Behind the Defiance

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Behind the defiance, a cold, empty space;

And I see it under the sneer on your face.

You say I’m irrelevant, dust on a shelf,

But with every word, you’re indicting yourself.

You rail you’re in charge and yourself you control,

But inside, you desperately long to be whole.

You veil with dismissal, and flip disrespect,

But your words reveal discontent you reflect.

While treating what’s good with eye rolls and disdain,

I see you attempting to hide from your pain.

The mocking, the sideways remarks made with glee –

But I know the target is not really me.

I’m not the real problem; I just play a part.

I’m merely a mirror reflecting your heart.

And it is not judgment that creates these rhymes

It’s sad resignation that these are the times.

And while the throng cheers at this upside-down world,

I’ll gladly take all of the insults when hurled.

It’s not condescension that creates this verse;

It’s fear of the truth that’s behind every curse.

For anger and apathy oftentimes hides

The emptiness that in a cold heart resides.

So I’ll take the bruises and every harsh blow

Because in the end there’s a comfort I know.

That even though now we may call darkness light,

The story’s not over, and truth wins the fight.

Yes, I’ll be a scapegoat if that’s what you need,

And inside I’ll pray that someday you’ll be freed.

Let’s Make a Memory Again

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Dancing through wildflowers, bare feet on the sand

Sitting in front of the fire holding hands

These are the dreams that I dream when the world has grown cold.

 

Watching bad movies and singing real loud

Hugging my children when they make me proud

These are the moments I’ll cherish when I have grown old.

 

And the days and the moments stretch out into tears

And we use all our memories to cover our fears

So that when we look back we can say we were fearless and bold

 

So let’s make a memory, dear

Now that we both are here.

Let’s take this moment slow and drink it all in.

 

If you’ll just hold me tight

And whisper all through the night

Then we can both face the morning and smile at the places we’ve been.

 

Let’s make a memory again.

 

One of these days when our living is done

And we look back on the race we have won

All of the moments will comfort us and keep us strong

 

Riches and power, they won’t be enough

All that will matter is how we have loved

And how many lifetimes we fit into one lifetime long

 

So let’s make a memory, dear

Now that we both are here.

Let’s take this moment slow and drink it all in.

 

If you’ll just hold me tight

And whisper all through the night

Then we can both face the morning and smile at the places we’ve been.

 

Let’s make a memory again.

 

How-To: the All-knowing Shortcut Around Authenticity

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I’ve been watching my computer screen as a video renders for a while now, and because there is nothing inherently honorable about watching a screen in silent stillness for two hours, I opened my kindle reader, scrolled past all of the novels, and settled on a book I purchased who knows how long ago – years at least.  It’s a book I hadn’t made it through the acknowledgements of yet.

The title of the Book is The Gifts of Imperfection, and it was written by Brene Brown.

I’ve already made notes and typed snippets for myself to read later (oh if only Kindle let you copy and paste).  But she shared a story that stopped me in my tracks.  You’ll have to read the book to get the specifics, but basically she was giving a talk at a country club, and when the woman in charge found out she studied shame and vulnerability, she freaked out and told Brene Brown to leave out the shame stuff, be light and breezy, and give a simple how-to for joy.  I’m going to share the words that smacked me below:

For the first time, I realized that the country club woman wasn’t out to sabotage my talk…Her list was symptomatic of our cultural fears.  We don’t want to be uncomfortable.  We want a quick and dirty “how-to” list for happiness.

I don’t fit that bill.  Never have.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to skip over the hard stuff, but it just doesn’t work.  We don’t change, we don’t grow, we don’t move forward without the work.  If we really want to live a joyful, connected, and meaningful life, we must talk about the things that get in the way.”

How to is a seductive shortcut, and I understand that.  Why cross the swamp if you can just bypass it? But here’s the dilemma: Why is “how to” so alluring when, truthfully, we already know “how to,” yet we’re still standing in the same place…”

This didn’t slap me because it shook up my comfort zone.  It slapped me because…YES! Yes.  I know…KNOW this is true.  Even after years of believing the lie that a shallow skate across the how-to checklists would “fix” everything, I know it wouldn’t.  It won’t.  Maybe when I’m really brave I’ll tell that story.  But for now suffice it to say, you cannot cure invasive cancer by putting a really pretty Band-Aid on it.  You cannot make a corolla into a Ferrari by taking the corolla body off and putting a Ferrari body on.  You cannot redo an old house with any stability if you ignore the shaky foundation that was caused by that flood ten years ago.  And you cannot make a dog into a cat just by teaching it to meow and wash itself.

I know because I tried.  I tried to ignore my shame, my life, my fears, my feelings, the motivations I had deep down inside (even of some of those motivations were lies).  I tried to ignore everything under the surface of my skin and create a new life with a checklist.  It doesn’t work.  Even the Bible says “be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” and calls believers a “new creation.” I really don’t think new creation means a new coat of paint and a toolbox with a list of rules.  Otherwise why would the original word for transformation be like the metamorphosis that occurs with a caterpillar.  He doesn’t just get wing stapled to his back and told to follow “these 5 steps exactly so you can fly.”  Nope.  He goes into a cocoon and is a completely different creature when he emerges.  And even the emerging is a painful task.  One that he must perform himself so that he can fly.

But…back to the book.  See, I think there is another insidious side to “how-to’s.”  If we have all the answers in a neat list (or someone else has all the answers and we decide to believe them), then not only can we skate over the discomfort, we can feel really good about how much we know and ignore our own niggling shame by shaming others who do not follow the same steps.  I think we balk at other’s search for vulnerability, meaning, and roadblocks as a way to distract ourselves from our own.

I’ll write another time about Brene Brown’s thoughts about love, but suffice it to say that she doesn’t see it as a mathematical equation.  If love is not a mathematical equation, then addition and subtraction aren’t enough to create or sustain it.  And if they aren’t, then the how-to’s that help us do the math aren’t enough either.  And boy is that scary…or freeing.

So I sit here celebrating the fact that a list is not enough.  Because I don’t want to live in a world where life consists of check boxes and leger sheets and not know the why of anything, and no one really knowing me.

So thank you, Brene Brown.  I’d rather be afraid of the depth than be parched in the puddle.

Possibility

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“I dwell in possibility”

The poet Emily Dickinson wrote

Of portraits not yet painted

And of music as yet without notes.

The inspiration’s hovering

Above the canvas smooth and still,

And yet I hold the paintbrush

Like a writer holds his  dripping quill.

The colors dance behind my eyes

And in my heart like butterflies;

I wonder what with colored flair

Will possibly be painted there.

It’s like a secret not yet heard,

A poem yet without a word.

But whispers dance along my skin,

They tell my paintbrush to begin.

I think it’s hope that gets set free

Dwelling in possibility.

 

 

Three Hats

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Three hats hang upon the shelf

Each one represents a self

All are worn at different times

Which I’ll describe with different rhymes

The hat of white is soft and sweet

Its gentleness and kindness mete

Compassion, friendly words, a smile

That asks one please to stay awhile

It bows its head and folds its hands

And always – always – understands

It is the core of values strong

And sings a good soul’s solid song

The dark hat speaks of inner things

Of my mind’s secret wanderings

Not necessarily all bad

Sometimes just quiet, sometimes sad.

It contemplates, and weighs and thinks

(And sometimes cries when life just stinks)

It is the hat that few may see

Because it’s the dark part of me.

The hat with colors, textures bright

Is full of love and laughter bright

It speaks of passion, gives it wings

And sometimes leads to naughty things

I must admit that on its post

It is the hat I love the most

It makes my heart fly, gives me wings

And is what makes desires to sing.

So which hat do I wear today?

And which hat should I put away?

If I would view my life as is

Which hat is best suited for this?

I think for comfort and for care

The white hat must adorn my hair

I need to bathe in kindness soft

I need to hold my heart aloft

The dark hat weighs too much to bear

And sadness, no, nor deep despair.

The colored hat must be a no –

All dressed up with no place to go.

And so for now I’ll soften self

And keep the others on the shelf.

The First Step

the first step

They say the first step is always the hardest –

Sometimes they are wrong.

Sometimes the first step is taken with drive and decisiveness

Because the first step is new

But as you step more

And what you are walking toward is a bit

Of a blur

And you can’t seem to stop looking back

At what you are walking away from…

The first step seems easy by comparison

To the fact

That you have to keep walking

Even when you’re really, really tired.

And you haven’t made it far enough yet

To realize that the past isn’t better than the future.