Tag Archives: friendship

what I did on my Facebook vacation

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My part-time job as TV news editor has been sort of hateful lately.

So on Thursday, when all my assignments were preempted yet again by another assassination, this time in front of Parliament, I opened my Facebook page to a string of hateful posts related to other crises in America.

I’d had enough.  So I started my weekend a little early.  And I took time off from Facebook.

1. On Thursday afternoon, driving down Walnut Grove,  I laughed out loud at a Blue Screen of Death on a digital billboard.  I’ve never seen one that big.  Maybe another media conscript was feeling mutinous.

2. On Friday, I walked to the Art Center to buy origami paper.  I decided to step into Inz and Outz Gift & Cards, thinking I’d shop for Father’s Day.

Y’all should have told me what that place was before I went in there.

I didn’t buy any cards.  I did, however, consider some of the leather thongs.  Bet those zippers get awfully hot in this heat.

3. On Saturday, I perfected an origami envelope for a direct mail project and designed an outdoor sign, a non-digital one.  No BSODs here.

Sidebar:  I used to have a recurring dream, working at my old job as a graphic designer.  Today I’m literally living that dream.  Life is full of surprises.

4. On Sunday, I was grateful, grateful, grateful for so many things.  I’m grateful that I have air conditioning in my entire apartment now and my butter doesn’t melt if I leave it on the table.

I’m even grateful for my part-time job as TV news editor, even if it does make social media unbearably redundant some days.  There’s lots of love at that job.  My co-workers bring it every day.  Otherwise, I just couldn’t cope.

Actually, there’s lots of love at all my jobs, some of which necessitate my using Facebook.  I just have to remember that I have a choice:  I can unfollow people or pages that post stuff I don’t want to read.

I am one lucky girl.  I live in America.  I get to read about it all, the bad and the good.  Life is full of surprises.  It’s also full of choices.

1. Today I choose to be grateful.

2. Today I choose to show up for the love.

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trinity

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Sometimes the time just seems magic.

It has been a time of reconnection for me, of quiet conversation over food with this friend and that one, some spent alone in the quiet, clearing away the clutter in my environment and in my head.

I recognized some years ago that my recovery requires three things: prayer, writing and sharing thoughts with another person. This trinity makes itself evident most when I am seeking or providing help in our most practical and pervasive challenge: that of understanding the people around us.

My daughter is on a beautiful beach somewhere in the southern U.S., navigating a romance. One friend is walking her Path with family passed and present. Another friend is sifting through the lingering messages of addiction recovery.

Mulling over the conversations of three days in a row, what stands out is that life is a lovely wilderness with exciting obstacle courses that test our acquired skills and teach us new ones.

For those new to the Path, it is like Marine boot camp. The instructor is harsh and the tasks required of us are strenuous and unfamiliar. What I have learned is that the instructor has one goal in mind: teach us how to survive. The insults and bullying are not personal; they are edifying. The pain sustained will pass if we do not resent it.

For those of us who are challenging the negative inner voice, it is like boarding school. The voices strike at our soft underbelly, the tenderest parts of us. Here we learn to thicken our skin, to run the gantlet that sometimes brutally attempts to distract us from our goal, that of freedom.

For those who are trying to live outside ourselves and our comfort zones, it is marshaling our allies and agreeing to a battle plan: we must march in the same direction. We cannot always be on the front line, and it is important to have comrades who will allow us to fall back and even retreat when we are weary.

This requires trust, a gift from God, I am certain, because mine is in short supply at times. Yet it refills itself from some divine Source that I cannot comprehend.

The lesson I have learned is that I must not punish myself for my mistakes.

In “The Four Agreements,” Don Miguel Ruiz says, “…it is important for you to master your own dream.”

This is the basis for my role as sponsor, medium, channel, friend and partner. Easy to say, hard to do. As always, I depend on grace as my ultimate rescue when I am stuck. But I find I can access grace more abundantly if I pray, write and share.

on the nature of tuesday

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What I believe today is that the answers to my most puzzling questions are found through interaction with others.

I have a new teacher. The reason I know this is that I talk to him a lot, in my head and in real life. And i think about stuff he has said and whether or not i believe it.

So today there are lots of people crossing in and out of my headspace, and there’s a lot of staccato on the wires. If you sit very still you can hear them whispering.

It occurred to me today that I was thinking about my interactions in terms of survival. It appears that most of the people I meet are behaving either as if they are predator or prey, or both. And while it may not look like it, I’m trying to be an observer.

I’ve been watching “Fringe,” and if you’ve watched it, you know all about the Observers. There’s one of them, September, who feels compassion, and doesn’t know what it is, because those around him see it as a handicap. And it truly is; he’s ostracized because of it.

So I think my new teacher and I are looking at our predatory nature, both together and separately. And he says things like, “I don’t want to hurt you,” and that both makes me laugh and pisses me off, because I think, what an arrogant statement.

But in his defense, that’s a line that seems popular these days. And is it because we are all such predators/victims? Is there space for Observers here? And must the consequences of that choice be loneliness and incomprehension?

I think not. I think there are other non-Observers who wish to evolve, who are just winging it on a daily (or hourly) basis, and who have lost so much that they have nothing left to lose by just putting it out there.

It takes tremendous courage, I think. The risks seem huge and the reward iffy at best. But maybe it’s just about the ride. As my teacher said, “You are welcome on my rocket ship. Just understand that we may crash.”

And I said, “It’s like Apollo 13. You wonder if you’ll survive reentry. But look at that moon in the window.”

ivy

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ivy

I wonder where my fascination with ivy began?  It’s one of the lesser totems of my life.

When I moved into the house on Marcia, the kitchen pantry was lined with ivy wallpaper.  (My dad painted over it one day while I was gone.  “You were going to paint over it, weren’t you?” as if any alternative was unthinkable.)

When I lived in Austin, while browsing the local Goodwill store, I spotted a plate, sage green with white ivy leaves.
It was just one plate, tho, and I had no use for a single plate.  But it was there the next time I went back, and for $1.50, it was a must purchase.

Turns out it was Harkerware.  Thus began a long love affair with all things pottery, especially tableware, but also bowls.  I angered my friend Ann one time because I had found a huge bowl somewhere shopping, and she thought I should let her buy it.  But I had been looking for a bowl like it for big recipes, like oatmeal cookies, where the flour goes everywhere when you start up the mixer.  At the time I did not understand why somehow I seemed like the bad guy in this deal, because she had numerous similar bowls and I had none.

In retrospect, I understand it a little better today.  Crockery can be a kind of addiction.

Anyway, back to Austin:  I began searching for pieces of the Harkerware on eBay and I ended up buying, selling, collecting, learning everything I could.  I inherited a large cache of Fiesta from Mom, who included boxes and boxes bequeathed to her by the former Anne Roney, who’d gotten tons of china and figurines and JUNK for her wedding gifts.

I began collecting a huge set of Azura by Taylor Smith Taylor.  It seemed the perfect fine china companion to my everyday Ivy Wreath.

It’s all in boxes now.  I gave the Azura to Rachel when I moved back to Memphis.  She’s used it once, last Thanksgiving.  It set a very nice table.

Three of my salad plates are downstairs in the kitchen.  I should probably rescue them.  I had the sugar bowl in the hallway, to keep dog biscuits handy.  Hannah discovered these, and the sugar bowl is no more . It’s not like I used the sugar bowl, anyway, and I’m certainly not using it now.  I still have the lid, and I might find a replacement for it.  But not for a while.

One of my favorite photos is of a sprig of ivy in a bud vase, sitting on the windowsill of the bathroom upstairs on Carnes.  It’s flanked by some of my seashells.  Not sure if I even have those shells anymore or the vase, but I have that photo.  I look at it frequently, tried to make it part of my Facebook timeline but it’s the wrong crop.

Near the garage, there’s ivy sprouting in a place where hostas had been and died.  It’s tenacious and hardy.  It holds the ground together and can form a carpet across a lawn in no time, or up an exterior wall.  It is the bane of masons and carpenters, and it can be tiresomely mundane.  But there’s something about it that reminds me of sweeter times, of disappointments and flawed relationships, and hope.

a whole new world

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Ecclesiastes 2:12 Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom, and also madness and folly.

I was writing to a good friend on Facebook, and this just sort of spilled out of me.  It seemed like a good thing to repost here, because I need these sorts of revelatory experiences to remind me of where I’ve been, where I am and where I’m going.

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I don’t recommend it for everyone, and I wouldn’t have recommended it for me five years ago, but I have settled into a nice little life without making The Group the center of it.

I have a well-rounded set of friends and acquaintances and we rarely lapse into tirades of personal drama. But I have stopped soliciting that, too, and so my communication with my peeps is more about what we’re doing and where we’re going.

My recovery from alcohol is not the neon sign over my head any more. It’s a fact of my life like my adoration of God and my love of good poetry and my obsession with art direction.

The best thing is I don’t feel like I have to compete with people just to be who I am.

I look back on all the angst I felt around the women at The Group, and especially the women in certain cliques, and it seems so strange to me now.

I feel like I have spent great chunks of my life trying to shoehorn myself into places where I wasn’t welcome or even that I didn’t care about, as if that would somehow complete me.

I see it in my romance, trying to get men to accept me who weren’t even worthy of me. I see it in my family, as if they could provide the solace I needed when they were so overwhelmed by their own pain that they forgot I existed.

I went to The Lake with David last week and, for the first time since I’ve been going there, it felt just right.

Something is different with me, and I chalk it up to God changing me when I wasn’t looking. That, and all that TRUE drama in my life has sort of brought me around to a clearer perspective.

It’s really a struggle for me to muster much sympathy for the strident shrew who screeches because she hasn’t accrued an appropriate level of sympathy for her latest self-styled crisis.

Friends are putting their furniture up on cinder blocks at Harbor Town. Hopefully they stacked the blocks five or six high, because the water is thigh-deep there now.

I am happy because I am strong enough to push the lawnmower up the hill.  Even though it takes me three days, cutting the front yard is great for my waistline, and I revel in the personal glee I experience when I think, this body belongs to a 57-year-old woman, and it still works.

My life doesn’t really look that different from the outside.  From behind my eyes, it’s a whole new world.