunched. 

 

Meditation

Last week I was in a funk. Everything seemed out of my control. All my thoughts teetered on full-blown pessimism.

My son wouldn't enter school in the morning without a total meltdown (his tiny face covered in tears, begging me not to let go of his hand as the school staff took him into the building), every meal with my children involved someone whining/crying/throwing tantrum (Paul only likes rice and beans, Rita won't eat beans, that kind of thing), my baby wouldn't nap (teething), both daughters were diagnosed as lactose intolerant (after months of one child with severe constipation and one having the opposite problem, trying every method to return their digestive tracks back to perfect health, and so. many. dirty. diapers.), homework time for my son was insanely tedious (just straight-up refusal to do it), my husband and I were bickering about the mundane details of our life together (you know, like who is right and who is wrong), lots of traffic, lots of tension, lots of stress...and, among other things, my IPod officially broke (after weeks of faulty function following a cracked screen incident).

In the scheme of life, none of this detailed list is all that serious, I know. In fact, it isn't what was happening, it was how I responded to what was happening.

My negative reaction to it all only perpetuated the cycle. I felt disconnected, unsupported, helpless, and alone, despite the fact that I am very connected, extremely supported, "powerful beyond measure," and never alone. 

Finally, I remembered that I have a choice. I can choose to see it all as really unfortunate and annoying and difficult OR I can choose to see it differently. I can take a few deep breaths and change the thought pattern. So I decided to return to the only method I know for solving this kind of thing, self-work, and more specifically, meditation. 

Ten short minutes, timed with a timer, mid-day in silence, eyes closed. Long deep breath. My mind wanders of course, but I gently guide it back to my inhale or a mantra. This is easily available to us all. After just a week straight, I am always amazed at how different I feel. I am more patient, more compassionate, and more positive when I incorporate meditation into my day. Everything seems so much better even if nothing has changed at all. 

How To:

1. Sit in a comfortable upright position, with a long straight spine.

2. Breathe in and out through your nostrils. Allow your belly to expand on the inhale and draw back toward your spine on your exhale. 

3. If you are using a mantra, repeat it silently.

Possible mantras:

I am love.

I am enough.

Peace begins with me.

I am a miracle.

I am surrounded by love and light.

I am supported.

4. As your mind wanders, gently guide it without judgment back to your breath or the mantra. 

5. Be kind to yourself. There is nothing to achieve in this practice but a little peace of mind. 

Namaste.

Tree Pose

I am a tree.
I am crimson leaves. 
(Parts of me fall with the wind of your intention.)
My wish disintegrates into earth, wish washed away,

Into the know,

Into soil I carry in my pockets to remind me of home. 
I am a tree.
I am the roots reaching,
Burgeoning prayers that claw through rich ground and fervently bow down

With each new breath. 
I am thankful, 
I am a whole. 
Miracle. 



Tree Pose 
(Vrkasana)

1. Stand tall as you ground through the sole of your left foot. Engage the entire left leg. 
2. Reach down for your right ankle and place the right sole of your foot onto your inner left thigh. (Modify this by placing your foot lower on your left leg, shin or ankle, but not against your knee.) 
3. Draw your tailbone down, lengthen through your spine, and press the right sole into your thigh as you simultaneously activate the muscles in your left leg. 
4. With a soft but focused gaze, draw your hands to prayer at your heart center (Anjali Mudra). Inhale and exhale with mindfulness. 
5. Hold for 30 seconds to a few minutes, release out, and try the same on the other side. 

Mountain Pose

Unfaltering strength and stillness. This is what comes to mind when I think of Mountain Pose (Tadasana in Sanskrit). It is also what I wish to embody throughout my day as I often struggle to maintain serenity and poise among mundane chaos in the home of three very small children. If I find myself losing my temper I try to pause in the moment with three long deep breaths. Similarly, in my asana practice I come into Mountain Pose to embrace the stillness that is ever present as long as I remember to tap into it.

This yoga pose lets me reconnect, check-in, and center. And beside these emotional benefits, it can help to improve posture, strengthen thighs, knees, and ankles, and relieve sciatica.

Here's how to do it:

1. Stand with your feet parallel and hip width apart. Lift your toes, spread them, and then ground through the entire sole of each foot. Notice the ball and heel of each foot pressing equally into the earth.  Feel stability and strength in your feet. 

2. Engage and firm your leg muscles. Lift through your inner ankles to strengthen your inner arches. Allow your knee caps to rise and activate your thighs. 

3. Lengthen your tailbone downward as you grow tall in your spine, creating one long line of energy throughout your whole body from your toes to the crown of your head. 

4. Widen your back body by pressing your shoulder blades down, away from your ears. Lift through your sternum without pressing the front ribs out. Let the crown of your head stack over the center of your body, chin parallel to the ground. Hang your arms along the torso, palms face out.

5. Keep your eyes soft or gently closed and breath in and out through your nostrils. Hold this pose from 30 seconds to a few minutes. Feel the strength and stillness. 

Aparigraha


Aparigraha: A Poem on my Son's 4th Birthday

"Mama, at night when I sleep I dream about you." Paul Krishna, 8/20/14

Me too. 
And now I am lost in that deep summer dream of my baby boy being a newborn. 
He cries. And his little face is red and wet. 
We sigh. I am in love. 

In this burnt September dream he begins to change. He moves. 
The wind shifts. 
The day dances into night. 
He crawls out into the world. 
And he is no longer entirely mine. 
And suddenly I realize.
He was never even a little bit mine. 


A delightful delusion of motherhood.
The falsehood that because we once shared cells it makes us one. 
(Not even when our blood was the same, pumped line to line, from this heart.) 
It didn't make him mine. 
It doesn't make him mine. 
He is not mine.
Not then. Not now. 

The sun sleeps. The pregnant moon rises.

He crawls. He crawls out into the world. 

 

Control

I am terrified of highway traffic- the stop and go. I do not present as my highest self when I am a passenger in a car driving 60 plus miles per hour. I am short of breath, jumpy, overcome with fear. I am reminded in this situation of my lack of control. I am reminded of car accidents of the past. I am faced with the reality that, especially as a passenger in a moving vehicle, I am not in charge. 

Part of me thinks that this is a physiological response to the fear-based memories of being in an accident. But also, I think it is a microcosm of a theme I have carried for a long time, maybe my whole life. 

Growing up, I often felt that life was unpredictable and that felt scary. One of the personality traits that burgeoned within me was a need to control. Whether that was a learned practice is irrelevant. It seemed like the best way to "survive." If I could control the mundane then perhaps I could manipulate the ethereal as well. I could "save" myself. I could change it all. 

Unfortunately, it took a long time to realize that this is a futile practice. It will never bring about the result I really want. That type of safety, that peace, is only found within. I am clearly still at work on this as I twitch in my car seat each time I see the brake lights ahead. But at least now I am aware that the fear is potentially debilitating and absolutely unnecessary.

I can choose to see it differently. I can attempt to let it go. I can use all the skills, the breath work,  the prayer and meditation practices, the yoga, to guide me past it. I can actively stop trying to change the world around me and only try to change the world within me. 

 

"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." -Maya Angelou