Friday, February 25, 2011

{this moment} a year ago today

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Participating in SouleMama's {this moment}

This is a cheat, technically a moment that captures the essence of a year ago today, but the symbolism and the significance of "today" no more.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

count your age by friends

"Count your night by stars, not shadows.  Count your days by smiles, not tears.  And on your birthday morning, count your age by friends, not years"- Unknown

Since the first day of high school, my "twin sister" walked into my life and for almost two decades , we've been part of each other's lives.  In college, we used to tell people that we're twins, fraternal just in case they were suspicious of the resemblance, but I think after a while it didn't bear any difference, because I think we even started looking alike because of all the time spent in each other's presence.  She is one of my closest friends, companion, confidant, and was my college roommate.  Life, at times gets in the way, and there are instances where I feel we've drifted apart.  The physical distance in the last few years certainly didn't help, but I don't believe we ever drifted in heart.  I want her to know, I never "forgot" her, nor ever will.  I think the history is too rich and there are many more memories to add to the chronicles of this bond.  When I am experiencing dark moments,  I do not wish to impose my issues on others, there are obligations when time is already scarce.  It is easier to wait for others to reach out when they have a moment, or for me to retreat.  I know she recognizes and respects my need to have time to myself to sort things through.  I don't want her to feel I've neglected her and closed her off to my life.  The surprise visit has affirmed the worth, value, and trust of our friendship.  I was bestowed my favorite flowers
calla lily

and a test of her clairvoyance to my current affection for plum blossoms, cherry blossoms, botanically and visually close to plum, is part of the bouquet

cherry blossoms

the ginormous bouquet
Books that remind me of our travels, and a book i intend to read.

A card  of which i find so endearing,

not only because of what's printed,

 but what she has written in it (too personal to share), and for reminding me of the teapot of which i was gifted many moons ago

But above all, it's her surprise presence that has showered me with overwhelming love and support.  As I sip the hot tea from this pot today, I am consumed with the deluge of her love and support.  Bets, you will always be one of my closest friends, the greatest gift are the heart of true friends!

My birthday is not a day that culminates in much fanfare, my preference.  But this year, I am flooded with an outpour of love.  My little cozy house was bursting with people on Saturday.  Sixteen of my closest family and friends surprised me at my house with a party.  I was overwhelmingly touched and surrounded by love and showered with gifts.  My parents brought food in abundance, leftovers of which will last me for weeks, "feeding me" is their expression of love.  I received the most beautiful handwoven kitchen towels from AT too precious to soil.

As long as I'm chronicling gifts, from  AY,

Sunday was spent with my childhood friend, SB.  She spoiled me with a generous stash of cashmere yarn and treats.

Tuesday, I received a package in the mail from SM.  A generous loot of more treats, of which are so thoughtful.  There isn't anything that she didn't take into consideration.

Today, I am totally spoiled again.  This is from CF, a new cup dressed in a cozy ready for my caffeine fix.
This is from LL'C, fragrant tea and more flowers to brighten my day.
This is from AO'C, SS, and N, totally indulging my Emily Dickinson affection, and lily bulbs for the spring, hoping my green thumb is intact.
This is the card N picked out
inside the card,
This deserves a close-up, the work of a budding artist,

Love that illustration, will be part of my permanent collection!

The evening was spent with RD, more treats and a "surprise" to follow.
Her company is much appreciated and always welcome. 

I received a multitude of messages and well wishes throughout the day, even one of which I choose to ignore.  I received a voicemail from SC, that moved me beyond tears, I think that it's just coincidental that it happened to be this evening.  But, whether she knew it or not, I think it was destined to be today.  Much like our meeting, she is "supposed" to pop in my life in inexplicable ways.

Aside from all the bonus benefits of the shower of gifts, and despite that this post may seem to be about a catalog of gifts, what it really means for me is the affirmation that I am truly blessed, blessed to have the people that I do in my life.  Blessed to be considered so fondly, to be in your thoughts, for so many to make the trek and share your time, and for some that are closer, to actually want to find the time to be with me.  I know that despite the wrenches that might be thrown my way, there are plenty of people that I can turn to and count on.  I know that I will be "happy" again, the tears today were ones of joy and a touched heart, as the "heart" was definitely smiling beaming!  Thank you!

Monday, February 14, 2011

wrapped in love

One of my predominant activities recently, more accurately chronically, is knitting.  It occupies the hands and mind.  The rhythmic repetitive movements of sticks and string induces a  form of meditation, a stable balance of distracting from "feelings" and facilitates the calming sensation within the current active moment.  Sometimes the mindless stitches enables me to escape into the sanctuary of a quiet mind and the more challenging sections forces me to focus and escape from the turmoils of the heart.  The best part, the obsessive drive to get one more row done coupled with a self-imposed deadline, not only offers the many hours of personal relaxing therapy but ultimately, a tangible testament of time and dedication, my expression of appreciation and gratitude for those that have shown me theirs, personified in a finished shawl.

Tis' the season of "love", thus I have embarked on a knitting cathartic personal project to honor a handful of people, some may not even know it, of whom I've drawn strength and courage, supported me emotionally, whether in person or thought, negating physical distance or geographic location, enabled me to survive psychologically, physically, some of the darkest moments.  I want to reciprocate their warmth, love , and support by imparting mine through a knitted shawl.
I know I wanted to honor AT  by using her original and beautiful shawl designs, LaReine and Kouyou.

to AT: I am truly touched by your unconditional offers of love and support.  The patterns offered the perfect combination of "mindless" and challenge

to SB: For being a lifelong friend, for consistent calls, for physical support despite a busy life, for relating and truly understanding!

color representation more accurate in this pic

to SM: For considering me a "sister", through bonds of a different sort.  For your compassion and empathy


to JH:  Conjuring moments of happy past, words of encouragement, inspiring "tunes" of hope and understanding


to SC:  Brief in our meeting and furthest in distance, but enduring in thought and sentiment, would love to mirror your spirit and strength


(All shawls accompanied by a handmade card inspired by my favorite Emily Dickinson poem)

to RD:  Your wisdom, your words and as a knitting companion.  I will be gifting you these patterns, as you are infinitely a better knitter than I

to AY:  Insistence of visits, by not asking ,but showing me love and support

to AO'C:  My ally, my emotional punching bag, and sympathetic ear in an environment that would otherwise be intolerable

and Steve:  I know you will be reading this, Thank You for all your comments!

There are others, too lengthy and impossible to be all-inclusive.  As I know that "pain" is inevitable, the warmth and love I receive from all you have made the "suffering" optional.  One of Leo Buscaglia's ideas is that "love has meaning only as it is experienced in the "now"', so now, at this moment I am allowing myself to be enveloped in the overwhelming love from those that truly matter, you!

Love is always open arms. If you close your arms about love you will find that you are left holding only yourself.
                                                                    Leo Buscaglia

Friday, February 11, 2011

for every twilight, a dawn

"For every twilight, there's a dawn"- this line is from one of Ralph Waldo Emerson's poems.

"for every twilight, a dawn"  rendering

plum blossoms

another possibility

I'm not certain how this piece will ultimately look like, but this is the inspiration and the launch of a potential idea.  Plum blossoms, I definitely want to incorporate.  They symbolize perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity, courage and strength, flowers "daring" to bloom in late winter.  They are a symbol of spring, hope, and new beginnings.

Despite what I want to believe in, I still have a hard time managing my emotions.  I'm so afraid of becoming angry and bitter.  There isn't a neutral environment.  The most prominent, whether it be professional or personal, provides no refuge.  It's difficult to not succumb to the intensity of what seems to be a vicious cycle.  I seethe with hate/anger with every chance encounter.  When she speaks  "it barks" (not so subtle implication), I just want to scream, "if there is justice, someone would muzzle "it", the voice noise grates my ears.  I get so mad at myself for reacting.  Sometimes it feels like such a lonely road, why would others want to interact/talk to that?  Why is it that I find it so revolting? Why am I so affected?  Is there something wrong with me?  I remind myself constantly that I can only control how I react.  I'm only human.  I need to forgive myself when I do lash out, even if I know it's inappropriate.  I know every outburst is just a manifestation of the pain inside.

Oprah said one of her favorite definitions of Forgiveness is, "giving up the hope that the past would've been any different".  I accept that "the past" can't be any different, and no longer "hope" for it to be.  But, things shouldn't/didn't have to be this way.  I can never forget,  foreseeing forgiveness remains elusive, but does it mean that until I do, there's no "letting go"?  I'm not just convincing myself, but I am truly working on it.  I knew this was going to be a hard month, so when February is behind me, so will "many more firsts".  I am channeling this energy into creating, so if I can only channel the spirit of the plum blossoms, I will "bloom" come dawn!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

a rock does not bleed

"No matter how hard you hammer a rock, it won't bleed"- D.Ramsey

I was hung up on trying to understand, and still question, until I had an epiphanous moment, and realized as hard as I might try, some people are simply just incapable of seeing things from your perspective.  Whether it be a classic example of cognitive dissonance, the pernicious nature of certain individuals, or whether the act is immoral or hurtful, certain people cannot see or think beyond the "self".  I do not wish to allow "demented" behavior to dictate my reaction, but this is the hardest to execute given I have to confront this reality every day.  I'd wished for a do-over for a clean slate at a start to a "new year", I've been given a second chance.  Today is the start of the Lunar New Year,  thus I can leave all things negative behind,  hedge forward, look forward, and live up to my Rabbit sign.  "Letting go" of the anger is priority, working on the pain that remains is a work in progress...