When My Mother Was Young

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This isn’t a photo of my mother – it’s DeAnna Pellecchia from Paula’s company – but it is one of her dreams. Though never on the stage, she had a stage name. Paula Warren. Yes, it’s funny and that isn’t the only thing that she and Paula shared – Paula picked that name too – they shared a love of fabric and movement, placement of all things bright and beautiful. When something new would come into my life that my mother liked, she would say, “I bet Paula picked that out.”

Even though life with my mother wasn’t easy, she was fascinating and she enjoyed being difficult. I liked that about her and wrote this poem imagining a relationship with her that was less separate than the one we actually had. When in doubt, make it up!

No Dust In Her Eyes

Mother, I remember the sweet red smell of your Dentyne
As I sat in the backseat of the Roadster. You are always
In front of me, your hair flap-flying back from your face,
Cherry red lips and teeth so white clench an extendable gold
Cigarette holder. Smell of leather, gas and your Arpege, the wind
Whipping sitting up or quiet down along the seat. The fields swell before us,
The road snakes miles before a cross comes where you
Honk a warning and hope someone will see your dust.

When Problems Persist

IMG_9619IMG_8131When I first moved to Boston – just after the Red Sox had won the pennant and lost the Series – I lived in a duplex underneath the landlord who was in her 80’s and worried. It felt safe every night to sleep with my two young children because Mrs. Felton paced room to room upstairs all night long looking for trouble.

We did enjoy each others company and often she would ask me for help with some household thing. One time she complained to me how hard it was to light her gas broiler. She had one of those inconvenient ones at the bottom of the oven, a separate place to open that had to be lit at its top.
Kneeling down and then bending her body up to see the little hole where the match had to go was a hardship for her and staying there to make sure it was lit was further insult. It was for me too but I was 22.
I quickly showed her that if she put tin foil on the bottom of the boiler she could see the reflection and would only have to stoop to light, not twist to check the flame.
I remind myself that I was 22 and perhaps too quick about the whole thing but I could see her not wanting it to get better. I could see her wanting the problem to go away and yet being unwilling to do anything about it.
Since then I have witnessed my own process and that of so many others and I have always remembered that moment when a solution was discarded. Could I have said it better? Could she have been eased? Would she?

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Grasping Your Reach

With no hope of ever catching a bird, let alone going outside, Precious is nimbleness itself following the birds’ every move.


Joined by her cadre of our “inside” cats, she, more than the rest avidly follows the birds’ movement. Pressing her nose so many times against the window she has to raise her head a bit to see through.
I am reminded of Robert Browning’s oft-quoted, “Ah, but a man’s [cat’s] reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a heaven for?”
She is indeed in heaven, in joy, in thrall. When I am about to take her off my lap – perhaps a dog has barked, doorbell rung, some “must” to get up – I pet her and hold her as I make my move to leave. There is never a moment she is not reeling in the enjoyment of my touch,  pushing into me for more, jumping from me when it’s over. She is never out of pleasure’s reach. Like the Zen story of the man chased off a cliff, sees a ripe strawberry, plucks it to his mouth as he plunges to his death. Each moment embraced. Each moment aware of possibility.
Every day I thank Precious and her cohorts for showing me – whether I’m paying attention or not – that the way to joy is joy.

Thank you.
Rest is joy and that abounds as well.

Magic

Magic is all around us, it is the art of getting results. The rituals I see everyday now in watching Olympic athletes – the pulling of ears, air crosses everywhere – are tools to connect to a higher power – we see it in the world around us, we feel it in the air.

Connecting to magic sounds esoteric, arcane, unusual but those who get results are often seen by the rest of us as magicians but for them magic is a series of successful action steps taken not just when the moon is in a certain phase but when they are in alignment with their goals.

For me magic is when I feel the pull of an idea, an image, a goal and I take those steps toward it that will bring it closer. There are always choices to steps. Stepping away might be a distraction. That same step could be a saving grace for my goal if I’m stepping into a distraction from a thought that would keep me from my focus.

There are no dicta here. Not distracting myself from a thought that could hurt my self esteem is as important as keeping my focus while jumping a stream or riding my bike.

Gesture is the sword of ritual, words are the prayer. Costume is important. Wether I am dressed down for my studio, wearing walking shoes or dressed up for an important meeting I am  representing my goals.

Alignment is key. Appropriate attire depicting mindset is important on any field of purpose. Am I lined up and ready to go or did I forget an air cross or to pull on your ears?

Play

When I was young I spent more time around animals than people. Animals are interested in movement and I don’t know if I started out being as interested or learned from them – doesn’t really matter, I credit the cats and dogs and horses of my youth as well as the turkeys, geese, chickens and even the animals who preyed on them who were so still until they were in motion.

I learned to trust play, to look for the confidence it took to concentrate and respond. Now I have names like improvisation, but as a child I watched the cat, the fox in their concentration, the birds in the river banks making nests and feeding young. They had a concentration and purpose I found lacking in the adults around me.

Our dog Jules is a very large greyhound. When he runs within an enclosed space he looks awkward, legs all agaggle, tail and shoulders at angles. But when he has the chance to stretch out, he works through the awkward to the astonishing. As he runs his body stretches out into the most graceful arcs, he covers enormous ground.

In my youth I challenged my friends to stretch out, to jump – into the river, over hurdles set up in the halls of my parents house. Racing on foot or on a horse, as long as I am outside boundaries I am graceful, I feel graceful. Inside boundaries awkwardness takes over, rules don’t bend the way my body/mind bends, clarity gives way to restriction.

So it is in every moment. My relationship to boundaries defines my grace.

 

Happy 25th Anniversary, Chernoble

“The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of
thinking…the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If
only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker.”

Albert Einstein

These beautiful paintings are done by my friend Tilly Strauss

http://www.tillystudio.blogspot.com/

They remind me of what we have and what we lose when the earth is threatened.

As far as the earth goes, I believe it will not be destroyed by our actions. It might be different but it will still be. But it might be just so different and not really hospitable to the life we have become used to living.

It’s up to each one of us to make a difference, then the collective can live up to its name.

April Is Poetry Month

How many of you have listened to William Butler Yeats? Actually heard his voice? It’s so cool – he’s old, you can tell, but it’s him and that’s enough for me.

1-01 The Song Of The Old Mother

Yeats is in the sky too. He was an idol, a mentor, a mind I loved to attempt to grasp when I was in high school. I got to research and write about him when I was in college. That’s such a great time, a lucky time when you can delve into what you love. I used to love the library, holding all the books in my hands. I love technology. I love Google. Waking up at any hour and typing in whatever I can remember of a poem or person or anything and up it comes with ideas and commentary from all over the world. I love living here now. I love getting ideas from all over. Thank you all for being here.

This is a good day, how can I serve you?

Have you ever thought about the difference between caring for and serving? Well, in my experience, if I care for you, I don’t get much – respect, money, or acknowledgment. But if I serve you, I give you something of value and I get more for it. Including your looking me in the face.

You don’t get as much either if I take care of you, I may be a faceless servant doing a job. If I serve you, you probably asked for it; went to a site, signed up. Went to a school, filled out a form, maybe even paid money.

I take care of many beings. I have rescued dogs, cats and horses. If I see an animal on the road, I help it. And while I am not a nameless, faceless entity to them while I am cleaning litter, picking poops, mopping up grass and throw-up, I am not using much of my skill set either. In my service of the animals I am fulfilling my need to be useful – of service. It comes from my heart and that makes a valuable contribution to my idea of how I want to be in the world and how I view myself.

By doing this service I am forwarding my sense of good in the world, I am participating in a higher vibration than just myself. It is not a job.

If I have a job, when I go to it, when I participate in living and working amongst/with other people, I feel a brightness, I come to them with a full complement of participation. I am not needy.

If people are nice to me – or not – I have a sense of myself within myself and the world within myself. I have done important (to me) work and what I receive from the world is the icing, I have eaten my cake and I don’t have to choose whether to eat it or have it.

Branding – your message is your name.

Not your business name but the name people think of when they read your statement, your copy, your bio, your blog. The name they give you in their mind (nice person, want to know them – that kind of thing) the minute they see something you’ve put out into the world. Is it the logo you chose, the background of your Tweeter page? Is it the way you presented your ideas in Squidoo? Did you talk about yourself, what you like, trust, want and stop there? Did you include thoughts and facts about yourself in addition to trying on the needs and wants of others?

For me it’s the personable way you might explore yourself to me. A misspelling won’t turn me off too much but if there are too many txt’s and lites, I’m gone. I love dashes and I personally use too many parentheses – which I hope won’t be a problem for you, I know a little cuteness goes a long way! How you expose your life without too much information but enough to help me know I can trust (or not) your ideas, what thoughts come to you, how much we might share.

This last is crucial. What might we share? It’s a key in the deciding route we all take on the road to purchase. We are all looking for the Something that will make our next – career, baby quiet, dog lie down, smell go away, best cup of – there are no exceptions, we are going to contact someone for an issue we are dealing with. That Someone is going to fill our needs and make us feel good at the same time.

I’m a poet in one of my lives and when I send poems out for consideration I hope I have done my homework and looked at the magazine before I send and I hope the editor will actually look at my work before it’s sent back in the envelope provided. I was an editor once and I noticed that I wanted as much from the poet as they wanted from me. I had a problem to solve, an itch to scratch and I hoped that every piece of writing coming to my desk would be the one I’d be excited to read and want to publish.

There are no exceptions to this dance. We are all in the market for something. We all want to pay for some things and get some things free. We don’t want to pay for everything and we don’t want everything free.

This is a great time to be a small business in a big world. We are all looking for the niche where we will find comfort. The best places in my kids’ schools were the reading nooks where they could curl up and read or just look at books. They could be surrounded by comfort and get some cool information or a great story. Let your business be a nook, it’ll be on everyone’s list of things to do.

Are you Tweeting me or Am I tweeting you?

Seth Godin writes, “The presenter who loves his [sic] audience the most, wins.”

In the business of internet networking, in the daily communication of all of us with all of us, there is some confusion as to who is the presenter and who is the audience. When I tweet, am I tweeting you or me? If a tree falls in a forest with no one there is there a sound? Are we listening to each other? Do we have anything to say? Where is our focus? Is the goal of the market simply to perpetuate itself?

In the confusion of who is presenter and who is audience lies for each of us an opportunity. For business, for personal growth, probably for both. You really can’t have one without the other. Mindset is key, focus is key and the value we place on ourselves is the outstanding balance in the middle. I could say that the person who loves his or her audience is loved and respected in turn. If I love myself chances are that I will love you because there won’t be much of a commute between us. That’s where we get the value of all the communication strategies that are open to us. We can exchange and change in bits and bytes, in leaps and bounds.

Once upon a time it seemed to matter whether a tree fell and could be heard. With our communication portals it is almost certain someone somewhere will hear. What matters to us as entrepreneurs is that they care enough to keep going, to click, perchance to buy.

We are powerful when we take the communication possibilities offered and focus ourselves, our hearts, our truths to such a degree that we are presenters who love ourselves, our audience, our product and its persuasions to inspire the click. For us to be successful we have to inspire and delight. We need to create lightness in ourselves and each other. Is that why it seems so important to talk about every plane trip, every line we wait in every movie we see, song we hear. It’s shared experience, the trip of Life. We get to be with each other on every journey we choose to share. How cool is that? Lucky us. Let’s make it work, let’s give ourselves value. Believe in yourself, share your opportunities, make work together and play. And, don’t forget, breathe, always breathe.

And click on http://www.pamwhiteccpro.com/