Friday, April 30, 2010

Change and Transition

How many of us can say that change is easy. Do you agree that once we make up our mind that something needs to change in our lives, that we do what we need to do to make it happen? Or do you fail on your first try? Do you make pros and cons lists about benefits and losses for each side? You make your decision and regret it.
One of the hardest behaviors to see through to a satisfactory outcome is the change that is essential if we are going to deal with countless transitions in our life. Transition is something we are constantly confronted with. It may be developmental...growing older, changing schools, changing jobs, moving in or out of a relationship, changing the family dynamic such as a new baby, stopping a behavior that is affecting you negatively such as smoking or substance addiction, new job, losing a spouse or other very close relative or friend. These are only examples.
More about transition next time. How to move through it, and to discover that there is gain as well as loss in the changes you have had to enact.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Booze and work
were the family's
preferred addictions.
I could have kept drinking
after that first draught
of dandelion wine
from a wooden barrel
when I was five,
but I saw more smiles
when I dusted and picked
up stuff left lying around.
I became a fixer,
couldn't stop fixing
and rescuing and placating
and working harder
until I was the one
who needed fixing.

Monday, April 26, 2010

surviving aging with grace

Aging is not a laughing matter. Don't put too much credence in the romance of retirement. Some of us are better at it than others. I retired three times, and was not really ready the third time. I loved what I did (teaching), and so it was fun as well as a way to earn a living.
What I have learned about aging is that you better have a sense of humor, and if you have never dealt well with change, this might be the time to work on it. It is developmental. It is sneaky. It is beweildering in that one day you can't seem to do something that you did the day before such as getting up from a kneeling position without having to put a hand out to give yourself a push.
There are good things about it. You are more inclined to say what you think. You realize you are not going to be around forever and do what you can to make peace with your world. You learn to try to stay in the present, to be aware of what is good about a day rather than how much your back hurts, or what is going on with your investments.
My new book is about my own journey into aging with a few detours back to when I was young in age, but not necessarily in spirit. Today my spirit feels young, and I have been scattering cosmos and queen anne's lace seeds where they fall. Now if I can remember that I did so and not plant them again in the same place!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More on Pain Associated with Loss

When I first began to study the process of loss, I refused to consider that there could be any gain associated with a terrible loss, such as that of my son. When I could be more objective, I found that there are gains, even though they do not compensate for the loss. An example is learning to take time for meanigful contact with people we care about, but are too busy to visit, or write to. Only after someone is gone, do we face the fact that we could have found the time and energy to spend more time with that person.
In other words what we learn is to reorder our priorities, and to admit that we make time for what is important to us, and that we must not take for granted that we will go through most of our lives with our loved ones alive and well.

Everyone has a creative side

1. Think of the most creative thing you have ever done.
2. If creating it pleased you, then it is worth your time and attention.
3. If you are too busy with your life, to play an instrument, paint a picture, or write
a story, then reorganize your time. We take time for what is important to us.
4. My poems have been written in twenty minute intervals between managing work, house, garden, volunteer work and all the other aspects of a busy life. You can do it too.
5. What did you always want to learn to do? Play the guitar, dance, grow orchids, wood carving? Now is the time to begin.
6. Remember that the process of creativity is more important than the product.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Writing through it

Ignoring the pain of loss guarantees that it will stay with you to pop out in a mystery illness. Writing through the pain means that you don't know where you are going, and when you will stop, but you confront it in your journal, in a poem a painting, or cutting back dead growth in the garden. You can't understand your reaction to misplacing your keys when it is really about the loss of an old friend, and then another. It's ok. You don't have to understand it now. When you are ready, it will emerge in a dream, in a random thought that will strike you with its clarity. Itwill beyour system's way of healing itself, of allowing you to put a negative experience into perspective, and to move on.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Why I write poetry

I write poetry because I have to. I spent a long career writing institutional reports, and many other writing tasks related to my job. I wrote my first book in prose, and was compelled to turn it into poetry even though I knew that it would be harder to publish. I do not write with the idea in mind of how easy a book will be to publish or how many readers it may attract. I write because I want to tell stories that would otherwise die. i write because it brings me great joy to do so.