Tuesday, September 29, 2020

My Wednesday Wish is That You Visit My New Website: brynnebetz.com



In honor of having 100,000 blog reads, I decided to meet the world yet again, with heart wide open. A new website, a new chapter, a hopeful new energy for this new world we're all growing into, together.

 

Be sure to sign up on the new website so you get notifications of new posts. The sign-up button is on the ‘blog’ page on the top right corner. It says ‘Log in/Sign up.’

 

Thank you for your continued support. I appreciate you all so very much!

 

After all, my heart is also yours.



*          *          *


Click here to be directed to the new website: www.brynnebetz.com


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Wednesday Wish (165); Look to the Artist, Within

  

photo found via googleimages 


She didn’t have almond eyes like so many of her friends. They were big and round, as if they were made for catching every last bit of beauty. Her black hair was curly, not straight, and her fingers were so long she could wrap her hands nearly halfway around the biggest tree trunk in her whole backyard. And when she laughed, flowers just up and dropped their petals. I always guessed it was because they must’ve felt so happy that they couldn’t keep up appearances any longer, that they just had to let go. So let go they did. Nearly every single day in the Spring and Summertime her whole front yard was covered in fluffs of petals. Blue and yellow and pink and the prettiest purples you ever did see. There was nothing like it anywhere on earth, at least not that I ever heard of. If you saw it, you mighta thought of it as a reflection of the rare girl who lived inside. Yep, Tessa Tulemon was different. Very different. And this made her feel so very much alone.

 

When people asked her how she was, she didn’t ever answer with a lie. She told the truth. That meant that sometimes she answered with, ‘joyous’ or ‘crumbling’ or ‘uncovering beauty’, but never just plain old ‘good’ or even the more grammatically correct, ‘doing well’ because those words were never rich enough to describe the depth of what she felt. No, they weren’t even close. You see, Tessa Tulemon felt things deeply. Very deeply. Both her sadness and her joy. And that was just the beginning. Of her feeling so very much alone.

 

When she passed by a stranger, she felt their aches, their pains, and sometimes even their fears. When she thought of someone in her imagination, bringing them so close and clear she thought she might be able to touch them, she could feel what they were carrying, too. It was a curious thing though, that somehow only the pains and sorrows of others called out to her, that they sang the loudest instead of their joys. She always figured it was because the painful had nowhere to go, that their owners banished them, whereas the joys were asked to stay for tea and dinner and dreamtime, too. The joys didn’t have a chance to wander off. Even so, even with all the silent knowings of strangers, Tessa still felt so very much alone.

 

One day, a particularly brave day, she decided to visit the art museum. She walked up the steps and through the big double doors, the cool air welcoming her with a fresh gust. For a moment she stopped. She listened. She felt. And she knew where to begin, which room beckoned. Once again, her red shoes clicked upon the tile floor. Her black curls bounced. And her spirit bounced alongside, just as it always did when she went where she was called. 

 

As she turned the corner into the big room filled with paintings and sculptures, Tessa gasped. It was the one who called her. Speaking with color. With emotion. With soul splayed out on the canvas so raw and real that it was almost too much for her to take in at once. She fell to her knees, struck, but set free, overwhelmed with a flavor she’d never once imagined could exist. 

 

‘Who are you?’ whispered her mind.

‘What are you doing to me?’ tickled her heart.

‘She’s remembered her deep and rich Home within!’ sang her spirit with fierce loyalty.

 

 

*          *          *

 

  

During difficult times we ache for answers. We often feel lost and alone when we can’t find them.

 

Those who feel deeply, those who bare their souls through color, through sound, through poetry, will show you the path that eased their answers into the world, from them to you, a road map to use as a template for your own. . . 

 

To go within.

To find the colors, the sounds, the poetry that most resonate with who you are.

To first free you from your heart’s heavy burdens,

And to then remind you that embedded within the expression of your unique self are the answers you’ve been seeking.

The Divine within

Showing you your path forward

From darkness to light.

From sadness to illumination.

From unknown to welcome Home.


 

*           *         *

  


Sadness is a normal feeling, a natural place to be during these times—when the world we once knew seems to be crumbling before our eyes and the new one has yet to be formed. But for many of us raised in North America, sadness isn’t a comfortable place to be. We’re told to make the best of things, to look for the positive, to turn our frowns upside down, as if being sad is something to be ashamed of, a message that we’ve somehow failed. Failed to find the happy, to be the happy, to birth the happy from whatever it is that’s going on around us or within us. Sadness feels dark.

 

But if the light is always the brightest in the dark, maybe it’s not as dark as we think.

Maybe it’s a blank canvas.

Waiting for our soul’s illuminated paintbrush.

 

Your soul’s illuminated paintbrush.

 


*          *          *

 


I ache to have that picture on my wall.

I need to hear that song again.

I lose myself in his sculptures.

I find myself in her poetry.

I recognize a piece of my soul.

I remember a part of who I am.

I feel more alive, more hopeful, more me. 

I am not alone.

 

Go there. Be with the depth that you feel. Immerse yourself in art. From others. Then create your own. Art. And from the depth you carve out in that sacred space within—with color, with sound, with poetry of your own—will undoubtedly emerge your unique path forward, a path of fresh perspective rooted in the soul of who you are. 


Home.



Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Wednesday Wish (164); The Sacred Secret Within

photo via googleimages

Charlie woke me up the other day. I didn’t know it was Charlie when I first heard the noise; I discovered that later. Not just that it was him, but that his name was actually Charlie. At first glance, he seemed like an ordinary bird, an ordinary cardinal. But the longer I watched him in my nightgown, the more certain I was that he was anything but ordinary.

It started with the pecking of his reflection in my car’s side mirror. Then he went on to the other side. After that, he took issue with the sunroof, the rest of the car’s windows including the front, and finally, in the afternoon, the glass door of our house. Each place, he pecked and pecked and pecked. And pecked so hard, he made himself bleed, leaving little squiggly lines of blood wherever he worked.

It all started around the time the virus broke out. The level of ‘is this real?’ and ‘yep, this is real but it’s also unbelievable’, kept rising. We stopped seeing friends. We stopped going out to eat. We even stopped grocery shopping, ordering everything online or via curb-side pick-up. The world grew quiet and the world grew loud. The air grew still, and it suddenly took on a strange new intensity. Some days I felt overwhelmed with gratitude that we were able to be safe at home. Other days I felt overwhelmed with sadness for all the suffering just beyond our reach. Most of the time though, I didn’t even know how to pick out just one feeling for there were far too many swirling around my head to fully own just one.

Meanwhile, there was Charlie, pecking away at the car. 

Every. Single. Day. All day.

I like to think of myself as more tuned-in than I used to be, more available to receive messages from the universe. But this . . . had me baffled.

What was his message? What was this red bird no bigger than my hand trying to tell me? Was I banging my own head against the wall as I tried to decipher this new world we were living in? Or was it even stronger? Was I somehow killing myself? Or did he instead, represent the state of the world? Are we banging our heads against some invisible force that will ultimately kill us if we don’t stop? And if this little bird only pecked at places where he saw himself, where he saw no more than a reflection of himself, are we too, real or imagined, our own worst enemies? 

With all questions and no answers, I did what I so often do, I called my mom-- my wise, nature-loving, heart-centered mom.

         ‘What in the heck?’ she said. ‘I’ve never heard of such a thing. Could you send me a picture?’

So I did.

But together, even with the visuals, we were no further along in deciphering his behavior, in understanding why this beautiful little bird seemed intent on destroying a reflection of himself.

And then it dawned on me.

In the era we’re walking out of, almost every answer could be found by searching outward for what we sought. From encyclopedias to the internet, from books to newspapers to asking experts or quizzing those who’ve gone before us, there was always a way to find the answers to our questions. They were undoubtedly somewhere out there waiting for us to discover them.

The era we’re walking into feels markedly different to me. It’s like a fog rolling in that we can see but can’t fully grasp, that we can breathe in, but if asked about its scent, we struggle to describe. It has a slight chill; it’s moisture but not wet; its gentle with a slight threat; and it’s blocking our luminous sun.

What if the answers to my questions about the little red bird intent on hurting himself didn’t live anywhere outside of me, but only within? What if the same is true of our world today and of all the questions we struggle to answer? What if the fog around us is begging us to use this time, this quieter time at home, more alone than maybe we’ve ever been before, to go within? What then, will we find? Maybe more questions at first? Maybe a big gob of feelings roaring its head, those we stored away to deal with later, when we had the time? And maybe, if we dwell there long enough, maybe we’ll begin to unfurl the answers we journeyed there to find. With silence. With intuition. With a deep trust that this new era is actually inviting us within to find the answers we need. For our future. For our sanity. For our happiness.

So what did I find within? How did the little bird’s actions speak to me when I gave myself the time to listen to the wisdom of my inner self?

*Trying to keep busy in the face of an invitation to slow down is crazy making.
*Acting as if we can somehow mitigate the changes to our world is like banging our heads against the wall.
*Everything in nature struggles. But struggle also enables us to truly live.
*Soften your stance and life will hurt far less. It might even make you giggle.
*Love yourself. Still more.
*See your beauty and life will reflect that beauty.
*Don’t be distracted by stationary reflections of the past; keep on flying, forward.
*Many things might look sad on the surface, but there’s often a deeper gift underneath. 
*Maybe the ‘why’s’ aren’t where we need to focus. Maybe there are bigger questions beyond the ‘why’s’ that will only emerge if we give ourselves enough time to reflect, within.
*And maybe most importantly, use those wings of yours to fly!

Oh, and his name. . . ? He asked to be called Charlie after my uncle who always made me laugh as a child. Much like my uncle, my little red bird helped me rediscover the gifts in the pain, the joy in the seemingly mundane, and the silent wisdom beneath my questions, wisdom I unknowingly hid like a sacred secret within.


Thursday, July 16, 2020

Hope for Our World



How do we find hope that a better world awaits?

We begin by tuning-in to the signs, by looking within, instead of out. By looking around, instead of up. And by thinking of the greater good, instead of only ourselves.

When we do, a striking truth begins to emerge : 

The definition of strength and power is shifting.
Masculine-principled power is dying.

The strength of the new era we’re embarking upon
 is one rooted in feminine principles.


It resonates with trust in our intuition, with gentle speak, with supportive notions of life through receptiveness and being our genuine selves.


It creates the conditions for a win-win world, where everything recognizes its connection to everything else.

*         *         *         

Where ‘all for one, and one for all,’ isn’t just a saying, but a truth.

 *         *         *       

Where ‘when you’re happy, I’m happier,’ is felt and lived by the majority.

*         *         *

Where ‘we’re only as strong as our weakest link,’ isn’t just effective team building, but a worldwide mantra.

*         *         * 

Come, take my hand . . . 
Together, let’s find our wisdom and our strength within, 
becoming the change we wish to see in our world.
*
For the rest of this article click here. 💕

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Wednesday Wish (163); Key to a Kinder World

photo by humancaring.org via googleimages

I stood in front of a group of seated men, their bodies squished into high school desks, each one dressed in dark green shirts and pants, each one arriving from very different paths, but all of them looking out from the very same bars. I had been working with them for months. Every Friday, I brought my toolbox of supplies: paper, paints and brushes, a boom box and cds, and a cloth bag filled with creative extras. I looked around the room, at the white-washed cement walls, the cold tile floor, the tiny window in the big steel door, and took a breath of air already laced with recirculated cigarette smoke. I tried not to decide what we would do before I arrived, trusting myself to tune in, to empathize with the group as a whole, to let them show me what they needed the most. 

One man fiddled with the snap on the cuff of his sleeve. Another tapped his fingers to a tune in his head. A third looked at me with eyes begging me to whisk him away. Their brains were bored. Their spirits beaten down. Their eyes windows to a world away.

I reached in my bag for a book, a book I often visited for an escape, myself. Without a word, I began to page through it, page after page of faces looking back at me with eyes not unlike the mens’ before me, faces with stories, faces with feelings, faces with hidden hurt. I stopped on the face of a child. She sat in a bucket, her hair wet, her mouth open, her nose pointed up as if she’d just felt chilly water wash over her. I turned the page around so the men could see it.

            ‘Tell me, what do you think this child is feeling?’

No one said a word. I brought it around it to each of them, giving them a minute to stare. When I’d made my rounds, I asked again.

            ‘If you were this child, what do you think you’d be feeling right now?’

Most gave me shrugs. 
A few shook their heads. 
And then one, one man, said ‘cold.’

            ‘Cold? Why is she cold?’

Friday after Friday, I shared different pictures from the same book, different faces with different eyes, expressions, emotions frozen in space and time.

Friday after Friday, their responses grew. From one word to sentences. From sentences to ideas, then stories and even arguments about which was more likely, less likely, overlooked, or forgotten. My quiet class had something to say. I had something even bigger to learn.

            ‘Ms. Brynne? You doing okay?’ 
            My neck kinked with surprise. 
            ‘Do you see something different about me?’
            He nodded.
            ‘What? Can you describe it?’
            ‘Your face is more tired than usual. Your shoulders are lower. Your smile doesn’t reach as high.’
            ‘Are you reading me like you’ve been reading our pictures?’
            ‘I ‘spose I am, Ms. Brynne. I ‘spose I am,’ he said with a sly smile.
            ‘Know what that’s called?’
            ‘No, Ma’am.’
            ‘Empathy. You’re empathizing with me.’


*         *         *


Two reports on long-term recidivism, the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend, showed very high arrest rates for both state and federal inmates. Over a recent nine-year study period, state inmates committing violent crimes returned to prison at a rate of 83%. 

There was, there is, one exception.

In a small town outside of Raleigh, North Carolina, a group of psychologists and mental health professionals run a program for sex offenders called the S.O.A.R. program. The program runs five days a week for twenty weeks, culminating with each of the participants acting out their crime, not playing themselves, but in this case, playing their victim. It is a day of intensity like few others, a day each man is inevitably confronted not just with how they affected their victim, but how their victim actually felt. They grow empathy.

And the results?

Recidivism rates for inmates who complete the S.O.A.R. program have repeatedly turned out to be far lower than the rates for inmates committing any other crime, that is, lower than inmates committing homicide, murder, assault, robbery, harassment, and of course lower than those of sex offenders who didn’t complete the program. Graduates repeatedly show recidivism rates of 9-11%, numbers heretofore unheard of. 

Why?

Many other rehabilitation programs engage thousands of inmates across the country every day for every other crime or situation imaginable. As far as I can tell, none have shown the same success with recidivism rates as the S.O.A.R. program, because none, to my knowledge, teach empathy as effectively.


*         *         *

My Wednesday Wish for you?


Empathize.
With people very different than yourself.
Not just with your actions, but with your words—empathy, expressed.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Find a way to experience, to feel, what others feel.
Release others from their self-imposed, isolated prisons
Unlock the door to a new world
For you, for them, for every hopeful being
For every aching heart.


Empathy: a bright key to a kinder world.


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Wednesday Wish (161); Live the Questions


photo by david talley via google images

We're standing in a dark room but your hand is warm in mine so you’re aren’t alone, still you’re filled with questions, uncertain of what’s to come. We take a deep breath, together, the kind that makes your belly full and as we let it go, I light a candle. Suddenly you remember that the light is always brightest in the dark. And your heart softens, letting the silent secrets of that flickering flame infiltrate your entire Self . . .

Resurrect Your Creative Self
Creativity is in your DNA, it’s part of who you are. Just as red and yellow make orange, egg and sperm created you. You were born of creativity so you’re here to create. 
As a child, as an innocent being without all the baggage of your todays what were you drawn to, what did you love? Maybe a toy or a food or a time of day. Maybe a particular person or a song or an event. Pluck that goodness like an apple from a tree, from your past to your present bring it near, then put it like a candy on your tongue to savor its flavor, its feeling, its essence. You want to tell me about it, for me to feel its richness as my own. Do you use your hands? Do you use your body like charades? Or do you reach for another tool? How might you express, with depth beyond simple words, those feelings laced within memories that have been tucked away far too long? Can you sense, with your hand in mine, that now is the perfect time for the secret treasures of your past to be heard?
Because it is.
The universe is asking you to resurrect your creative Self. Not to continue along the same path or to shrink away in fear of the looming unknown, but to blossom into your deeper, more creative Self within, that Self that’s been hidden away for so very long. The room may be dark, but as we look into the flame you’re reminded again that the light is its brightest in the dark, a light that is, right now, your quiet, creative Self, a Self filled with unique and beautiful colors that our world needs to know, to hear, to see-- now more than ever.

Revisit Your Dreams
Like steam from a hot cup of tea, more unexpected treasures begin to emerge, to form wispy pictures. Again, you’re surrounded by darkness, and like before, you feel my warm, comforting hand inviting you to revisit the truths buried within, to return to the You you’ve so often forgotten. And there, formed from what seems like wisps of cloud, your find a dream. At first it looks silly, like a child who dreams of being a fairy or a superhero. But as you look closer, deeper, further back to when you used to dream big dreams, you realize that it was never silly, that in fact it had roots in real, meaningful, heartfelt urgings. 
I turn to you to ask you then: Are you living a life that truly resonates with who you once ached to be? Without words, you sit on the floor of that dark room, the flicker of the flame lighting up the very soul of your eyes, to question then yourself—am I living a life that truly resonates with who I always hoped and dreamt I would be? 

Appreciate What You Have
A new flavor suddenly whisks you away; you’re no longer in a dark room, but floating in a calm and comforting sea. It laps up around you, licking and soothing your skin like the sweetest puppy, like the most adoring love. With eyes closed you realize you’re surrounded by your life as it is now. All that you have, all that you know as being a part of your every day, holds you, cradles you, in the softest, most loving embrace. It is your life. And it is beautiful. Are those tears or is that the sea, feeling it all for you?
As you dream in your sea, you begin to wonder if you’ve forgotten to love and appreciate what you have. Right or left, up or down, it is your life and it is beautiful. You nod as you finally, fully, truly see.

Nurture Your Body
Invigorated by what you feel, remember, and see, you begin to swim. You reach and pull, you kick and push. You breathe in and out, feeling your lungs expand and contract with the salty sea air. You feel alive, invigorated by the power of your body. And another question finds you; When did I stop loving my body, stop nurturing the temple of my spirit and my soul? Look what I can do! Look at all the things I can feel and express and share! You smile at thoughts you didn’t have time to reflect upon before and your smile starts to spread not just throughout your body but to the people walking along the shore. When you smile, they smile. When you wave, they wave. When you love your Self, your body, they … the entire world … is encouraged to do the same.

Grow Your Consciousness
As your feet touch the sandy shore, as the sun begins to set, we walk together, our feet making side-by-side footprints in the sand. You ask me then how to live this new chapter of your life, this chapter with no rules or guidelines, a chapter that’s read as fast as it is written, but before I can answer, you speak, yourself . . .
Sustainable change never comes from outside, only from within. We may come from an era of ‘Just Do It’, of push change through no matter the cost, no matter the pain, but that time is fading. In its place, a new time is emerging, a time where the feminine principles of receptiveness, gentleness, intuition and a deep satisfaction in connection and giving, are revered above all else. Now, instead of looking for answers like we used to, we need to live the questions, questions that will bring us to the quiet voice within, to the silent truths aching to be heard. There is where we will find the ‘ah-ha’ moments, the gifts embedded in plain sight that will reveal our richest, most sustainable paths forward. 

Like the flicker of a candle in a dark room, living the questions invites us to see the light, the truth, the way, in all of its illuminated perfection, perhaps brighter than it's ever been before.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Lessons in Vulnerability



photo via elephant journal


Fighting fears? Struggling with uncertainties? Feeling imprisoned? Not really sure who to trust or even sometimes what to do?


Maybe your wisest answers lie within, in the quiet, gentle space we all too often neglect. And maybe this is the perfect time to remember.

A gift from my heart to yours via Elephant Journal. Click Here. ❤️

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Wednesday Wish (160); Illuminated Empathy

photo via googleimages

She wasn’t like the rest of her family. They were rushed and tight and talked loudly even when they stood right next to each other. They never noticed flowering weeds or the little critters that liked to sit on the side of the road watching the cars go by. They didn’t quiver when the rain hit the roof making it’s beautiful music, or realize how wonderful the wood floor felt when it baked in the winter sun. And the magical shapes of clouds? To them, just different ways for the annoying buggers to block the sun. 

Her family might’ve appreciated such things if they could first see them. But they didn’t. They didn’t see any of it. None of it at all. 

Now before you wonder why she didn’t show them what they were missing, I’ll tell you, she tried. Many times. Each time though, they’d just chuckle, telling her that she needed to join the real world, recommending such membership sooner than later with a patronizing pat to her messy, long-haired head.

Maybe that’s why she got so good at reading people. Knowing their intent before their action softened their unconscious blows, a honing that grew early on like instinct. Subtle signs, guidance from her gut, a deeper level of empathy, protected her, helped her avoid the hurt that came from being outside the circle of average. 

When a car drove up she knew the driver’s mood and hurried from her basking on the toasty wood floor to the kitchen where she’d make herself busy, armored with to-do’s. When someone walked in, she knew their mood before they spoke. She knew what to do before she could be hurt. And, in time, she was able to help them soften whatever weights they carried, for feeling them herself, she carried them, too.

Her knowing grew so well-honed that some called her psychic. And maybe she was. Or maybe she just walked the same path so many times that its well-worn way became second nature.

Until one day, many years later . . .

. . . when, like too much icing, it all grew too heavy, caving in the beautiful cake underneath it all. Her co-workers called it burn-out. They knew it well, had seen it all too many times before. ‘Harden up’, they said. ‘Yep, block it out. It’s the only way’.

But she just couldn’t join that circle either. It felt as wrong as wool in the summertime.

She thought back to when she was a little girl wishing her family could see and began to wonder if that was what she needed, too. Fresh eyes. So she invited herself to see with new sight, to be present to that which she had not yet seen before.

And soon, with eyes looking outward (not inward), she began to see colors.

He was yellow when he needed more control. She was green when she was centered in her heart. He was blue when his truth was stuck, when he swallowed words that needed to be spoken, and when he was red that told her he'd forgotten his roots, that he felt so very lost. 

She didn’t need her gut, her insides, to understand or to keep her safe anymore for she’d expanded her seeing past her default, past her learned interwoven-ness with others and into seeing those same others with an outward looking heart. She didn’t need to embody to empathize when she could see others where they were, their colors worn like glowing cloaks. 

Such empathy didn’t deplete her. Instead, her fresh sight enhanced both her and those around her in ways that weren’t possible before. With her gut free she had more of herself to solve problems, more of her energy available to love people where they were. Seeing colors, she grew more empowered, empowering then, those around her.


*         *         *


Those who empathize know what it means to feel things in their gut. But fewer know how to see with fresh eyes, eyes of love that reveal the colors people wear. Just as we learn to empathize with our gut, we can also expand that empathy to include new sight. An embodiment of the little things that make life magic, a faith in the ever-present presence of magic, acts as a catalyst, softening us to an even deeper beauty waiting to be revealed, waiting to be seen in all of its magnificent splendor. 

Invite yourself to soften your sight into fresh loving eyes, 
to step beyond the circle of average
into a sea of colorful extraordinary.


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Wednesday Wish (159); The Wisdom of Weeds




The path is warm under her feet. Sprinkled with pine needles, rich brown dirt, and a few jagged stones, she walks on it slowly, sensing beyond the obvious—the scent of twilight, the sound of hushed air, the depth of no people. She thinks she’s being drawn deeper into the forest, to a space that’s breathed wisdom into her wandering self so many times before. But as she nears the turn that would take her there, she notices a tug. So she stops. The invitation is gentle, as soundless as a leaf floating down to touch the ground. And even though it’s unfamiliar, still, it resonates with Truth. So she listens. With every fiber of her quietest Self, she listens, hoping to connect to the silent wisdom reaching out to her.

After some time, she finds herself along the edge of the forest, her feet no longer on a path of another’s making, but on one of her own. Weeds lay bent behind her from the weight of her feet, from the push of her toes; weeds stretch out before her, beckoning her ahead. Soon she stands in the middle of a field, her body encircled with weeds. There are shades of green, too many to count, their shapes and flow as playfully varied as rides at a carnival. Wind reveals a hidden few. A butterfly lights up a chosen two. And as the colors soften into golden, so does she, at peace in her place.

She sits down. The weeds tower around her as if she’s shrunken to the size of a field mouse. She breathes in their sweet green scents. She trembles with the tender caress of the wind as if she's already one of them, with the warm encouragement of the sun, as if her feet have suddenly grown tendrils, sinking into the earth. She softens still more, and slowly, with little effort, begins to receive—the wisdom of the weeds. 


*          *          *


You may stomp on us, cut us down as low as you think we can go, you may even try to kill us, but we are resilient and will always find a way to return to our once vibrant, life-loving selves, even if it means planting our seeds elsewhere, in soil that’s more fertile, more welcoming, more open to our gifts.

Others may call you ugly or slimy or creepy, but to us, you are warmth, you are soul, you are beautiful, and you are always welcome here.

Shallow roots in infertile ground keep us thriving longer; this way our thirst is quenched by even the smallest of drops.

Depth comes when we’re planted in rich, fertile soil.

We know the difference between fertile and infertile soil and act accordingly.

We may look happier in rich soil but we're able to find joy in living wherever we’re planted.

We innately know how to infect our surroundings with seeds of hope.

We cannot thrive on sun alone. We also need bouts of rain.

We know we aren’t alone, that we exist not just for our selves, but for one another. We help the birds, the bugs, the critters of all shapes and sizes, and they each and often, in their own time, help us. We are here for one another.


*          *          *


Wisdom finds her through the soundless voice of weeds. She is reminded of her resilience, of her strength even in shallow times, of her capacity to overcome any adversity, and of her natural abilities to grow and even thrive wherever she is, no matter the happenings around her.

She then reminds each one of us that we are never, by nature's design, ever alone. And especially not in a field of all-welcoming weeds.

Listen with me.
Listen to the soundless voice of nature. 
Listen. 
Listen to the wisdom under your feet, 
brewing in your once free, 
untamed soul.
And tell me,
tell me
you don't taste hope.


Sunday, July 28, 2019

A Story for You to Finish . . .


photo found via googleimages

She washed the body as she did all the others, starting at the neck and shoulders and moving down the arms to the fingers. Other than the face, which was always left for last, she spent the most time washing the fingers. If no one else was waiting, she might even massage them a little, taking care to bring any lingering bits of life back into them, and especially for an open casket. It was the last time for the people left behind, the last time for them to see their beloved, and with their beloved’s eyes closed, surely they’d look to the fingers. Didn’t everyone know that the eyes weren’t the only windows to the soul?

The woman’s fingers were well kept, obviously manicured until the very last day of her life and yet there was something unusual about them, something slightly unnerving. It was as if they weren’t quite void of life even before she massaged them. Something still seemed to pulse through them. And even though it was entirely impossible, somehow the fact that they didn’t look dead was irrefutable. As if that wasn’t enough, the first finger on each hand stuck out.

She sat down to collect herself. She was a professional and this was a dead body not a canvas for her imagination. With a deep breath and a few stern words to herself, she was back at the table, continuing her work. And yet there it was again. The nagging sense that this body, these fingers, still had something left to say and she was the only one left to listen.

She shook her head. She opened and closed her eyes. She took another deep breath and begged strength to find her. And then, against all training and in contradiction to all logic, she succumbed. To the returning inevitable truth—the fingers of her deceased client spoke.

She moved the woman forward, as if to help her sit up, resting the deceased’s head upon her shoulder. And when her hands found the woman’s back, she wondered if this was what she was called to witness. For beneath her own fingers, she felt ridges, ridges where smooth skin should be. Gently, and with utmost care, she dared to lift the woman’s shirt and found her entire back covered with small, equally spaced scars. From waist to neck and from side to side, this was a back that had endured unspeakable pain.

She moved the woman back down, laying her head with great care and as she did, noticed that one of the hand’s fingers rested together but the fingers of the other hand still did not. Was there more?

Did she dare?

Could she dare?

How could she not?

Another deep breath and the pearl buttons at the old woman’s belly opened up to reveal a second shocking discovery. Around her naval, as realistic and intricate as the living creature itself, was one of the most beautiful butterflies she had ever seen. It looked as if it were flying and yet there it was, a part of her skin. Was it a tattoo? But she had never seen a tattoo that fine before, the attention to detail something that belonged in a museum or at least somewhere it could be admired and shared.

She swallowed hard as she buttoned the old woman’s shirt, her heart beating out of her chest. Who was this old woman and what had she been through? Did anyone know her story? Or was she, the no-name hired to prepare the body for its final viewing, the last living soul to witness this old woman’s lifetime of secrets?

She looked down at the woman’s fingers and noticed, all at once, that each one rested as a unified whole, the last bits of life present only minutes before, now entirely gone. . .