meditation

Oy to the Vey (Musings)!

Our Bird Named Pangolin

Quarantine has brought some odd conversations but what makes them odd is the quirky memories that make them possible. (Insert: “From viewers like you-” pointing toward loved ones) Don’t you think?

A few conversations I’ve had are as follows:

-My husband asking: “Honey, can we get a sugar glider?”

Me: (After Googling a sugar glider…) “Um… well… … Let’s revisit your request last year: You asked for a for a Pangolin…Well, the entire world pretty much got your request, whether directly or within 6 degrees of separation. That “cute and funny animal” is basically why we’re unemployed and afraid of other humans right now. So I’m not keen on getting a Sugar Plum Glider at the moment. Ask again later.  

~ ~ ~

Now, my husband married someone just as out there, don’t worry. I’ll gladly make fun of myself. I come from a family that taught me to put aluminum foil on the stem of a banana bunch to keep it fresh longer (thanks, Dad). This same family had 5 guinea pigs, a story that includes my mother explaining where one disappeared to: “We had to let Cyrus go in the woods, sweetie” (But that’s a whole other story that may need to make it into my memoir-sorry mommy, not sorry!)

I’ve also had a lot of features on my Life List such as rock climbing and yoga, some common goals other folks have…but there are also a few experiences that are there that’ve caused confusion in my friendships and marriage: going trick-or-treating. Yup. You heard/read that right. Trick-or-treating. It’s okay, I went once, I went once! I’d just like to go with nieces or nephews to get a bit more of the experience.  I don’t have much of a defense except that I thought it was boring since chocolate was already a staple in the house. Why walk for hours when my favorite snack since pre-embryo was in a container?

Added to my life list is a ‘spiritual walk’ across broken glass. My husband, too, walks- walks with his fingers through broken egg shells. Why? Because it’s a way to heal our snail, by ingesting calcium and healing the rest of our aquarium.  He may not get his pangolin or sugar glider but he has his African Dwarf frogs who socialize like him and take after me doing yoga against the leaves of bamboo plants. In all seriousness, we can all learn so much uber-creative lessons from my husband.

~ ~ ~

Some of the best “Oy to the vey moments” however, have stemmed from my Jewish side, my mother. I’ve grown past being the Scapegoat behind them and they’re here now as karma. And Jewish Guilt.

The list is as follows:

-My mother accusing me of breaking the laundry room door AS SHE WAS BREAKING IT OFF THE TRACK HERSELF (I can actually call a witness to the stand for that!)

-Mom again accusing me of keeping the receipt for my wedding dress because she couldn’t find it. Spoiler alert: she found it a few hours later in her bathroom. But honestly, I can only judge so much- I found a Seal CD in my bathroom closet one time (This was back when I had a cd player for the shower, though, so it does make a bit more sense.).

-Mommy still accusing me…this time of having an article that she wrote 30 years ago only to text me 400 days later saying, “I Found it. My bad.”

-And lastly: Mommy Dearest recently accusing me of muting my phone because she couldn’t hear my texts come through on her own…my wonderful 17-year-old niece fixed the settings for her. I did get an apology. And multiple screen shots of the conversation’s inability to evolve.

It’s no wonder that most “Oy to the vey moments” come from my mom-my awesome and hysterical Jewish side! And I totally embrace it. The best part is, we all have those “oy to the vey moments” whether we’re Jewish, standing by the Christmas Tree, or neither!  

So, what are some of your “Oy to the Veys?”  

~HAPPY HOLIDAYS~! ❤

meditation

Un-Trim Forgiveness in 2021-Can we Forgive 2020?

Angel on Christmas tree in between lights.
“I can’t tell if this artificial tree is becoming my altar for forgiveness or if it’s asking me to be the altar for holding and placing items of forgiveness[…]”

My eyes relax and fall into the multi-colored lights across the 3-foot artificial Christmas Tree and I fall back into my first few Christmases on this earth. These were several years before my original family turned into a Rubik’s cube- something that kept shifting into a different pattern.

My index finger glides into the loop of a string like a spoon that glides into a child’s mouth during an hour of nourishment.  Hanging from the loop is the most delicate Christmas ball we have, made of thin glass. A souvenir from my honeymoon. My thumb presses into the image of the B&B that’s painted on it.  Our first week as a family.  My fingers curl around the cap as though it’s a lightbulb. I don’t want to break this. Then I gently place it on the carpet under the bough of the tree. With that removal, I forgive my original family for shifting through the years as it has. Because it happens.

My fingers reach for another ornament, this time a mini burlap stocking with fake prickly pine and cotton wrapped presents peeking out from the opening on top. This was a gift from an old co-worker. I set the warmth the size of a jewelry pouch in my lap. My palms squeeze and knead through its rough and varying textures. My breath changes a little bit. I don’t think about the beginning of this year because I don’t want this breath. But I decide to work on forgiving the corporate office that let go of me. Because it happens.

My index finger and thumb pinch a nearby lightbulb. The warmth sandwiches in my skin and reminds me of the initial sprays in the shower, warm and safe rain. The tree and I interlace cold fingers. Skin and plastic. Our fingers may look different but the tree wants to be seen and felt and so do I. Our presence to each other is all that matters.

I can’t tell if this artificial tree is becoming my altar for forgiveness or if it’s asking me to be the altar for holding and placing items of forgiveness: delicate forgiveness, soft forgiveness, rough forgiveness.

I take another item. Don’t worry I’m not un-doing Christmas, this is not my intent…although this is the ultimate on-the-go, give and take Christmas we’ll ever see as we plan our doorstep delivery swaps, so we’re already somewhat un-doing Christmas and the rest of the holidays as is…. May as well play with decorations a bit, I suppose….

I play at my altar, or as an altar, like my niece plays with toys at her altar of a coffee table: lining characters up from smallest to tallest; removing them one by one; holding each one; and placing them on the floor, only to line then up again one by one. She takes her actions seriously, being fully present through each stage of movement. I’m merely acting out a lesson that I’ve noticed from the innocence and curiosity of a child. She recycles her toys. She recycles her routine. But because she loves it and is present every time, it becomes her ritual.  

The blue and white ornament that reads “New Home 2018” is the next ornament I reach for. My exhale could easily be mistaken for a grunt. I haven’t been able to love this house the way it deserves and I know I need to apologize and forgive myself for that. I need to apologize and forgive myself for letting dishes slide around viciously in the thirty-year-old sink, and blaming the floorboards for being imperfect. I need to treat this house as a person with its own bones, imperfect foundation, and tendencies from neglect that was not through any fault of its own. We need to teach it to bring in warmth by opening curtains to let the light in.  No house or home is perfect. It’s a constant Rubik’s Cube. Because it happens.  

One thing’s for sure: my reaches take effort.

The highest, most strenuous reach for my shoulder is for the origami angel made out of clay from a best friend. There are so many triangular points to this angel’s anatomy but there’s no real sharpness when I lean the tops of my fingers into them.

I hold her for a while. Each hand cups a pointed wing as each thumb’s direction parallels the direction of its wing. I question forgiving my father for getting sick over 2 years ago. Are others forgiving their own loved ones for getting sick?

This most physically challenging reach turns out to be my most challenging mental reach as it stretches toward another question: can we forgive ourselves for playing games through this year of illness? Can we forgive ourselves for playing Russian Roulette as we’ve wandered out to see each other? The tagline of this game being “It can’t happen to me” whether its “me” or “my family.”

I’m so grateful for this angel. These wings.

The tree looks a bit bare, yet pure, open. Green is the color of rebirth, renewal. In saying that, this can be one of the most beautiful colors, and the most beautiful reminder to understand what forgiveness is. What it means to give ourselves away- the right way- because what we gain is love and kindness for ourselves and everyone, everywhere else.

I invite you to make a list of who or what you hope to start forgiving. You don’t have to actually complete the forgiveness. Just start trying for yourself. When you un-trim your tree in 2021, maybe you shed the weight off of what rebirth looks and feels like. Maybe you hold and release forgiveness, too. And If you’re not sure of an item, just take in its texture and temperature. Know that either way, you are unburdening and simultaneously opening your heart and someone else’s. A twinned open heart is so beautiful and so rare.  

And you may just see yourself as that beautiful pure renewed Christmas Tree.

Because these invitations can be so intimidating and personal, I’ll start with my forgiving:

– My Rubik’s Cube Family of 1998-present

-The parts of my body that don’t work so well

-The crayon line on my pant leg and ball of masking tape in my hair from the blond girl in 2nd grade

-The blond girl, herself

-The new owners of my Dad’s house for erasing our pool

– My own doubts; fears; unmotivated hours; addicted creative hours; crunched nose toward the house

The pattern in my list shows that I can find compassion within these items. I think if there’s an area of understanding then I can find my way to compassion. This is where I also have great difficulty because there are a few people I cannot begin to forgive due to not emotionally understanding the violence behind their impact. Logically we can forgive mental health issues, but emotionally forgiving takes a lot of time, team members, and growth in order to be far enough away.

Step Up For Mental Health

“When we’re lonely or depressed from grief, we tend to also detach from physically bonding with ourselves. Our bodies quickly become lethargic. We lose movement. We forget how to be energetic. Quality time with oneself while grieving is the most invaluable gift because it offers strength, respect, and safety. Quality time resets a life.” Click on the link below to continue reading…

A Routine to Help You Rise Through Grief

Writing Right

THE VISITING FRIEND

As I type this title, all I can think of is “The Giving Tree.” It ends with the visiting friend- after much “time went by and the boy grew older.”  

It is nearly November. And so much time has passed. As a writer, I paused to simply let it.

We all paused.

It’s appropriate that we turn the clocks behind this weekend to save ourselves some time this year. This year that has grown more and more unpredictable much like the life of the giving tree, though we do see the pattern of the boy use nature for his own purposes. Each of us has given time and patience to the rest of our selves, families, and society. Time rests our minds and absorbs the happenings, regardless of political sides. Patience with our bodies asks of gentleness and gentleness includes the nutrition entering through our borders (nose and mouth) by way of colors. Watermelon and blueberries give way to the seasonal apples, bok choy, (it’s a favorite in my home!), while bananas, salmon, and bell peppers continue carrying us into the next season.  

We’ve been giving our time to our families -whether it be a few minutes via Zoom or checking in on social media with cousins and parents. I’ve noticed that as my patience with the world begins to fray sometimes, checking in with family seems to instill that back into my system. When it comes to our time and patience with society, all we must do is be gentle and remember to use our voice. How have you been with your gentleness and voice? Has either tool disappeared? If so, that’s ok. We are not made to be static. Still. Perfect. Just come out of the position you’re in, much like a yoga shape, and find a more soothing position to be in. Play with the golden rule a bit: “Treat others and myself, my body, the way I want to be treated.”

So much time has passed since I reached out to you and that’s exactly why I’m popping in. I’ve been away from current blogging because nothing seemed “worthy enough” to send out into the universe from my own page. It felt selfish. But recently, I realized that I spent a lot of time last year sending my voice out there for writing pieces and I didn’t/couldn’t know it at the time but 2019 set in motion the accomplishments and beliefs I, and others, needed this year.

As 2020 kept moving, my “paused”/”static” voice (which echoed its way across well over three dozen publications asking for acceptance) proved to have a body of its own: ears that listened for small ideas cracking that’d heal readers; inner vibratory systems that’d carry heavy emotion; eyes that’d not unblink observed injustices. My voice’s body propelled me to create again. And has propelled me to create more.

The voice was my visiting friend, my own body.  

And now I’m visiting you, fellow visiting friend.

Yes, it’s ugly outside. Right now the rain is smudging away leaves like a washed away painting.

Yes, it’s ugly outside as certain beliefs domino into violence.

Yes, it’s ugly outside.

But here’s the clarity while watching the smudges, we control our own beauties on the inside. And send it on out.

Now, let us use our gift of extra time to explore – sending one contribution at a time!

Here are some upcoming projects I’ll be sharing with you in hopes of spreading self-care:

-My exploration of self-care with Runas (Known as “Runes”) and other articles written for V’ Well Magazine

-Future blog posts from Step Up for Mental Health where I discuss personal and informative research on ‘Bodyfulness,’ self-care with Anxiety/trauma, and the journey of grief.

-A new blog on here about the adventures of being a southpaw

…Stay tuned!

What may be your contribution(s) you send out to the universe?

Love, BellaB