I woke up this morning very early. It is still dark outside but thoughts were rolling through my mind as I lay in bed trying to be quiet and not wake Bill up. I decided to get up and write about some of the thoughts that were rolling around in my brain rather than trying to fall back to sleep. Sometimes some of my best thoughts and dreams come to me just before I open my eyes. I don't know why that is but those thoughts churn around inside me for the rest of the day sometimes. Food for thought?
When I was growing up, in my teens and early twenties, my generation seemed so totally different than the generation of today. We were living through the Viet Nam war. It was right in front of us each and every day. It was on our televisions, our newscasts, in our schools. I saw protests on the news at UC Berkeley where crowds of young people had come together to join one another protesting the fact that the government was issuing draft notices to our young men. We didn't want them going to war over something that we didn't believe in. We didn't want them dying needlessly. Some of them were so young that they were not legal age to drink or vote, yet they could put a gun in their hands and be trained to kill other human beings. What is so different from then to now? Why are young people (mostly young men if I think about it) picking up guns and killing people in their own cities---theaters, school campuses, freeways, malls---without the least bit of remorse or fear? What is different? What has changed?
I think about the music that we listened to. We had Cat Stevens singing "Peace Train"
Now I've been happy lately
Thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be
Something good has begun
I've been smiling lately
Dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be
Something good's bound to come...
We had John Lennon singing songs like "Imagine":
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace...
We had Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane (now Starship), Country Joe and the Fish, and on and on. These musicians all sang about the war, dying, the draft, and hope and peace. I lived through the Summer of Love. I saw Haight and Ashbury close up. It was contagious, this feeling that we heard and found in our music. We wanted to buck the establishment. We wanted to protest the war. We wanted freedom of speech and freedom of love. Killing was the farthest thing from our mind. We didn't want our loved ones (our boyfriends and our neighbors sons) going off to fight a war we didn't believe in because there was a truth to that. We didn't want our young friends to learn to kill, to learn to die, to never return home again.
I don't know what the difference is but there is something so wrong with what is happening to our young people now. Is it that they don't have hope for a future? Do they not yearn for a better life and peace and love like we did? When I was 20-something I had dreams of quitting my job, buying some land far away from the city, living in peace among a forest, creating art and poetry, eating healthy, living off the land, building my own home, and on and on. I didn't want to be part of "the establishment" because "the establishment" was equated with everything bad: war, lust, hatred, money, greed, politics. I don't think much has changed in that area to this day. But something has changed in the fact that young men don't feel their lives and the lives of others is of any value.
I don't know what the answer is/ I wish I did. I wish that when they heard all the songs playing that I grew up with that they would feel the electricity of the lyrics running through their veins like I did--like we did. It gave us hope. It gave us a future to dream about and live for. Most of my dreams came true. I met a man who had the same dreams as I did. We bought land, lived off-grid, built our own home, planted a garden, and worked hard to realize our dreams-come-true. Maybe that is the key: having dreams to live for.
I do know this: draft notices were being sent out. Young men were afraid. They were afraid of killing and they were especially afraid of dying. They don't seem to have that same fear any longer. They aren't afraid of killing or dying.
John Lennon had it right when he said "Nothing to kill or die for". We need hope. We need to "Imagine all the people living life in peace".
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
August 12, 2015
Eyes. They say they are the seat of the soul. Rene' Descartes believed it to be the point of connection between the intellect and the body. He believed that it was a single part in the brain rather than one-half of a pair. What happens to a person when they lose the ability to see from their eyes? I have heard it said that a person's other senses heighten to make up for the loss of another sense. So, will the "third eye" function in that very way? Will it allow a person to "see" in other ways...other spiritual ways perhaps?
I recently was diagnosed with a rare eye disease called Macular Telangiectasis. I was told by my eye specialist that there isn't much known about it because it is so rare that not many studies have been done. So it seems that there is not much to do in terms of therapy or treatment because of the lack of knowledge regarding this disease. I was told to just take eye vitamins and that it was a slow progressing disease with only 1 in 10 people actually getting to the stage of macular degeneration. But how do you know if you are the "one" or the "ten"? And what do you do each day when you realize that numbers are becoming harder to distinguish and you are not seeing as well as you used to at night?
I feel at this point a sense of urgency in my life. I feel like I need to see and do everything that I have put off before. Yet, there is the reality associated with the reasons why I haven't done some of those things up to this point in my life. Life seems to have a way with dictating what you really need to do and when. My mother is at a point in her life that she needs more care and so I tend to remain closer to home in case she needs me. It is just "the right thing to do" as a former friend once said to me. Then, there is always the money not being there when you need it to be. Just minor issues really though. I feel as though there are so many things to be thankful for. I do hope that I do not pose a problem to those around me in terms of care. I hope to always remain independent. My Aunt Betty has macular degeneration and she has always been an inspiration to me. She has not allowed her blindness to control her or make her feel like she is a victim. It is hard not to mourn the loss of something that is such an integral part of your body: your ability to see. But I suppose it is not as necessary as one may think.
I read a passage from the bible (Matthew 6: 22,23) that reads: The lamp of the body is the eye. If, then, your eye is simple, your whole body will be bright; but if your eye is wicked, your whole body will be dark. if in reality the light that is in you is darkness, how great that darkness is." To me, I see this as saying that what is inside of us is of so much more importance. Do we harbor hatred, bitterness, jealousy, etc.? Forgiveness seems to be of utmost importance in this case. And if you can't verbalize that forgiveness or you can't make amends with someone? Does that put you in a place of emptiness and heartache? I am of the feeling that if a person has a genuine feeling of forgiveness inside of them, that is all that matters. It is never to late to send lovely thoughts out to the universe and forgive others for what you do not understand. Isn't that line that the Beatles sang just so true? "All you need is love"!
Some things I will miss if I happen to lose my eyesight. Gardening, making art, watching the birds eat seed from the feeders, watching a good movie and really appreciating the beauty of the scenery and the artistry with which it is made. Also, seeing my friends faces again. Some friends I haven't seen for over six years now and I'm sure things have really changed for them. But, those things have happened and I already wasn't there to "see" them so I can adjust to that. I was just always in hopes of making amends and seeing each other again. And forgetting all that has transpired in these last six years. I can always hope. And if not, I can still send my thoughts to them no matter what. And...a friend recently told me that I can take up sculpting in clay or some other form of art that I have never explored when I can feel what I am making rather than see it. There are so many ways to adjust. And, if indeed the eyes are the seat of the soul, I think that I will have a better time seeing what is on the inside of me when I am not distracted by what is outside of me.
Life has a way of working out. And, we are humans. We will always have suffering. But there is always happiness and love on the other side of the coin. Without the suffering, we cannot experience the joy. I think I will always remember what red looks like. I will always be able to feel the yellow of the sun on my skin. I know I will always be able to see the green grass when I smell it being freshly mowed. The green of the pine tree will always be present in my memory when the sun warms the pitch and the wind blows the scent into the house. The Finches will always remain bright yellow at my bird feeder; the hummingbird will always glisten in the sunshine when it buzzes the feeder.
Certain things will remain the same. Some of them will change. But...as I was told once about six years ago: Change is good. I am open to what may come.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
These three girls are sisters. I love the way that each one of them looks like their own person yet there is something in each one's face that makes them all resemble each other...that family resemblance. And their hair colors are all a combination of each other's colors too...a little bit blonde, a little bit red, and somewhere in between. They are there for each other, through thick and thin. That is what sisters do for each other. And it's a wonderful thing.
A few days before Valentine's Day, the day that is associated with lovers, my friend Tracy lost the love of her life. Tracy is the sister on the far right. She celebrated Valentine's Day without her love of 34 wonderful years. Jeff was the love of her life and it was evident each time I spoke to her or him how much they loved each other. The day this picture was taken in Gig Harbor, Washington, I had driven up for Jeff's memorial service which was held at their wonderful home. Jeff and Tracy had just moved to this home a few short years earlier. They hadn't gotten to fully develop their life-plan I'm sure and things were still in the works. But they had moved in their new home from southern California to be closer to their children and to fulfill a dream that they had for many years. They wanted a small farm and wanted to breed their poodles, raise sheep and chickens, and decorate their home.
I had never seen their old home in southern California except for photographs but when I stepped inside this home in Gig Harbor I felt the love immediately that Jeff and Tracy displayed to everyone that entered. It was warm and inviting and filled with Blue Willow china, from plates to ginger jars to soup tureens to anything Blue Willow. Jeff and Tracy had a huge collection and she told me that she actually doesn't remember where or when it started but it has been a passion of theirs for their entire marriage. And Jeff was an interior designer who had been featured in quite a few magazines throughout their marriage. He loved pink!!! Who doesn't??
I know that Tracy has a huge void in her life right now. Many family and friends are doing their best to help fill that void but really, when you lose someone who is your soul mate, nothing can ever really fill the hole that is created when they leave this earth. Tracy has a huge faith. And I know that she will draw upon her faith in times that will no doubt become difficult for her. But she will do her best because she is living her and Jeff's dream now. She is just living it alone.
She raises Standard Poodles that are beyond compare. We purchased our Bodhi from them when we lost our first Standard Poodle, Misty. We had waited almost a year to make sure the time was right for us to have a new dog in our lives. It is hard to replace a dog that has become a part of the family, like a child. But, we found Blue Willow Standard Poodles on line and researched them and realized from everything that we read that they loved their animals as much as their family. Their animals were part OF their family, raised in the house and loved by them and their children Abigail and Ezra. We knew we had to have one of their poodles and so the friendship began.
We drove almost 8 hours south and met in an obscure part of town that had a park and it was love at first sight...with Bodhi AND with Tracy and her daughter Abigail. You just know when you meet someone for the first time when there is a connection of "heart". Tracy was that for me. In fact, we were both wearing heart necklaces when we met face-to-face for the first time. And, that was the beginning of our friendship.
It's a friendship of a different sort really. We don't see each other except on Facebook. We talk on Facebook or via email and sometimes by phone. But when I opened up her front door the afternoon of the memorial and saw her standing there in front of me in her home filled with love, I knew I had made the right choice. The right choice in getting a dog from her and Jeff. The right choice in driving up to Gig Harbor to offer my humble support. The right choice in becoming her friend, in whatever capacity I can offer her. She will always be dear to my heart. I feel like we are kindred spirits and I know that Jeff is watching over her daily and guiding her to complete their dream. He left this earthly plane because something needed to be done. He left room here on earth for whatever needed to be completed by her. It might take her a few years to see the reason why but I know in my heart that she will find out the reason why and when she looks back, she will have fond memories of the people that were there to hold her hand, give her a hug, and support her along the way. She has a new path ahead of her. And I know that her path still holds her heart.
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