Closed for Renovations

clockey

The distance has wrought a deeper introspection

a newer intimation 

a shifted accommodation

a change in reservation 

a new sensation for an improved situation

The passkey a precaution

a preemption

 a protection in the creation of a utopian destination

Transformed into a  talisman

a bearer of good fortune

in my heart’s recreation

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Many thanks once again to Kellie Elmore for her Free Write prompt. She helped me finish a piece that I started two days ago.

A New Voyage

Source: We Heart It

 

Late summer. You’re wandering, lost in the woods. You come across a gypsy wagon, and you call out…”hello?”

 

A stilted stillness settled in the air

 The ground gave way

Moist, muddy and mucky

Her skin soaked and sweaty

Awash with the effort of escape

Her breath languid

Near to heaving in its heaviness

Limbs listless

Flagging with effort and exhaustion

Her mind dank with dread

Heart shredded and asunder

Soul decimated and desolate

Cloaked in wretchedness and woe

Path unclear

Shrouded in shadows

A  dank darkness closing in

as she stumbles in the thicket of stones and naked roots

Sleep washes over her

A comforting wave of release and rejuvenation

Rays of yellow drench her awaking

A sense of rebirth and  renewal surrounds her

A vivication

Her eyes enlighten upon a vessel of vindication

A deliverance from doom

Seizing the moment, she cries out:

“Have you come for me?”

 

 

#FWF Free Write Friday: Time & Place Scenario

 

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Another great one from divine Kellie Elmore!

 

 

 

 

 

The Inner Voice

The only tyrant I accept is my inner voice

                                                                ~Mahatma Ghandi

 

How often do you act on your instincts?  Pay attention to messages from the universe? Rely on some form of faith?

 As many of you know, I am in the midst of a life-changing transition. The first in seven years. The latter was devastating, not only for me but for my then teenage sons as well. It forever put our lives into a BEFORE/AFTER demarcation. We spent years healing, moving forward, readjusting and creating. Breathing out, breathing in and building an entirely different existence. Growing up and getting stronger.
 
I have spent more time away from my home this summer than I have been there. My job has allowed me the “luxury”, if you will. Leaving and then coming back has provided me with a fresher perspective and perception of my hometown of 25 years. I came back ready to let go. So for this season, I am sowing the seeds for a new life in a new location. A totally different climate and landscape.  A bit more crowded.  Dotted with big box stores in places instead of pine trees and oaks and maples. But the tiny backyard has a view of  a verdant city park with bike and running trails and the warm gulf beach is just 2 miles away. And the street is amazingly quiet.  I am having fun “exploring”  even though I have been traveling here regularly for over 5 years. Now I am setting down the routes and roots for a simpler life.

 

Yes.  A simpler life was the first message I heard. The first sentence I said out loud when my man and I decided to get married. Since then, I have been shedding reminders and responsibilities that only served to crowd and complicate my everyday existence. Boxes and boxes of items donated or tossed and even set aflame. Decisions about the house.  Rent? Sell? In the coming months, the shelter will be the focus of some very serious discussions and resolutions. Changes to the neighborhood have brought this to bear. In this regard, I have patiently waited for cosmic messages and definitely relied on my gut. Because of this, I have been able to think clearly, protect myself and rely on the expertise of others. I feel prepared and not blind-sided-so unlike seven years ago when  I was an emotional wreck. However, I am not going to pretend that it is going to be an easy process; I just know that I won’t be or feel alone.

After a period of contemplation and turning over, I have decided to change my career path as well. Still exploring what that might be but I am well certain that I will NOT be in the same field or in the same setting. I see this decision as another means to simplify my life and pursue opportunities that may bring forth the as yet unknown gifts that I hold in store. One thing I do know is that I want and still need to work ( I am a WICKED people person!) but not in a job that can suck away so much of my mental energy.

This interlude is a favorable time.  A wide open space in which to develop a new niche, new friends. A place for myself as well as for my partner. The former is essential. I have honed my new found skills of independence and a solid inner life that is sure to serve me well in the coming years.

When my work day life resumes shortly, I hope to hold onto to this state of mind and heart.  I’ll tend to the seeds of my summer sojourn and continue to bring forth the bounty in my last remaining year as a native of the north.

 

 

The Summer I’d Like to Forget

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#FWF Free Write Friday: Are You Up For This?

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I’ve been debating with myself as to whether it is even worth writing about a decade old story. I have alluded to it in poetry ( Hidden Hunger ,Witness ) but never in memoir.

It is difficult to admit that there was a time that my family went hungry.  The details of how we arrived at our sorry state are way too complicated and frankly, too boring. Here are the highlights:

  • Husband gets fired-not laid off- from six figure job.
  • Husband decides to start own business causing significant decrease in income.
  • Wife works part-time while in a year-long clinical graduate program.
  • Wife told that her job must now carry the benefits, cutting her measly salary in half.
  • Wife told that since her job does not pay in summer, she must get full-time work and the children can stay home alone all day without mom and dad.
  • Wife is not able to get full-time job but finds work that keeps her away from home for just a few hours.
  • Wife’s tiny wages go to food.
  • Wife eats less to save food for kids.
  • Husband squanders all savings  and other finances while secretly making major purchases.
  • Wife tells no one about situation even though her parents live just eight miles away and her brother thirteen.

I spent the summer of 2004 in a state of shock, or as a friend said “survival mode”.  I knew things would get better in the fall when my job resumed to a nearly full -time position. But the 12 weeks of empty bellies seemed endless. A wall of resistance and repudiation was put up by my husband. In his eyes it was my fault for not getting full-time work. Not his fault for getting fired and pursuing something that barely brought a paycheck in to pay bills.

I felt stuck. As summer turned into fall, a latent anger was born. I took it out on everyone but him at first but then it boiled over when I found out about another major purchase he had made. I went into therapy where I began to unravel the pieces of my situation as well as my marriage and more importantly, myself.

We never went hungry after that summer. I refused to have my sons experience that dull, hollow feeling that comes from not having enough to eat ever again. Their father never accepted responsibility for his decisions and instead continued to lay the blame on me. But for the  next summer and for all subsequent summers, I secured positions where I could make money and have my children productively occupied and supervised.

Life trucked on, the marriage ended, battles were waged and the three of us (as many of you know by now) have a wonderful, wonderful life. He lost us but we gained ourselves. I still worry about food and going hungry. I cannot have the refrigerator or cabinets or the pantry ever be empty. It triggers that feeling again.

The boys and I did talk about that time a few years ago. I apologized to them for what happened but they both said I did the best I could. They had come to understand the circumstances that caused the situation in the first place. It was just one of many moral violations committed by their father.

I eventually confessed to my family, who were at first angry that I did not come to them for help. I was too ashamed and I knew I would suffer the consequences of revealing the secret. It didn’t seem worth it at the time.

And do I have shame today? No, I let that go a long time ago. Although I was not conscious of it at the time, I was being abused. The blaming, the passive aggressive behavior, the snide remarks began in earnest that summer. They increased over time until I finally realized what was happening.

When one is in the midst of negativity and abusive behavior, it is nearly impossible to see a way out. One only wants the abuse to stop-not for the abuser to leave. Strange dichotomy but oh so true. Lucky for me, he left. But he still abused from afar in various ways. I only got stronger and my children got wiser.

We know how to feed our bellies and our souls. Loaves and fishes abound. Abundance is present. And we are very grateful.

Never let yourself be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.

~Robert Frost

 

This was THE most challenging free write for me.  I really went back and forth as to whether I could write about it. Frankly, I didn’t want to. But sometimes you just have to put your muscle into it. It was NOT cathartic. It just had to be written and done with once and for all.

Shifting Shapes, Narrow Escapes

Credit: pixels.com

Stumbling in a dreamscape

Sleep deprived nights illusively hot

Sweat soaked skin

A body in transition

Transforming and chaotic

Shifting waistline

Squaring hips

A new morning brings a new view

Changing perspective, acceptance

There’s a strength to these bones

Muscles and sinew firmed 

Mind honed by wisdom

Struggles vanquished

Evil extinguished

Still, I prepare myself 

This new day brought a tremor to my hands

A churning fire to my gut

An inner knowledge borne of past trauma

I dress adorned with a fetching scarf  that sings of summer

Alluring and potent

My voice proven right 

You’ve been seen once again in that store front distance

Marginally recognizable

Yet grace has given me my covert protector

He whispers quietly and holds me in his gaze

You approach and graze my arm with yours

Attempting to establish dominance

A marking of territory

Such a fool of  a man

Desperate and Depraved

Deprived

Lonely but not Alone, not quite

Yet still without awareness and tact

Your false bravado rebuffed and refused by this half century warrior queen

Transcended and Ascended

Fully realized, Divinely Inspired

Living at the Apex of  her new Incarnation

Being in the Goodness

Credit: www.bestquotes4you.com

I am at a peak of delight. Unusual for a Monday, but perhaps it came from a rising awareness of being in transition. As a culture, we don’t embrace realignments to our mojo. Instead, we  grit our teeth and bear it, or hang on holding our breath until it’s over, or worse, crawl our way to the other side exhausted and falsely relieved. I refuse to live my life waiting for my new life to begin. I will happily admit that  I am more than ready to start a new chapter in a new zip code with my beloved fiance’. But like any compelling saga, one must begin the story with a strong prologue.

So  much has shifted in one week’s time here; it is challenging to put into words. But it is proof to me that wishes sent out to the Great Beyond can happen if you let your worries go first. As you ride the universe’s flow, amazing things are manifested. I am giving the house one or two last renovations, necessary in order for four young people to live in a healthier space in a year’s time. One that is nearly free of my obvious imprint but still stamped with my positive energy and vibrations. (I tell you it is exciting to keep purging this place of things we no longer need!)

My boys and I have been delivered from the trauma and pain of their father. We came together so that we could grow stronger. Along the way, we were honing our skills as independent individuals in pursuit of our own passions. I don’t know what I would have done with myself if we did not journey to this new space together, helping each other through fits and starts.

In a few week’s time, I will share this house with two others. Two people, peers of my sons who love and respect them. They will be helping me get a better leg up financially so I am better prepared for my new life. In return, I can provide a safe haven. A garden where they can grow new roots in a healthy soil. I have no doubt that we all will bloom and fill this earth renewed beauty.

Today Iam grateful for the wonders and love of others.  So with my thumb knuckles to my third eye, I bid you all: Namaste’.

The Man in the Suit

 

Credit: retaingridus.deviantart.com

Dreaming

A premonition in my bones

Knowing our paths would cross

The hundred pounds of nails was removed today

Each purge of your physical reminders lessens the load

Creates space

 Soon to be crushed in some forsaken landscape

Buried in parts unknown

Or incinerated

Mere smoke filtered first before billowing in the Spring sky

We stood in the same line

One you never shared with me so long ago

Your ensemble makes you look important

But I know what it hides

A man who lacks a moral compass

And possesses a criminal mind

Better not to  speak

The atmosphere would be contaminated

Toxified by your breath

False manners emanating from your mouth 

If the strangers among you only knew

What you have done and whom you’ve become

 But I-I am the ultimate stranger

An alien from a former life that no longer seems real

A happy human now

I laugh at the end of the counter with a friend

Awaiting morning warmth

Giggling at the  circumstance

Relieved relaxation

Affirmed in my foreboding

Those damn nails couldn’t hold me in the cage you built

Or was it a coffin?

One hundred pounds laid to waste

Much like you

Save Yourself

Credit: www.pinterest.com

Earlier this week,  artist extraordinaire and fellow blogger, Sharon Cummings (sharoncummings) posed a question for her followers. At the end of her post, she asked “What is your saving grace?”  (http://sharoncummings.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/my-saving-g-r-a-c-e/)

The question certainly intrigued me and inspired me to think about what mine might be. Or maybe help me to further define what Grace means to me. I wrote about Grace in a different context last January ( A State of Grace). While I believe that message stills holds true for me today, I also believe that Grace is a multifaceted state of being.  In fact, I thinks it is a huge part of yourself that defines your essence and helps you to survive.

I know that I lost my Grace over time during the course of  my first marriage. The insidiousness of verbal and emotional abuse eats away at your identity  and stops the clock on what makes you tick until you feel hollow inside. It was only during my divorce proceedings (and the endless post divorce shenanigans on his part) that I began to redevelop my inner Grace.

I recall  a moment in July of 2008 when my soon to be ex-husband told me “I hope you scratch, crawl and suffer.” These words were a match that lit my fire. It was clear that he was determined to undermine me financially and emotionally. I was not going to let that happen. The course of events that unfolded over the next few years were tests of my ability to withstand hardship and to stand up for what I believed was right for my own life as well as my sons’.  It was by no means easy. When I felt myself about to fall off the edge,  I would remember the words that my mother said to me, “Don’t let him break you.”

My saving grace is my tenacity. The  positive stubbornness which provides the seeds for stamina and strength. The bold determination to carve out a life for myself.  The confidence that I can and will solve problems and make decisions that empower me. And the faith that all will be well no matter what.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Magic of a Long Run

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One of my favorite parts of the week is Sunday morning. Actually, Sunday mornings when I am training for another half-marathon to be precise.  By the time I have laced up my shoes, I have already mapped out the run in my head. There is a kernel of excitement and an inner energy stirring in my brain. I feel almost twitchy in my muscles (stretched to near perfection from Saturday morning’s 90 minute marathon of hot yoga!).

I am what you call a running purist. I keep things simple. No doodads or hoohas of technology adorn my body. No solid foods for energy boosting during the run. Definitely water, though. I have been known to place water bottles at strategic mile markers along a route as I despise water belts (although I own one and have worn it from time to time) They interfere with my stride, really. I actually prefer a loved one to meet me along the course with liquid refreshment; it’s a great incentive to keep going!

That being said, there are times when I have too many thoughts spinning in my head and demons dominating my domain. Most of the time, a straight-on run with the sounds of nature give me peace. But on the rare occasion when music is a soothing solution, I confiscate my oldest son’s Ipod. You never know what you will find  when you listen, just as you never know how you’ll expect to feel as your feet hit the pavement and pound out mile after mile. The music is the best kind of mix. I can be cruising along and Wyclef Jean will pop on, only to be followed by John Coltrane and then Adele. Seventies rock, Dave Matthews, Lady Gaga, Brad Paisley and Frank Sinatra keep me company on my ever changing route.

On this particular Sunday, I chose a more challenging route than usual.  Of course, the area where I live does not lack for hills but the route I planned has more than its usual share. And to add to the pain, the last 3 miles were essentially uphill!  At times during a run, the most difficult parts of a course can reek havoc on my mental strength- most especially when I feel vulnerable or have a lot on my plate. And this is where my rare use of the Ipod comes in handy.

With 2.5 miles or so to go,  a favorite song of mine came on. Martina McBride’s “Independence Day” is a piece that gives me strength and makes me want to shout out loud.  Although I have not directly experienced the exact situation spoken of in the song, the theme certainly is the same.  The refrain, ‘let freedom ring’ is my anthem! And days or hours or even minutes when the devil of the past pokes me, this song lifts me up. I was so grateful for the timing. I was dog tired with fatigue and I had six more hills to climb. With each refrain, I was able to dig deep, lean in and lift my legs (needless to say, I replayed it!). With a mile to go, the hills were done and so was the Ipod.  The battery gave out just in time and I ran the last mile in perfect peace.

And really, this is all I need. Quiet and room to breathe. A means to slough off the negative energy that invades my spirit sometimes.  I haven’t felt as good on my subsequent runs this week as I did on Sunday, but that is okay. The mornings have been cool and beautiful with the sun rising earlier each minute. The birds serenade my miles.

I think of Sunday and dream of distance.

 

Once upon a Time

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What once was daunting is now empowering

What once had me nearly on my knees has given me wings

What once left me stoic in silence has made me loquacious with laughter

What once gave me grief  has given me the gift of profound joy

What once left me shackled, tied to the metaphorical bedpost

has posted bail and declared me innocent and unbound

What once left me invisible has made me someone worth remembering

What once left me feeling lonely and isolated

has made me feel inhabited in my solitude

and a gleeful player on the world’s stage