Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Let me...

Every morning, before I even get out of bed, I say what I guess passes for a prayer - "Goddess, let me do good today."

That's it.  Simple, but heartfelt.

Goddess, let me do good today.

There is so much unhappiness, so much pain, so much suffering.  I know that those things serve a purpose, that pain teaches, suffering teaches, unhappiness shows us the way to a joyful life, but it seems so unnecessary.  It seems like we cling to our misery, even knowing we are miserable and seeing another way to be.

Why are we so afraid to be happy?

Why am I so afraid to be happy?

I can't do anything about my wiring, about my chemistry.  Depression isn't a matter of choice.  Even so, even deeply, darkly, indelibly, severely depressed, I see the beauty in the world, I see the beauty in my fellow humans, I see the worth and the nobility and the struggle and the vast potential for joy, and it pains me that we hold ourselves back, hold each other back, from that joy, from that beauty.

Goddess, let me do good today.

Let me feed someone who is hungry.  Let me give a steadying arm to someone who has stumbled.  Let me give a hand up to someone who has fallen.  Let me give comfort.  Let me bring a smile.  Let me raise up one who feels brought low.  Let me give fellowship, let me give someone the knowledge that they are not alone on their journey.  Let me give of myself, and by giving, receive.

Goddess, let me do good today.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Letter to A Certain Part of My Anatomy

Dear Back (especially Lower),

I know, I know, I have not been very kind to you.  There was all the horseback riding (and falling off), the swimming, the sailing, the skiing (and more falling).  There was the tree climbing (and, did I mention falling?) and the occasional ass-over-teakettle down the stairs.  There was that car accident.  And the hot-air-ballooning incident.  And all that slouching, all those extra pounds.

Really, it's a marvel you've been as good as you have.

I tried to take care of you - occasional soaks in a hot tub, sporadic visits to a chiropractor, every now and then a massage.  I lost a few pounds (not enough, I know), and tried to remember to stretch every day and keep up with my posture.

We've been together a long time, and I hope we can continue to have a healthy relationship.

But you're going to have to step up to the plate, back.  Some parts of you are just not up to snuff  (I'm looking at YOU, lower back!) and it's really hampering my ability to do anything useful.

What happened to the days of lifting and toting boxes about like they didn't weigh a thing?  Of moving tables and bins and relocating huge pieces of wood in the garage?  Of bending down and standing up without a care?

Seriously, back, I can fell my spine.  FEEL it, every inch of it.  What's up with that?  And the muscles in your lower bit?  Stiffer than the giant board I had to struggle with today because you were all "Ah!  Heavy!!!" on me!

Good grief, I can't even roll over in bed without you twinging and reminding me you're in a snit.

This has to stop, back.  Things have to change.  We can't go on like this.

How about if I get some nice liniment?  Maybe start doing some slow, easy stretches?  Help a girl out, wouldja???

Feeling Old and Crippled

Friday, April 10, 2015


Apparent;y it's Siblings Day?  What does one gift for that?  Noogies?  

I should miss my brother's presence in my life.  No, he's not dead or anything, we're just not terribly close.  I don't miss him, really...difficult to miss what was never really there, isn't it?  I adore him no less, and sometimes wistfully wonder if we couldn't be closer.  He is older and for a while when I was young I thought he was the best person in the whole world.

Our history is complex, and I suspect I have put far more thought into it than he has, our natures being what they are.

For all that our lives had the same beginnings, we certainly went different ways.  He was in the military, got out when gophers ate his ankles (long story), and now, lots of years and a few kids later, he's got his own business, his own house, travels with his family, keeps busy.

Me?  Er...well...ahem.

Our mother loves us both as we are, bless her.  Strange how very different we can be, and yet have a sameness to us that makes folks say we look like twins despite years between us.

I love my bro, unconditionally.  If he called and told me he needed me, I wouldn't hesitate to help him.  Even if it meant burying a body.  I like to think he may feel somewhat the same about me.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


I am trying to live a creative, honest, compassionate life.  It is no easy thing to struggle against myself and all the years of lies that I thought were my story.  It is no easy thing to be open, always open, so that I may pierce myself to the core, or allow others to pierce, because being open is the only way I can be honest, because closing off, hiding, protecting, defending, these only cut me off from myself and from whatever it is that lends me creativity and lets me see beauty.

I'm not the story you told me, but I am not the story I've been writing, either.  I'm changing the plot an inch at a time, a painful, slow, impossible inch at a time and I wonder how many more inches until I am living the life I seek instead of the life I let you shape out of stone and bars and thorns and shit.

I am trying to see more than what is commonly seen of this world, to look beyond the flat, hard, ugly surface to the rippling, effervescent, ever changing maelstrom that is the heart of the speck of the great big bang that rushes out into a Universe before it curls up into itself and re-imagines its creation, poor old Micheal Finnegan, begin again.

I am trying to see that the angry people are tender and sore and fierce about their soreness and the bitter people are frightened and lost and angry about their lostness, and that we're all of us feeling out of control and cut off and cut loose and like we missed out on something better, some vague something better that we keep hearing about everyone else having but can't quite grasp ourselves.

Because despite what you tried to make me over into, I AM a compassionate being, an angry and scared and hurt and scarred and lost and beautiful and damaged being, so much more than you could have ever imagined me to be and so much less than I may once have been when I was sound and whole, but that's not the me I am any more, you tore her to pieces so you could remake her into the image you thought she should be, into what you imagined she ought to be, all the while telling her how imperfect she was without also mentioning that it is our very imperfections that make us so mighty good and powerful and wonderful and godlike.

I wasn't my one cousin, blonde and perfect and pretty and smart and graceful and stylish,  I wanted to sail boats and climb trees and ride horses, but not how she rode horses with precision and poise in a top hat and the Olympics wanted me, no, I wanted to ride horses in the woods and along winding roads and into the dining room and without saddles or bits or anything but the agreement that we were going together in some direction, both half-wild and completely free to chase the wind if we pleased.

I wasn't my other cousin, well behaved, demure, slender, elfish.  I was an amazon, wide and tall and strong and you convinced me I was fat and ungainly and couldn't dance because I had no grace and couldn't wear those pretty dresses because I was too round in the middle and my shoulders, my world-holding, good-for-crying-on shoulders, were too wide to be feminine and I should hide, hide in closets and under tables and behind big, fake smiles so no one would see how ugly I was, such a shame, what an embarrassment to you, a let-down.

So I am trying to shed these stones you piled into my basket, but I have to be careful because some of them became part of my foundation and prying them loose could shake me to pieces, and some of them I want to keep and hold and love, yes, love, because they are precious and opened my eyes in a heavy, hurtful, roundabout, transformative way.  They showed me something you never wanted me to see, would never had accepted, which is that I am, as I am, all of me, brilliant and I am not bound by the ropes you wrapped me in, I can slip free of them, make them into a hammock and take my ease in the breeze under the trees and forget your face set in disapproving lines and imagine you happy.

If you still want to shape someone into your paragon of feminine humanity, it is never too late to look in the mirror and see what you can see.  As for me, I do not look into mirrors because I don't know what I am seeing - who I am or who you convinced me I was, and it's all too confusing and I'd rather look into the sky and ride the wind on a hawk blessing or lose myself in the heart of a flower where the color becomes something beyond sight and turns the world on its ear, or watch my daughter play in ways I never could with a freedom you would never allow, and perversely take pleasure in knowing you would hate the dirt and noise and realness of my force-of-nature children, and I am, after all, human, and I can forgive and still enjoy the idea of your discomfiture and it's only dirt or paint or marker and will come off eventually but the happiness that stains their souls is forever and it stains mine too and that's worth more than your approbation ever was.

And because I AM a creative, honest, compassionate being I can know what you did, look you and your monsters right in the eye and tell you that I wish you well, that I love you, and that I am and will only ever be myself, and not your piece of clay.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Water, Agua, L'eau, Wasser, Vερό, पानी, Acqua, 水, Agua, Води, المياه, Vand, Вода

Photo yoinked from needlestick.org

Water is on my mind this morning.  Back pain or no back pain, I need to clean my home, and that requires water.  Water I have a-plenty, hot or cold on demand.  Water I have, liquid or solid, and I can make it vapor if I so desire.  What a luxury, water like this.  Water for bathing, water for laundry, water for drinking, for flushing, for dishes and mopping.  My children don't know what "thirsty" really means.  We are rich in water.

So many people are not.

Hardly seems right, that in so many places the bounty of water available here, taken for granted here, wasted here, would be a miracle to others.

In the recent past, Detroit threatened to turn off the water for a large number of residents for unpaid bills.  The UN had to step in and stop it or the city would have created an urban desert.  Seems Baltimore is planning to do the same in the next week or so, millions of unpaid bills and delinquent accounts hurting their bottom line.  California is calling for a 25% water use reduction statewide due to drought, denying the Central Valley region the ability to irrigate crops and leaving many residents fearful that there may be no water at in a year.

In Africa, people are being told they cannot drink river water without using purification tablets they must purchase, as it's contaminated, but they cannot use wells dug by cities or the state (corporations, really) without paying a hefty fee.

Colorado has banned rainwater collection - no rain barrels or cisterns allowed.

The CEO of Nestle says water is NOT a basic human right and that people should have to pay for it or go without.

Think about that last.

What are we made of, for the most part?  And it's not a basic human right?

For many years, I have thought about where the water is.  There are plenty of maps and charts available to show where water is used by whom, where it is over used, and where it falls as rain and snow.

What those maps and charts don't show is all the water that is captured, imprisoned, unable to be part of the cycle.

What am I talking about?

Imagine a convenience store.  It doesn't have to be one of the biggest ones, even a smaller one will do. Imagine the shelves and coolers in that convenience store.  Imagine all the soft drinks, juices, beers and other adult beverages, energy and sports drinks, and yes, bottled water.  Bottled.  Can't evaporate, condense, fall as rain or snow.  One small store.  Now multiply that, magnify that, take it to a larger store, a super store, one of those buyer's club stores.  Now go city-wide.  Hmm.  State wide.  Umm...  Nation wide.  Holy crap, that's  LOT of water.

Companies like Nestle, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and everyone else who bottles, ships, and sells water or other water-using beverages?  They have taken a natural resource, an elemental thing, a necessity, and made it their commodity.  All that water sitting in bottles on shelves, in tanks in factories.  Water taken from Florida and transported to Ohio.  Water bottled in France or Switzerland and sent to the USA or Asia or anyplace but the place it came from.  Water that used to fall in drops upon the earth, flow through the soil into streams and rivers, filling ponds and lakes and flowing onward to the ocean and always, always going through the cycle.  Now it can't.

And people wonder why there is scarcity, drought.  Release all that bottled water, just sitting there waiting to be used, and see what happens.

You can't own water, any more than you can own fire, or earth, or the wind, or the human spirit.  These things, they are everyone's.  We can claim the rights to use them, but own them?  Absurd.  Water IS a basic human right.  It is necessary to life, and no one should be able to deny to others in the name of profit.

I'm thirsty.  I think I'll get a drink of water.  I raise my glass to the world and hope that we get our collective heads out of our asses and start doing right by each other - that includes recognizing that all beings should be able to drink freely, drink their fill, without fear of penury for the pleasure.