Sometimes You Have to Take the High Road**

 

Passover is my favorite holiday. Pesach. Its a magical time of year.  Not just because of spring and rebirth, but if we’re open to it, we can connect to the light and use it to wipe out the darkness in our lives.

Last night I went to a seder hosted by The National Council of Jewish Women. Such a high vibrational organization. I don’t volunteer my time, unfortunately. I wish I could,  but have a full calendar due to my many social obligations. But I do attend the seder every year.  Its a fun time with laughing and dancing.  A microphone is passed around the room and we all read a section of the Haggadah.

The room was set up with three long rows of tables, maybe thirty or more women at each table. I was seated with my back to the wall and although I had a nice view of the stage I had hoped to get a seat up front. A woman with glasses and dark hair had the best seat at the center table in front of the stage.

She was wearing a black top and jeans. Inappropriate attire for a seder. You don’t wear black to a seder. You wear white. White allows you to receive the light. Black deflects it. And everyone knows you don’t wear jeans to a seder. I have to assume she doesn’t understand the significance of the holiday. I do.

I wore my white poplin Vestments blouse. One of my favorites with an oversized starched collar. It looks great with my black Armani leggings. Armani is the exception to most rules, especially twelve hundred and ninety five dollar Armani leggings. I pared the outfit with a Fendi boot. Kash did a great job on my hair yesterday morning: a smart layered cut and color. I don’t know how he does it, but my hair is so soft and more white than silver. I look great in white. White hair and white shirts. I wore my red readers, for the perfect pop of color.  Fabulous.

The seder was almost perfect, except there was this other woman. She was sitting at the other end of my table. All night she leaned into her friend, whispering and giggling. I watched her  break off a piece of matzo, from the afikomen no less, and dip it into the horseradish, then into the charoset and stuff it into her mouth. She cut into a hard-boiled egg and crumbles of yolk littered the table in front of her plate.  I was watching her. Staring at her more like. I have perfected my stare. I furrow my brow but keep my eyes wide and I lift one eyebrow. Sometimes I practice my stare while driving. When I saw the woman pour herself an extra glass of wine between the toasts for cups one and two, I thought about saying something to her. Maybe going over to her, tapping her on the shoulder, explain to her that she was being disruptive.

But the woman next to me handed me the microphone, it was my turn to read. Then I heard her laughing. Even louder than before. And I realized in that moment how I was right. How this woman had no understanding of pesach. How it was my duty to show her. Sometimes you have to administer the lesson in order to guide another human being to the light.  I put the microphone on the table and leaned toward the laughing woman. “Will you just shut up?” I said.

She stopped laughing and turned toward me. Maybe now the light would be able to cut through the darkness that surrounded this poor woman. Maybe now she would be able to enjoy and appreciate the higher meaning of the holiday. Maybe, but she seemed more surprised than grateful. As if I were the one who was ruining her evening.

“Can you just stop talking for maybe five seconds” I said. I gave her my stare. “You haven’t shut up all night.” That must have done the trick. Because she reached for her wine and took a sip. I found my place in the Haggadah and brought the microphone to my mouth. But, before I could get a word out I heard the woman’s voice.  “Hey,” she said. “Why don’t you say that into the microphone.”

I decided to take the high road and acted as if she hadn’t spoken to me at all. I read my portion from the Haggadah. I passed the microphone to the woman on my right and as I did I noticed the woman with the glasses, the one in front of the stage. She was staring at me. I widened my eyes, furrowed my brow and raised my eyebrow. She looked down, but not at her Haggadah. She wasn’t even paying attention to the seder either. It took me a moment, but I saw she was writing. On her napkin.

That was the moment when I realized something that I think I’ve known all along. Its sad, but some people will always struggle in the heaviness of their ego. They won’t even know it. They’ll walk around thinking they’re filled with light, but they aren’t, they’re dark and toxic.  You have to be careful with people like that. No matter how hard you try and help them, you can’t. You can send them your prayers, but do it from a distance, you have to protect yourself, otherwise, they’ll suck the light right out of your veins.

 

**This was a little something I wrote for a class I was taking. I was doing the exercise… The exercise was to write from someone else’s point of view and at some point, through their eyes, have them see me…

It’s when we ‘do the exercise’ that we are able to get out of our own way and in those moments magic happens

Blood Spatter

I have always liked a clean floor. It might have something to do with the way I was raised. When I was growing up our floors were spotless and the carpet was vacuumed each day. You could see paw prints from our 8 pound cat indented into the plush carpet.

IMG_20151023_072907737 copy

Mahalo

I ask that people remove their shoes before they come into our home. I placed a ceramic plaque I bought in Hawaii by our front door that reads: “Maholo for removing your slippers…(But no take mo’ bettah ones when you leave!)”

I know people make fun of me. That’s okay. I know where their feet have been. They’ve been to the alley behind a favorite restaurant to get to that secret parking place no one else knows about. They’ve been in the restroom at the airport or worse, the toilet on a plane. They’ve been to the doggie park, the gym and the gas station.

Most people are good about taking off their shoes. They’ll leave them outside at the front door or step onto the doormat inside and take off their shoes.  There are those individuals that will walk in to our home without thinking and wander into the living room. I have to remind them to ‘please take off their shoes.’

After a dinner party I’ll grab my Commercial Grade Microfiber Dust Mop from the hall closet, secure a clean mop pad to the Velcro backing and polish the floors. You’d be surprised at the number of crumbs that drop from an Hors d’oeuvres on the way to someone’s mouth or the particles that fall from dinner plates and forks onto the floor.

There are exceptions to any rule, of course, and I’ve had shoes-on parties. These are usually catered events. We set out tables in the back yard, set up a bar on the driveway and let people have the run of the property. We leave the doors open and lock the cats away in a back room. Once we even had dancing. Someone wore black rubber soled shoes that night. After the last guest left, I went through the house and rubbed until each scuffmark was erased.

I like walking on clean floors with clean feet.

These days I spend a lot of time on my hands and knees cleaning droplets of blood from the floors. Our cat has a tumor growing inside of his mouth. It pushes against his teeth and his tongue. After he eats, blood pools at the corner of his mouth, drips to the floor and leaves droplets smaller than a pea, the size of a blueberry or as big as a nickel.

Blood isn’t always red. It can be crimson, or maroon or rosewood. Blood clings to things. I clean the floor by the cat’s food dish, near the back door where he sits and cackles at squirrels and crows. I clean under the kitchen table where he naps in the late afternoon. I clean outside our bedroom door where he guards us at night.

There is blood splatter all over our house.

I use a mixture of Murphy’s Oil Soap and water to spray each droplet. I wait for the molecules to dissolve, I watch them loosen their grip. Then I wipe. Sometimes I’ll wind my way through the house following the trail of blood, stopping at each cluster to spray. Then I’ll loop my way back around and rub each spot clean.

I’ve been called neurotic. Maybe I’m compulsive. I don’t care.  Every day I clean my floors. I’ve perfected my process. Cleaning blood has become an art form.

Fred the Beautiful

LIP GLOSS

 

LIPGLOSS

My new year’s resolution this year is LIP GLOSS.

More shine
More sparkle
More glitter
More smooth
More softness
More satin and silk and suede
I love me some suede
More leather like butter
What the hell
More butter
Sweet creamy or salted
More open
More writing
More reading
More books
More of my words read by more and more and more people
More of my poems published
More of me published
More of my pieces published
More of my books sold
Even more love and joy and passion and happiness
Even More sex
More sex
What the hell
More sex
–You know it is the cure for the common everything
More grace
More gratitude
More appreciation
–Given and taken

 over exposed

So far, so good
We are three weeks
into 2014 and I leave the house
Lips Berry Beaming and Glossed
I’m Ginger Sensed and smiling Origins

My new years resolution this year is LIP GLOSS

What’s yours?

Let It Be Me

 

September comes and the days go tight.  Tentacles grasp, snatch, twist themselves, vines rooted deep crawl through my toes, wrap around my ankles, up my legs.  I watch the greens and pinks slip away to browns.  Slow hurries into quick, rushes about, reaches for dreams, planted from the year before.

Time runs click tock.

All those things folded and tucked away for another day.  All those things that have to be pulled out from underneath the brush, all those things in rooted under beds rotting in corners of bed rooms and offices and kitchens.  All those things to be dug out from the back of junk drawers, unearthed in kitchens to be tilled and spread, seeded and separated.  Thank you’s, happy birthday’s, congratulation’s, good job’s, rsvp’s, broken promises to be studied, analyzed, organized, donated, tossed, remembered, burned, ritualized, scrubbed clean. Stapled, paper clipped, rubber banded, shredded. Candle burning sticks and stones may break my bones and what about the Elmer’s Glue from years and years and years and those years so long ago?

Time is winding down.

Leaves change and let go they fall fire red decompose yellow. Die transparent.  Crackle crisp under the boots of plaid skirted pony-tailed schoolgirls that carry pink and purple backpacks and text on their smart phones.  We wrote notes on lined loose leaf that we  folded into triangles and passed back and forth at recess.

In September my skin catches fire.leaves fire

It reminds me
I have been attached to grief.

Rattled. Shingled. Raw.

I remember.  I feel back into the pins and needles and numb of twenty-five Septembers ago.  I remember winding my 280 ZX through Laurel and Mulholland and Cold Water.  I remember swerving and skidding and the squealing breaks, let it be me, let it be me, let it be me, let it be me… slicing through thick canyon on heavy Autumn days.  I remember careening into Beverly Hills. Let it be me.   I remember white piles, powder dumped from brown glass onto dirty mirrors sniffed from pinkies and thumbs and tiny spoons and keys, the razor clicks divvy out lines to be snorted and sucked up and smoked and the rolled dollar bills, used and smelling acrid sweet. Absolute bloodied white light late night Marlboro Lights rock line shots and Hendrix till sun light .  Let it be me.

Hot fire harvest moon shines.
I remember
that dream.

Time brands.
I itch.
I scratch.
I pick
I irritate my scars.

Meanwhile, September speeds up, plows through October into November and burrows under the white winter blankets of drift for hibernation.

I am awake
I remember a dream.

Let it be me.

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

Summer Solstice

IMG_0094

Summer is glimmering
at my front door
singing and
twirling about
purple, white, yellow, blue, orange, green
swirls of light
bare footed
callused heels
white skirts flouncing
her jet black hair
tangled with color
her skin
brown as a berry

she enters my bones                BarefootSummer
I feel them
shift
settle
sink into the sand
that spray I feel
is Ocean Salt
and still
all these years later
the scent of coconut
and Bain de Soleil
is it in my pores
the orange goop
that I spread
let glisten
on my skin
nothing
smells quite like it

she reaches her hand
open palm
her eyes are soft
blue, green, brown
seductive
her smile
pulls
and I place my hand
in hers

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

 

The Other Side of the Arno

 

Write the words.  Don’t force the meaning.  Let the words string themselves together to from sentences and maybe a thought or an idea will present itself. This is what I tell myself.  Write the words. Let them chisel themselves from blocks of letters.  Write the words.  Take away what isn’t needed, let the essence emerge. Easier said than done, it’s a practice.

Michelangelo did that with marble.  He didn’t use molds or an outline. Instead he chiseled away the excess stone and allowed his figures to emerge.  He formed sculptures that are beyond words.  Pictures don’t do them justice.

Bill and I have plenty of pictures of our trip to Italy.  We don’t look at them as much as we talk about the trip, the food, the people, the ruins, the architecture, the color, the art.  We savor the essence of our trip to Italy.

Two mornings in a row, we were among the first people on line at the Accademia Gallery and the Uffuzi Gallery.  Bill didn’t want to wake up early and I didn’t want to spend most of my day waiting in line to buy tickets to museums.

“I’ll set the alarm so we don’t have to wait on line.” I said to Bill. We were drinking the local vernaccia wine and eating bread at a café inpiazza cafe the Piazza della Signoria. We chose this café from all the others in the Piazza because the waiter looked like Bill’s brother Steve.  Really, can you choose a bad café in Florence?  It was unseasonably warm for April and we sat in the shade. We watched the people walk by and found it interesting how over dressed people were for such a hot day.  They were bound and determined to wear their leopard print pants, leather coats and boots, tan, purple and even mustard yellow suede.  We have way too many pictures of overdressed tourists walking the streets of Italy.  We’d pretend to take pictures of each other, but zoom in on the hot, tired looking overdressed tourists.   I was looking at my Florence, Italy travel book. I brought travel books for each stop in Italy and I would leave them behind in our hotel rooms so other people could use them.  The book recommended reservations or just get to the museum early to avoid the lines.

“No. I don’t need to wake up early on vacation to see David, I’ve seen pictures,” he said.

Sometimes I think Bill says no just to hear himself say no. Having the discussion is a choice. Depending on the topic, like a talk about money can become heated. In the end, we come to resolution, an understanding of each other’s point of view, but we look at things in our own way.  Bill is smart with money, he is practical, grounded and I have a tendency to assume that we’ll be okay no matter what. Both are important, but sometimes our views can clash.  Something like this, whether or not to wake up, that’s mostly ridiculous banter.  A yes no yes no yes no of playful bickering. Italy isn’t a sleep on the beach type of vacation though, there’s too much to see.  There has to be a balance between scheduling and exploring.  I’d rather be early and have the afternoons to wander and explore Florence.

The day before we did that. We crossed the Ponte Vecchio Bridge with throngs of people and walked beyond the crowds on the other side other side of arnoof the Arno River. It was quiet.  It felt as if we were the only two people in Florence. Dappled sunlight through trees, high walls securing themselves around buildings and homes leading us along the curved road, blue sky, warm sun, breezes, the click snap whir of the camera. An occasional car would whiz by and the leaves would lift up and float back to the asphalt. That walk away from tourists, and cars, and shopping and crowds. That walk, me and Bill, our voices drifting above the walls up to the sky. That walk, unplanned exploration, peaceful, springtime bloom moment in time, moment in memory, a moment that although I might not remember each exact step or every carved piece of marble or stone that brought us to the Piazzale Michelangelo and the Church of San Miniato al Monte, I remember the feeling.  I remember the color. I remember the pale pinks of worn stone, the many shades of green contrasting the blue and white sky, the worn narrow road.  That walk, an experience that carved itself, grooving bursts of color and texture into a tiny portion of my mind. That walk, on the other side of the Arno.

“You’ve seen it in pictures?” I said.  He makes me laugh. “Why even leave the hotel room? I’m setting the alarm.” I said.

“Okay Mrs. Plan-o”. He was smiling and rolling his eyes.

Early the next morning we walked through the Academy Museum.

“Pictures don’t do it justice.” I said to Bill.

Muscled legs, arms and torsos, sculpted chins, cheeks, noses pulling themselves from the metamorphic rock that lined the halls of the michelangelounfinishedcaptive1527-1528museum.  Our marriage is like this museum, decorated with artifacts, ruins, souvenirs, images, moments, events, memories that line the halls we walk together, hand in hand, on kaleidoscopic days.

Marriage is like a block of marble.  We carve into it; chisel it into a shape, a living breathing creation formed from time.  Moments standing in front of The Birth of Venus, the brilliance of the colors, the drape of fabric, hair lifted by a breeze, soft curves, moments of walking through Florence to the other side of the Arno, letting the Italian smells, sounds and tastes permeate our membranes, moments strung together like a string of pearls; births, deaths, weddings, bickering, crying, laughing, love making, birthdays, graduations, loss, love, joy, pain, letting go, celebration.

Seeing Michelango’s David is one of the moments that we added to our Jewelry Box.

We were looking up at him.  David, with his furrowed brow, eyes focused off to the distance, tense, sling held in his huge left hand, positioned, ready for battle under the dome. We were standing amongst the circle of heads also admiring his stature.  Murmurings and astonished sighs swirled around the smooth stone man.  Michelangelo carved his masterpiece, chiseled the marble until he discovered the form within the stone.

david furrowed brow“You know, once you’ve seen it in a picture, it’s really no big deal.” Bill said.

I leaned into him, reached up and kissed his cheek. “Yeah, right hun, just like our marriage.”

 

Journal Entry May 15, 2013   7:23am

Be The Field

 

drop

thirsty for a drop of
movement
a splash
onto my white
primer
a brush stroke
a swirl
a splat
a drop even

paint mesunset depth
like sky
with orange and blue and pink and green and purple and
violet and…
perspective and light and black and cloud and
depth

the sea rages on
churned red brown ocean
foams sepia
hurls herself at the sand
seaweed pulled piles
gasp and bubble

today in Texas
the hale was the size of grapefruit
ruby red splatters
fed
cracked hungry earth

Deepak Chopra says
“you are a field of all possibilities”

sea rages onfly with the birds
ride with the waves
dive with the dolphins
slurp up the brine
left on shore
let it spill over
drip down my chin
make a mess
of perfection

 

 

as I breathe in
I am the field
as I breathe out
of all possibilities

Moments

 

I saw the color of the earth reflecting off treeshugemoon

and sky and night.

The moon called out to me.

Sun was gone.

Day slept.

I sat wide-eyed.

My heart stopped singing.

Life is still.

It fills itself like a lung or balloon

with air or grief or joy or emptiness.

My self knew this

until the silence rose

like mist

from my chest.

I knew then

each moment mattered

until now.

 

 

 From my upcoming book, to be published soon.