They’re shooting at our regiment now.”
I read the quote above and put down the New York Times, the gallows humor too profound to ignore. The article by Mark Epstein was quoting a friend whose contemporaries were dying.
Mine are, too. At an alarming rate. My Christmas card list this year showed a disturbing number of deletions.
There’s nothing like a realization about death to make you think about life. It also makes you count your blessings, so herewith a few thoughts on both subjects. Continue reading “They’re Shooting at Our Regiment Now” »
Posted on July 11th 2014 in Death
I had a very hard time with my Mother, her words mostly wounding, her anger terrifying. It was my father’s kind and loving heart that saved my childhood and my spirit. So when Mother’s Day comes round a tug of war ensues. I feel my heart segue-ing not to memories of my own childhood but rather to my experience as a mother – and that, too, is complicated and bittersweet because of the loss of two daughters.
That and the fact that we never know the truth of parenting until we do it ourselves – the sacrifices, the hard work, the unselfishness, the solving of unsolvable riddles – all that our parents gave and did stands out in bold relief as we struggle to do as well as they did, never mind better. So for me, the emotions of this celebratory day are exponential and complex. Continue reading “A Few Thoughts on Mother’s Day” »
Posted on May 9th 2014 in Family
Remember when the speed of life and the speed of light were not identical?
Remember screened-in porches meant for sitting and talking or just thinking long thoughts about life? Remember garden swings, sweet summer afternoons wandering a meadow, picking apples in the fall, a Christmas tree you’d trekked through snow to find and then helped cut down? Remember life before cell phones, iPads, computers and a wretched economy sucked us all into a machine-made world in which speed and efficiency were the only coin of the realm? Continue reading “Living at the Speed of Light” »
Posted on April 26th 2014 in Life
Do the people you love own certain times of your day – stalwart custodians of some magical clock?
I never meet a day or a coffee pot without remembering the sound of my father’s voice in the early morning. I see him standing by the coffee pot, his greeting optimistic as dawn, cup in hand ready to reach it out to me, sustenance of so many kinds writ large in that eternal gesture of generosity. Continue reading “Timing is Everything” »
Posted on April 12th 2014 in Death
Western women never reach higher than the 5th level of orgasm,” my Chinese Medicine teacher told me. As he was both a Master Martial Artist and an MD as well as a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, I thought I’d better pay attention. “In China, the ninth level would be considered minimal expectation. One thousand strokes would easily produce such an orgasm.”
“A thousand strokes?” I repeated, trying to wrap my head around the visual that provoked. Continue reading “Chinese Sexual Secrets So Secret, Nobody Knows They’re There” »
Posted on March 28th 2014 in Health
, Martial Arts
Shared history has immense power. I didn’t know how much until my divorce. It wasn’t only my future dreams that vanished with my husband, but the comfort of shared history that had been far more a source of strength for me than I’d realized. We were the same age, so we shared the same jargon, memories, music, flashpoints in history… I had no idea how difficult it would be to find a way to re-create that comforting commonality.
A few years after my divorce, I began to date a much younger man. I thought he was 10 years older than he was, he thought I was 10 years younger than I was. When I realized there was a near 20 year discrepancy in our ages, I panicked. I called a male friend and colleague twenty years younger than I and asked what I should do. “That’s easy,” he said enthusiastically. Continue reading “A Shared History” »
Posted on March 14th 2014 in Life
I admit it. I loved my hair. All those wild red Irish tresses were as much my signature as the freckles that went with them. By age 30 I knew I’d never let my hair go grey, red was too much part of me.
What I didn’t know then was that color would be the least of my hair issues. Mine began to thin after the terrible shock of my daughter’s illness and death… like the small white patches that suddenly appeared on my cheek and arm as if some of my own lifeforce had gone with her. Continue reading “Now My Hair Needs a Plastic Surgeon, Too? You’ve Got to Be Kidding” »
Posted on February 14th 2014 in Beauty
I’d like to offer you a profound and provocative poem, with which to start this portentous New Year … this one is shaping up to be a year of both spiritual and political drama far beyond the norm. The world is more volatile than ever now…as if there’s an energy explosion in progress, bubbling up from some deep, hidden place in our unconscious, demanding to be set free to change, change, change the way we see our world and the way we act in it, too. There’s a revolutionary air about it all, reminiscent of the ’60s…a sense of urgency to end injustice, to rescue the planet from the greedy pillagers, and to give more of humanity the even break it deserves. It feels like an ending and a beginning, of some cosmic proportion we can’t yet comprehend… a time when we must be up to the challenge of the whirlwind and use all our resources to embody, in Gandhi’s words, the change we wish to see in the world. Continue reading “A Thought for the New Year” »
Posted on December 31st 2013 in Life
I’m in love with my dog. There’s really no other way to express it. He’s a former pound-puppy, rescued from the Humane Society at 5 months, now grown to 120 pounds of pure, unadulterated love and devotion.
When Dakota went off to college five years ago, and my nest was disturbingly empty for the first time since I was 22 years old, I knew I’d never be able to face life alone unless I found a dog to share it with me. Not just any dog, of course – it had to be my perfect dog, because during a long and circuitous life, I’d been blessed by the gods with perfect dogs, as well as a couple of clinkers, so I knew the difference. Continue reading “I Love My Dog” »
Posted on December 21st 2013 in Family
I was raised an Irish Catholic. 6 a.m. Mass most mornings, Novenas every Tuesday night, First Fridays every month and as many rosaries as could be squeezed in between. To say nothing of choir practice for the Sunday Mass. I was taught by the long-suffering nuns and was usually their chosen debater to be sent to Archdiocesan Religion Contests to compete on matters of faith. I was even given my very own Jesuit theology coach in high school to prime me for the fray.
Then I grew up. I studied other peoples’ theologies and evolved my own connection to God – a close one, very dear to my heart. I’m a major pray-er and have been known to storm heaven when the occasion demanded it. I’ve written about God from a Tibetan, Catholic, Mystic, Native American, Hindu, Jain and Kabbalist point of view in my books. I’ve penned a book of Uncommon Prayer. Continue reading “What Would Jesus Do About the Catholic Church?” »
Posted on February 8th 2013 in Faith
It’s who we are. On the Inside . Untouched by time or infirmity. Untrammeled by sorrows and losses and terrible truths. Unfettered by the vulnerability of old age or the fear of oblivion. Inside we are forever young. Continue reading “Forever Young” »
Posted on February 2nd 2013 in Happiness
, Loving Life
A snapshot can do it… a store window reflection… a chance remark by a friend. It’s the moment you realize you’re not young anymore. You’re not old either, thank the Lord, just – you know, not young. You don’t feel any different on the inside. But your inside doesn’t match your outside the way it used to and suddenly you know it.
Your friends are getting face lifts, so you stand in front of the newly unfriendly mirror, pulling up your cheeks and pushing your neck around. Tautness makes you look so much better you don’t ever want to let go because now it’s clear to you that your libido may be friskier than your face. Continue reading “When Your Inside Doesn’t Match Your Outside Anymore” »
Posted on February 2nd 2013 in Life
, Loving Life
It occurred to me today, as I found myself standing in the middle of the family plot talking to the people I love who are no longer with me except in spirit and memory, that anyone not Irish might consider it odd to find comfort in a cemetery. Yet, I always do.
I’d gone there to to talk to my family about life and I’d brought coffee because they’d loved it and because I thought it might be a lengthy conversation. A middle-aged woman passing by smiled and waved at me from the road below. “I’m so happy to see I’m not the only one who brings coffee when I come to chat, ” she called out and we both laughed at the loveable absurdity of the scene.
Maybe it’s the fact that we used to visit old graveyards when I was a child – admiring the tumbledown tombstones, scrying the inscriptions, imagining the heartaches both recent and long ago. So much history captured in moldering memorials – died in childbirth… lost in infancy… gone but not forgotten… we will miss you forever – so much of love and anguish preserved forever in a line or two. I used to wander from stone to stone reading the messages, imagining lives. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve lost so many of those dearest to my heart that makes this a place of solace for me. Continue reading “The Family Plot” »
Posted on January 12th 2013 in Death
It’s just me and the tree. The house is quiet. Nobody else loves the morning as I do, since my father’s gone. There’s snow on the ground and sleet has turned the trees outside to fairyland, ice palaces crisscrossing my front yard, transforming the winter-blue light into a magical dreamscape.
I throw a log on the fire and warm my hands that have carried the wood in from the porch. The fragrance of the coffee pot tumbles memories out of their store house in my heart. Continue reading “My Alone Time with the Tree” »
Posted on January 4th 2013 in Family
Love manifests in the strangest ways. Just like courage. And understanding.
Sometimes it sneaks up on you and you don’t realize how great a gift it is or how much self-sacrifice was required of the giver. Until later, much later in the game of life, when you’ve grown old enough to know that nothing is like our perfectly sensible expectations and most of it is so much harder than we’d ever dreamed.
Christmas joy was just such a gift, given to me long ago by my Mother, for whom joy was not a frequent visitor. Let me explain. Continue reading “A Christmas Story” »
Posted on December 16th 2012 in Family