Here & Now

I find it difficult to reside in the present. My mind is usually a few years back, or a few forward. I dwell in the realms of “why?” and “what if?”

There is a type of writing which requires a head cocked to the right, and eyes raised to the left. I’m unsure what I’m trying to conjure or recall, but it must be located somewhere between my wrinkled forehead and the popcorn ceiling.

I pull my eyes back to the computer screen, where I transcribe the dishwasher churn,  my wiggling foot, the blinking light on my phone, and the dreaming dog at my hip. I notice the the here and now, in its plainness, and type it on out.

This is the way I write when I don’t know what to write. I log the light, describe the sounds, capture the feelings. It is in distraction that I seek mindfulness. And by writing down the world around me, low and behold, I find a little peace.

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LAUREL LOVE CLIPARTS

 

Snapshots Of Gratitude

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Hot Summer mornings, heavy with life. Moments of feeling good about myself. A trip to the bookstore for poetry. A painted sky above a stormy planet.

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Flowers from Steve’s Mum. I think she likes me. I’m so glad. I like her, too.

Collage2A hike and a couple selfie. A mocha with my rock garden. A kitty in a bright window. A son who shares my love of writing.

I have much to be grateful for this week, and captured many joyful moment photos. I hope you like them. Gratitude goes beyond feeling. It is a practice. A dedication to calling out the good. A commitment to placing focus on what matters most. This has been a very difficult week, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at these pictures. It seems in the dark, the light is more eye-catching. <3

 

Snapshots Of Gratitude

It’s been a tricky week. I’ve been exhausted and emotional. I am lucky to have people in my life who can love me with a dance movement, meaning they lean in when they sense I need it, and they let me be when I don’t. I am immensely grateful for this sort of love. It keeps me going, helps me laugh, and allows me to cry.

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At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
-Albert Schweitzer

Taking Care

I had my first panic attack when I was twenty-eight, a single mom, living next door to my own. I called her to come over. She sat on the couch. I cried into her lap for an hour.

I did the same thing today when Steve got home from work. The tears came from a place I can’t quite identify. They fell down my cheeks and onto his pants.

I got a sunburn at the lake. As the old skin peeled away, I whispered to that underneath, “please be thicker.”

I can’t set boundaries so I burn bridges.

My heart is full to bursting and I am alight.

I feel upset in my blood and bones.

I am exhausted and hurt.

I am perpetually and tenaciously fighting for a better headspace.

The time has come for taking care. The way my mother has. The way Steve has. The time has come for cradling my own face in my own open hands, collecting tears in my own lap, while whispering, “rest.”

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LAUREL LOVE CLIPARTS

Soft

My tender heart, displayed on sleeve
Extended toward every bit of stardust I meet
Can one wear innards on the edges and keep them safe?
I’ve often doubted it, and so
I’ve toyed with change and
Felt the slick of bitterness on my tongue, then
Spat in the grass
I refuse to turn hard
It’s a constant challenge
To let this baby fly
Yet keep her safe and dry
The answer?
Enough
Enough unstructured flinging about
Enough unthought-out yeses
Enough giving it all while facing an abyss
Enough starving and cutting and stuffing and stitching
Enough of this forgetfulness regarding myself and those I hold most dear
You hear?
My heart’s not hard, and my guts are soft
But I have bones and boundaries on my side
I’m taking care of me
And this has gotta be
Enough.

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LAUREL LOVE CLIPARTS

Unmasked

I am not one who assigns meaning to life’s ups and downs. I do not seek silver linings or believe in divine plans. The universe doesn’t guide me and my mind is existential. I struggle with concepts like faith and hope. But love? Oh baby, I love. And suffer? Yes, with bells on.

It can be exhausting to feel so much. I often sense my heart as raw and oozing. But I’m aware the reason I hurt so much is because I love so deeply. And the reason I can cry with laughter is because I’ve wailed in grief. So for both, today, I am grateful. This is the human experience, and I am engaged.

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On Joy And Sorrow, from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

LAUREL LOVE CLIPARTS

Kitchen Floor

We live in a tri-level home, with too many stairs, and not a lick of carpet. Our stairs and great room are tiled. Hard, stone tile. I didn’t choose it, and I don’t want to spend money changing it, because I don’t stick around places. Inability to settle. Fear of dust. Wanderlust.

The joy of stone floors…. coolish in the Summer. Un-stainable. The unhelpful thing about stone floors- their ability to catch dishes in a shattering way, allowing shards to shoot corner-to-corner, twenty-three feet. Twenty-three feet of broken glass. Eight feet of humans. And just as many hands tending to open without any regard for contents.

A few days ago my son brought some dishes down from the previous night’s sleep-over.  I held my breath as he descended the stairs with his high-rise of plates, bowls, and a peanut butter jar drinking glass. He successfully made it to the sink, where he carefully unloaded everything from the wobbly tower. Dish by dish made it to the sink, then, for no apparent reason, the bottom plate jumped out of his hand.

Every time this happens it’s the same. We all watch the poor dish on it’s quick trip to the stone floor. We’re frozen in place, our bare toes curling under in anticipation. Once the shattering unfolds, there’s a quick glance to the dropper, whose face has fallen into a sheepish guilt slant. I usually go into care-taker mode-

“Everyone stay where you are!” as I tip-toe to the broom and dustpan, and “it’s ok! No worries!” as I tend to glass and bruised egos.

Sometimes it isn’t ok. Sometimes it’s an antique dish or sentimental tea cup. Sometimes I get a sliver in my foot that hurts for days. Sometimes I’ve just vacuumed and my back hurts and I can’t believe we’re doing this again. But I try like hell to quickly alleviate the embarrassment that comes with causing a chaotic mess. And I’m glad I do.

Yesterday we had a fruit fly invasion. Early in the morning I set glasses of tasty traps on every shelf and counter. Then in the afternoon I got my step-stool and vacuum and prepared to capture each little critter that hadn’t yet succumbed to soapy sugar water.

I was really happy with how well my plan was working, and let out a celebratory “WAHOO SUCKAHS!” My sons watched with raised brows. I should have quit while ahead, having sucked up several fruit flies. But then I saw it. The solitary pest, sitting on the rim of one of the death-jars, way up on the top shelf. It looked so defiant. I raised the vacuum attachment, went in for the kill, and… knocked the jar to the kitchen floor, where it shattered and scattered, from the front door to the back.

I looked up at my kids with that sheepish guilt slant. My clothes were doused in vinegar and dead bugs. And out of the corner of my eye, I saw that solitary fruit fly buzz away, unharmed. I simply could have cried.

“Stay where you are!” said one son, as he got the broom.

“It’s ok!” said the other.

I smiled.

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LAUREL LOVE CLIPARTS

 

Snapshots Of Gratitude

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Grateful today for this moment. This brief period of time when I sat up from night full of difficult dreams, looked down at the heart newly tattooed on my shoulder, and smiled. A handful of seconds swollen with self-acceptance and calm. A contented slice of my morning.

I’ve worked so hard for this moment.