Sunday, November 18, 2007

On the Front Porch

I'm at the beach sitting on the front porch of my Victorian home with a wraparound porch that grandma left to me. The couple of chai tea is warming up my soul for writing. I have been waiting all year for this moment to finally arrive. It has been such a busy year, with all of the normal dramas of daily life with the kids, friends and work. I finally get to just sit back with my cup of tea and no interruptions to write whenever I want to for two weeks of pure solitude.

Watching the seagulls from here just swoosh down to catch anything that moves which could possibly be a feast is such fun and it brings back memories of days long ago. Listening to the waves land upon the shore, reminds me why my soul longs for the coming home to the ocean. I often wonder why every so often and I can tell when, everything else must just stop. I have to get here; it really is the difference between existing and living. Smelling the salt air awakens atoms that have been dormant and reminds me of the child side that is calling out to be free.

Being outside the box, no real limitations except for the ones I choose to exist, is what this porch represents for me. When I step back to look at this porch I realize that the opening represents me easily moving out into the outer perimeters where there is no ending whenever I choose. That opening says I can step out into the vast flowing ocean into the depth of my soul anytime that I desire.

Home Going Celebration and the Power of Words

Attending funerals have a way of revealing the inner core of your desires and beliefs. Filing into the old country church in a traditional Southern fashion reminds me of why it is important to write down for our children how we would want to be remembered and celebrated. Approaching the casket brings up a rush of adrenaline to my hands, heart and head as to what I expect. It is never what I expect because the life I once knew has flown away and I am reminded that this broken vehicle is nothing without its owner. The emptiness reminds me of all the wonderful alive times I had with the warm being who once occupied the space.

When the service begins with all the wonderful gospel music my spirit is lifted towards those reflective times. While my mind and heart floats through those memories, tears flow from my eyes of how precious those moments were. Then my heart goes out to those ones near and dear to the precious one that once was here. My favorite part of the service is the Gospel music as well as the comments and reflective sharing. When people speak of how the departed one left an impression on their lives, this restores my soul as to the purpose of our lives.

What better reward is there than knowing you have left a mark on one's life in a positive way? Of course the sad thing is that realistically we as individuals very seldom tell others while they are living, what their life choices mean to us and how they have made a difference in our lives.

This is one of the reasons that I love the exercise I forwarded to my friends, colleagues, and family to sum up in one word that expresses how they view me. The receiver is to send the answer back to the sender and then forward the request onto their e-mail list. This gives you a lot of insight into how you are reflecting out to the world around you. This turned out to be a wonderful exercise for me coming back from a funeral because I was feeling very deep in my concerns of wanting to have a positive effect on all those that crossed my path.

Some of the words I received back were: intense, seeker, strong, delighter, live, courageous, sensitive, loving, friendly, giving, talkative, serious, deep, loyal, dedicated, carrying, cool, articulate, spiritual, and industrious. It was such an honor to receive these words to describe myself coming from others. It truly reaffirmed the wishes for my life. If I can continue to be true to myself hopefully when I leave this world there can be a huge celebration of music, food, reading and sharing that will be meaningful.

These thoughts have made me more aware that I want to practice now (not later) with others, in telling them the gratitude I have for their presence in my life. To all my family and friends I challenge them to remember the moment.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


In a writing workshop designed to find common ground through American voices, I was asked to imagine myself as rejecting my culture and what affect that would probably have on me emotionally professionally and socially-both in a positive and negative way. How ironic this assignment was for me because basically I had done that for over 40 plus years. No one could imagine from other cultures, why I would choose to do that, being white. I didn't realize in my teen years why everyone thought it was such a big deal, probably because I didn't understand the implications by some, was that by exploring other viewpoints it was understood I had rejected or left behind what I was born with, which was my own identity. As I grew older I realize that the more I investigated other truths (the hidden agendas) the more I moved away from accepted truths, (without review). According to some I was no longer white. It still puzzles me as to what the accepted definition of white is. It says on my birth certificate that I am white, but I guess more requirements come with that than just who your birth parents are. A lot of the same cultures that run in my DNA memories along with my blood have historically been mistreated and abused by the ancestors of my heritage. This has troubled me my entire life as I am sure it has many others. To reject certain actions taken by members of the culture my embodiment represents, means to me that I accept responsibility for change. To change historic patterns by making different choices allows the generations that follow my footsteps to do the same if they choose to. I personally accept the teachings of the native Indian side of my people, whereby it is understood that we as a people affect seven generations by the choices we make individually. That gives me the opportunity to affect a change by choice. I may not be able to change the past but I do believe I can play a part in the future.

How these choices have affected me emotionally have been challenging at times because my feelings about change have been strongly charged. I have multicultural children by choice, therefore it is an immediate concern for me and present every day. This helps me to understand someone of another culture when they say, “I go to bed with his face and I wake up with his face every day, whatever problem or challenge that presents for another, I cannot change nor do I choose to.”

The pride that I take in my choices is that by the grace of God I have survived to tell my story to my grandchildren. Hopefully they will have the courage to stand up for their strong convictions in life, whatever they may be, they will have courage and faith that there is a bigger/stronger force at their back, at all times.

How my choices have affected me professionally have differed according to whatever I have chosen to do in service to humanity. When I was in my own business, as a cosmetologist there were challenges on many fronts because there again I did not allow myself to be segregated. I purposely chose to cross- over train in all cultures and to practice these teachings in every aspect of my business. I do feel that our professional choices should also reflect our personal self. It would be very difficult for me to try and separate who I am for eight to 12 hours out of the day. Therefore, I don't attempt to try. There can be personal choices separate from work that you can keep private but a larger part of yourself that you bring to the table normally will always reveal itself at some point. Our society is so diverse that it would be almost impossible to hide yourself from anyone. I am aware that my outer color has probably given me choices far beyond a lot of other cultures in this country but I try to make good use of that to benefit all people where ever I am and in whatever capacity I can affect.

The social effect that my choices have had on me at times has rendered me to be alone but as a writer that has been a positive thing. To be able to observe and ascertain people's reactions to my choices has provided plenty of research material as well as critical thinking opportunities.

Going back over the last 50 years of my life I can say now that the face I always saw in the mirror was connected to my heart but the life I chose to go with it was misinterpreted many times. That was the challenge of the beholder, not mine. I live in peace knowing who I am through my journey, not by someone else's definition.