Trust the process

April 20th, 2014

A friend of mine was telling me that she has always moved very quickly into relationships and she has made a vow to take her time this next time around. She’s gathering wisdom from African proverbs and sayings, and one woman writes not to act like this is the last love you might ever have and to take time to know him before committing. The woman says that if you cannot take it slow then you must have something in yourself that you are still working on and that needs to be cleared up before you can take on another.

What I like about her African advice is that it says men also want to have relationships – something I think our society would like us to forget. I was just on the phone with a friend of mine who has the urge to merge with his honey and he is looking for the same thing my gal friend is – companionship, trust, and love.

I likened my friend’s talk about courtship to most things in life – we are always in a hurry to get to the finish line instead of enjoying the run – and as my friend, recently courted by her now big love, says, “You have to trust the process” and the process is you.

Earth Day in New Orleans

April 20th, 2014

I have friends in town from Florida so we went to Earth Day Fest at Louis Armstrong Park yesterday. A friend of mine’s nonprofit sponsors the festival and kudos to her for pulling it off. New Orleans is not a bastion of environmental sensitivity – albeit it has become one post 2005 Federal Flood. So many silver linings from that event – they are too numerous to count.

We had ourselves a good time listening to music and sitting on a grassy knoll and even got treated to an Aikido demonstration (albeit I almost wound up on the stage because the sun was frying me).

And I got to wear my “Easter” hat – which was actually my wedding hat when I married my first husband in 1984 – thirty years ago – is that possible? The hat has come through these years pretty much intact – can’t say the same for myself!

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My lil gal

April 20th, 2014

I learned last week that Stella and all her siblings have demodex, which is a mite that dogs get, but if their immune system isn’t developed enough, it results in mange – noncontagious mange. It is supposed to manifest itself as hair loss around the eyes, but Stella began losing it on her head – much like me. Imagine my surprise.

So she started on medication yesterday afternoon – Ivomec – but by night time she was having a full on toxic reaction that includes eyes rolling back in her head.

I freaked!

It turns out that herding breeds have a violent reaction to the medication and Stella was the only one of the puppies reacting – meaning she had a different dad than the others. I love this little girl. It’s crazy how much I love this puppy. So she and I sat on the floor together and I stroked her and stroked her until she at least tried to nibble on me and then we tried to sleep last night – her moaning and me keeping one eye open.

This morning at 4am Stella woke, puked, peed and then wagged her tail. We made it through the crisis. She was resurrected on Easter Sunday.

Lord Today!

I learned one thing – her dad was either a corgi or a border collie – because only herding breeds react this way to Ivomec. We will now have to seek different treatment – chemical baths, which can also be toxic so they require her to go in for a day’s visit to the vet. [read: cash]

Pay attention to the signs

April 18th, 2014

The story of Moses is an odyssey much like each of our journey, but if Moses was alive today God probably couldn’t get his attention with a burning bush because nowadays everyone is waiting for the BIG SIGN – the big PAYOUT – the big LOVE – the BIG ANYTHING.

But I say pay attention to those little signs because they are the ones pointing the way.

I went to my church this morning – City Park that is – and I communed with my brethren there – the water moccasin, the turtles, the irises, the ducks, the geese, and the swans – and they each whispered to me, “I love you, Rachel” and when I emerged from the park a friend passed me in his car and said, “Why are you smiling so radiantly?” And I said because today is a gift – a gift I gave myself.

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Open the door to magic

April 18th, 2014

“If I knew that today would be the last time I’d see you, I would hug you tight and pray the Lord be the keeper of your soul. If I knew that this would be the last time you pass through this door, I’d embrace you, kiss you, and call you back for one more. If I knew that this would be the last time I would hear your voice, I’d take hold of each word to be able to hear it over and over again. If I knew this is the last time I see you, I’d tell you I love you, and would not just assume foolishly you know it already.”

~ Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez ~

The apogee of me

April 18th, 2014

Tis the season I reckon. The season of festivals and friends and folly, because I know it’s been hard to slow down and breathe. On Stella’s arrival into this house, my meditation, stretching, exercise in the morning turned into slogging out of bed at 4am to stand in the wet grass in the backyard and saying, “Go pissy piss” loud enough for her to hear and low enough for my neighbors not to shoot me.

I’m more sleep deprived with my puppy than I ever was with my baby. Whatyagonnado?

After multiple deadlines, a seder, and a friend’s wife’s funeral, I laid in bed this morning for the third time – after taking Stella out at 4, then 5 and then 6 o’clock – and watched the palm tree leaves billowing in the wind and thought about nothing. If I can’t get my meditation in on my schedule, I can snatch meditative moments – times without planning, doing, or longing – to simply be in my skin.

A friend came by yesterday for me to help her with her business plan, only we didn’t get to the business plan because our conversation turned to bigger things than business – the matters of our life. She’s a radiant light and so she picks up a lot of strays who glom onto her for their own sustenance. Let’s call them what they are – leeches. And those suckers don’t take a hint even when she has kicked them to the curb. Three times a random stranger has approached her – the first was when she was only 23 years old and getting on the streetcar – and told her she is golden. Her light is intoxicating.

But she has to go angry ninja on people to keep some of the filaments of that light for herself. It’s just not right.

And I get it.

A friend wrote me a sweet thank you after our seder, he said, “You give too much of yourself Rachel” and so it is. Like my friend I feel there is no scarcity of the light and yet, I lay in bed and darkness descends because I’m depleted of the snap crackle pop that I’ve been sprinkling around.

I find it’s an all or nothing game – for me at least – it’s like being a life lush – I’m either in or I’m out. I think back fondly to the five months that drew to a close at year end in 2013 when I gave up drinking and socializing and did a lot of rest and me time. I was wrapped in my own light and felt my hibernation need never end. And then it did. It ended with a bang – literally – and thus began my revelry once again.

Last night, I went to a friend’s house to listen to his stereo. This is no ordinary stereo – it is a work of art and the entire room was designed around listening to it. I was part of an eight person group who came bearing an exquisite bottle of wine and two songs on vinyl to play. My choices were all about love – the first Sade’s The Kiss of Life for my son because that’s who I think of when I hear her sing “There must have been an angel by my side; Something heavenly led me to you.” My second choice was a different love, almost graveyard love, Elvis Costello’s I Want You, Oh my baby baby I want you so it scares me to death; I can’t say anymore than “I love you”; Everything else is a waste of breath; I want you.

My tongue tasted like it dragged across the Sahara this morning as I lay in bed and contemplated space and the palm frond waving from the sky. I didn’t want to go last night, it seemed like one more thing on my busy dance card, but I’m glad I went. Every person there had a story plus more stories about the two songs they chose whether sung by Velvet Underground or Billie Holiday – and of course each one brought a bottle of exquisite wine and so I’m glad for having gone.

And I’m tired for having gone.

I’ve depleted my light source.

And so, I gift myself today to reclaim my radiance.

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Every yarmulke tells a story

April 12th, 2014

I was pulling out the yarmulkes and Haggadahs for the Seder and felt content. My yarmulkes are all from someone in my family’s big event:

Sandy and David’s Wedding November 13, 1983
Dana Grace’s Bat Mitzvah May 31, 1985
Jaquelyn Michelle’s Bat Mitzvah April 10, 1999
Dana and Mark’s Wedding July 8, 2000
Lexi’s Bat Mitzvah August 28, 2000
Lara and Shane’s Wedding September 1, 2001
Sarah’s Bat Mitzvah July 8, 2006
Matt and Soo’s Wedding May 1, 2011

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The New Song

April 11th, 2014

Last year:
Mom: Tin go outside and play in the back yard.
Tin: No. There’s no one out there to play with.

Last month:
Mom: Go outside and jump on the trampoline.
Tin: Can you come with me?

Last week:
Tin: Mom, can I go outside with Stella and play?
Mom: Yes!

The New Song
For some time I thought there was time
and that there would always be time
for what I had a mind to do
and what I could imagine
going back to and finding it
as I had found it the first time
but by this time I do not know
what I thought when I thought back then

there is no time yet it grows less
there is the sound of rain at night
arriving unknown in the leaves
once without before or after
then I hear the thrush waking
at daybreak singing the new song

W. S. MERWIN
The Moon Before Morning
Copper Canyon Press

Taller than the Tallest Tree

April 6th, 2014

Why me Lord, what have I ever done?

I love when Kris Kristofferson sings that song. And I love when that question arises in me because it usually means that my cup runneth over. I have been wanting to plant a garden and landscape my house and behold the floodgates opened to me in the form of “donated” plants, trees, and bottles and bricks for borders.

I asked for a dog – a canine companion – because I missed my animals so much and one in particular and Stella – the replica of her – comes into my life.

I said to the world that I want to do meaningful work that pays me back in kind and it has begun to flow in.

Recently, I lost a scarf with elephants on it that had kept me warm all winter and last night, a friend walked up to me and said, here, I have this and thought of you and want you to have it. A scarf with elephants on it.

Pinch me – okay – because my real life is greater than my dream life.

Friends of mine gathered to celebrate a young one’s photo entry into a Teen Competition at the Contemporary Arts Center – it was a photograph of Tin and me at a Kwanzaa celebration in Congo Square last year. My friend was the talent, but I was the belle of the ball when I walked in. The muse, someone called me. A muse it is.

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Why me Lord? What have I ever done?
That was worth even one of the pleasures I’ve known.
Try me Lord, if you think there’s a way, I can try to repay, all I’ve taken from you.

And at the end of the night when we were at my friend’s studio for an art exhibit – Christin Bradford got up and sang acapella because the five member band she had assembled had within days of the gig all bowed out for various reasons and so she brought it all on – all herself. I wish I would have videoed her but I was too enthralled – we all were – to do anything but listen. Later, trying to remember the lyrics – my friend taped me and then Christin joined in so we caught a snippet of her. For this, for everything, I am grateful.

And so in answer to the question – why me Lord? – I offer Marianne Williamson’s response:

Our Greatest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

Trees grow on Cleveland Avenue

April 5th, 2014

I went to HikeforKaTREEna today and picked up some free trees. I went there for the free City Park oaks, but the woman suggested a Green Ash and a Drummond Red Maple instead. And so wala – instant beautification!

My neighbors are very happy. Look for these on the corner of Cleveland and Lopez – and the Morris Jeff students will be happy as well.

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Both trees were free – I also got an Orient pear tree that was free for my backyard and I bought a Satsuma as a donation. Oh happy day when trees are planted all around you – and four is my lucky number – so it’s a banner GREEN day.

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