Remember Judith Viorst's bestseller: Necessary Losses?
About growing up - letting go of lost loves,
dependencies, impossible expectations, illusions . . .
It reframed heart-wrenching losses
as necessary steps to maturity.
. . .
But some of us also face the loss of ourselves as
DESTINED FOR GREAT THINGS!
I don't mean that we must let go of ourselves as unique.
Each of us is truly unique.
But there is a time - maybe around middle age,
when we may wonder, despairingly,
why we have not seen the "big writing in the sky" -
announcing our call to Africa to be the second
or why we haven't experienced the sudden knowing
that we must write a great American novel . . .
We knew it might be hard and involve a sacrifice
We knew that IF such a clear call came we would
We'd be on our way to fulfill our life's purpose!
Alas, the sky revealed
no such message
That clear call never came.
Life went on as usual.
OR WAS IT USUAL?
Maybe, in truth, it offered lots of unusual chances,
dozens of synchronicities,
many surprise meetings, unexpected invitations,
great opportunities to learn and express my individuality,
PLUS, of course,
the inevitable sufferings
"that flesh is heir to".
I may not have recognized the 'CALLS'
within each of these moments ~
The hard chances to be authentic
true to myself.
Yet, looking back I see that I have been 'CALLED'
to become more and more my 'ordinary' self
It feels so good to find joy in expressing
MY ORDINARY GIFTS
So often tossed aside as unimportant ~
Imagining I wasn't fulfilled because I wasn't 'called'
to live someone else's more amazing life!
A VERY NECESSARY KNOWING
As Carl Jung said: "Who will live your life - if not yourself?"
LIL' BIDDY DIED TODAY
Nearly 4 years after being diagnosed with kidney failure.
For me - every day with her has been a joy.
Just yesterday she kissed my nose and purred
Galloped down the hall chasing a string
SO FULL OF LIFE!
But even with the best care and endless love
Her little body finally gave up
We found her at a shelter on a Christmas Eve - the tiniest wee kitten
tilting her head fetchingly
looking hopefully up at us with big blue eyes
purring when we held her.
She was a shy kitten - scared really - she'd been
sickly and isolated
for months in the shelter.
Little by little she began to trust -
Her soft warm body curled on your lap -
Or followed you all around the house,
weaving twixt your legs - teasing, looking up,
fluffy grey tail always held high!
EVERY DAY SHE TOOK A NAP ON "PINKIE"
her handwoven blankee.
She was always so tiny
Her fur - the silkiest, softest, whitest in the world . . .
She was always kittenish - charming
She meditated daily - in California
and in the Great Pacific Northwest
She loved her big orange pal Rafferty
Her little soul was attuned to mine
It was so hard to say goodbye ~
The house seems empty without her
HER SPIRIT WAS SO JOYFUL
I WILL SO MISS
HER SWEET PRESENCE
WHENEVER I'M RESTLESS,
TOO TIRED TO CLEAN THE GARAGE -
OR MY ROOM
The very best way to lift my spirits is to play
despite of a whole page of
things to be done
I grabbed my camera and caught the light
on 'objets d'art' around the house :)
It's just a lovely old jar on the window sill - but maybe it's a crucible of fire ??
Here's TIMOTHY TIPTOES right outside my studio window
'MOSES' CARRIES THE 10 COMMANDMENTS IN THIS SCULPTURE
by Josee d'Cart - Paris 1961
'MARCUS' the MUSKOX - picked up at an estate sale!
A lovely stone caught in a piece of driftwood - sort-of looks like the eye of a lizard?
IMPUDENT CLARENCE ~ our Rufous-Sided TOWHEE
stares at me thru' the window every morning
. . . . .
MY SPIRITS ARE RESTORED
NOW I CAN CLEAN MY ROOM
THE LIGHT IS JUST RIGHT FOR SOME OTHER
MASKS ARE ALWAYS FUN FOR HALLOWEEN
if they're created right on your own face
they can express hidden aspects of your psyche!
Here's the first mask I made - 20 years ago
using plaster strips and acrylics.
I think it shows a closed-up sort of person
Too 'persona', if you know what I mean.
I made a picture of her in black and white -
no more is revealed, alas.
Then last nite I put a magnifying glass over her picture
and got this mystifying revelation?
Ah there she is ~
full of mystery and magic
Later, with courage, I made more masks
Here's NATURE BOY
pre-verbal, shy, lives in the woods
and trusts his intuition.
That's my 'Nefertiti' mask which apparently
filled me with awe
when I viewed her in the mirror!
She can be fierce, too
Do not mess with her!
This is my crying-baby mask - she feels alone and afraid
And, of course, here's my go-to mask for wood working ~
THANKS FOR LETTING ME INTRODUCE YOU
TO SOME OF MY SELVES!
I HATE BEING OLD.
NO, THAT'S NOT TRUE.
I HATE THE LIMITATIONS OF AGING
AND I HATE BEING SEEN AS NEEDING HELP!
AND I RESIST ASKING FOR HELP.
Recently a good person said she wanted to 'protect me'.
What does THAT MEAN?
Later she offered me her arm as we crossed the street.
I said, "I'm just fine, thank you very much"
HERE'S THE THING
I longed for an old truck and an old boat
and these fantasies are happily realized.
So It is very hard for me to face the truth that I rarely really use them.
I would rather read or daydream in a hammock.
Same with ALL my art supplies
I fantasize about the myriad things I'll create
I make notes, and draw pictures of these projects with joy
For example - I'd love to build a charming wee cottage
in the nearby woods -
(like this one from Pinterest)
~ with big windows, a darling loft, cozy chairs
around the fireplace, a little deck with a rocker and side table
for a book and a glass of Malbec.
. . .
My fantasy life always excites me ~
I imagine the pleasure of designing and building things ~
THE SAD REALITY IS,
most of these ideas will never happen
I just don't have the time in this life to do all of them.
I need to focus on where my limited energy wants to go ~
THE OTHER TRUTH IS
I CAN STILL
do lots of things.
*Play ping pong on my mini table tennis table in the garage - YEP!
*Weed the garden a bit
*Cook and dine with friends
*Read and write
*Make slideshows of my favorite pictures
*Play with photographs on the computer
Today, admitting this new reality, I feel quite mature,
OLD isn't necessarily bad ~
(Pssst ~ I may still build that wee cottage in the woods if I want to!)
WHAT IF I HAVE NO PEARLS?
Recently my friend Paula noticed that those of us
in our eighties
face a new phase in the process ~
So I decided to explore
what's different for me now ~
Well - I'm more honest and transparent.
I realize I don't have 'wisdom' to share any more -
(altho’ I may have presumed to have some in earlier decades!)
I sometimes even wonder if anything I believe is really true.
I don't think much about beliefs, per se - dogma, orthodoxy, etc.
The truths I live by are a network or collection of truths
discovered along this journey.
None is the whole truth.
None is the only truth.
But it is my hard-won truth.
I've always been a skeptic -
but when I actually experienced the transpersonal -
or realized that the people I met, the places I was drawn to,
were beyond chance -
I understood that these synchronistic events
brought important messages and insights.
I became a reluctant but fervent believer in the idea
that I have been guided all along my personal path
and that I can trust the Hand that guides.
Being in my 83rd year seems like being in altered space.
I notice that I like this unfamiliar place.
It is softer, quieter - fewer distractions ~
allowing a fresh new energy
free of 'shoulds'.
I love letting go of the pressure of the MUSTS -
must do, must have, must be interested, must learn etc.
I feel more open to ‘whatever'.
It's a relief not to be searching for answers to the BIG QUESTIONS -
(a heavy preoccupation of my youth).
Another new thing is less guilt about not doing enough 'GOOD' in the world.
I used to believe I needed to respond to a sort-of calling to 'do good'.
Now, altho' I’m alarmed by the worldwide shadow of hatred and bigotry
I can’t, personally, stop it or influence it.
Altho' it's my destiny to live in this time
Somehow I’m living on a different level -
where it’s alright to let go of anxiety and fear.
What matters most now is the present,
becoming more true to myself
enjoying the warmth of friends,
and the blessings and beauty around me.
Am I totally selfish because I get such joy out of little things?
LAUGHING, PLAYING WITH PICTURES AND PETS?
OH - I’ve been rambling - asking myself what has changed for me now,
in my 80’s
Discovering a collage of ideas and feelings
Once in awhile I feel a burst of energy or an impossible idea -
for example - I could be a comedienne doing little island gigs
making irreverent fun of my very conservative upbringing -
singing old hymns -
wearing crazy clothes ~
But it won’t happen because I might be stoned by fervent locals :)
The PUSH has gone
The TRUST has risen
WHAT A RIDE INDEED!
p.s. Sorry I don't know who painted these words on silk.
I've enjoyed the hanging in my study for years.
After career years in Seattle, Chicago, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles ~
I couldn't wait to get out of my suits, heels and brief cases -
and into comfy, casual and cheap ISLAND GEAR.
Carefully researching what Island Gals wore -
I vowed to join their ranks.
Without benefit of a nearby Nordstrom's
I discovered several upscale Thrift Stores right here on the Island.
Imagine - you can find 100% Irish linen shirts for $4.00!
So now I have a closet full of fab shirts for almost every occasion ~
Top them with a silky vest and scarf
Team them up with a faded baseball cap and torn jeans
~ jump in your 1987 truck and haul your junk to the dump.
There are special occasions where OLD shirts are déclassé ~
No prob ~ I still have a few serious garments to wear for dinner
at the upscale Oyster Catcher or Fraser's Gourmet Hideaway
a glorious evening at the unexpectedly professional
Whidbey Island Symphony!
See ISLAND CHIC ( below )
We say "We're going to America"
when we cross over the water on the ferry
from Whidbey Island to the Mainland!
During this year on the island I've only been to AMERICA twice!
I'm so content to explore this fabulous, strangely-shaped isle.
In 5 minutes I can walk to the beach overlooking the Saratoga Passage,
Mt. Baker and the Cascade mountains-
Jump in the car and in 8 minutes I'm at West beach
looking across the shipping lanes, Mt. Rainier,
and the jagged snowy peaks of the Olympic range.
Yet my last trip to AMERICA was thrilling ~
I hadn't been to the Space Needle in Seattle for over 50 years.
In 1961 I lived high on Queen Anne Hill overlooking the building of
the Space Needle.
Photographer Don Aylard and I published a little book of pictures and text
Early one morning I wrote these lines about Mt. Rainier
and the space needle
IT LOOKS SO DIFFERENT NOW ~ half a century later ~
At the foot of the space needle we saw
an unbelievably gorgeous gallery of huge glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly
Here's my favorite.
There are lots of good reasons to GO TO AMERICA ~
if I can bear to leave this island.