#reverb10 Day 10: Wisdom

12 12 2010


PROMPT: Wisdom Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

Wisdom is one of those words that we just aren’t supposed to apply to ourselves.  It’s reserved for our elders, those that have seen more, done more, lived through the depression, had to make their own peanut butter from peanuts and corn bread from corn, had to have a silent strength as their husbands beat their children and then somehow tape the pieces back together.  Not us.  Even in middle-age we often act as adolescents.  Where is the wisdom?

Wisdom is like beauty: we either feel that someone has it of they don’t, but there are so many layers and flaws to both and we tend to project those types of traits on people that we don’t really want to understand or acknowledge.

Once in awhile, I notice a wise moment when I tell someone a truth that I am observing and it really resonates with them, but often I say those “truths” only to find out that I am just talking outta my arse.  So, wise?  Or just lucky?

I can’t think of anyone that I know that is wise in that all encompassing way.  I would probably be too intimidated to be friends with someone like that anyway.  I do know lots of smart people- street smart, computer smart, geek smart, people smart, healthy smart, power smart, art smart, intuitive smart-but I don’t know anyone wise.  Even my almost-90-yr-old-unofficially-adopted grandma, Belva, is very smart and witty and understanding and open-minded, but wise?  Not so much.

So, since I can’t really touch wisdom, I WILL say that I have done a couple of SMART things this past year, including getting control of finances, extracting from drama and speaking up for myself when all other tactics seemed to fail.  But maybe the smartest thing that I did was put a focus on my health.

I went to the Doctor and had the blood drawn and numbers run for the first time.  I found out that my cholesterol is only 177 (cue one of those commercials for the cholesterol lowering drug where the person tells everyone that he passes his cholesterol numbers) and that I have hypothyroid-ism.  That always seemed like such an excellent “ism” to have, but I never had it tested.  So, of course, there’s a drug for that and for the first time in my life I have Normal Hunger.  And the weight is coming off.  And running is fun again.  And thinking about things besides food is possible.  And the monkey is contemplating jumping off of my back.  And it feels good.  For the first time.

Wise is an aloof star, shining, inspiring and out of reach, but smart- sometimes I can touch that.

#reverb10 Day 5: Let Go

5 12 2010

PROMPT: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

I pulled the car into the CUB parking lot.  The grocery store had closed months before (as a result of gentrification or too much theft, depending on perspective).  I parked in a location with no poles, no curbs, nothing but concrete, put the car in neutral, set the parking brake, opened the door and got cautiously into the passenger seat as my 16 yr old son closed the driver’s side door.

This was it: this was the moment before the moment that I let go.

He had his temps,  had already been through driving school and had even driven before – with his papa and in an automatic car.  Today was the day that I would teach him how to drive a stick – in my mid-life crisis Honda del Sol (painted Ultrasonic Blue to match my favorite Victoria Secret pj’s).

I got uncharacteristically calm and he got uncharacteristically attentive.  I covered everything that I could think of: clutch, brake, gas, clutch, ease up on clutch while easing down on gas, clutch before brake, clutch, clutch, clutch.

It was time to try. Stall once.  Stall twice.  Chug ahead a couple of times, then third stall.  Go ahead and do it again.  He got the car in motion and I talked him through 2nd gear. He was so dang proud!  Then it was time to stop.  And start all over.  The whole time I kept my foot on the invisible passenger side brake.  It didn’t seem to be functioning.  We gridded our way all over the parking lot, back and forth, turned and back across.  With each row and each non-stalled start his confidence grew and I watched the 5 yr old Lego obsessed boy sitting next to me grow into a handsome teenager driving my car.

Then he asked: Can I drive it in the street?  That’s the moment that I let go.  I open my fingers and released control of any threads that I held that connected to the balloons of Andy and myself and my keeping him safe and my security and his freedom.  That moment I knew that things would change and I would be ok and deal with whatever came my way and support him as best as I could, but also have to stand back a bit more and let him fall.  I let go of parenting my little boy and let in helping this young man step into the world.

#reverb10 Day 4: Wonder

4 12 2010

PROMPT: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

Wonder? Wonder?!?

won·der  [wuhn-der]

–verb (used without object)
1.to think or speculate curiously
2.to be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe; marvel (often fol. by at)
3.to doubt
–verb (used with object)
4.to speculate curiously or be curious about; be curious to know
5.to feel wonder at
6.something strange and surprising; a cause of surprise, astonishment, or admiration
7.the emotion excited by what is strange and surprising; a feeling of surprised or puzzled interest, sometimes tinged with admiration 

8.miraculous deed or event; remarkable phenomenon
9.for a wonder, as the reverse of what might be expected; surprisingly



1. A way out of reality that is always forgotten or never goes away
2. when someone wish to know something
3.When you stick your finger up your butt hole and smell it. If it doesn’t stink then its a wonder.

(kinda like that last one-ha!)  Well, I don’t know that I HAVE cultivated a sense of wonder this year, in fact, just the opposite.  In the past, I’ve relied on photography to capture my awe and marvel, but even if the camera is remembered AND any photos are taken AND they are even a tiny bit interesting, I haven’t been processing them and have just sort of given up on getting That Shot (you know the one).   I’m not sure, as I write this, if I should or do feel sad about this or not.

I’ve had a very strong sense of wonder this past year when being surprised or curious about why people vote…certain ways…that aren’t in their best interests, but that doesn’t have to be cultivated – at all.

My favorite definition above is “a way out reality that is always forgotten or never goes away” (urban dictionary always gives that special spin).  I’m wondering if there’s a typo in that definition or if it is meant to be so contradictory and sort of deep (in that “just got out of a very relaxing hot bath” sort of way).

So, how have I cultivated a way out reality in 2010?  I haven’t.  I’ve paid bills and been responsible and curbed the travel (exploration) to get out of debt and focused on doing my job well and losing weight and exercising and eating healthy and giving my 17 yr old son the best guidance that I can to turn him out to the world a somewhat decent human being.

Wonder gets swallowed daily with the adderall tablet that helps me put all of those “ands” in that last sentence.

#reverb10 Day 3:Moment

4 12 2010

PROMPT: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

The run was hard: first snowfall, slippery, breathe in the cold, deep, wake up all of the little villi lining the lungs, keep the legs under control, don’t fall, so much white, this 4 miles feels like 6, thank-you body each step.

She gets home with no injuries, but some very tired muscles and a cold nose.  As a chill waves through her body, she turns the faucet all the way to the red then back into a little bit of the blue and pours some cheap hydrangea scented (but chemically created) body wash into the tub. The tubs fills with scalding water as she peels off the sweat soaked cloths that suddenly became very cold against her skin.  The nakedness feels a bit warmer: book, towel, what else? nothing, just get in, stop stalling, feet first, go slow.

She brushes the water with a toe and smiles realizing that it’s not too late to add a bit more cold water, but knows she won’t as both feet plant solidly in the heat and she gasps: I can do this, I can do this, I need to do this.

Arms on either side of the tub, holding tight and controlling movement of her body as her legs had done only minutes before when jogging over ice, she lowers into the water and feels every cell burn when slowly touching the water, each inch below tingling from the heat and each inch above shivering in the cold air.  She can feel it all, is aware of it all, is connected to every muscle controlling and every bit of skin reacting and filling with blood.  As her back is allowed to descend, the distinct line between air and water travel up to her neck: slow down, feel it, feel the hair stand up, feel the pain, the relief, the sharp little spikes, the stings, the calmness of the feet and legs that have had time to acclimate, feel the heat again with every movement, move slow.

As she takes a deep warm breath and slips into the womb of the bathwater, she is very much alive.

#reverb10 Day 2: Writing

2 12 2010

PROMPT: Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

It’s simple: I don’t make writing a priority.  I would much rather spend 2.5 hours in silence with a close friend and absorbing that energy than spend 2.5 hours putting words to paper.  The latter experience seems so flat compared to the former and I would rather have an experience than try to conjure words to describe an experience.  Having said that, I love writing and get a bit of satisfaction when I’ve taken the time to capture a moment in a sentence, but I have no delusions of being a “writer” or making it a profession or having my words preserved for even one generation past my death.  My words and my experiences are both transient, so the emphasis is placed on the experiences and I don’t want to eliminate or change that.

What I do is force my writing into a scheduled structure, so there is no guilt if no words are typed or scribbled outside of that.  My Wednesday night Contemplative Writing Class has kept the words flowing for, how many? 3years? and in return I am treated to some of the most intense, honest, pure, unedited writing from my classmates and friends.  Anything written outside of those prompts and the subsequent 20 minutes of letters cascading on paper is bonus.

#reverb10 Day 1: One Word

2 12 2010

PROMPT:  One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

2010 word: Boundaries

About a month ago in my writing class, I wrote this in response to the prompt “What are you grateful for?”:

I am grateful for boundaries-those thick, black undrawn and intangible, but very real lines that keep me safe and protected when I choose to enforce them.
I am grateful for owning those lines, for being able to tell those crossing that “they’re very much mine, thank-you, and don’t make it about you.”
I am grateful when I remember that I don’t have to explain a boundary, but just enforce it.
I am grateful for the really painful boundaries that make you treat me with respect-or at least let you know when you are treating me with disrespect and I don’t like it.
I am grateful for the soft warm nest provided for my landing after you’ve stopped climbing the tree of neediness and discovered your boundaries in the branches of mine.
They can co-exist, you know, and it can be ok-for both of us.

I’ve been enforcing boundaries and speaking up for myself.  It has seemed critical and authentic and uncomfortable and brutal and vulnerable.  But there has been a liberation in the enclosure and honesty.  Sometimes I wonder if the boundary enforcement is a retreat behind a wall.  But I feel too exposed and raw for it to be a hiding. Read the rest of this entry »