Heart’s Desire

I subscribe to The Sun, described on its website as “an independent, ad-free monthly magazine that for more than thirty years has used words and photographs to invoke the splendor and heartache of being human.”

I love the magazine so much that I can hardly read it.  I gave past copies away, unread, so they wouldn’t haunt me.

The last part in the description of the magazine, about “using words to invoke…and being human,” that’s what I want to do.  I want to be able to know, without doubt, that “invoke”  is the best word to describe the gift a writer wants to use to connect to other humans about being human. I want to be the one who thought of “splendor and heartache” first.

Damn having to use quotations to honorably give the first writer the nod.  I also want to hug the one who I’m quoting.

Then I want to devote my time to write life down,  with as many deletes and thesaurus checks as it takes, preferrably for publication, without fear, so that somebody might connect to it.  Throw in that I want to do it from a quaint, quiet writing studio with tools I love at a desk I choose surrounded by fresh walls painted a color that conjures creativity with tired dogs at my side who grew deliciously that way because I was able to walk them on a beach before work without the stress or disappointment of getting to a job I don’t love while embracing my new, balanced, supposed-to-be life looking out big windows at water and nature all day long.  This is all I would do to generate my income.

Problem:  As a wannabe career writer I’m not so sure I would have thought of the succint, descriptive words or sentence structure to perfectly explain The Sun which is why I’m not their writer or their editor, even though they’re hiring and I’ve considered but won’t because…

…if I look back on all the things I’ve stopped myself from generally doing or trying or  wanting in my life, self doubt (the primary vitamin of my ego) is the reason.

I have no doubt about the desire.  It also isn’t only because I fear imperfection or the idea of people rejecting my words (me) although that ranks up there pretty high.  In fact, just writing it kind of makes me queasy.  I can even go so far to say that I DO believe Universal energy has nudged, is nudging and will continue to nudge me closer to this passion.

What I fear is what I haven’t been able to state as well as another writer did in the September 2012 edition of The Sun.  Eric Anderson in “Ten Days in November” was writing about what he was teaching in an intro to poetry class.  Referencing John Berryman’s The Dream Songs, he intertwined what happens to him when he thinks of certain lines from Berryman’s poems.

Berryman, the poet, writes…”literature bores me, espeically great literature….” and Anderson, the muser, writes his response to that line “-because I can barely read anymore.  I am a ruined reader, devastated by my own jealously of others’ success.  I can barely see a word without cursing its existence on a page, in a book, in my mind.”  He goes on to admit that the “thing” from one of Berryman’s ‘songs’… weighing on Anderson’s heart…might be the “fear that, even given a “hundred years & more, & weeping, sleepless””..Annie, I mean “Eric will never make good either.”

Berryman wrote The Dream Songs about himself through a character.  Eric Anderson wrote that part of Ten Days in November about himself using Berryman.  I’m trying my hardest to say what I want to do using Anderson in The Sun and already feeling like I’m not doing it very well.

After reading Anderson’s essay over and over again, completely frustrated I reached out to one of few people who might understand why, after reading it, I cried.  “This is why I love and hate The Sun,” I told her, a fellow reader.

She understood.  She knew to say it is because writing is my heart’s desire.  She’s an artist.

Congratulations, by the way, to Eric Anderson.  You did it!  You are now a writer who this reader could barely read without crying and cursing.  Your heart’s desire well done.

This is one of many first drafts of my attempt at doing the same.

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Give or Take

I went to a psychic.  I asked about my stuckedness, my unhappiness with myself, my confusion around career.  I could barely ask the question thanks to the lump in my throat and quiver in my voice.  I so want to find and feel IT, that groove, that meaning, that purpose.  I’m desperate.

Off the bat she said “we come here, to this lifetime, to do three jobs:  teacher, creator, healer.”  I’ve been a literal classroom teacher.  That’s my degree field.  Except I’m not doing that now and I really don’t want to return.  Instead, I clean houses-  menial, solitary, arduous labor.  She said what I’m doing now is not only detailed help and healing for others but also an outlet for my creativity.

She looked up from the floor, where she’d focus while receiving, and asked:  “What is your art?”  I write.  I love to write.  I’d write all day if I could.  She asked, “What do you fear?”  What don’t I fear is a better question.  I fear rejection.  I fear failure.  I fear all those things that sound like cliches.  (I fear the inadequecy of not knowing how to put one of those thingies over the e on the word cliche.)

And yet fear hasn’t completely stood in my way because I still WANT it, that thing.  I have a strong enough longing that pokes a bright, albeit small hole through the fear.

She told me to be around other writers, go to conferences, take classes.  She saw a man and a woman who might assist me and who I also would be assisting, at a job, in a white office where I write.  She mentioned a name of a publishing company (which I haven’t looked up)  and a book, Breaking the Habit of Being You (which I haven’t picked up ) and said, “Action is your hangup.”

“You just have to DO it.  Do it everyday.  Even when there’s nothing.  Do it.”

Today I’m asking myself what it will take, to start.  Then again maybe I really know what I will give once I do.

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Say Nothing

I am not a succint speaker.  I use too many words often to make really simple points.  I talk too much in general so that most of the time people don’t really want to listen.  And I hand talk, feverishly gesticulating as if I’m landing a verbal 747.  Unfortunately the plane never lands because I’m circling around and around my words trying desperately to get to the right gate.

The result of this mess is an uncertain voice.  I think too much about what I need to say and then don’t say what I want even when I think about it.  My heart beats fast.  I sweat.  And eventually I end up saying a whole lot of nothing.

Tonight’s insight came to me the hard way:  via a telephone conference call.  <insert dread>

Calling in at all, for me, was a huge step.  The event we’re planning is important but not something that necessarily demands my input.  I could have easily avoided it, but I am practicing doing my best, being impeccable with my word and taking risks.  This conference call was a personal test.

I was the first person on the line with the facilitator, and I did what I always do when I’m uncomfortable.  I made a joke about my trepidation and then rambled on about something with regard to nothing.  There was a slight chuckle and then, bless her heart, the facilitator gave me a precious gift.

She said, “During the call when there is silence, let there be silence.”

I was still completely overwhelmed the entire hour by five or six of us on the same line, never really knowing who was speaking.  Add in an annoying echo that made us all sound like garbled aliens.  And each time I had a point to make, I’m still quite sure the others wondered who the alien was who couldn’t land her ship.

But in spite of all that, I didn’t feel obligated to speak.  I didn’t fear the uncomfortable nothingness.  If I had something to say, I did.  If I didn’t, I listened.

The amazing thing:  when nobody was talking, the silence said a lot.

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I know.  It has been ages since I’ve been here, but shame is over-rated.  That I’m here NOW is a beautiful step.

My life coach just sent me a link to a small video clip.  The simple premise of the video is that if you give 100 percent in relationship and expect 0 in return…eventually you’ll receive 100.  Based on the concepts of compassion, kindness and respect, I have no doubt it works.  Especially since it is HEART focused, not HEAD.

Which is why my heart feels so blue. 

I recently called for a retreat in a dear friendship.  The art of detachment is not my strong suit.  Words were exchanged.  Feelings were hurt.  Ulterior motives were used.  Attempts were made to remedy the situation and I resisted.  I felt stifled, hurt, powerless.  I had asked for more and was told it wasn’t possible at that moment.  I was told that the attempt to give me more was a “precious burden.”   Worse, when sharing some personal realizations I had made about myself and a love relationship, the reaction was less than supportive.  I felt nothing but the need for time and space. 

But after watching the two and a half minutes of a video…and thinking about this situation for almost three months, maybe my head has been doing too much of the work.   Why did I think that time would make it better?  Time has just been time.  It hasn’t made it better, only more distant. 

I’ve penned a few letters that didn’t get mailed.  I’ve thought to stop by but don’t.  I’ve reached out in very tiny ways via another source with no response.  The reality is this person may no longer need this friendship.  Why?  Because maybe I expected more than was fair in return…at least in that moment.  And maybe the call for retreat was more than tolerable in what was supposed to be an everlasting friendship.

So, here I sit.  Learning a lesson.  A broken relationship.  Yes, I have grown.  The retreat has given me new perspective…which is exactly what I needed.  But I didn’t really pay attention to what the other person needed.  I just unilaterally decided to protect MY heart…and lost sight of the other heart.

I struggle with how to remedy this situation.  It’s my job,  just clueless where to begin.  That’s why the video sticks with me tonight.

Here’s to all of you who have work to do in relationship.  You’re not in it alone.

 The video’s link:http://www.flickspire.com/m/hwnw/HundredZero

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Sorry, Baby

The baby I conceived and delivered after years of thinking about her has been neglected.  She’s not even a year old yet and already deserves a foster parent.  Child protection would have my head.  What kind of parent does this?  Not a real one.  Good thing my baby is only a blog.  I hope she forgives me.  Let’s hope absence made the heart grow fonder.

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Susceptible Host

Remember about three months back when I was delivering urine in a gift bag?  Yeah, well, there was a reason.  A reason beyond checking every six months for the recurrence of cancer.  I’m under the watchful eyes of all sorts of people in the wellness village and one of them suspected something wonky.  So I peed in a cup and delivered it.  (Read about it in Special Delivery: Urine in a Gift Bag.)

When those golden results came back I had to do other less liquid bodily things into other scientific receptacles before playing with vials and rubber gloves, sealing the bright-orange-look-at-my-biohazard-bag-everybody and delivering my specimen to FedEx to be flown with haste cross country to a big, medical laboratory.

When those lab results came back (just in time for my birthday) I was sent with not enough haste across town to yet another wellness villager who confirmed the diagnosis and set me up with months worth of two powerful pills plus some botanical doozies that even a horse wouldn’t swallow. The reason:  to kill off the three parasites on vacation in my body.  Yes, my body, the figurative Tahiti for three powerful worms that have apparently been there for what the villagers suspect to be quite some time.

Hard to tell where I got them.  Maybe I picked them up along the winding interstate of my toilet-touching job.  Perhaps I adopted their lost and abandoned souls on the bottom of my smelly shoe at the dog park.  More than likely they held my hand after I touched the soil at some particular moment in time when they were no longer fond of the open air and took a direct flight from hand to face to mouth desiring a more secluded vacation spot in my gut.  It doesn’t matter where I got them.  I just have them, asymptomatically and severely. 

Another of my wellness villagers asked me recently when I suspect I became their host.  Isn’t that such a nice way to put it?  “…when I supsect I became their host.”  Sounds as if I planned a black tie gala and played queen at their royal affair, but no.  Just worms squatting in my body for an all-inclusive party for which I clearly missed the invitation.

The weird thing is I intuitively know when they arrived.  I told the inquiring villager that their check-in date was probably right after radiation when my cellular chips were down and I was hell-bent to do something with my healing self, so I tidied up my autumnal yard in preparation for the deep freeze of winter.  The villager nodded, not critically necessarily but with added influence and said, “…when you were most susceptible.”   Well, yes.  But snow doesn’t wait for healthy immune systems, lady.   

I may not know where they boarded my plane or the exact moment when they signed my guest book, but I do believe I know why.  In the last three months all other Universal signs including this parasitic soiree symbolize a whopping, wormy lesson on my susceptibility as a human being in general. 

I can’t blame the worms.  They picked a lovely and seasoned host.  I also won’t blame myself.  This hasn’t been a conscious trip.  From my beginning I have been the welcome wagon to all things needing care.  Stripped at birth of any protective latex I started life susceptible.  Raised to allow all things in needing attention and protection and power, I grew to be the poster child of caretaking.  I’m safe.  I’m loving.  I’m reliable and trustworthy and fun at a party, and most important: I will throw all my boundaries away believing that my job is to care for you.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are perks to the job.  Everybody wants to be needed, right?  Feels good to be loved, huh?  And then one day when least expected this ideal host lost power.   Maybe not even lost it, just realized I maybe never kept it.  Or had it?  Did I give it all away because that’s what good hosts are taught to do?  Or did I give it all away without knowing that I needed to reserve some for me?  Who knows.  I do know that no host is an excellent host if all the lights go out and nobody can see who you are.  Funny-we give and we give and we give and think that’s what people (or parasites) want, and then one day we’re no longer fun to be around because we have so little to give anywhere.

So these worms are my friends teaching me that I don’t have to let everything in.  In fact I can also let go and still be loved and needed and accepted.  It took 40 years of codependent knocks on the head and funky cells in my boob and parasites in my belly to finally begin to understand that being vulnerable and open is not the same as susceptible and powerless.  One is healthy, one is not.  I’m just now learning the difference.

What’s next?  All things wormy inside, at least those feeding negatively at the continental breakfast, will exit or be asked to exit eventually.  I’ll be retested and continue to gain strength.  I’ll still allow a variety of travelers in but with a better understanding of what healthy guests at my resort need to look like.  And every now and again I reserve the right to post a NO VACANCY sign so that I can clean the place, order more tiki torches and take my own rejuvenating vacation to celebrate the me I am becoming for me.

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I’m still pondering something that was said to me a few days ago.

I was at the co-op shopping for something called Emergen-C.  My homeopath suggested it to help with a hydration problem I seem to be having.  I’ve been out of it, tired, plagued by a dull headache, blah.  Since water isn’t doing the trick and more familiar sports beverages are loaded with high fructose corn syrup, I decided to give it a whirl.

When I brought my few items to the checkout, the chatty cashier welcomed me by asking all sorts of questions.  The typical: Was I a member-owner?  Followed by: Is it hot out there?  Any big plans for the weekend?  Any news to report?  When he scanned my box of Emergen-C, he lifted it up, eyed me curiously and asked, “Are you feeling ok?” 

A little thrown off I gave him my cash and said, “I’m ok.  It’s just hard to stay hydrated lately.”

He handed me the receipt, shrugged and said, “I find it easier to stay hydrated than happy.”

That was that.  The next customer replaced me in line and our brief moment of being alive in the same space was over.  I took my things and mindlessly walked to the car.  In my dazed state I just sat there, somewhat stunned by just how complex and yet not-s0-complex every moment of life can be all at the same time.  

That tiny exchange with a stranger is still in my head days later.  I haven’t figured out the meaning of it yet.  I just wanted to say that I hope you find some version of Emergen-C in your life today to keep you “hydrated” in whatever way you need.

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