Seeking wisdom

Yesterday I wished I was wise with words and could share a teaching tale, a family story or a relevant parable – anything, essentially, that would stop the stream of platitude and blather falling deafly on the ears of my surly and pained 10 year old. It had begun simply enough with a request for him to play piano. For whatever reason, he spiraled quickly and powerfully into a negative funk of drama and rebellion complete with banging his head on the piano and thumping the walls. Before it got thoroughly ugly, though it was nasty enough, I sent him out in the cold, rainy night. Better that, I mused, than having him sit in outright rebellion, fuming, next to his father who had already had to restrain him once.Though initially I thought to have him do something physical in the rain, I came to my senses and suggested a walk.  He refused the offer of warm boots, opting instead for his beat up crocs which offered no protection from the wet and cold. We set off into the shining darkness, both of us fuming, and hurt. I tried to stem the flow of words issuing from my mouth. I tried again, and a third time before finally falling silent. My son and I suffer from the inability to stop talking, even when it is well past prudent to do so. Strangely, it is only with him that I have to hold this verbal diarrhea in check. In the rest of my life I am the voice of compassion and reason. With him, I am a spew of explanation and recrimination. Yet I am always saying to him “Stop talking. Now. You’re only making it worse.” And we go head to head, each trying to out talk the other. We breathed deeply of the chill darkness, the reflected night, the cooling air as we stalked up the street. “Keep up.” I snarled, hands shoved deep in my pockets, shoulders hunched. I sought for my cleansing breath, my knowledge that this was a small being beside me, for my compassion and kindness. Finally the night began to work its magic and we were able to calm down as we worked out our fury in our souls, feet pounding the pavement in a way we can never pound each other or ourselves. Our pace began to slow and I began to observe the dark and holy night – rain glinting in puddles, droplets tangled diamonds in the branches, the cool air a balm to my overheated heart. We went in to the land trust, me stomping defiantly and triumphantly in the puddles in my water proof boots, him skirting them gingerly even as his socks continued to get soaked through the holes in his sandals. And we slowed, the night offering its ancient and eternal gift of itself, turning across the land, the pecan trees, the holly, and the stillness. He sat on the swing beneath the pecan tree. I leaned against its solid calmness and we began to re-connect to who the other was, apart from the hurt and anger. Eventually I pushed him on the swing. “Lean back and fly.” I urged him, allowing my heart to take wing, to find my better self, to heal and to offer healing. And so the sweet touch of the night, the gift of the rain, the touch of the air brought us back to ourselves. We walked back out of the land trust, still bruised but better. And it was then I wished for a wisdom story, some deep poetry of eloquence that would make it all better. Instead, I reached for the eloquence of unspoken love and and reached for his hand. He let me take it.

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Showing up

I have spent the better part of the last decade not writing. I spent the 3 decades before that writing almost every day. I started journalling when I was 8 and kept a journal steadily until the birth of my first child, almost 30 years later. I wrote for a living, for creativity, for inner growth, I wrote long letters and short stories, short poems and long descriptions.

I always called myself a writer and indeed I was: I free-lanced for awhile and then I produced my own newsletter blending herbs, women’s wisdom and spirituality rooted in the understanding of Chinese 5 elements. It enjoyed a brief run with real live actual subscribers.

Then it all came to a crashing halt when the first baby arrived. I kept a journal throughout the pregnancy, mostly musing on how I had always envisioned pregnancy as an elevated, ascended state of being – billowing white dress in the meadow kind of new age projection – but discovering that my reality was deeply grounded, very physical and that I really was able to throw up while I drove…

When the second pregnancy came along I returned to my journal to wonder about my capacity to expand my heart to love this new child as deeply as I loved the first child. I stopped writing when the new baby came along and my heart and hands were busy expanding and sharing love.

After that, it’s been hit or miss and when I re-read some of the entries they are mostly variations on a theme: Why aren’t I creating? Why aren’t I writing? Why am I creating opportunities for others to practice art but not for myself? Blah blah blah…

So finally, in the brave new world of the blogosphere, I am showing up. Hineni. Hineni is a Hebrew word meaning Here I am. As cantor Linda Hirschhorn writes “Each time the word hineni is used [in Torah], it signifies a turning point, a potentially life-changing moment requiring decision, action, and resolution.”

And so my resolve is to show up, be present before my own creativity. This blog is the vehicle and the journey. Some of it may get “published,” some not. Like a million before me, I throw my words to the wind. We all write for an audience whether we get one or not.

Hineni