Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's a New Year!

I hate resolutions. Making them feels so good... I'm in control of my life! I will be a better version of me! This time I will succeed! Then comes the sad, disappointing realization that I cannot keep these resolutions..that I've failed again.

So, I hate resolutions. I don't think I'm alone in my hatred or in my lack of success. So, I don't make resolutions. I have this really strong aversion to goal setting in my personal life. Professionally, goals are cool--I love to write them, implement them, celebrate success and analyze mistakes, rewrite them, etc. Personally, goals seem like impossible mountains to climb and even if there is a glimmer of hope, a spark of intuition that I can accomplish a goal, the actual work that I perceive I need to do is so overwhelming to me that the goal/dream/wish/hope stays a tiny spark. I don't feed the spark, so it never has a chance to light and become the burning flame that propels me and feeds my soul. My soul longs to be fed in this way.

There are many theories and reasons I don't feed the spark, and they're probably all right! This year, I'm not making any resolutions either--I do hate failure... BUT, I've realized that I've been cheating myself of myself for all these years. Truly, it's hard for me to even dream a dream (well, not hard for me to dream--those who know me know I have vivid nighttime dreams often in "technicolor" and "stereophonic sound"!). I mean that it's hard for me to imagine something different for myself.

I have glimmers, shadows of dreams and desires, and I know they're telling me what I want, but I'm so used to setting them aside, to fearing them, that I'm finding that I can't make any sense of them. They're so fleeting that they feel like they slip through my thoughts and I can't hold on to them. It makes achieving them tricky if I can't remember them...

The only glimmer I can really identify right now is the desire to feel better. To stop feeling this relentless depression. To be able to recognize what I'm feeling so that I can continue to work on accepting who I am and what the circumstance of my life has been and to make peace with it. I can truthfully say that working on these things is the hardest thing I have ever done. Also truthfully, it was so much easier denying and pushing my feelings away and avoiding than it is to be aware.

So, if I'm going to have a resolution, a goal, a snippet of a dream, it is to continue to be aware. And to accept what being aware brings me--feelings. To understand that feelings just are. To resist interpreting as good or bad. This is SO scary. I'm continually afraid that my feelings will overwhelm me. Rage will take me over. Joy will consume me. Fear will continue to rule my actions. Sadness will be the sum total of my life.

That I even recognize these fears is progress for me. Being mindful and aware is a new skill I'm learning. I have to continually practice. And I have to practice with small things that have nothing to do with my own fears. Reminding myself to notice little things. My new lemon sage hand lotion makes my hands, and by extension myself, feel pampered. I appreciate realizing that. The contrast of modern city buildings and an old brick tower rising above the skyline is beautiful to me, and I acknowledge that. Noticing that my daughter's voice is no longer that of a child, but of a growing-up girl. This bittersweet realization was a true gift to me.

If I can only do one thing this year--or for the rest of my life for that matter (yes, I really am that dramatic!)--it is to continue to be aware, to hone my awareness. To understand to my core that accepting the feelings in my life and the circumstances that contribute to them is what living is. And, while it's hard for me to believe sometime (OK, most of the time--but I'm working on that!), feelings come and they go. They are impermanent. They are transient. They are like the weather in New England. I really want to understand that and come to believe it because I've experienced it. I think in this way, although it will probably be continual work, I'll find more pockets of peace in my life and fewer of distress and fear.

Did I just make a resolution? No. I don't want to call it that--it's still too much pressure.

I'm going to call it my new way of living. I fully expect to stumble and get stuck and be angry and fear it. But I also fully expect to fan the sparks that are hiding and bring some of them to a small flame when I'm ready and able.

Awareness. Acceptance. Peace.
I hope that for you as well.
Happy New Year

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Madame President

Yay! I'm now President of the Northeast MA Regional Library System (NMRLS), a non-profit corporation largely funded with state dollars that supports libraries allowing us to serve our patrons more efficiently and effectively. As my name badge from the meeting stated, "NMRLS: Helping Libraries Work Better, Since 1997".

Assuming this position is bittersweet--not at all what I expected 2 years ago when I was asked to run for VP-President-Elect/President/Past President. The economy which has hit us all hard, is continuing to erode state funded services, including my beloved NMRLS. Our state agency can no longer sustain 6 regions and the number of regions must be reduced. I wrote the following poem and delivered it during my Presidential remarks.


Budget situation
Impending consolidation
Regional reorganization

Sudden notification
Concerned organization
Deep conversation

Staff agitation
Board exclamation
Close reexamination

Stoic consideration
Emotional situation
Uncertain destination

Proactive collaboration
Efficient facilitation
Program prioritization

Multi-type consultation
Member participation
Service orientation

Personal determination
Future imagination
Successful preservation

Impending consolidation
Regional continuation
Altered configuration

Written for the 2009 NMRLS Annual Member Meeting, 11/12/09


I'm struggling with some frustrating situations right now, and this is a draft of a poem I've written about one particular struggle.


If you don't want it, don't take it,
but stop questioning it.
You're like a child going from Mom to Dad
looking for the answer you want.

I've explained the same thing over and over--
much longer than anyone should reasonably expect.
You're like a spoiled child whining
because you can't have it your way.

Years of patient explanation hasn't moved you; years
of open conversation about your thoughts hasn't made a difference.
You're like a disruptive punk in school;
everyone gets punished for your bad behavior.

If you can't—won't—accept the facts in front of you, in black and white—
and red from my bleeding heart—

I'm weary.

I'm worn down.

I'm done.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A New Poem

Hi all,

I was inspired to write this poem when I saw a several crows lined up on a roof top in Lawrence late this afternoon.

Happy Hour

At the end of the day
flocks of crows make their way
through the city like cars on the streets.
They fly and perch, flap a bit further, stop again,
just like the traffic on Union Street.
Moving from telephone line to tree top,
they line the roof edge as if they've arrived at the bar for a quick beer.
A way station, they chatter loudly before heading home for the night.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Orbis Terrarum Poetry Mini-Challenge Poem One

Lot's Wife
by Anna Akhmatova

Loving this poem! Haven't we all felt like Lot's wife? Following the rules but tempted? I don't prefer to delve too deeply into the "poet's meaning". I prefer to enjoy a poem for what it says to me. Unscholarly? Yes. Am I okay with that? Yes.

I appreciate Akhmatova's empathy for Lot's Wife. I too felt that it was unfair of God to punish her curiosity--and I'm not a big fan of blind obedience! For more poetry written by Russian women, I highly recommend reading An Anthology of Contemporary Russian Women Poets by Valentina Polukhina.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kelly and Ozzy

In general, I'm not a fan of reality TV, but I do like "Dancing with the Stars". Last night, Kelly Osbourne danced beautifully--surprising both herself and her parents. There was a moment after she finished her waltz when she ran to her parents and hugged her father. After their embrace, he so sweetly cupped her face, kissed her and told her how proud he was of her. It was such a lovely moment. I was so jealous.

The green-eyed monster's appearance had nothing to do with my secret wish that I could dance (and dress in beautiful gowns), but that Kelly Osbourne is so lucky to have her dad to hold her and tell her how proud of her he was. Jealousy was quickly followed by sadness and a bitterness that my Dad isn't here to tell me how much he loves me and how proud his is of me.

Sometimes I'm consumed with this combination of sadness and bitterness. I felt this way on my wedding day and on the day Corey was born. I so wanted him to be with me--even though I had so many people who love me near on those days, it wasn't enough. Most days I figure that Daddy is in heaven watching over me and so proud of me.

But then there are those days during which this imagining doesn't matter. I miss him with a sharp rawness that takes my breath away. I'm not sure if other people feel this way about their lost loved ones, although I bet they do, but I'm always amazed at this reaction. I figure that I should be over his death by now, and am startled to realize that I'm not.

Slowly, much too slowly it sometimes seems, I'm learning to appreciate the appearance of these feelings. In some way, having these feelings validates the pain I felt as a child so many years ago. Feelings that were too big for me to feel safe with are slowly coming to the surface. Decades of avoiding how I felt, while a good coping mechanism at the time, now feels like I cheated Daddy of my feelings of grief and despair that he was dead.

I'm still not sure that I will survive these overwhelming emotions, but I'm beginning to believe that experiencing my feelings is a way to honor Daddy, and that he would be proud of my efforts. I'll never get the hug and caress that I want from my Dad the way Kelly Osbourne got hers, and that's OK. It still hurts, but I had him and his love for me for 11 years, and that has to be enough.

There is no substitute for Daddy's presence, but I'm here to remember him and to make him proud. I'll just imagine the hugs and caresses that he'd give to me if he could.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Small World

I submitted my 1976 layout to the Good Grief Blog Challenge and I WON the random drawing! I was so excited to win awesome tags from Ormulo. Even more exciting was to receive them in the mail yesterday with a little note from the owner who is originally from Massachusetts and still has family here!

I love how small this world is and I love making connections with people. I think that's one reason why I love to read the blogs of people who are creative and interesting. I learn so much about their world, and while reflecting, I learn more about mine. I use Google Reader to collect the blogs/websites I like. I'm so happy I finally decided to use it--thanks to my pal Deb H. Checking my bookmarks was getting very O-L-D!

To get back on track... I thought I'd share the top blogs I love. These are the blogs that I would choose if someone told me I had to cull them--they're also the ones I make sure to read if I'm pressed for time!

books i done read
Raych makes me laugh out loud! I love her reviews and her style!

Dreadlock Girl
Bethany is a gentle soul who leads a fascinating life of little boys, travel and reading. She's pointed me to so many good reads, including my current: North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley. Here is her short review!

Jennifer McGuire, ink
Jennifer is a stamper par excellence! I love her projects and her heart--and her technique videos!

Moxie Fab World
Cath Edvalson scours the paper crafting world for inspiration and trends!

Kelly Rae Roberts
I found Kelly Rae when I ordered her book, Taking Flight, for the craft collection at our library. She is an artist and inner explorer. She has inspired me to work to become more "myself". If I could adopt her, I would! If you like her work, you can purchase on her website or you could visit The Gift Horse in Topsfield for some of her work reprinted by Demdaco.

John Scalzi, one of my favorite writers, hosts this website full of his thoughts about writing, life, politics, movies, and more. It's hard to describe, so you just have to go there and poke around. And...if you haven't read any of his books, remedy that VERY soon! One favorite is The Android's Dream, and you really should try his Old Man's War Universe books starting with Old Man's War!

Creative Organizing at
Aby Garvey is one of my favorite online people! She's helped me reduce some of the clutter in my home! If you get a chance and have the time, take one of her online organizing courses. They are reasonably priced for the content and access to classmates in an easy to use forum. I'm a fan for life!

Cathy Zielske is one of the funniest scrapbookers I (virtually) know! I like her sense of humor and her stories of her life and the simple design tips she shares. She also teaches awesome online classes for Big Picture Scrapbooking!

Well, there you have it--my list of blog reading essentials! I love how the web has enabled my world to become both bigger and smaller! Looking back at the list, I must not be really pressed for time--there are a LOT of blogs posted! Enjoy them, and let me know if I should add any must-reads to Google Reader. I have time for more!