I Am 50

 

I woke up and the clock struck 50 today.

birthday roses

The Clock Struck….

The pink roses my neighbor brought over yesterday are opening.  I feel like one of those pink roses.

I am open.

Till, dig, cultivate the earth, offer worms, cut spent blossoms, thin out dead, diseased and damaged stems, pull weeds, fertilize and deep water.  I have done this. On my knees, hot sun beating down, sweat pooling, dripping, fingers earth-digging, clearing.

I planted seeds.

 

New friends.
New opportunities.
New ideas.

I am giftwrapped.
I root myself
Spread far
Vines spiral, reach, circle, stretch

I grow long
tall
thick branches
strong trunk
I am lush green
I blossom  pink, red, blue, purple and white
I burst
sprit lifts
I bend back
arch my back to the sky
I am a bough heavy with ruby fruit

I am 50

Lessons Learned From Writing a Book

I’ve started working on my next book of poetry.
I loved how I felt when I was working on as simple as that. 

Driven,
focused,
relaxed,
happy,
passionate,
excited
creative
juiced

Yum

I imagined that once it was published I’d sell lots and lots and lots of copies.

“Honey, I wish more people read poetry.  They’d buy your book and love it.  Its mesmerizing.” Bill said.  as simple as that cover

I was sitting on the sofa, editing a poem for my blog.  He was standing in the doorway holding my book open in his hands.  I love the cover.  It’s a picture I took with my Blackberry one day when Bill and I had driven to the Esplanade to look at the ocean after a rainstorm  The sky and the ocean were the same color, slate gray; separated only by the sepia setting sun pushing it’s way through a cloud filled sky.   That day, I had no idea I’d use that picture for the cover of my first book.

“Yeah.  Well, I know I’m nuts, I thought I’d sell a few more copies.” I said.  It’s true. As embarrassing as it is to admit, let alone write about here (but I am getting naked after all), I thought more people would buy it.  I sent emails to my community and posted it all over Facebook.  I even changed the signature on my email to read, “Have you purchased your copy of my book yet?” with a link to my blurb bookstore.

My ego toys with me.

I was too attached to selling it. According to the Buddhists, attachment and avoidance are the causes of human suffering.

A gentle lesson.

I  thought that all the people that I support and have supported would support me back.  Did I give to others expecting for something in return?  That’s not the reason to give.  I know that’s not why I gave.  But, I can’t lie, I thought that the people in my ‘community’ would give the way I had.  Have I stopped giving? NO!  I have stopped expecting.  Isn’t expecting something in return the same as being attached?  Expectation. Attachment.

On Friday, I was walking to my car from spin class and a women came up to me.

“Can you spare some money for a cab?  My car broke down and I can’t get a hold of my son to come pick me up.” She said.  She was pretty, with dark hair pulled to the side in a pony tail, black rimmed glasses and a striped shirt.  She was holding her smart phone and her driver’s license in her left hand.

“Oh.” I said. She followed me to my car.  I opened my trunk.  “You don’t have triple A?” I asked.

“My son is a mechanic. I know the whole electrical system is shot.” She said.  “I’ve been calling and calling him to come and pick me up. He’s not answering his phone.”

My purse was in my trunk.  I placed my spinning shoes next to it and grabbed my wallet and opened it.  I had three ones and a twenty.

“This is all I have and I don’t think three dollars will get you very far.” I said.  I handed her the twenty.

“Thank you. Can I give you my contact information so I can pay you back? Here’s my license, take my information. She thrust her hand forward at me and showed me her license.  “I’m really telling the truth. People have been so mean to me. I’ve been asking for help. No one would help me.  Thank you so much. I don’t know how to thank you.” She said. She seemed as if she were going to cry.

“Don’t worry about it.” I said.  I put my wallet back in my purse and took it out of the trunk.  I slammed the trunk shut.  “Good luck with your car.” I said.

“Thank you so much.” She said.

I walked to the driver’s side, opened the door.  “No problem.” I said.  I opened my car door. “Good luck”.  She waved at me and I got in my car.

Over the next two days, two other people came up to me and asked me for money.  They didn’t seem as sincere and I had used the last three dollars  in my wallet to buy Bill an Italian ice.  I keep forgetting to get cash. I don’t know if this woman was ripping me off or not.  All I knew is she needed the money either way.  So I gave it to her.  I left the parking lot that morning with a smile on my face.

I like giving.

A gentle lesson.

I ordered thirty of my books to use for poetry readings and give as gifts.  I’d love to give them all away for free, but that doesn’t feel quite right.   There’s a lesson in that.

Here’s the woo-woo. Are you sitting down?  It’s an energetic thing.  Yup. Energy.  I want to receive.  I want to be paid to write.  You get my drift, yes? I want to receive.  With grace, with joy, with ease. I want to receive.  Yes? Yes! You do get my drift. I know you do. I see you swooshing down the slope.

I was accepted to write for Demand Media.  I’ll get paid for each article I write.  Energy.  I’ll be receiving money for my writing.  Energy.  (I met a writer in dance class.  She’s a screenwriter.  Lucky you.  I said.  I laughed.  I’m a poet, I said.)  Ahhhh, but who knows how the future will unfold.

Meanwhile, I walk by the stack of my books in my office. Sometimes I’ll stop.  Pick up a copy.   This is my book. I say.  I feel its weight in my hands.  Marvel at the shine of the cover, how good I look in the picture on the back.  I’ll read the ISBN number.  I’ll open it and read a poem.

I wrote a book.
I published a book.
I have a book.

It’s gorgeous
It’s good
It’s worth-while
It’s touching
Funny
Silly
Astute
It’s real
It’s true
It’s my book
I wrote it
And at poetry readings
I read from it

I’ve always wanted to stand in front of the room
Open my book to a page marked with a pink post it
This is from my collection of poetry called ‘as simple as that’ I say to the audience
And read a poem from my book

At the last reading I went to, a man came up to me
And asked to buy a copy of my book
And I signed it
And handed it back to him
And he smiled, he said thank you
And I smiled at him
“Thank you” I said

Gratitude-O’Clock

It’s been one of those weeks.  You know the ones.  Two steps forward takes you to what seems like three steps back.

“Is it Mercury in retrograde or what?” I say to the sky, the sofa, the cats.  No one’s home to listen.  It’s just me, the computer and all the disconnections, the disconnects, the turnarounds, changed minds, the mud I am slogging through.

I want a do-over.  A re-boot.

Where am I today? Same place I was yesterday.  Safe, loved, fed, comfortable, in love, breathing.

It’s gratitude-o’clock.  Platitude? Seems like it.  Most things that are good and true are simple.

I woke up too early, tired and my eyes hurt.  But it’s gratitude-o’clock so good!  I’m grateful that I can see.  I’m grateful that I have cool glasses (I didn’t always, welcome to my childhood).

Gratitude-o’clock.  I woke up.  Get my drift?  I woke up. Another platitude? Maybe, but hey, who am I to judge?

I have an alert on my phone; today I will judge nothing that occurs. 

Someone cancels an interview I jumped through hoops to schedule for them.  Today I will judge nothing that occurs.  A candidate lied to me about sending their resume to my client.  Today I will judge nothing that occurs.  My SD card on my phone is wiped and I might have lost some great pictures.  Today I will judge nothing that occurs.

Gratitude-o’clock.

Today I will judge nothing that occurs.

THANK YOU NEXT

That’s really all I can do.  Pick up the phone, make 10 more calls.  Find another candidate, one that won’t lie, one that won’t flip flop (good thing she isn’t running for office).  Take new pictures. Who knows, maybe the old ones are hidden somewhere on my computer.

Thank you Next. Thank you Next. Thank you Next. Today I will judge nothing that occurs.

If I’ve learned anything from headhunting for the last 15 years, it’s that NOTHING is really in my control. I’ve always joked, headhunting, my work, is my spiritual practice.

I’ve been called out before.  I don’t get you, how can you be spiritual in life and so driven in business. You just can’t turn it on and off.  I once took offense to the judgement, Today I will judge nothing that occurs. They misunderstood themselves.

Patience, open heartedness, open-mindedness, benefit of the doubt, restraint, introspection, listening, hearing, being present, being in service.  Basic spiritual principals: all. I’ve been practicing.

“Retrograde, maybe, maybe not. This is life.” I say, answering myself.  The cats look up at me.  Fred meows, stretches, pushes against his hind quarters. Downward-facing-cat.

There’s so much more than lying candidates and broken phones.  So much more beauty, so much more sadness, so much more loss, so much more poetry, art, music, dance, song. So much more in the fabric of what we each call a life.rose bush

Today I will judge nothing that occurs.

I hear the birds outside, the sky is grey but that just makes all the colors of spring pop.  The roses outside my office window are blooming like never before, bursting with soft rose petal orange and pink.  We planted that rose bush for our cat Lu almost ten years ago.  I feel my heart beating, ba-boom ba-boom ba-boom in my chest, my breath is soft, I feel spring turning into summer, I feel myself, I feel my heart. I feel.

 

Roses closeup

 

Grateful

 

The musty smell of old books
Thinned sepia pages fragile between my fingers
Dust particles and life dance in the sun’s rays
And the clicking of my fingers on the keys of my board
is music
And the words
The words
The words
Flowing onto the white page
And time
To watch it all
Swirl around me

Isn’t it funny
how right before a cry
tears sting a little
at least they sting my eyes
before they cleanse
right before my cry
like some of the lyrics an old friend sang
right before I was caught
by ambush
my tears taste like salt
sometimes I let them run down my cheek
and I catch them in the corner of my mouth
or stick my tongue to one side and taste my brine
and I’ll pick up my journal
and write all about it
each and every surge

and how a sneeze tickles
before it brings so much relief
a big sigh
that says that felt good

dark chocolate moments, maybe a 72%
linger
sometimes                                                  
I’ll even go for the milk or
God forbid the white
even though once the full woman at the counter
of Sees Candies scolded, “That’s not even real chocolate”
It’s still sweet and creamy

and the sun warm on my skin
and the smell of a used bookstore

and growing up
the leaves
piles and piles and piles of
raked leaves
and the damp smell of a real autumn
and the crisp burning logs in the air
and the tingling of my dry skin
tight cracked smiling lips
after being out playing for hours
and tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich
for lunch

and the waves                                          
and the sand
and the dolphins
always the dolphins
don’t they just
the dolphins
in the calm oceans, rough oceans, surfing the waves,
blue ocean
grey ocean
green ocean
dolphins’ ocean

and the sky is my canvas
to paint my colors and mood and images
and through it all
what amazes me so
is that there is always something
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