Tell me.

We buried a seed underneath the ground. We waited to see if the rain would come down. Tell me it’s a good start, I’m a good heart, And this might turn us back around. ~Natalie Closner (Tell Me There’s A Garden)

IMG_4079Tell me your story. It’s just beginning.

There, beneath the eves, is the sanity we crave.

Breathe with me. We know, don’t we?

The cycle, the circle, it’s everything.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Opposition

Instead of being discouraged by opposition, be encouraged by it, knowing that on the other side of that difficulty is a new level of your destiny.  ~Joel Osteen

IMG_5706

I love the notion of being encouraged by opposition.  As a litigator by training, opposition is second nature to me. Often, in fact almost by definition, opposition is at the heart of a lawsuit. We have advocates and adversaries, points and counter-points, winners and losers.

We fight for a living. Of course we do.

Sometimes, though, the fight isn’t a wise choice. It’s then that riding out the opposition makes the most sense. Whether it’s a steep hill to climb or a wave to crest, sometimes – just sometimes – the better option is to breathe into the opposition, still the reflexive action, and simply be encouraged by the path that it’s carving for you.

Because often, especially in those times when we can’t see directly around the next corner, that path leads to grace.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

She said. . . .

Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.  ~Ella Fitzgerald

mug on beach

She said, “Thank you for your support. Always.”

She said, “Your words are wonderful.”

She said, “Universe is teaching me patience.”

She said, “Holy crap indeed.”

She said, “You tell the world, woman.”

She said, “It’s just a moment in time.”

She said, “Breathe.”

With gratitude to Hannah Marcotti and her course, Community Grace.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why I Hate Pink

You’re gonna hear me roar.    ~Katie Perry

IMG_1757

It was bound to happen. After all, October is breast cancer awareness month. As I drove to a dusky early morning meeting this week, the front lawn of a Main Street nursing home twinkled with 2 gigantic, glowing pink ribbons. Pink ribbon twinkle lights. And I cursed the Pink Gods, yes I did.

I tried to ignore the uncomfortable feelings. I should embrace this, I thought. I should want more than ever before to be among the sisterhood and brotherhood heralding Pink.

But I just couldn’t do it. And the more I thought about it, the more it annoyed me.

Angered me, even.

Before I go all postal, let me say that to the extent those who participate do it altruistically [and to be sure, not all do], there’s fundraising involved in the whole Pink thing. Pink socks, pink wind chimes, even pink hair extensions.  So if the fundraised dollars get directed to research and patient care – and they should – I acknowledge that for the good it is.

And, of course, breast cancer awareness is good. No, it’s great. Meaning :: be aware of the risk and take steps to minimize or eliminate it where possible. Awareness empowers women to do everything they reasonably can to ensure their long-term health.

  • Get mammograms,
  • Do self-exams, and
  • Where necessary, explore possible gene mutations that may exist in your family of origin.

But Pink? I think not. Breast cancer doesn’t come close to being Pink. And Pink for damn sure doesn’t come within a country mile of the battle we call breast cancer.

IMG_3308

Breast cancer is black, the blackness that emerges when you feel sentenced to death. Because, yes, in those first few minutes, hours, or perhaps even longer, that diagnosis felt like a death sentence. Walk the plank, strap me in the chair, sayonara sister. And for many who aren’t as unbelievably fortunate as I’ve been, 40,000 each year in the U.S. alone, the disease we bathe in Pink each October is real and relentless. It’s not imagined. It’s not a momentary flash. It’s not pastel.

It’s their life, what’s left of it. And it’s impossibly devastating.

Breast cancer is a slash of red. Red like blood, yes, there’s a fair bit of that, too. Red reflecting pain when parts of your body are deleted as swiftly and surely as the backspace on your keyboard. Red like the emotional bruising that resurfaces. Sure, maybe it gets better and perhaps it fades over time. But there’s hard, often-grueling work getting to better, however amorphously we define that term when it comes to raw emotion. Understand this :: red never completely disappears. And if that’s uncomfortable, so be it.

While I understand that Pink October has come to symbolize awareness and may have a salutary role in fundraising, for me – for now – it’s just too cute for breast cancer.  Breast cancer isn’t cute. It’s not sweet. It’s not reminiscent of bubble gum or cotton candy or Barbie.

I’m grateful for the efforts and the intentions, truly I am. I know that for the most part, those who participate – indeed many of them survivors – do so with honor and commitment. In many ways, I salute them, which is what makes this anger of mine so perplexing. Perhaps it would be easier to stay on the sidelines, ignore this month’s rosy spotlight, and choose to focus my attention elsewhere.

But, dammit, Pink’s far too gentle for a beast called breast cancer.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Firsts, and all that they mean.

I am here to live out loud. ~Emile Zola

New schools and teams. New bands and choruses. New subjects and topics. New employees. New clients. New organizations and responsibilities.

New chapters.

IMG_5236

The newness echoes, reminding me of the passing of time. I’m drawn to lament it. Aren’t we all, at least to some degree? And then, another reminder, this one more acute. More purposeful. More adamant.

Of course it passes.

It’s meant to pass. Meant to be this way. It’s the order of things. Of life. Stopping, braking, digging in, all of it is futile. All of it is senseless.

Because of course time passes. As it should. Time passing means Firsts, and Firsts mean energy and blessings and opportunity.

Firsts = Life

IMG_8644

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The wonder of growing bananas in Buffalo.

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. ~Charles Dickens

It was that kind of year, the misfortune kind. A frightening diagnosis and all that it entailed.

IMG_9119

And it was the year we grew bananas in Buffalo. A blessings year.

A wow-when-does-that-happen-how-could-I-be-so-lucky-and-friends-and-confidantes kind of year.

The best kind of year.

It didn’t take much effort from us.

But it took a load of magic from a banana tree. (and some helpers along the way)

A banana tree that came to live – in a pot – in our garden during the summer of 2013.

IMG_9112

It was sunk into the ground, right behind the pergola. It grew leaves the brightest green and, over time, each leaf tattered in the wind, reminiscent of trips to the Caribbean.

And, then, it was gone.

And I really thought it was gone, our gardener hauling it away to the compost pile.

But then this spring, on a chilly but brightly-sunny weekday, it came back – and it was our tree!

Over-wintered at a local nursery in unseasonably-warm temperatures and lots of humidity. Someone else nurtured our banana tree during the dark days of winter, unknown to us.

And so, it became sunk into the ground in its pot once again, this time with a hand of green bananas.

IMG_2897

And so we learned about bananas.

In Latin, the plants are called Musa paradisiaca.

Paradise, anyone?

A bunch of them naturally connected to each other is called a hand.

IMG_9114

They require heat and sun and humidity, usually taking 75 days to ripen from when they first appear.

And we did it in Buffalo. Without really thinking it would happen.

Perhaps it was the boatloads of rain.

Perhaps it was the several scorching-hot weeks (although we did have our share of chilly days and nights).

Or, perhaps, it was just meant to be. 

A reminder that we need not worry about the how of it. A reminder that wonder happens even when we’re not looking. A reminder that struggle isn’t always necessary.

And that a few helpers can change everything about what we believe is possible.

IMG_9105

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Love. now.

She’s mad but she’s magic. There’s no lie in her fire.                 ~Charles Bukowski

IMG_8963

You are love, he said.

They love you.

She dismissed it.

You are love, she said.

They love you.

She demurred.

You are it, now, strong, the strongest.

She thought of magic, of truth.

She thought.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment