Monday, June 12, 2017

Little Feathers: Bone Deep Memory

Little Feathers: Bone Deep Memory: I moved from the beautiful Pacific Northwest at the tender age of 19. I vividly remember the time I went home a few years later,when our kid...

Bone Deep Memory

I moved from the beautiful Pacific Northwest at the tender age of 19. I vividly remember the time I went home a few years later,when our kids were really little. I scoured the scenery for the familiar. For the sense of home. Maybe it was because life was so busy, so forward-moving at a breathless pace, or maybe because my actual home town was changing really fast. At any rate, I didn't find it. I said to myself at the time, well we can never go home again.

Last week, several decades later. we went to Oregon with good friends to enjoy the wine country of the Willamette Valley. But first we drove across the coastal range to the incredibly beautiful Oregon coast. On that drive, just outside the window were these trees and plants that were so familiar, I honestly saw them as if I was 19 years old and riding in the car with my parents. That time of life came rushing back. The way I felt, my life stretched out before me. It almost made me cry.

Maybe because it wasn't my specific home town, and I didn't need the buildings and roads to be the same as they were. I only needed those trees. That air. Those blackberry bushes along side the road. But it was a gift of the rarest kind. A bone deep memory of a wonderful childhood. A bone deep memory of a loving family who cherished the beauty of their homeland. It's a new memory I'll file away, to take out again someday and spend some good time being grateful.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Little Feathers: Looking Back, Going Home

Little Feathers: Looking Back, Going Home: There are times when the past seems like a siren song. When going through old photographs, reading old journal entries is a balm, an antidot...

Looking Back, Going Home

There are times when the past seems like a siren song. When going through old photographs, reading old journal entries is a balm, an antidote for the fast paced, lightning-round feel of today. I've been doing it in other ways too, giving in to this instinct for going home. I've been re-reading books I loved years ago. I know it's partly because I already know the ending. There is no risk that an author is going to yank my heart out at the end and stomp around on it. And even though my own past has sad parts that left that same heart battered, it is still safer than the great-unknown of tomorrow.

Thomas Wolfe made the saying, "You can't go home again" famous. He wrote a book by that title. I have heard it over and over again, and I usually thought it was the logical conclusion drawn from the fact that time changes places and people, so you can't recreate an experience by going somewhere you once called home. But this morning it is meaning something else to me.

I do believe we are meant to keep learning, keep growing, keep becoming. And an occasional look in the review mirror to remember with gratitude, to give thanks for the past, is a good thing. Laughing at my naivete, even my fashion choices, is fun because I am not mean to myself about it. But spending too much wishing for the certainty of the past really does rob me of today.

Maybe it's because the world is so volatile today. When trouble is everywhere, no one rests easy. But maybe this isn't a time in history to rest easy. I hope some growth will come of the unrest, and we will come out of this period of civilization with more compassion, more humility, more insight into what is really true than we had before.

So, going home. If I can't live in the security of the past, I have to do that thing I know is right. Darn if I haven't heard it all my life. But, like other things that are hard for me, like honoring my body with the right amount of nutrition and exercise, I struggle with honoring my spirit with the right amount of trust in God and the simple grit to do the next right thing.

I won't get it exactly right today. And though the soft glow of memory would have me believe otherwise, I know I didn't get it exactly right in the past, either. It's almost funny that someday this will be the past. Like thinking of some hip-hop songs being golden oldies. Makes me laugh. Like the first time I realized the music in my elevator was a Beatles song.

Like a turtle who takes his home with him everywhere he goes, I want to take my home with me into this day. Bringing with me all I was given that got me to today. Giving thanks for being here. Looking up, looking out, Breathing deep. Seeing beauty. Giving thanks some more. Just saying that makes today feel more like home.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Little Feathers: Let Me Say This About That

Little Feathers: Let Me Say This About That: My mom and I were laughing about how no one wants our advice...even though we clearly have some great advice to give. But we laughed because...

Let Me Say This About That

My mom and I were laughing about how no one wants our advice...even though we clearly have some great advice to give. But we laughed because we know darned well, we don't want to take other people's advice either! At least, not about the big things, the real things. We may take advice on how to accomplish a task, or become proficient at something. But not about the important things.

Here's the thing about advice-giving: we aren't qualified to do it. Because we have not been in the exact situation of any other person ever. We have not felt their emotions the way they feel them, because every human's emotional makeup is as unique as their finger print. Even within a family, the notion each member holds of life and how to live it is different.

"If I were you..." is a goofy way to begin a sentence. Because we have no way of knowing what in the world we would do if we were them. We've never been them. I had a friend, long ago, who said that to me so often, I even rolled my eyes now, years later, as I typed it.

So...let me say this about that: I love learning things from other people. I love hearing their experiences. I love discovering their strengths. I love witnessing their hope. But good boundaries require me to interpret their truth through my own filter. It's work I'm obligated to do to be honest with myself and true to my own identity. That can be hard to do with someone you really admire, or someone you have subconsciously put on a pedestal.

When difficulty strikes, when life gets challenging, or downright hard, it is good to be able to lean on each other. It is a gift to be there to help when someone needs it. And it is very good to remember that we help each other the most when we give freely, with no strings attached, with no expectations.

In many 12 step rooms I've heard the phrase, "Take what works and leave the rest". What an amazingly respectful seven word sentence.  I like it so much, I'll just say this about that: there are many things I can't control. My own behavior is about the only thing, and sometimes it's a quacking duck. But it is empowering to realize that we are not obligated to take advice, or give it!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Little Feathers: Lent and Ultimate FOMO

Little Feathers: Lent and Ultimate FOMO: Dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return. Even the ancient language can't hide the message, though it is a truth I spend a lot of ti...