Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday Wish (27+)

She drove as fast as she could without speeding. Well, maybe she was speeding. But didn’t everyone? And anyway, she had good reason to. She was late. Friends were coming over for dinner and she still hadn’t bought all the food. She pulled her black Range Rover into the closest spot she could find. Any further away was just calling for trouble. First, she could never walk very far in her favorite heels and second, parking further away only tempted jealousy’s fate. No one liked to see a perfect rich girl getting out of a Range Rover during an economic downturn. She wasn’t stupid. Beautiful yes, but stupid, no way. Alysin put the Rover into park and flipped open the visor mirror to check her face. Perfect. Just as she expected. She raised her chin and gave herself a haughty smile. God, I love my life.

Fiona looked up at the tree that was shadowing her path. She loved to see bare branches in the winter time, their silhouettes against the icy sky always inspired her, reminded her of the gifts of cold even when she had holes in her coat and not enough money for a new scarf. She was on her lunch break. On her way to the grocery store. Not to buy anything, mind you, but to visit the flowers. The flowers always made her smile and especially on the coldest of winter days. It was as if they were made of hope, pure hope, something she thought everyone could use a dose of now and again.

Alysin hobbled into the grocery store, sprayed the cart with disinfectant before she put her gloved hands anywhere near it, then found her path blocked by some airhead with holes in her coat who was, what was she doing…smelling flowers?
“Excuse me,” she said with her trademark annoyance. My lord, what is the woman doing now? Is she diving into the poor flower? Alysin had never seen anyone smell a flower with such..such…she didn’t know how to put it but it wasn’t normal, she knew that much. Must be some nut-so affected by the economic downturn. There were a lot more of those lately, that was for sure. “Ex—cuse me…,” she said again, this time a lot louder.
Fiona jumped. “So sorry. I was just….Alysin?”
            “Yes? Do I know you?” Alysin did know her, but at that moment she couldn’t think. Not a bit. Her eyes were too lost on the beauty of this woman’s face. She glowed. And not with a typical beauty, something more. It was as if her beauty glowed from within. What was it about her that made Alysin feel like crying. And so suddenly…where was this coming from?
            “Alysin, its me, Fiona. From high school. Are you alright?” Fiona touched her shoulder with gentle care. “Here, maybe you are like me, maybe you need a little hope. Try this…” And she leaned over to hand Alysin the flower she had just been smelling herself.
            Alysin sniffed it, her shoulders high, her smile tight.
            “Oh no, no. Hasn’t anyone ever taught you how to really smell a flower? Here, like this….” 

And as Fiona buried her face in that lovely gift of flower, inviting her old friend to do the same, Alysin’s tears finally did come. They came and they didn’t stop, not for a very, very long time. Or at least that’s what I think I saw from the parking lot, my bare branches silhouetted against the icy blue winter sky….

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My Wednesday Wish for You?

To bury your face in a flower this week. To throw snobbery to the wind, to rip off any chains, to let your naked heart experience the gift of flower in front of as much of the world as possible, preferably in a grocery store where so few people do any ‘seeing’ other than their own agenda, day in, day out.

You see, smelling a flower isn’t just a nasal experience. It’s a full facial experience. Flowers aren’t made of soft petals for no reason. They are that way because they are also meant to be felt. And when they are, when you actually connect with a flower, they plant their seeds within you. Seeds of hope, of belief in the magic of life, of beauty and of love.

People may stray, but sometimes, like Alysin, sometimes they are just a mere flower’s scent away from getting back in touch with their hearts. And maybe, just maybe, your daring to really smell a flower in public might affect another needy heart enough to do the same.

Wednesday Wish (27)

When your heart is still
And your mind runs rabid
When the cold reaches in
And the warmth leaches out
Will you shut down?
Close the shades and lock the doors?
Or will you open the windows
To let the breeze
Ruffle your drapes
And flutter your skirts
As you forgot it could.
Will you ignore the urge to kiss
Or welcome the pain
That may follow
To let the cold win
Or to have hope that
The scent of a flower
Will outwarm
Your ice.

Has a secret
Its petals
Are soft
Its gifts are real
And butterscotch.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday Wish (26)

The office was warm but not hot. The color of the carpet didn’t matter nor did the color of the walls. But the lighting, from a small lamp beside the couch, did. It was golden and kind, like the softness of an afternoon sun after a lazy summer day.

One of the walls was covered in books. They were neatly packed like smiling soldiers, each one begging to be chosen over the rest. A candy store for the escape-inclined. A memory bank for the memory-declined. The other wall, ohh, how have I forgotten to tell you about the other wall? For that is my favorite part of the whole room. The other wall was an entire wall of windows. Floor to ceiling. And beyond that thin glass was one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen. No matter the season, no matter the time, the flowers spoke, the leaves trilled, the trees, they whispered and hovered and helped me see. Helped all of us to see…

*           *           *

The young woman with the red hair sat in the chair with the high sides. The comfy one with her back to the wall of books, her eyes drawn to the lush gardens outside. She barely looked at the therapist who sat across from her, a woman who seemed to linger deeply on the red haired angel with eyes lit from within. They had been talking for weeks and this day, this is what they said…

            “You see the potential in others, my dear, but I’m afraid their reality, it often times eludes you.”
            “You see with a deeper eye, the eye of your soul. You see what others are at their best, but not who they always choose to be.”
            “I am flawed.” She hung her head down with a sigh. “I make people feel bad about themselves.”
            “Is it flawed or gifted to see someone at their best?”
            The red haired angel raised her head, her eyes wide, vulnerable, brave. She swallowed a lump and began,  “Yes, it is flawed but my flaws enable me to live a more beautiful life. A mystic life. Painful, for I continually watch people choose to live as something less than what they really are, but beautiful because I am able to see with my soul. I taste essence every day and essence… is always love.”
The therapist turned her head to look outside into the garden. “The oak tree lives in the acorn but it is rarely seen. For most of us, the acorn is just a pretty seed. We forget to look within, to truly see. You teach us to see.”
And the red haired angel grew a happy tear and said, “It was never just an acorn. Never to me.”

uacescomm photostream, via flickr
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My Wednesday Wish For You?

To see others with the eyes of your soul this week, to see their essence, the oak tree that lives within the acorn. But how? First, take a deep breath and remember. Remember because you know. You know how to see. Open your heart. Listen. And see. Second, if that memory is buried so deeply you don’t even know where to look, then try these exercises to remind you that you do, to remind you of something I promise you, you already know how to do.

1. When you see someone after not seeing them for a while, see them with fresh eyes. Forget the past. All of it. Wipe the slate clean. Let them reinvent themselves, every time. Yes, difficult. No, not impossible. You are up for the challenge. Remember, baggage clouds sight.

2. Look into eyes. Don’t analyze, let yourself swim naturally. What do you feel when you gaze into her eyes? Do you dive in, feel welcome and free? Or do you find the water cool, too cool for swimming? Is she afraid? Was she hurt earlier today? Is she hiding herSelf? Move with her, let your feelings be your guide.

3. Don’t focus on words, listen for feelings. Hers and your own. What is she really saying? Does she resonate with a harmonious chord? Or do you feel jagged edges, sharp pricks, b-flat? Sink into what you are given, never pry, and open your own heart as a welcoming gift for her own.

4. Love. Simple but profound, yes love. Find that place within yourself where you are most at peace, most centered, most who you are. Dwell there. Get your rhythm before you leave. Then take that essence, your own, and come out into the breezeway. Breathe in your strength. Stand tall. And walk, one step at a time. Be in your love and you will see love in others, too. Be in your essence and you will see the essence of others, too.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday Wish (25)

Here, take my hand, it is warm and friendly and holds yours with a kindness you had forgotten. Here, take my hand, I have something I want to show you….

In the elbow of your afternoon, when your day has slowed enough for you to sit down and take a breath, you remember. An invitation. Not spoken. Or written. But something like a memory, a secret summon, just for you. You didn’t question, you just nodded. And closed your smiling eyes…

Your feet walk barefoot on a cobbled street. They don’t hurt. They are warm and happy to be on their way. Your head is toasty too, heated by the sun, your face awake, your eyes alive, open to this new and unfamiliar, familiar world, inviting it all in…

Beside the banana trees, nestled like a portal to another world, you see the rough-hewn wooden door. You remember it from a far away place and turn to knock, but not before you run your fingers along its carefully carved ridges, along its smooth-bumpy skin. And as you do, the latch opens with a gentle clack and the door creaks open…

You step up and onto the flagstone path. Freshly watered, the heat beneath you is humid, enveloping, like a green house for your toes. You smile at your senses. They haven’t been this alive in a very long time. Your eyes search for someone, anyone who can tell you that you are in the right place. But then you realize you don’t need someone to tell you that. You know you are. Maybe you just wanted a face to echo your joy, to welcome you home to your sensory garden…

You meander along a narrow passageway, beside a vine-covered wall, the bricks barely peeking out, but more than any worry you have. Those are all deeply tucked away. Back in your other world, the world that mattered more, or so you used to think. Your nose rises up, the scents trickle down—first the sea, then the rest. Your shoulders inflate, your smile broadens, your energy lightens even more, oh how is this even possible, you say to your grateful heart. The roses, the gardenias, the herbs and tropical spices, you inhale the life, the pulsing energy of your sensory garden, the evening of your dreams…

Your eyes dance but with a calm and contented kind of sway, seeing things for the first time but you know not the last---the dark and glossy leaves dripping with water, humming with heavy, humid air, the speckled insects and cooing birds, the little gecko peeking from beneath his umbrella leaf, each one as much a part of this world than the next, all an integral part of the whole. You hear the fountain, follow the path deeper, deeper into this lush and enveloping world…

And then, you realize you need to sit. Just for a second. So you do. Beneath the palapa fronds and beside the cloth-laden table as if the chair was there waiting for you. And when you do, just then, you hear a faint tingling of bells. Bells? You cock your head with curiosity. A new scent. The scent of a woman. Someone you know but had almost forgotten. She comes bearing gifts, foods you didn’t know you ached for, treats she knew your senses craved…

Welcome, my friend, welcome to our garden. It was just mine, but now it’s yours, too.  I’m so glad you heard my call. I’m so happy you decided to come. I’ve been wanting you to visit for some time. Here, take my hand once more, and this time, tell me your heart, the heart I have so longed to hear...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wednesday Wish (24)

the air she breathes..
Photo by dream_maze via flickr
Late at night, after everyone has gone to sleep, when the worries from my head seep out and run far, far away, when the ocean crashes in the distance and the bugs hum a sleepy tune, late at night when mySelf is a blank and malleable place, when the air is heavy with intrigue, when my senses pulse with inner magnets, yes then, that is when the magic magic happens. Tonight, I breathed in a scent. His scent. A scent I hadn’t thought of in many, many moons. He came to me on a wisp of an ocean breeze, carried with intention. His or mine, I do not know. But intention, nonetheless. So I got up. Out of my cozy incubating nest to send him an email. His scent told me he needed love. He was struggling and needed love.

Everyone has a scent. Not the scent of soap or deodorant or perfume or cologne. Not even laundry detergent or the metallic spices that emerge after exercise. Those are notes, maybe, but not the entire chord. The scent I’m talking about is one’s essence, something you can sense most clearly when you are a short distance away, close enough to see with your eyes and far enough to breathe in with first, just your imagination.

Many times when I breathe in a person, my nose senses desserts—maybe a butter cream icing with a funny flavoring, or a dark chocolate mousse saturated in some sort of liquor. Other times, it finds pictures of herbs or flowers, or places...a library, a brand new Best Buy, an ancient fern-laden forest. And still, I breathe in scents that I cannot yet decipher. Not until I am once again home in my cozy nest of a bed, when that person comes to me on the back of a humid nighttime breeze do I realize what their scent really is, its essence as obvious as my own daughter’s who sleeps right beside me.
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My Wednesday Wish for You?

To return to scented imagination. You know, the nose is one of imagination’s best friends. Not the imagination that raises eyebrows and create smirks. But the imagination that creates dreams and resurrects forgotten ideas into pulsing realities, a gift we all have and at some point learned to relegate to the farthest corners of our ‘pointless’ closets. So here’s your summon. Dust it off, your forgotten imagination. Give it back some of its paint peeling medals. Those you were born with, the ones you earned on the playground in kindergarten when you made the prettiest apple pie out of sand. And when you are ready, give that imagination baton to your trusty nose, that friend that just wants to be believed in to show you things that most people never ever dream of their entire lives, a world within a world that’s only a smidgen step away.  And why?  To see, to care, to share another’s journey as you secretly wished someone else might one day share your own. The scent of Clarice tells you that she is living under an oppressive shadow in her life. Not a person, but a perspective. Steve’s citrus tang tells you first, that his view his life has begun to sour and later, that he longs for a sweeter way to be. Listen to the scents. Read them like a wizard deciphers dreams. Interpret and watch as the barriers between you and others thin to the finest of ancient parchment. See. Care. Live a life of scented imagination. For imagination doesn't just embrace the entire world, it creates it.