In the season of Cupid, Valentine and love become a trending topic. For those celebrating the romantic love in their lives, this season can be filled with excitement and planning. But if romantic love isn’t on your horizon, has left your tender heart torn apart or doesn’t heat you up between the sheets, this particular holiday can lose the focus of joy it promises. In fact, it can become a painful drag on your day-to-day. Maybe romantic love isn’t important to you, so the cards, and commercials are noisy background.
But love? That subject is worth reaching around and pulling out the arrow from your quiver, taking sure aim to the true home of the heart.
There are few subjects more interesting and endless than the subject of love. It comes in a zillion different shapes and sizes, lengths and depths, colors and tenors. Love is the base, the heartbeat, the only thing that really carries us to places we might be too afraid to wander. It even transcends the bonds of death.
Love is big stuff. Sometimes it comes with four legs instead of two.
Today, I am going to celebrate love. In all the forms it might grace the world.
Please join me and share with us what love is bringing to you.
Let’s start with the four footed friends in our lives. Each one brings us laughter, surprise, and always the wisdom of unconditional love. It takes a brave hearts to love our pets, since their short lives mean the heartbreak of saying goodbye.
The top dog in my life is Sheba, a black rescue dog that found my husband before we found each other. She makes my heart swell with appreciation everyday. In her honor I’ve written a poem, and translated portions of the poem onto glass, with little pockets where a picture can be slipped inside. You can order one for yourself on my etsy shop BeLoveGlass.
MORE THAN A DOG
MY DOG is an earth angel.
With invisible wings, four legs and Buddha knowledge.
She is patient with our human nature, always willing to provide
comfort and quiet empathy when we are burdened, or sick.
She celebrates happy moments, shares victories small or large.
MY DOG is a protector.
Ears perched high she stands guard,
Morning to night she sits patiently, waiting and watching.
Ready to protect us from strangers, or greet friends new & old.
With a welcoming bark or a warning growl she is a warrior dog.
MY DOG is joy.
She dances a canine gig to the sound of a turning key.
Five minutes or five hours, each homecoming is a celebration.
Ears go up at the sound of our steps at the door each day.
The unfettered joy of a doggy dance is a true homecoming.
MY DOG is love.
She has perfected unconditional love, teaching us the way.
Reminding us each day to love with unabashed abandonment.
Inside her nature is a wellspring of pure love overflowing.
We are grateful for this dog-love, never on earth long enough.
© 2014 Robin Green Tilly
I made this special glass memorial for a beloved dog Trevor, a part of the Wilson Family. Here is how it looks:
Click here to order on my etsy shop BeLoveGlass
Love is a patchwork quilt, like fragile glass pieces reinforced with shining stainless steel. It is the heartbeat that measures our days, pumps rich nourishing swooshing breaths from start to finish, keeps pumping hope before birth, and lingers long after death.
Our hearts get broken, mend and melt. They expand and contract, vibrate and soar, wince and wink, reminding us that we are earth-bound beings with spirit-bound souls. In this season of cupid-love, I am celebrating the heart. Not just the power of romantic love, lost and won, held and released. I am celebrating all the ways that love stitches us one to another. My hands are busy making glass hearts for you to carry home, while my fingers fly on the keyboard, finding the words to send a virtual hug to those loved dearly here and there, present and gone.
Today, I am celebrating the mother-love of children.
First we dream of a child that might be someday, and then if we are lucky that child finds a window, a door, a way to come into our hearts, and mend us whole, and render us forever in more than one place. We are never the same once we clone our hearts and send it into a world, multiplying our path into a thousand unknown journeys. Maybe we are called mother, stepmother, auntie, teacher, mentor, foster, adopted or sister soul. It’s not the title but the talent for taking under our wings, nesting right beneath the seat of breath, a love that is bigger than we knew possible to inhale. They leave a footprint that is everlasting.
This week is when my stepdaughter Kelly was born. So, I’ll begin with her in my story of mother love.
I can’t imagine loving anyone more than I love my son Chris, but then I just have to think about the gift of one-step-away motherhood, children we love and mentor from marriages and unions that came before. I wasn’t there the day Kelly was born. It wasn’t my time or place to know her yet. I’m thankful for her mother Linda and her late father Wayne for making such a fine girl and letting me have a space and a place to love that little girl as much as I do Chris, who came to Wayne and I through the traditional path of birth. Divorce is not easy for kids, or for grownups, and moving on is painful. But it comes with gifts, and some of that is expanding the circle of love to include a family that is reshaped when one door closes. Stepchildren are a window that opens up a heart, so fresh air finds a way and a space to renew.
Today, I have two more stepchildren I love, and came to know when widowhood offered me another chance to fall in love all over again with Jim. Two amazing adults, Kara and Matt. They bring their own unique talents and gifts that keep making my life bigger and better. Loving my child and stepchildren is an exercise in expansion. They share their loves and in turn, I get to love their mates and offspring, Elizabeth, Dave, Megan, and grandchildren, Regan and Reid.
I see this story is just unfolding and it is with anticipation that I wait in the corridor of potential love for all that comes from these blessings life has offered.
In gratitude, I celebrate what is and I wait for what will be. Lucky, lucky me.
What children do you love in your life?
Here are some glass heart gifts I’ve been making and are now available on my etsy shop, BeLoveGlass.
TO: FUTURE SELF
FROM: RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW SELF
It’s already the middle of January of a new year. The crystal clear picture of your determined resolutions may be fading a bit around the corners, curling up on the edges.
Those first few pounds, that gym schedule, your determination to start a new business, get organized, find your true calling, start dating more or arguing less with the one you love, quit smoking, save more money, stop cursing like a sailor on leave or spending too much time in front of the television.
Our resolutions might vary, but many of us find ourselves slowly leaking enthusiasm as the days go by. It all began with such a hopeful and optimistic fervor. It seemed like this year was going to be the one. The one where you sprinted first and then took over the race to finish with a flourish. January 2 is slipping into January 23, and before you know it that resolution is a past thought instead of a current reality. Already some of those dreams are harder to grab than a hot poker still in the fire. You need an oven mitt to even get close to the truth of it all.
If you are like many of us, you just start turning away and looking back to where you came from, resigned to repeat what wasn’t working for you all along.
Sigh And all that once seemed possible and even easy suddenly becomes once again a big black bag you swing over your shoulder and drag behind you. I know. It happens to me. It happens to others. It happens. Mojo slips. So, how do you keep your mojo rising, your hope bright enough to shine a light? More importantly how does change happen in real time. How do you reset the button on your resolutions?
BEGIN AT THE VERY BEGINNING
Your resolutions are yours to have, hold and cherish. They are a sacred vow we make to ourselves. The powerful way to activate change is available to you in real time, in the current moment. It begins with understanding your thoughts that have been driving your behavior, uncovering your true intention and desire, claiming and experiencing the feeling you are seeking immediately, don’t wait to reach your goal, look for the central feeling and practice it everyday. Once these tools have been gathered, you will find a freedom to re-solve and re-new your goals. Finally, record your goal with a message to your future self at a wonderful and FREE website: futureme.org, and date it for December 31, 2015.
So, let’s get started. I invite you to whip out a piece of paper, or grab your computer and spontaneously, without regard to the outcome, complete the following questions. There are no right or wrong answers, and you don’t have to share this with a single person, unless you want to do just that, or you can always call me and we can do this together.
- I RE-SOLVE IN 2015 TO DO, BE, SEE, EXPERIENCE, ACCOMPLISH:
- I INTEND TO DO, BE, SEE, EXPERIENCE, ACCOMPLISH IN 2015:
- THE FEELING I WANT WHEN I DO, BE, SEE, EXPERIENCE OR ACCOMPLISH MY GOAL IN 2015 IS:
- IMAGINE IT IS DECEMBER 31, 2015: WRITE A BRIEF WORD PICTURE OF WHAT HAS HAPPENED AND HOW YOU FEEL AND SEND YOUR FUTURE SELF A NOTE AT FUTUREME.ORG:
If you would like to share some of your goals, intentions, desired feeling and ways you keep own your resolutions fresh, please share it with us here.
My daddy died Saturday night right near the end of the Bedlam OSU/OU football game, down by a touchdown with 2 minutes to go, when it seemed hopeless for his beloved OSU Cowboys. I’m not saying for sure he helped those boys turnaround a surprise win in overtime, but his grandsons like to think this sports fan found a way to help carry that game to a victory. And even his OU loving relatives smile at the thought.
Most conversations with my Daddy included the question, “did you see the game” and because I don’t like or remotely understand any sport you can mention, I’d usually just say, “um, no.” Then he’d smile, shake his head, and give me a quick rundown on the score or some big play. Now and again my husband would arm me with a relevant line like, “what about that interception in the fourth quarter?” and he would light up like a Christmas tree, thinking that maybe, just maybe, I had finally found a way to share in his passion for sports.
He might not have been an athlete, or the world’s greatest golfer, but he was something more important. He was a fan. Of sports, his family and friends, and strangers even got star treatment from this guy, who knew how to cheer us up and cheer us on. Not depending on a big play, or fancy footwork, it was a given that he would stand steady on the sidelines of our lives, happy to see us all, or offer a bit of advice and worry after our equipment and that we had what we needed to carry on with daily living.
When I was little, I loved to hold his hand. He was a long, tall, drink of water and when he was holding my hand I felt little but safe. On our weekends together, I remember walking to the car, his hand in mine, standing next to him when seat belts weren’t a thing, my arm flung around him, proud to be with my man, my daddy.
I still like the feeling of holding my husbands hand when we walk, my inner little girl bounces right up to the surface where the simple comfort of a hand that is bigger than my own, the hand of my man is where I can rest safe and sound.
When a heart attack grabbed him and landed him in ICU, everybody came to help. Family, cousins and aunts, nieces and nephews, in-laws, church friends, and life friends all gathered to be with him. We took turns, guarding and guiding him and one another through the painful process of trying to give a beloved every chance to survive and every dignity and the courage to be allowed to die.
It’s not easy. Feelings are thick and dense. The ICU world is at the same time unreal and too real. Machines beep and swish under bright lights, tubes and constant attention from nurses, and doctors for one body part and then another consult, speculate, plan and pace his care.
We call those near to help and reassure those that have to travel to wait because we just don’t know minute-to-minute what is going to happen. We hang on loosely drawn statistics and hope, but we see him growing weaker each day, one organ after another following it’s innate intelligence to let this solid mass go so his spirit can fly to the next place, the place we don’t understand that looks a little different from one person to another, but it’s a place we all are headed and the ticket demands the body’s release.
The night he died it was my turn to sit with him. I was reading an O Magazine article on how to cope with aging parents. My oldest sister was on a plane soon to land, a family medical planning meeting was scheduled for the next day, his wife and my second oldest sister and his grandsons had gone home to rest until the evening visitation.
A machine began beeping in three part bursts of unified sound and the nurse rushed into the room. I jumped up and went to his side and took his left hand and began to kiss it and tell him how very deeply he was loved, thanking him for giving us in his living all we needed to carry on after his death. His chest fluttered and beat like a bird right before it takes flight. And then he was gone.
A group of hospital employees quickly assembled and gently led me to a private room, where I began calling all of those who would miss him so deeply. Then in the privacy of the room, I let myself sob, take a deep breath, and then return to the body he had left behind.
I took that hand into my own, and held it gently until my husband arrived. I saw that his hand and mine were shaped the same, with enlarged knuckles, an index finger that tilts toward the middle, and skin spotted like a painted pony. His mother’s hands were just the same, and in that cycle of handing the power of life from one generation to the other, I found a deep and abiding peace.
When my husband arrived, he reached out for my hand, but it took me a few more moments to let go of my Daddy’s hand and take my husband’s hand.
My sister who lives nearby came and took his other hand, and we left her to that private and personal moment.
I don’t really know how it is that we humans are brave enough to love one another when we know it means we have to let them go. But we are and we do. We love one another imperfectly. We take the other person into our hearts and we trust them with our own mortal shortcomings. It’s a big job, and not an easy one…being human.
To take an outreached hand, to marvel at the miracle of a newborn as we count the fingers, for a little girl to hold her Daddy’s hand, and later trace the palm of a mate, and finally to hold the hand that cools as it leaves this earth.
It is an act of bravery and beauty, love and strength when we reach out and take the hand of another, or give a hand up when needed. Daddy taught me about that kind of love, not so much with words but with the way he lived his life.
He was sweet and kind, and never spoke ill of others. He served food to the housebound with a side dish of prayer, he loved his family, and cherished us all.
He was a fan of the game of life.
I was his fan, like the rest of the world that is missing him today.
I don’t know much about sports, but I know one thing. In Daddy’s hands I learned about holding onto love, and now he is teaching us all about letting go, cheering one another onward and recognizing that the truest victory is carrying forward the lesson in kindness he left behind.
You know what is really scary to me?
Failure, potential failure, or gasp, hatred from that huge mysterious gang of ‘people’ I envision existing out there in the world, but actually live mostly inside my head. Sure, I give them faces and names from time-to-time, but most often they are a mass of imaginary people that might see me fail, judge me and then walk away happy to wash their hands of my sorry self.
Nothing can stop the flow of authentic pleasure, real joy and creative bravery than listening to the thoughts in my head that sing a song of failure. I have been listening to that old familiar tune the past months because I am trying to create something I’ve never done or seen before.
Every single time I turn up the dial with new ideas, fear of failure wants to play along.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE GHOULISH GUESTS IN YOUR HEAD.
The treat for this imaginary trick has a couple of arms, solutions and resolutions. Here is an example of my experience and how I am practicing turning tricks into treats. Play along and see if you recognize some of your own personal demons.
BE CLEAR ABOUT THIS FACT: IT IS JUST A SITUATION.
Let’s start with the situation. Just the facts.
I have a dream of blending my original poetry with glass. I have created a prototype and even sold my first piece to a wonderful family after the death of a beloved pet. Here is a picture of beautiful Trevor, honored in glass.
Inspired by my own pet, Sheba, I wrote stanza’s about how much she means to me, shared it with friends who enjoyed the poetry and the “Love In Glass” idea was born. Each piece has a special glass ‘pocket’ allowing for personalization, and I can further personalize each one with names, dates and other meaningful images. Inspired, I began writing about my favorite subject: love. I wrote about the power of love for unborn and newly born babies, grandchildren and parents. I could imagine a glass piece that could be used for ritual when loss occurs or celebration for the love on earth. The list is filled with ideas for celebrating love and in my mind are as clear as glass.
The project felt great, exciting and filled with POTENTIAL. I could use my passion for words and blend them with glass and provide not only beauty, more importantly meaning. I could use my training and coaching skills to invite ritual into the hearts of others. It was a situational “gift basket” combination of my skills, talents and passions.
PREPARATION WILL SHOW UP TO GREET OPPORTUNITY.
The universe joined me in supporting the idea. I showed my sample “My Dog Is An Earth Angel” to friends and received orders.
Then in perfect divine timing, I met and joined the coaching team of hospice specialist, inspirational speaker, writer and grief coach Chaz Wesley, where I am now featured on his site “From Grief to Grace” as a coach. In addition, Chaz and life coach Ann Leach developed and launched at a hospice seminar for professionals across the state of Oklahoma a special grief website youhavepermission.com with products to support the grieving process. We joined forces and created ideas for warm glass candles with a beaded pendent and a copy of the original song, “I Will Light A Candle In Your Name” to be used in a ritual from alter to home, a way to honor those that have passed, and to process the pain of grief or give as a gift when words are hard to find. A gift for the grieving that is more lasting than flowers, more powerful than a card.
Then, I reserved a booth at an upcoming and delightful art fair next week, “Garden Diva Studio Party” and I began to prepare a targeted 40 pieces, ready to unveil my new ideas in a public forum. Confirmed commitment, that is where the scary thoughts began to grab for my ankles while hiding under the bed.
WARNING: THE HERO’S JOURNEY REQUIRES A TRUE NORTH COMPASS AND SOMETIMES A CAPE.
Circumstances and situations seemed to favor my deepest desire. I began spinning the straw of an idea into gold. The power of attraction began manifesting confirmation that this idea had potential. However, sitting in the cheap seats of my private mind, confusing me with thoughts, you know, the crowd I told you about earlier. This crowd is interested in keeping me safe. That is the goal, and I must remember these thoughts DO NOT MEAN ANYTHING.
The imaginary group in my head says things like the statements below when my experiments and prototypes fail to meet my expectations:
- If you were smarter you wouldn’t make mistakes.
- Who do you think you are?
- It has to be fancy and unique, your words aren’t enough.
- No one wants your stuff.
- You don’t have a head for business.
- They hate you and your little dog, too.
They say lots of scary things. That’s just a small sampling.
My primal reptilian brain, the amygdala designed to save me from danger with the “fight or flight” response mechanism is trying desperately to keep me safe by scaring the pants off me. My rational and evolved frontal cortex is bigger and has processing potential. I CAN CHOOSE to question every one of those thoughts. I GIVE meaning to experience, a human super power always available to us.
Here is a sample of “turnaround’ thoughts designed to keep the compass headed north, a great thought questioning system, developed by Byron Katie, she calls “The Work” described at www.thework.com. Try it yourself in response to the bad apple thoughts that take a bite out of following your true north star.
- I am smart enough to learn from my mistakes.
- I am a woman who thinks.
- My words are enough.
- Some people want my stuff.
- I have a head for creative business.
- I love my myself and my little dog, too.
TAKE THIS TO THE BANK: EVERY MISTAKE/SUCCESS IS A TWO HEADED COIN.
I am now a week away from Garden Diva Annual Event and my public launch with “Love In Glass.” It is a busy time, filled with all kinds of circumstances. Some of my great ideas and solutions have found unexpected challenges. Glass breaks, bubbles and warps without warning. Every kiln run is a science experiment. Some technology didn’t work like I thought it would and new solutions have to be forged on the spot. I am dancing and weaving and cutting glass, and getting cut in return. It is exhilarating, exhausting, challenging and thrilling. It is the adventure of a lifetime. To birth a new idea, to love it in the middle of all the gook and heat, success and failure, now that is the kind of investment I want to make.
YOU KNOW WHAT IS REALLY, REALLY SCARY?
Never leaving the safety of the Batcave. Holy Smokes Batman, that is terrifying. Tonight I intend to step out with my own Batman and be ROBIN, with courage and a sense of fun. Next week I will go to Garden Diva Annual Studio Party, November 7, 8 and show the world what I have created in my booth with Penni Gage and her sea glass gems. It will most certainly be perfectly imperfect. If you live in Tulsa, please come by and say hello.
So, what is really, really scary? Never knowing what it is to put on my cape and show up for my own personal heroines journey. To know firsthand the full circle of success, failure and success. To listen to a chorus of bad thoughts without question, instead of listening to the wise council inside my head that is a symphony of hope, creativity, passion, and gratefulness.
Will you share what is waiting to be born into your world and shine a light on what scary thoughts keep you from following your own North Star?
I missed something important last week because I made a mistake.
Maybe you have made a mistake that finds you looping around regret and disappointment, too. Somewhere inside us all there is a story, a sorrow and a secret shame that somehow we are flawed.
This mistake turned out to be a blessing. It bent and shaped my being into something soft and pliable.
Here is what happened. I attended a Martha Beck Coaching conference in San Diego. The three-day event was filled with great workshops, drumming, dancing, new friendships forged, and old ones renewed. All in all, the conference was an uplifting and expanding event. It was filled with all kinds of new ideas and practical ways to be a stronger coach for my clients.
And then, I missed Martha’s closing speech.
It must have been amazing, if the final five minutes were any indication. I arrived late to find a crowd of 400 people filled with the energy of love and amazement, laughter and tears, cheering and celebrating. I took in the last few moments of the closing video, her farewell and up came the house lights.
I tried to paste a smile on my face and make it okay that I had become confused and spent the time packing and waiting to leave instead of in such a grand room.
It was a birth of sorts, and the universe provided me with Julie Ann Randall, a real life birthing coach, certified Doula, just birthed herself as a Martha Beck Life Coach, sitting next to an empty seat until I arrived for the final few moments.
Martha is one of those rare public speakers who has the reach to grab your heart and cup it gently in her hands, spark the deeper spirit that makes hope flame and all the while feeding the audience substance, science and fact, so we are left full of the fiber of truth and not just the fluff of empty inspiration.
It begs another helping to hear her speak.
When I missed the final closing event, it broke my heart and broke me open.
I tried to put on my brave-acceptance face, but in truth all I could feel was crushing disappointment and the sound in my inner ear, “REALLY? How could you be so confused? Now? Here?”
The lights went up, and everyone gathered their things to leave, the room filled with the sound of satisfaction.
As the room emptied, Julie Ann, admired my heart necklace. I handed her my card, explaining my website describes more about the necklace I had fashioned from glass, beautifully broken and now repaired.
And then I burst into tears. She gently asked me what was wrong and with strained voice and deep grief, I said I had missed the speech, because somehow I got mixed up, I failed myself.
She held me while I sobbed like a toddler watching her mother’s back recede from view, deep true grief of what is missed and what must be missing in me.
Never letting go of my hands, she questioned me about what was perfect about missing the moment. I sputtered and resisted, explained that somehow I had heard a passing comment from my roommate, Leslie Bixler, while looking at the final workshops that there must not be a final speech from Martha, that the wonderful one the day before must be the last.
I took that one sound bite, and paired it with other events that I used as evidence that it was true. I saw people leave the last workshop I attended into a quiet hallway with purpose and head toward the elevator. I assumed they were all in a rush to pack their bags with only 30 minutes left until hotel check out time. I hurried up and followed the stream to the elevators.
Now, don’t be confused. There was a wonderful journal gift book filled with schedules and information. It wasn’t that I didn’t have access to the event information, but sometimes my particular way of experiencing the world might have me turn right when there is a map available telling me left is the way to my destination.
Watching others head to the elevators at the end of the class I had taken, made her passing comment seem true to me. So I got on an elevator, went to my room, packed my bags and waited for Leslie to give me a lift to Carlsbad to spend time with my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter for the rest of my visit in California.
I waited and waited. I called my husband and chatted. I answered a call and listened to the long list of doctor visits my parents have planned for the week. I watched Bill Maher and Seth MacFarlane talk about the new program “Cosmos” and how life is a random coincidence, and those that think there is a guiding intelligence are simply misguided. I thought about how they revered science with a passionate belief ironically requiring faith.
After an hour, far past check out time, I called Leslie to see where she was, with no answer, I decided I’d try to find her. That’s when I found her in the lobby; phone in hand, she led me to an empty seat next to her.
As I relinquished myself to disappointment, Julie Ann hugged me tight and told me the central message of the speech I had missed is that we are all connected, all one, and that separation is just an illusion, so it was really impossible for me to be separate, to miss what happened. She described the speech, the video clips but then she dove right back into the labor of my painful thoughts.
“What is the thought about missing this moment that is so painful?”
I searched my mind, I offered answers, but in the long run of it I told her that something must be wrong with me. That sometimes I miss what is obvious to others. That it hurt to be different and I was afraid that I’d be left outside the tribe, lost and not to be found.
“But what if this is where you are perfect, where your gifts come from?” she gently prodded.
It seemed impossible to imagine good, much less gift.
I could accept it as human; I could offer it to others to accept their humanity, but a gift? That was a stretch.
She gently guided me to look deeper. With a Doula’s expertise, she patiently helped me labor, with new evidence, new examples of my unique way of receiving and processing information and how it might be more than good, even a gift.
I recalled examples of how my own fallibility made it easy to genuinely offer compassion and empathy when someone is literally or figuratively lost, or has lost something or someone precious to them.
I realized that part of me that struggles to exist on this very physical plane of schedules and time is the same part that is receptive to spirit and dreams, poetry and magic. I am always attending to the art of my inner being, walking more closely with the awe of connection than the street signs in a physical world.
My inner focus on ethereal things is part of what allows me to bring my full heart to so many moments where I bring comfort to others, without judgment, and in that space is freedom to let their own limitations find safe footing.
As the new thought and fresh view was slipping into focus, she brought me to the last strong birthing cry of a new understanding, “what if out of the pain of confusion you find clarity?”
“What if you leave the notion right here in this room that something is wrong with you and realize that this is what is the most right thing about you?”
I left with exactly what I needed.
Sure, I would have loved to hear Martha speak. And I will again. Not that speech, not that moment. But still. A moment.
I heard exactly what I needed to hear. I was exactly where I needed to be.
It feels good to hold this new thought in my arms. Cradle it, and feed it until it becomes strong.
Today, I am with my 17-month-old granddaughter Regan. Without the burden of comparing herself to others, she is able to experience the world fully, uncensored and free. She doesn’t linger on what is missing, or hold back her love and affection. She reminds me to meet my own reflection with a joyful kiss.
I want to remind you too, what I had forgotten about the power of mistakes, gifts and the clarity found in confusion.
We are all so perfectly united, one single fabric, where one thread pulled allows another thread give. It’s no mistake that in the warp and weave our individual gifts are often revealed.
The next time I hear that mistaken inner voice of shame, I’m going to offer myself instead the reflection of love. I invite you to do the same.
We all say Adios, to places, people, pets, and dreams so loved and still loved.
Goodbye begs in the hole it leaves a new volume, a new pouring, a new beginning.
Join me in moving into 2014 with a fresh step, waving Adios to 2013, and grab the joy of hello that is opened up in goodbye’s space. It is with a grateful heart for each of you that I look forward to 2014.
Recently, my mate Jim Tilly created a video to accompany his original song, Adios. After watching the video song we talked about how universal and powerful Adios is for everyone, and wondered what pictures other people might want to share that reflect the goodbyes in their lives. He posted the video draft on Facebook with a UTube link Adios and an invitation for others to send pictures that he will use to shape a new visual for the video.
It has begun a stream of pictures and moments shared by others that has left us smiling and tearing up. Loved ones lost, teenagers headed for college, shadows waving goodbye in the long sun of the New Mexico Desert.
The Adios vary, but the heart of it stays the same.
Feel free to send some pictures yourself. It’s a chance to raise your hand with open palm and welcome the new bright hello waiting…just waiting for you. If you want to play along, e-mail pictures to Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you and we appreciate you and yours, from start to finish, from hello to Adios, you are a special spice in our lives.
“May the days ahead, give you everything you’ve been searching for…Adios”
Art is a powerful place for change, conversation, education and understanding. How does an artist find their voice, their medium to convey a message and why does it matter?
Shan Goshorn is an Eastern Band Cherokee artist who has taken a time honored traditional art intrinsically linked to the Cherokee heritage, known for their baskets, and using archival paper splints she weaves a unique artistic vision to educate the world about Native history and current challenges.
Friends for 30 years, her arc and growth as an artist has been spectacular to witness, as she has explored ways to tell her story. This interview was done before her trip to Santa Fe where her basket set, “They Were Called Kings” received “Best of Basketry” award.
Below is a behind-the-scenes interview with a contemporary Native American artist, Shan Goshorn. She is currently at the 2013 Santa Fe Native American Market. Take a look at how a basket can make a difference in the world.
She looked down as her hands traced the triangle shape of the flag, mesmerized by the precise shape, the neatness of it all. Tucked corners shaping stripes to stars, stars to stripes, her fingers methodically traced edge-to-edge, and back again in a ceaseless mesmerizing motion. She was lulled into yesterday dream-memories with wide-awake eyes.
Weathered hands they were — all brown with pink irregular patches worn from the palm, pink licking up each finger, leaving island shapes of warm brown color surrounding rivers of pale skin. It looked to her that life had just worn away the dirt brown skin and left patches of pink like the bottoms of the dozens of babies she had cared for over the years. Maybe it was more than dozens, maybe was a gross of bottoms she had dusted, wiped and patted down year after year. Who could count. First they were her sisters and brothers. Then it was the missus’ babies, eight of them right there. Eventually it had been her own flesh and blood she’d cared for day in and day out.
The sweetest babies were her own, they were the ones she had loved without reservation, fearlessly drenched herself in the potion of mother-love, every one of the four had been a different intense love, fashioned special to fit the unique shape of their being. They had all grown tall and gone, strong and good. They were her final pride.
Each one had come back, as soon as they heard. Stood next to her right now, arms around her shoulders taking in the shock of the sound. Twenty one times she jumped as the echoes of each bullet ripped the air.
It was a hero’s goodbye. They meant from the war, but she thought a real hero was a man who could be tender, a gift she was given in her forty decades of marriage. She reached inside her pocket and touched the familiar string. Fingered it up and down, feeling the knots, she thought about the word hero.
What did it take to fight in some war years ago? Nothin’ but the foolishness of a young man all puffed up with brave intentions, no understanding of the suffering that is the real shape of war. A real hero fought for a chance to ease the daily burden of just living with a kindness now and again. The world and she just didn’t see it the same, this hero business.
She had watered the urge to be tender in her kids. She started from the first moment she touched them, pouring love onto them, encouraging the tears of compassion and telling them constantly about the string of love they had inside. When they were just old enough to understand, around five or six, she had given them each a string, straight and strong enough to take them through the years. She told them to tuck it away all private, but close enough to touch in a moments notice.
“It’s your special place of comfort, fashioned just for you.”
She remembered the bedtime litany she had pressed into her young ones ears. “You got a string inside you as strong and real as anything around you,” she had whispered in the night.
“It’s a string of love, just follow it up your belly, see it going through your heart and up your head. Might be silver or gold or green, all of our strings are different, but still the same. It might get tangled, now and again, and you can spend time settin’ it straight. When you feel big love you just make a special knot and when you need something to hang on to there it will be. Some people’s strings are all tangled up and knotted and they don’t know to set it straight. You can’t fix that really, but sometimes just seeing your string of love is enough to make them work on their string, and that’s a good thing. But mainly, your job is to keep your string straight with strong knots of your own makin’. When you see a tangle you got to get to workin’ it out, pry and pull and tug until that tangle is gone. Sometimes you’ll have a knot and it’ll get bigger and bigger. It’ll be your favorite knot, why I’ve had some for years.” She’d reach in her apron pocket and pull out her string and show them.
“I make a new knot each time I love big. See, there’s a knot for each of you children. Sometimes it comes time to undo a special knot. There comes a time of letting go. You’ll know then what is as true as the sky above us, sometimes love is for hangin’ on to and sometimes it’s for lettin’ go.” She’d always pause then, letting silence honor the words.
“It’ll grow with you, just like your feet are growing right now. It’ll be with you from the time you run until the time you are buried under. Some people don’t hang on to their string, or even know it’s there. You can’t fix their knots for them, but sometimes just seeing your string of love is enough to make them remember theirs.”
Now came the sound of the dirt hitting the box. She watched in silence as each shovel was filled and dropped. She put her hand inside her coat pocket, feeling her string, and traced it top-to-bottom. Stopping on each knot her eyes filled up with the love she felt, the face that she remembered as she traced the knots one by one. Love remembered.
Love pure and strong.
And then she found the big knot on the end.
She pulled out the string and started to work on it, releasing it measure by measure.