Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Son the Architect

Long term followers of this blog (if there are any) may recall that I had a very vivid dream that I had a son who was an architect. In the dream I was immensely proud of an adult son who had built a whole Utopian city. It was very modern, with lots of beautiful colors and angles.

This is what my son made with his blocks on my bed this morning.


It is a slippery moral world. When I was a kid, right and wrong was pretty simple. My mom was pretty good at letting me know when I wasn't doing the right thing, like when we went to the clothing store and I hid in those display roundabouts from her. I got swift and decisive correction. There was no cake before dinner. We went to church on Sundays, whether I wanted to or not. Oh, and about that, Jesus went with me everywhere, like a mini-tenant in my heart. So even the stuff my mom didn't know about, there was always God to keep an eye on me.

I was a bit of an odd kid. Part tomboy, part nature sprite, I communed with the many trees in my grandparents' yard. I sang to the ocean during those summers at Cape Cod. I tracked the wildlife all over the Grand Tetons and the Black Hills. I studied the field guides and could name them all. I didn't have anyone to teach me how to make a daisy chain, but I always wanted to wear one in my hair.

I grew up, like I suppose we all must but only some of us do. I still love nature and never see enough of it. I work really hard. In my job as a registered nurse I deal with the ethics of life and death and the medicine in between on a daily basis. Right and wrong isn't all that clear cut anymore. Even my mom will sometimes eat cake before dinner, and Jesus and I are on cordial speaking terms, but some of his followers as well as some unjust circumstances have created real distance in that relationship. I don't really feel like God notices or cares about me on a daily basis that much.

I try my best to live my life with integrity. Here's the lowdown in the form of a wiki quote:

"Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy,[1] in that it regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs."

At any rate, I am a passionate person and really appreciate honesty. I at least am honest with myself. Even if I am doing something in my personal life that isn't necessarily falling neatly into the "right" or "wrong" column, I know my motivations for what I do, and I make my choices for the most part with my eyes open.

Not all of my choices make me happy, but usually I learn from them either way, and see the wisdom of the outcome for the long game. Sometimes doing the right thing means making choices that make me completely miserable. Other times doing something sorta wrong ends up being the choice that leads to something really good. What is good for society at large isn't always what is going to be good for me. That different drummer is working a fast masmoudi in me when the rest of the world is doing Sousa marches. I'm a little warped. I have said before that trying to conform and always be "good" really takes me out of my integrity with myself.

I'm trying to remember these things as I strive for wholeness after a long stressful period, and during the recent stresses too. I need to focus on the things I know give me a feeling of peace: watching a chipmunk groom its fur, listening to the sound of the turbulent spring-swollen river, finding the mots juste to comfort a wounded friend, using my brain to figure out how to alleviate the symptoms of my patients when the drugs just aren't cutting it.  

I may eat my dessert first, but it is an uncertain world. It isn't all about me, but if I can't be true to myself, I sure as hell can't please anybody else. I need to slow down and focus. I need to lace up my hiking boots. I need to drink more water and less coffee. I need to be in the present moment and attend to the work that is in front to of me. I need to take my son to Cape Cod and teach him how to sing to the ocean waves. He needs to feel the tickle of a hermit crab walking over his hand. There's lots of happiness to be had in the world, and lots of right and wrong ways to the top of the mountain (and guess what? they all get there!). What matters most is truth and love and facing my fears. I know I'll riddle it out my way, and that way is just fine even if others do it different.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dream-Travel Lags

Image: Cebu, Philippines

I was dreaming last night that I was taking a big trip to a tropical place, and that my son had to come on a later plane than me for some reason. Since he is only three and has never traveled anywhere, I was terrified he would get lost. I kept calling at every step to make sure he was a step behind me like he was supposed to be. It was so scary, and at one point I was screaming. I screamed myself awake, and Tony had to settle me back down.

Sometimes I wish that I didn't have such vivid nightmares, the ones that leave me trembling like that. Of course, if I couldn't dream that vividly, I would miss out on the beautiful dreams that I also have, the ones that nourish my abilities in my waking life. The ones that give me peace.

I guess I am just destined to be an intense dreamer. I just wonder: do I dream that way because I have an intense life, or is my life dramatic and intense because of the way I dream?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Poetry-The Other Side of the Coin

Fierce Warrior Mother
Sword and dagger, fists clenched
Against the world’s injustice
Run into the flames when others run out.

Sharp barbs fly from acid tongue
Defending and offending alike
Bristle and shoulder against the storm
Endure it when the brimstone rains.

But also, wounded healer
Living with losses that leave glacial craters
Untouchable places and unloved faces
Barely breathing sometimes.

Trying to embrace the grotesque
The inner wretch that sees no light
The pressing madness at the window
The burden of all that truth.

Some people can only handle one of me
They choose sides, adamantly demand
That I be only that-an avenging force
Or something they can save with love.

I live on the dancing edge of the coin
As it rolls toward uncertain ends.
Balanced with laughter and force of will
A world of wonder in my hands.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Poetry-Mirror Image

I sit in the bookstore coffee shop
Writing something so raw and true
That tears flow slow and unchecked
Into my corporate coffee.

Collecting myself and wiping my eye
I return to this world of dirt
Perception clearing, I look up
And see you, pen in hand, looking back.

Have you been writing about me?
My auburn hair in tangled curls
As I bents over my notebook, weeping
Silent, heedless, trance-like?

Does my pain only exist
In your world of fiction as a background piece?
Am I the peculiar detailed figure
Your protagonist notices before his path diverges?

I stretch, I yawn. You watch, you scribble.
Makes me want to pick my nose
Or scratch my ass to see if you follow,
To see how far I can take you with me.

Or could I stand and strip myself bare
Walk over to you and plant a kiss
On your astonished lips, and say
Thank you for seeing me at all?