• Put the Glass Down

    Monday, May 28, 2018 No tags Permalink

    Our psychology professor taught us a lesson we’ve never forgotten. She walked up on stage to teach one final lesson, which she called “a vital lesson on the power of perspective and mindset.” As she raised a glass of water over her head, everyone expected her to mention the typical “glass half empty or glass half full” metaphor. Instead, with a smile on her face, our professor asked, “How heavy is this glass of water I’m holding?”

    Students shouted out answers ranging from a couple of ounces to a couple of pounds

    After a few moments of fielding answers and nodding her head, she replied, “From my perspective, the absolute weight of this glass is irrelevant. It all depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute or two, it’s fairly light. If I hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make my arm ache. If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed, forcing me to drop the glass to the floor. In each case, the absolute weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels to me.”

    As most of us students nodded our heads in agreement, she continued. “Your worries, frustrations, disappointments, and stressful thoughts are very much like this glass of water. Think about them for a little while and nothing drastic happens. Think about them a bit longer and you begin to feel noticeable pain. Think about them all day long, and you will feel completely numb and paralyzed, incapable of doing anything else until you drop them.”

    Think about how this relates to your life.

    If you’ve been struggling to cope with the weight of what’s on your mind, it’s a strong sign that it’s time to put the glass down.

  • Kicking Right

    Wednesday, May 16, 2018 No tags Permalink

    I love analogies.

    It’s just the way my mind works. I just have a need to break everything down to its simplest form.

    I probably preface most things I say with “It’s like…,” and I often feel people cringe when those words come out of my mouth.

     If I dumb it down, I can deal with it.

    Many years ago, I moved into a new house. It has an immense lawn. I eventually bought a lawn tractor, but not until the leaves were changing. I spent most of the summer on foot, chugging along with a shitty push mower.

    There’s nothing like mowing to clear your mind of the extraneous crap and just focus on a topic. For all the dirt I picked up on my exterior, (sticking to the sweat of those blazing summer days), an equal bit of muck was wiped away from my mind through this Zen-like task of straight lines.

    Just give me straight rows. It satisfies some part of me that craves order. I want to look back and see nice, orderly lines behind me.

    That summer, when I wasn’t concerning myself with my OCD for the symmetrical, I was thinking.

     About loss.

    The emotional kind.

    You see, life is like mowing the lawn.

    (Don’t roll your eyes yet.)

    Each year of my life is like a row that I’ve mowed. As I’m going along, I might come across something that the universe has put in my way. Once, it was a big yoga ball (of all things) that my son was playing with in the back yard.

    Now, my mower had that handle that you have to hold down to keep it running. If something is in my way, I’d have to let go of the handle and deal with it, which means the mower dies, and who knows how long it will take to get that piece of crap running again.

    So, I could decide to just run it over, whatever it is. But that might make a mess when the blades cut it into a million pieces and it would certainly upset some children. But the yoga ball is fine. It’s too big to run over, and it rolls—I can just move it along with me, pushing it as I go.

    But what about a plastic softball?  That’s a problem.

    Well, keeping a grip on the mower, I reached out a leg and kicked the thing to the right or the left.

    The direction I choose is important.

    Kick it to the left, and it’s on grass I haven’t mowed yet. I’m going to deal with it on the next row, or perhaps the one after that.

    Why would I do that?

    Because it’s easier at that moment. My right leg is stronger and kicking it left is avoiding pain. In love, you can think of that as pretty much doing nothing.  Status quo.

    If I kick it to right, it’s now on grass I’ve mowed. That’s my past. I’m probably not going to come across it again.

    The point is, I’m done with it in my own mind. Nothing is in my way now. I’m at peace.

    See, we have to make hard decisions in our lives sometimes.

    They were put here in front of us, and perhaps moving them along with us isn’t possible. It might be easier to move them left—hoping that somehow circumstances could change and we can deal with the issues later. But we know our path isn’t really clear. Get to the next row, and you’ll wish you’d dealt with it sooner.

    But moving them right, to our past, is hard.

    There’s more pain involved.

    Of course, I could take a risk and just keep that mower moving—hoping that I can just move it along with me or somehow leave the thing unscathed.

    But, besides the mess it can create if I’m wrong, I can suffer some pain from that, too. Like the time I ended up with a chunk of rock being kicked up into my leg. I took a risk and paid the price.

    Yes, that’s as true for love as it is for the grass-clipping world.

    Wouldn’t it be great if you could just take everything with you? Move with it forever? Well, you can’t.

    Not everyone in your life can be the yoga ball. Maybe you thought they were at first. Or, you knew they weren’t, but you hoped they’d grow somehow. Don’t beat yourself up.

    You might be reading this now, thinking about the plastic softball in your life. You don’t want to move it to the right.

    It’s too hard—you just can’t do it.

    Listen, friend. It’s a bizarre world out there. Anything can happen. The winds can blow them back to the left someday.

    You’re a couple of rows over, and… holy shit. There they are again. But now they are totally yoga. It really happens to other people every day. If that helps you flip the bit, then think about it that way.

    The odds are low, however, and you need to be sane. So flip the bit, and let them go. To the right.

    Just mow, baby. Mow.

  • Simple Formula

    Thursday, July 27, 2017 No tags Permalink

    Simple Formula for Living

    Live beneath your means.
    Return everything you borrow.
    Stop blaming other people.
    Admit it when you make a mistake.
    Give clothes not worn to charity.
    Do something nice and try not to get caught.
    Listen more; talk less.
    Every day take a 30 minute walk.
    Strive for excellence, not perfection.
    Be on time. Don’t make excuses.
    Don’t argue.
    Get organized.
    Be kind to unkind people.
    Let someone cut ahead of you in line.
    Take time to be alone.
    Cultivate good manners.
    Be humble.
    Realize and accept that life isn’t fair.
    Know when to keep your mouth shut.
    Go an entire day without criticizing anyone.
    Learn from the past. Plan for the future.
    Live in the present.
    Don’t sweat the small stuff.
    It’s all small stuff.

  • Hello June!

    Thursday, June 1, 2017 No tags Permalink


      • Good Things
    • haircuts
    • the ocean air
    • waterfalls
    • falling asleep under the stars
    • farmers markets
    • when you step outside in the morning and the air seems fresher and crisper than it does during the day
    • trampolines
    • ice cream
    • car rides and night-time adventures
    • the sounds of nature
    • feeling the wind in your hair
    • long bicycle rides
    • the beach at night
    • picnics under the shade of a tree
    • lying in a field of flowers
    • fireworks
    • brightly painted toe nails
    • good company
    • making a wish on a dandelion
    • driving with the windows rolled down
    • flowers
    • reading in the sunshine
    • cold brew iced coffee on the patio
    • naps
    • summer rain and the sun shining through your half-drawn blinds in the morning
    • people who give hugs with a little squeeze at the end
    • outdoor cinemas
    • movies that make you laugh
    • movies that make you cry
    • movies that make you do both
    • how every single day the sky looks different
    • clear blue skies that remind you of the endless possibilities that life has to offer
    • listening to songs that you listened to when you were younger
    • dusk
    • days like these
    • hope
    • now

    “…I want first of all – in fact, as an end to these other desires – to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central cor to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact – to borrow from the language of the saints -to live ‘in grace’ as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony…”
    ― Anne Morrow Lindbergh

    “When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

    The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.”
    ― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

  • Before {Poetry}

    Tuesday, May 9, 2017 No tags Permalink

    And one day,
    In the middle of a life you didn’t sign up for
    On roads you never thought you’d walk
    With bruised knees
    And tired legs
    With hopeful eyes and
    Slow, unclenching fists,
    You will stumble upon a mirror
    Unsure of what you’ll see
    And you will
    Look into the reflection,
    Surprised to discover
    may have changed
    But you
    Look more like yourself
    Than you ever have

  • Heavenly Day

    Monday, April 24, 2017 No tags Permalink

    I was too busy relaxing (is that an oxymoron?) to write much this weekend.  It was gorgeous here!  Evidence as such:

    The trees are in bloom, the sunshine was warm and golden, and the sky was a vivid, almost surreal blue.  Heaven on earth!

    Continue Reading…

  • Beautiful

    Friday, March 17, 2017 No tags Permalink

    Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.
    -Khalil Gibran

    How do you explain this thing where love comes one day and takes your life back, and suddenly you can’t remember what you found so interesting about before, because you are here and I am here and have you ever seen a world so beautiful as this?

  • In My Sky at Twilight {Poetry}

    Tuesday, February 28, 2017 No tags Permalink

    In my sky at twilight you are like a cloud

    and your form and color are the way I love them.

    You are mine, mine, woman with sweet lips

    and in your life my infinite dreams live.

    The lamp of my soul dyes your feet,

    the sour wine is sweeter on your lips,

    oh reaper of my evening song,

    how solitary dreams believe you to be mine!

    You are mine, mine, I go shouting it to the afternoon’s

    wind, and the wind hauls on my widowed voice.

    Huntress of the depth of my eyes, your plunder

    stills your nocturnal regard as though it were water.

    You are taken in the net of my music, my love,

    and my nets of music are wide as the sky.

    My soul is born on the shore of your eyes of mourning.

    In your eyes of mourning the land of dreams begin.

  • In You The Earth

    Tuesday, December 20, 2016 No tags Permalink


    at times,
    tiny and naked,
    it seems
    as though you would fit
    in one of my hands,
    as though I’ll clasp you like this
    and carry you to my mouth,
    my feet touch your feet and my mouth your lips:
    you have grown,
    your shoulders rise like two hills,
    your breasts wander over my breast,
    my arm scarcely manages to encircle the thin
    new-moon line of your waist:
    in love you loosened yourself like sea water:
    I can scarcely measure the sky’s most spacious eyes
    and I lean down to your mouth to kiss the earth.
    -Pablo Neruda

  • The Ruins

    Monday, September 26, 2016 No tags Permalink


    “The Ruins” combines several of my favorite things: parks, fountains, statues, and architecture.  One thing you can say about Indianapolis is that we have some very lovely parks.  The Ruins are located in on of my favorite parks in town, Holliday Park.  I spent so much time there when my son was young.  It has a wonderful playground, a nature center, and many hiking trails.  Perfect for burning off the excess energy of an active boy!  Also a perfect place to take photographs.

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    The Ruins have a fascinating history.   in 1898, New York’s first skyscraper, the St. Paul building had been built. It was located at 220 Broadway. One of the outstanding architectural sculptors of the day, Karl Bitter,designed the façade of this building as well as that of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. On this façade were three massive statues made of Indiana limestone. The statues, called “the Races of Man” representedthe African-American, Asian and Caucasian races laboring together as they appeared to hold the skyscraper on their backs. In the 1950’s the owners of this building, the Western Electric Corporation, decided to build a modern skyscraper on the site. Seeking to find a new home for the sculptures, they held a competition among cities for a plan to display and preserve them. Indianapolis among other cities and universities, presented a plan: to place them in Holliday park.

    The design submitted and later implemented by this city was a reproduction of the façade of the building’s entry including original facing stone, doorways and the ledge that upheld the figures, each one of which weighed 8 tons.

    Last week I heard a story on my local NPR radio station that mentioned The Ruins.  Over the years they had fallen into disrepair, but a rejuvenation project has just been completed.  I think it’s time to re-visit one of my favorite places in town.  I’ll even make sure to bring my camera.  🙂

  • The Lotus Flower {Poetry}

    Tuesday, June 28, 2016 No tags Permalink

    you can either
    keep yourself up at night
    “why me?”
    you can hide under your covers
    and tell everyone
    you’re wrong and you’ll
    never be right

    or you can see all this
    as an opportunity
    to emerge from the concealed depths
    to the gleaming luminescence
    and become stronger

    it is your choice to decide
    whether to drown in your troubles
    or to courageously survive

    because the harder the struggle
    the more spirited you become in the end
    “the deeper the mud
    the more beautiful the lotus blooms”

    -Madisen Kuhn


    “The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of them all.” –Mulan

    The lotus flower in the murkiest, darkest of waters, appearing elegantly with a beauty that cannot be denied. These flowers are considered to be sacred in the Buddhist religion; associated with creation, enlightenment, and purity.

    A lotus emerges out of muddy, dirty water found in ponds, in a slow manner, over a few days. Once it appears above water, it will only open its petals in the morning and then later closing them in the late afternoon. Regardless of the fact that this flower surfaces out of such dark and muddy water, it is clean and devoid of dirt when it presents itself to the world.

    The mud a lotus grows out of can be considered a symbol of the dark, painful suffering that this world inflicts upon the people who inhabit it. We are all born into a world filled with this mud, mud that we must overcome because it is meant to test us. We, as humans, go through many of the same trials and tribulations in life (i.e., illness, death of a loved one, sadness and depression, etc.) But, it is upon us to rise above these hardships and grow from them rather than let them destroy us. By developing compassion, empathy, wisdom, kindness, and resilience, we have the ability to grow just as the lotus does, taking it one step at a time (i.e., opening one petal at a time).

    When you are going through a hard time, it may seem easier to just stay within that bud, the cocoon, of the lotus flower, safe from all the suffering. But, in reality, you aren’t really safe from it, you are ignoring it and will never reach the point in which you can truly “bloom.” It’s risky and scary to face life’s toughest obstacles, but we must do so. you may have heard the quote: “A certain darkness is needed to see the stars,” (Osho- The Book of Secrets). The same idea applies in this context–without the mud, there is no lotus. Without suffering and dark times, there would be no chance for us as human beings to rise above hardship; to learn from it, change from it, and grow from it.

    The mud will always be there, but we do have the ability to not let the mud ruin us. Rather, we have the ability to flourish and blossom. And, in this, we can find peace, find ourselves, find contentment, and find ways to continuously re-bloom when life throws another obstacle at us. The most beautiful, elegant, and radiantly positive people are those that have learned to live their lives by going through a similar cycle of that of the lotus. These individuals reach new beginnings, reach enlightenment, and have the ability to change and diminish the negativity within themselves.


    I took this photo several years ago. Perhaps I need to print a copy to remind me that I am like the lotus flower, too.

  • Pathways {Poetry}

    Tuesday, April 5, 2016 No tags Permalink

    Understand, I’ll slip quietly
    away from the noisy crowd
    when I see the pale
    stars rising, blooming, over the oaks.

    I’ll pursue solitary pathways
    through the pale twilit meadows,
    with only this one dream:

    You come too.

    -Rainer Maria Rilke

    imageI have a framed copy of this photo hanging in my house. I took this about 7 or 8 years ago at Crown Hill Cemetary.  It was one of my favorite places to wander. It’s an oasis of calm in the middle of the city and its oddly beautiful, or at least it is to me. I’m one who loves to “slip quietly away from the noisy crowd” from time to time. It’s a pleasure I’ve recently re-discovered.

    You come too.

  • I Don’t Want To Be Demure Or Respectable {Poetry}

    Tuesday, March 29, 2016 No tags Permalink


    I don’t want to be demure or respectable.
    I was that way, asleep, for years.
    That way, you forget too many important things.
    How the little stones, even if you can’t hear them, are singing.
    How the river can’t wait to get to the ocean and the sky, it’s been there before.
    What traveling is that!
    It is a joy to imagine such distances.
    I could skip sleep for the next hundred years.
    There is a fire in the lashes of my eyes.
    It doesn’t matter where I am, it could be a small room.
    The glimmer of gold Böhme saw on the kitchen pot
    was missed by everyone else in the house.

    Maybe the fire in my lashes is a reflection of that.
    Why do I have so many thoughts, they are driving me crazy.
    Why am I always going anywhere, instead of somewhere?
    Listen to me or not, it hardly matters.
    I’m not trying to be wise, that would be foolish.
    I’m just chattering

    -Mary Oliver


    Year ago I gave up trying to be wise, demure, or respectable, and I am much happier for it. When I stopped caring so much about what other people think of me, I became much more genuine. I’m not asleep anymore.


  • Rumi (for Coleman Barks) {Poetry}

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016 No tags Permalink


    When Rumi went into the tavern
    I followed.
    I heard a lot of crazy talk
    and a lot of wise talk.

    But the roses wouldn’t grow in my hair.

    When Rumi left the tavern
    I followed.
    I don’t mean just to pick at
    such a famous fellow.
    Indeed he was rather ridiculous with his
    long beard and his dusty feet.
    But I heard less of the crazy talk and
    a lot more of the wise talk and I was
    hopeful enough to keep listening

    until the day I found myself
    transformed into an entire garden
    of roses.

    – Mary Oliver
    from Blue Horses: Poems

    This poem was dedicated to Coleman Barks, the poet responsible for interpreting many of Rumi’s works, and paying homage to the great Sufi mystic. For those who read poetry as soul food, to have Oliver writing about Rumi is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown. Oliver doesn’t disappoint, speaking words at the heart of every Rumi enthusiast and capturing his effect on readers with an honesty and simplicity that only a Mary Oliver poem can deliver.

    Continue Reading…

  • Dazzle of the Day { Poetry}

    Tuesday, March 15, 2016 Permalink


    Enough now of the wet eyes of winter.
    Not one single tear.
    Hour by hour, green is beginning,
    the essential season, leaf by leaf,
    until, by spring’s name, we are summoned
    to take part in its joy.

    How wonderful, its eternal openness,
    clean air, the promise of flower,
    the full moon leaving
    its calling card in the foliage,
    men and women trailing from the beach
    with a wet basket of shifting silver.

    Like love, like a medal,
    I welcome it,
    I take it all in,
    from south, from north, from violins,
    from dogs,
    lemons, clay,
    from newly liberated air,
    machines smelling of mystery,
    storm-colored shopping,
    everything I need:
    orange blossoms, string,
    grapes like topazes,
    the whiff of waves.
    I gather it up
    I breathe.

    I dry my shirt in the wind,
    and my opened heart.
    The sky falls
    and falls.
    From my glass,
    I drink
    pure joy.

    ~ Pablo Neruda

    Leave it to Neruda to describe exactly how I feel when spring arrives!  Pure joy.  Yes.  When I was young I had a teacher who said that our blood thinned out in the spring.  That was her way of explaining spring fever.  I do know that I feel different in the spring, and I want to take it all in.

    I took the photo above one spring several years ago.  I love to go exploring and see what gifts are awaiting me.

  • If I Wanted a Boat { Poetry}

    Tuesday, March 8, 2016 No tags Permalink


    I would want a boat, if I wanted a

    boat, that bounded hard on the waves,

    that didn’t know starboard from port

    and wouldn’t learn, that welcomed

    dolphins and headed straight for the

    whales, that, when rocks were close,

    would slide in for a touch or two,

    that wouldn’t keep land in sight and

    went fast, that leaped into the spray.

    What kind of life is it always to plan

    and do, to promise and finish, to wish

    for the near and the safe? Yes, by the

    heavens, if I wanted a boat I would want

    a boat I couldn’t steer.

    -Mary Oliver

    Each time I try to take control, steering and holding on too tightly, I get lost. It’s so easy to want to steer every moment, every direction in life, to feel safe and secure in where we are headed. Or even, for the more relaxed among us, who steer our life more generally, allowing for a few false starts and leeward winds – to fix our eyes unwaveringly on the distant goal, the aim, the ever-moving target.


    Meditation is a practice in letting go. In meditation, a thousand things arise, and we let them go Or at least we try to let them go. 😉

    Why practice letting go? Polly Young-Eisendrath made the following point about practicing mindfulness, but it applies to letting go as well:

    “The reason for learning… is not so that you can sit around and meditate. It’s like when you learn to drive a car in a parking lot. It’s not so you can drive that car in parking lots. You learn in the parking lot because it’s a restricted, safe area. When you [meditate] it’s like learning to drive in the parking lot. Then, in time, you take the car out onto the highway…. Practice is cultivated in order to get around in life….”

    Continue Reading…

  • Humanity and Kindness

    Monday, December 21, 2015 No tags Permalink

    imageOh, how I miss this sweet face! So many of my friends have lost their beloved dogs recently. Even though my little girl has been gone almost three years now, it feels more recent.

    I found this quote several years ago, and it always makes me laugh:

    “I would rather have a good, funny loyal dog than a man. It’s taken me a few years to come to that conclusion, and I’m happier for it.” -Anonymous

    Dogs really are so much more loyal and consistent than humans. They’re always there for you, good cuddlers, and excellent listeners. It’s no wonder we love them so much!

    Continue Reading…

  • Amber Light

    Monday, August 31, 2015 No tags Permalink


    “It is the amber light indicating the end of the great burst of 
summer and suggesting that we must now start looking forward to autumn. Not that I have any objection 
to autumn as a season, full of its own beauty; but I just cannot bear to see another summer go, and I recoil 
from what the first hint of autumn means.”
    Vita Sackville-West – from Even More for Your Garden


    This evening, for this first time this year, the light had an amber look to it. I can’t believe tomorrow is the first day of September. Fall is pretty, but I know what comes next. I’d better enjoy warm weather while I can. It’s supposed to be 92 tomorrow, so that should work. 😉

    Just look at that pretty light this evening!

  • And….We’re Back!

    Saturday, August 15, 2015 No tags Permalink

    I’ve been offline this week due to my move. I just had my new Internet service installed this morning so I’m back in business. I took the week off from work (sort of) so I could take my time to unpack and get properly settled in. I say “sort of” took the week off, if you don’t count the many text messages, phone calls, and few times I actually went into the office. I made sure to not go in during regular business hours, because I knew I’d be stuck there for far too long. The day of my actual move I received multiple text messages asking me how to fix a printer error. I started out explaining it step by step. Finally I just said, “Google it”! Here’s the problem: they all think I’m their own “work wife”. Seriously, I was even introduced at the wedding reception of one of my co-workers as their work wife. It’s more like “work mom” in my mind, even if some of them are older than me, and none are young enough to be my child. Job security is one thing, but being totally dependent on me for basic functions is another. I think it’s time my work kids grew up a bit. Goodness knows they’re a lot less independent than my own 22 year-old son is. 😉 Then again, I raised him to be that way.

    Okay, enough Internet time for now. I still have my garage and master bedroom closet to tend to. I could easily get sucked into looking at things for my new place. I’m most excited about the sun room. Perfect for sipping my morning coffee on days I can’t be on the patio and even better for hours spent reading. I already have great and comfy armchairs in there. I just need pops of art and plants, lots and lots of plants. And definitely an orchid. I may never want to leave!