Category Archives: Living life to the fullest

What I Didn’t Know I Knew

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This is a guest blog I wrote for Matt Estes’ blog three years ago, but I can’t find that I ever posted it on my own blog, so here it is.  If you remember reading it here, I stand to be corrected:

When I was asked to write a guest blog about finding happiness in life, I wondered what I could say that wouldn’t appear to be trite. Then I decided that all truths of life are in their essence trite—because at heart they are what everyone eventually discovers if they choose to examine life as it occurs. They are also at the heart of most writing. It is only the words chosen to convey them that change from teller to teller. Here are some truths I have discovered as I get older.

I think I like writing because it teaches me what I’ve learned but might otherwise forget.

I guess we can’t really own beauty, but I’m enjoying it while it is possible!!!

I don’t really know what I think until I write about it.

Dogs adore us and expect things from us but probably don’t appreciate us that much. I think it is one doggie treat and then on to the next. Out of jaws, out of mind!!!

We have to be glad for what happens in our lives, not sad about what ceases to happen.

Life experiences are often like presents under a tree. Although we have not chosen them and though they are not what we expected, if we choose to unwrap them, we might find some wonderful surprises.

Even the terrible things in life have the seeds of some happiness in them. Many times this is our only consolation; and if you refuse to believe this, life is likely to be a terrible disappointment.

There are many friends who will seek to tell us the truth about ourselves, but a truly good friend will make us laugh in the telling.

In my friends, I seek my copies and my opposites. One reassures me that I am not alone in this world. The other shows me alternative possibilities.

Although I am not religious, I can’t deny that there is a huge creative force in the universe. The way I have discovered this is through finding it within myself.

I have a limited amount of patience for a limitless number of children. In a way this is the opposite of motherhood, although I think it makes for a very good schoolteacher.

My 4-year-old stepson called me his “wicker stepmother.” In spite of the fact that I had a huge basket collection, I don’t think he saw the pun; although I’m sure he saw the humor as he grinned wickedly every time he said it.

I was made strong by the most terrible things that happened to me in my life. I was rewarded by the good ones. I don’t think there is a scorekeeper evening out the game. I think we ourselves choose to find the rewards in what is offered to us. One man’s prize may be another man’s punishment. Point of view is everything.

It is much easier to spout philosophy of life from comfort than from pain. I know this and acknowledge that in any crisis situations I was not thinking about the significance of the experience. Flight or fight is one thing. Reflection about fight or flight is another.

About Me (revised to reflect current age and years of residence in Mexico): I am a 70-year-old woman who has lived on the shores of Lake Chapala in Mexico for the past 17 years. I grew up in South Dakota, received my Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction and Creative Writing at the U. of Wyoming and immediately emigrated to Australia. After teaching there for a year and a half, I traveled through Timor, Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Kenya before coming to roost in Ethiopia, where I lived for another year and a half and taught school. When the revolution that deposed Selassie made it necessary to leave Ethiopia, I taught high school English in Cheyenne, Wyoming for seven years before a very persuasive dream caused me to resign my job, sell my house and move to California to write full time. I studied screenwriting and film production at U.C.L.A. and apprenticed at a Hollywood agency, then worked for a TV production company for three years before marrying and moving to Northern California where I studied metalsmithing and papermaking and sold my jewelry as well as art lamps made in collaboration with my husband at arts and crafts shows across the nation. I was also the curator of the Santa Cruz Mountains Art Center for three years. In 2001, I moved to Mexico where I have continued to create mixed media assemblages and retablos, to publish four books and to write for several online and print magazines.

 

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This post was recognized by Matt, of Normal Happenings, for the “heliotrope magenta” Nice Job Badge!  Thanks, Matt!

(You can see Matt’s blog HERE.)

Shifting Fortune

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Shifting Fortune

Once we’re accustomed to being kissed,
life forms itself into a fist.

All things don’t go as they should.
There is no perfect neighborhood.

Fate twists and wiggles, turns upon us.
What seems good fortune just might con us.

The only thing that really controls us
is how we deal with what life doles us.

When days turn into what you hate,
do not sit and equivocate.

Do not make life one long debate.
Do not turn martyr.  Do not hate.

When others bluster and incite,
do not join their fruitless fight.

When misinformation’s at its height,
take a deep breath and choose insight.

It’s true some have more luck than others—
have more beauty, more faithful brothers.

The power you have is how you’re driven
to make use of what you’re given.

Be they tragedies or fortunes,
deal uniquely with what life apportions.

 

The word for the day way fortune!

Daring-do

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Daring-do

Once from our comfort we are torn—
from the first moment we are born—
we’re put into this world to do,
to suckle, gurgle, bill and coo,
then to stand and tie a shoe.
To participate, and not just view.

From a broomstick with horse’s head,
we go on to bust a bronc instead.
Playing drums or clarinets,
clicking heels or castinets,
from paper airplanes to flying jets,
doing’s as good as living gets.

We start out small and then get bigger.
Vine pod boats grow sails and rigger
to sail the world and tell the tales
of seas like glass, whirlpools and gales.
Each time you try out something new,
it brings more world inside of you.

Some things work out, others we rue,
but still it’s better to try and do
than put ourselves up on our shelves
and simply analyze ourselves.
Daring-do beats daring-don’t,
for life consists of “will,” not “won’t.”

 

The prompt word today was “Daring.”

Not Much Choice!

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                                                            Not Much Choice!

The prompt today is  Finite Creatures: At what age did you realize you were not immortal? How did you react to that discovery?

I wrote “I’ll Have to Go” to this exact prompt last November.  To see that poem, go HERE.

Offers

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When he asked me to marry him
and when we had to bury him–
these times inevitably set
wherein we find that we must let
nature have its way with us.
It does no good to rant and fuss.
Life’s made to reward, then abuse.
Its vagaries we can’t refuse.

All is part and parcel to
the next thing that we’re meant to do.
Good comes from bad and bad from good.
Birth, courtship, marriage, parenthood
fill our lives in marching order,
but every joy must have its border.
Birth leads to death. Love’s often lost.
To release life’s pleasures is the cost

of having and enjoying them.
Coal under pressure becomes a gem.
Remembering this must get you through
the next trial that’s set up for you.
Every day’s  an offer  you can’t refuse–
another pleasure to gain, then lose.
Life’s losses are also its seeds.
We lose our wants to gain our needs.

The Prompt: Set the timer for ten minutes and then tell us about an offer you couldn’t refuse.

Don’t Make Me!

The Prompt:Kick the Bucket—What are the top items on your anti-bucket list — those things you never, ever want to do, places you never want to visit, books you never want to read, etc.?

Don’t Make Me

Please don’t ever make me go back to Cancun.
If I never return there, I’ve visited too soon.
Don’t make me go to church again or listen to more rap.
Don’t make me go to bed at eight or take a daily nap.
I don’t want to do those things I don’t want to do.
Don’t make me look at animals trapped up in a zoo.

Brains are meant for keeping up farther in your head.
To have to eat the things I think with fills my mind with dread.
Don’t make me eat anything only adults eat:
liver, caviar, pate, kidneys or pigs’ feet.
All of those are parts of animals I’ve come to fear,
for none of them are meant to put in human mouths, my dear.

I think that I’ll live longer without jumping from above.
For bungee cords or parachutes I have no sort of love.
Even roller coasters present uncalled-for risk.
For me a walk upon the beach is adequately brisk.
Anything that’s bumpy, jerky, swooping, fast or twirly
makes me want to arrive late and go home really early.

Please don’t make me listen to those who rant and rave.
If I meet them in the street, I’ll merely nod and wave.
Let bores much given to monologues find another ear;
because those who never listen, I have no wish to hear.
Tea-partiers, loud mouths, bigots and folks in the elite
are on my list of strangers I do not need to meet.

I hope no radiation or chemotherapy
is ever necessary to make me cancer-free.
No machines to make me breathe and no dialysis.
As little poking, pushing, testing and analysis
as possible is what I wish for on my “do not” list.
Just let me go gently into that final mist.

I’ve grown to hate the overuse of “bucket list” as label
for what folks want to do before their death if they are able.
So please be more original in thinking what to call
that list of things that you most want to do before you fall.
For the thing I don’t want as “I am” turns into “been”
Is to ever hear the phrase of “bucket list” again!

You might be able to find a list of other people who have answered this prompt by clicking on each person who has “liked” this topic here:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/kick-the-bucket/

Our Own Little Universes: Pains, Rips, Stars, Itineraries and Insights

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Our Own Little Universes: Pains, Rips, Stars, Itineraries and Insights

Yolanda and Pasiano must have thought I was crazy when I started packing a week ago for my 2 month trip to the beach. First, all of my clothes piled on the bed in the spare room, then art and jewelry-making supplies piled on one end of the other bed, computer and photography needs piled on the other end. Bags full of other art supplies. Then two days ago, little piles of spices and kitchen tools, canned goods, disinfectant for fruit and veggies, bags of papers I’ve been wanting to sort for 13 years. (There will be time at the beach, where I know no one.)

But now it was the night before and with the car mostly packed with suitcase and bags, I still had hours more of sorting and packing to do. I knew it would probably mean a late night, and I’d have 5 or 6 hours of driving to do. Could I get enough sleep so I wouldn’t be driving sleepy, by myself, with no one to spell me?   I have been rushing around trying to get dozens of details finished before I leave and I was so tired last night, with still a half-dozen things to do, that it occurred to me that there was no law decreeing that I have to leave today!!!  So, I’m putting off leaving until tomorrow morning. That way I can finish packing at my leisure, sort out what I’m doing re/ the illustrations for the book and whether to take the scanner or not and get a full night’s sleep before driving to La Manz.

I don’t know why I get these mind sets about how things “have” to be done.  Such a relief and so glad I decided to do this because I was up three times with severe leg cramps during the night–sometimes both ankles, once my inner thigh and opposite ankle…Such agony that a hot shower couldn’t ease. If I had neighbors, they’d think I was either having the best sex of my life or that someone was killing me, because I was moaning and screaming out at great volume!  Then I thought to get in the hot tub and they eventually eased.

The third time this happened, about an hour ago, I almost fell asleep in the hot tub, but woke up, thought I needed to get out, and glanced up to see the quarter moon perfectly centered through a tear in the umbrella I’d positioned over a side of the hot tub.  You know what happened.  I had to get up, naked, dripping, cold, and go get my camera and then back into the hot tub to try to capture that phenomenon.

Dozens of shots later, with flash and without, I’d gotten a few barely effective shots, but realized how these pains of life sometimes lead to highly personal insights and experiences, so although the camera did not catch exactly what I’d experienced, my mind and memory had, and it might be that thing I remember in my last hour or last moment and gain strength or hope from.  So intimate, these night experiences with ourselves.  Those times when we realize we really are our own universes.  Our own little gods, having the final power over ourselves.

In short, although if I thought I had to drive alone to La Manzanilla today, I’d be so worried that I would fall asleep at the wheel, instead I don’t have to worry.  I can do my final packing today and then get a good night’s sleep.

I’ll leave tomorrow.