Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.

 It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." ~Albert Schweitzer

The one thing about living with a mental illness is how isolating it is. No one else can see what's really going on inside your head and there are days when you don't really want to know. I have days - too many of them- where my inner fire starts to die out, but, I am very, very good at hiding it.

I am thankful for those people in my life who rekindle my inner spirit. Most of them don't realize that is what they do for me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

there is always room for one more

thanksgiving ranks higher on my holiday list than Christmas. why? thanksgiving doesn't depress me the way Christmas does, you see,  it's all about the kitchen table. when I was growing up the kitchen was the center of our home. it was the place where everyone gathered at least once a day. i listened to my parents discuss and debate. it's where i learned about politics, religion, current events, table manners and family history. important family events were first heard at the dinner table. we didn't have a lot when i was a kid. there were 10 of us around the table and from past dinner conversations that i can remember it was difficult at times to make sure there was enough to go around. in spite of that my parents also felt that no matter what there was always room for one more at our table and frequently there was an extra person at the table. conversation was not always polite and well modulated. sometimes it was loud and argumentative-boisterous and opinionated with lots of hand gestures.

This is not a picture of my actual family. My sister Jackie has
all the pictures. It's a sore subject- don't ask.

i remember once going to eat at a friends house and they didn't talk at the dinner table. they didn't share their day. they didn't discuss the latest news or politics or stories. i can't remember what i ate because the food wasn't flavored by wonderful conversation.

i still live in the house i grew up in. i bought it after my mother died. so now i am the one waiting for kids to come home from college. getting the kitchen ready for cooking and spending pretty much most of the next few days there. i will listen to my kids catch up since they haven't seen each other in awhile.

we will sit around the table tonight elbow deep in flour as we roll out cavatelli dough and make them by hand just like i did when i was the one home from college. the conversation will be loud punctuated with raucous laughter as the clever repartee flies. i will stir the sauce and baste the turkey. i know my parents will be with me as i gather my family- my children, husband, step children and anyone else that have been invited to the table and inside i will say a prayer of thanksgiving that i am surrounded by love and i will send love out to all those who do not have a table to sit at.

there is always room for one more at my table.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

too many words? or not enough?

i've been pretty quiet lately. i spend a lot of time by myself in the studio. just me and my thoughts. so i think. some people say i think too much- like that's a bad thing. so here i am alone with my thoughts and too many words in my head. that happens sometimes...there are so many words inside my head that i can't get them to come together and make any sense to anyone other than myself. it's frustrating at times because i KNOW that i need to say something i just can't get it to come together. when that happens i sit and create...

that's a good thing because i know i need to create in order to keep my depression in check.

it's a bad thing when i am quiet because i can find the quiet to be very seductive and i can slip into that pit i call depression.

life is just a balancing act and i am doing my best to walk the line

back before email and text messaging and fax machines i was a prolific letter writer. long distance phone calls were expensive. so i wrote letters. i have a packet of letters from my brother when he was in law school half away across the country that i cherish to this day. i carried around the letter he wrote to me when i graduated from high school for years and would take it out and read it when i needed the boost. i even kept the letters and notes written to me by a very dear friend until one day in a fit of cleaning house i threw those away. i regret that to this day. i have the letters my mother sent me when i went away to college.

a couple of months ago i was in Chicago and came across a packet of letters for sale in a thrift store written in the 40's. letters written between a young man and a young lady. reading them made me cry. they told the story of these two people who fell in love and created a life together...i regret not buying them

so i have too many words in my head. maybe i do because i don't write letters anymore. maybe the words need to be put down on paper and sent in the mail. maybe there really aren't enough words...written words

Thursday, November 4, 2010

does it lose its meaning

if you say it too much? this was the discussion we had around the table during art class yesterday with my high school kids. interesting group of kids- all very creative and each one brings something unique to the class. one student was complaining because his mom tells him the she loves him everyday. as soon as he said that another one piped up and said my mom does the same thing! it drives me nuts! I mean I KNOW she LOVES me! which brought the discussion around to the kids coming up with the general consensus that those words lose their meaning if you hear them over and over again.

i didn't say anything while they were talking- just listened. when there was a lull in the conversation i quietly told them a story...

Dad in Italy 1987

...when i was 29 my dad had a kidney transplant. he was in the hospital for close to three months. i couldn't see him everyday because it was a 180 mile round trip and it was winter and i had a young daughter at home. dad was feeling pretty good in early january and the sibs had a birthday party at the hospital for him. i chose not to go for reasons that escape me now. a week later he was back in intensive care so i made a mad dash back to the hospital to see him. things were not at all going well and he was delusional and kept pulling his oxygen tube out. i talked sharply to him and told him he needed to leave the tube alone because it was HELPING him! dad got so angry at me, he glared at me with the most hateful look and ordered me out of him room. i wasn't able to go back into his room that visit so i drove back home feeling heavy and hurt and angry.the next time i saw him was in the funeral home a week later. i didn't get to say i love you ...

... by the time i was finished things got pretty quiet ...and i continued....

"you see, parents think differently than kids do. we tell you that we love you over and over again because we know someday we'll be gone and you need to believe that there is someone who loves you- no matter what. boyfriends and girlfriends will come and go- you will say i love you to quite a few and mean it more for some than others. you'll meet that one person who you want to spend the rest of your life with and say i love you to them. and sometimes people change and they get divorced and well- you still have your mom and your dad who love you like no one else can love you and someday they will be gone and you would give ANYTHING to hear them say i love you just one more time."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

i see you

i think these three little words are as powerful as "i love you"...strike that- more powerful.

i see you

have you ever heard the words Namaskar or Namaste ? These two greetings from India are much more than "Hello" they mean i acknowledge the spark of the divine that is present inside you.  Hinduism believes that spirit is an all-pervading force that envelopes all beings and things. Like The Force in Star Wars. you can't see it but it is a living field of energy that spreads across the galaxy and connects with every living being. and i am sure you have been told more than once in certain situations "don't make eye contact" ....interesting

i see you

i acknowledge that you and i are the same. we are connected and parts of a bigger whole. i see you. i connect with you. i understand that you have a purpose in this world. i see you...and a connection is formed...even if we become separated a memory has been placed within me of you and we will always be a part of each other...thus- i see you... i see with my eyes and if the eyes are a mirror into the soul then "i see you" is indeed powerful stuff. 
watch Avatar - try and get through the scenes with the greedy militant corporate neanderthals and focus on the Na'vi and life on Pandora. it's very powerful. i wish the movie had been all about that. but that's just me and my natural thirst for knowledge i want to read the history of the Na'vi and their beliefs and stories...maybe some day someone will write a book about them. in the meantime i will watch this movie again and again because there are more layers to it then just what is on the surface.