Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Goals, plans, and the Taoist perspective...

Making plans, setting goals, and other activities that give us a "sense" of control over what happens in our life, are the ways in which we shield ourselves from the fact that most of what happens to us is completely out of our control. Once we surrender our need to be in control, we learn to "respond", rather than "react," to life. That surrender can be a monumental shift in mindset, and one that makes a huge difference in how we approach life and our relationships.

Life has an almost amusing way of delivering lessons to us in the areas we are most in need of growth. Whether we choose to recognize the intended lesson at the time it is delivered, will determine how many more times we will be challenged to learn it once and for all.

When bad things happen, we have a choice to adopt either a "Why me?" or "What's the lesson in this?" posture. One choice makes us a "Victim of Life", the other a "Life Scholar."

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Saturday, April 05, 2008

On Love
Kahlil Gilbran

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.


Gentle Spirit's comment:

This is one of my favorite excerpts from Gilbran's "The Prophet", a book I bought many years ago while still in my 20s.

I have grown into and along with this particular poem. Love has taken on so many definitions over the years and continues to teach me many things. We spend so much time "looking for love", hoping to find it, yearning to BE loved, wanting to be IN love, and ultimately finding a "forever" Love. But we miss the mark if we think of love in only its "romantic" incarnation. Love is much bigger than the limited constructs we often apply to it. Love is the expression of our core spirit and it is neither something we give or receive, but who we "are"
and why we are here. Love seeks itself and we are only the vessels that carry it. The greatest oversight we suffer from is believing that love is something we own and give to only the worthy. It is easy to love the lovable. It is more important to love the unlovable.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Meditation for a January Day
Tues, 1.09.08

Heard the Wind blowing hard against my window today,
I stood to look out,
This is what I saw...

Meadow softly blanketed with snow,
Edges pulling back,
Reveal fragile blades of green.
Last Fall's leaves tumbling along the ground,
Search in vain for their season.

Azure Sky,
Clouds drenched in sunlight,
Others hang dark and heavy.
All moving so fast,
As if Earth is spinning out of control.
Yet I am standing still.

River flowing in liquid ribbons,
Ice hugs her shallow borders.
Distant Mountains frosted and bare,
Dappled in sunlight beneath the rolling clouds.

Heard the Wind blowing hard against my window today,
Closed my eyes and listened,
This is what I heard...
Spirit of the Earth speaking to me without words.

© 2008 bam

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Some Things Get Lost...
Lyrics by Alice Peacock

I dialed your number on the phone, yesterday
thinking you would answer,
and then I remembered....

A converstation we had had, not so long ago
talking about our love, and why we let it go
we both agreed the timing wasn't right
and you said something I'll never forget, that night:

Some things get lost
some things just disappear
but not my love for you
I'll keep that close and near
some things just fade, like scars and dreams
I got your heart right here with me

You said you'd realized in life that chances pass you by
and what you thought was yours, slowly fades before your eyes
and part of growing up is that you can't go back in time
you have to live with your regrets and things you leave behind
and we agreed to be the best of friends
let's talk real soon, I gotta go, you said...

Some things get lost
some things just disappear
but not my love for you
I'll keep that close and near
some things just fade, like scars and dreams
I got your heart right here with me

Flying to Seattle when I heard the news
I can't believe you're gone, not the light I knew...

But some things get lost
some things just disappear
but not my love for you
I'll keep that close and near
some things just fade, like scars and dreams
I got your heart right here with me

I dialed your number on the phone, yesterday
thinking you would answer,
and then I remembered....

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Perfection is finally attained,
not when there is no longer anything to add,
but when there is no longer anything to take away.
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery ~
Witnessing the Moment of Death...
is the eloquent silence wherein we connect with our loved one as never before. It is the completion of Life... the period at the end of the last sentence of their life's story. It is a time when we take a deep breath the moment after our loved one takes their last. It gives refreshed meaning to our own life and those we love who remain alive in it. It is deeply spiritual.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Amazing Love...

[From Sports Illustrated, By Rick Reilly]

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots.

But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.

Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.

Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. On a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much--except save his life.
this love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick Was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him Brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

"He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;" Dick says doctors told him And his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. "Put him in an Institution."

But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes Followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the Engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. “No way, "Dick says he was told. “There's nothing going on in his brain."

"Tell him a joke," Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a Lot was going on in his brain. Rigged up with a computer that allowed Him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his Head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? "Go Bruins!" And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, “Dad, I want to do that."

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described "porker" who never ran More than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. "Then it was me who was handicapped," Dick says. "I was sore for two weeks."

That day changed Rick's life. "Dad," he typed, "when we were running, It felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!"

And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

“No way," Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, "Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?"

How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.

Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? "No way," he says. Dick does it purely for "the awesome feeling" he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.

“No question about it," Rick types. "My dad is the Father of the Century."

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. "If you hadn't been in such great shape," one doctor told him, "you probably would've died 15 years ago." So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.

"The thing I'd most like," Rick types, "is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once."


Monday, September 25, 2006

Photographic Positive/Negative...

Sometimes we look to someone else in order to discover who we really are.

Sometimes it is in seeing who they are that we discover who we are not, and in so doing, we find our self once again.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Fields of Gold

You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in fields of gold

So she took her love, for to gaze awhile
Upon the fields of barley
In his arms she fell as her hair came down
Among the fields of gold

Will you stay with me, will you be my love
Among the fields of barley
We'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we lie in fields of gold

See the west wind move like a lover so
Upon the fields of barley
Feel her body rise when you kiss her mouth
Among the fields of gold

I never made promises lightly
And there have been some that I've broken
But I swear in the days still left
We'll walk in fields of gold
We'll walk in fields of gold

Many years have passed since those summer days
Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
Among the fields of gold

You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky
When we walked in fields of gold

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

excerpt from

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

And yet the compensations of calamity are made apparent to the understanding also, after long intervals of time. A fever, a mutilation, a cruel disappointment, a loss of wealth, a loss of friends, seems at the moment unpaid loss, and unpayable. But the sure years reveal the deep remedial force that underlies all facts. The death of a dear friend, wife, brother, lover, which seemed nothing but privation, somewhat later assumes the aspect of a guide of genius; for it commonly operates revolutions in our way of life, terminates an epoch of infancy or of youth which was waiting to be closed, breaks up a wonted occupation, or a household, or style of living, and allows the formation of new ones more friendly to the growth of character. It permits or constrains the formation of new acquaintances and the reception of new influences that prove of the first importance to the next years; and the man or woman who would have remained a sunny garden-flower, with no room for its roots and too much sunshine for its head, by the falling of the walls and the neglect of the gardener is made the banian of the forest, yielding shade and fruit to wide neighbourhoods of men.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Be patient...

toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer.

~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Friday, July 21, 2006

Six Degrees of Separation
(destiny, fate, or mathematical odds?)

"Six degrees of separation is the theory that anyone on earth can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries. The theory was first proposed in 1929 by the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy in a short story called Chains. The concept is based on the idea that the number of acquaintances grows exponentially with the number of links in the chain, and so only a small number of links is required for the set of acquaintances to become the whole human population."

Play the Six Degrees Game

Friday, June 23, 2006

Meditation for June 23, "Journey to the Heart" by Melody Beattie

"Discover the Power of Stillness

I will forever remember Yellowstone Glacier Lake at midnight. A large full moon—the biggest I have ever seen—was resting atop the lake. The lake was frozen over, a still mirror between the mountains. Even the pines stood motionless. At that moment, I saw stillness—quiet, motionless stillness—and I began to understand its power.

Be still and know that I am God. How often I heard that verse from the Bible. How well I knew it, but how little I understood stillness. Stillness is different from solitude, different from aloneness, different from turning off the stereo or speaking softly.

Stillness is a place. You can find it in the desert or in the mountains. You can find it when you're alone or when you're in the midst of people. You can find stillness wherever you are, whatever you're going through. Stillness is a place within you. Slow down. Breathe deeply. Get quiet. Become familiar with stillness. Take time to learn its power.
From that place of stillness, the right action will emerge and you will find your next step. From that place of stillness, you can move into the persent moment. There you will find your power, and there God will find you."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"We are like sculptors, constantly carving out of others the image we long for, need, love or desire, often against reality, against their benefit, and always, in the end, a disappointment, because it does not fit them." - Anaïs Nin

More Anaïs Nin Quotations

• We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.

• Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage.

• Living never wore one out so much as the effort not to live.

• Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.

• We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another, unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another.

• There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.

• We write to taste life twice, in the moment, and in retrospection.

• I am in a beautiful prison from which I can only escape by writing.

• My diary is a mirror telling the story of a dreamer who, a long long time ago went through life the way one reads a book.

• What I cannot love, I overlook.

• We don't have a language for the senses. Feelings are images, sensations are like musical sounds.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Walk On

- U2

And love is not the easy thing
The only baggage that you can bring
Not the easy thing
The only baggage you can bring
Is all that you can't leave behind

And if the darkness is to keep us apart
And if the daylight feels like it's a long way off
And if your glass heart should crack
And for a second you turn back
Oh no - be strong

Walk on - walk on
What you got, they can't steal it
No, they can't even feel it
Walk on - walk on
Stay safe tonight

You're packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been
A place that has to be believed to be seen
You could have flown away
A singing bird in an open cage
Who will only fly - only fly for freedom

Walk on - walk on
What you got, they can't deny it
Can't sell it or buy it
Walk on - walk on
You stay safe tonight

And I know it aches
How your heart it breaks
You can only take so much
Walk on - walk on

Home - hard to know what it is if you never had one
Home - I can't say where it is, but I know I'm going
Home - that's where the hurt is

And I know it aches
And your heart it breaks
You can only take so much
Walk on

Leave it behind
You've got to leave it behind

All that you fashion - all that you make
All that you build - all that you break
All that you measure - all that you feel
All this you can leave behind

All that you reason - it's only time
Love in a fever - no, not mine
All that you sense - all that you scheme
All you dress up - all that you seem
All you create

Sunday, June 18, 2006

This is a poem I have revisted over the years. The nature of its personal meaning has changed over time. At first it resonated as a challenge posed to me by another person, perhaps a friend ...a lover. Today, I hear the words spoken from deep within me, as if spoken by my reflection in a deep pool of water. The voice (my voice) challenges and encourages me to become more genuine and free... not for the sake of someone else... but because this is how God intended me to be.
The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
be careful
be realistic
remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

© Mountaindreaming, from the book "The Invitation"

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Clearing
by Morgan Farley

I am clearing a space
here, where the trees stand back.

I am making a circle so open
the moon will fall in love
and stroke these grasses with her silver.

I am setting these stones in the four directions,
stones that have called my name
from mountaintops and riverbeds,
canyons and mesas.

Here I will stand with my hands empty,
Mind empty under the moon.

And if something takes my life,
if a sudden wind sweeps through me,
changing everything,

I will not resist.

I am ready for whatever comes.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Me and My Shadow
(rediscovering the little girl I left behind)

I can remember playing with my shadow when I was a little girl. She was an imaginary playmate who followed me wherever I went in perfect unison with my every move. Sometimes she would run ahead of me, growing larger, then smaller...and sometimes totally disappearing in a game of hide and seek, only to pop up behind me. She was always close by. I remember how she would dance on the walls in my dimly lit bedroom as I shaped my hands into all kinds of animals...a bunny, a barking dog, a galloping horse. I loved my shadow. She was my most loyal friend. She was my identical twin, a perfect reflection of all that I was ... playful, carefree, uninhibited and real.

As we continue to grow up, the essence of that child becomes the voice of our inner child, the best friend we talk to when relating to the world's demands on us. Sometimes, we look back and wonder where she went. On what day did I begin to change in a never-ending series of choices to become another person...the "Good Girl", the "Devoted Wife", the "Great Mom", the "Sweet Lady"...my parents' "Pride and Joy"?

We grow up being told that we need to be protected, to feel secure, and kept safe. We yearn to belong to someone, to be fearlessly rescued, to be desired, adored ...and, yes, loved.

Over time, many of us will portion more and more of who we really are into the safe confines of our Shadow. We do it in order to attain those gifts promised to only the "Best Little Girls". Think about it. How often do you talk with your Shadow about what you really want to do...those things that are not acceptable to tell anyone else?

Do you sneak spoonfuls of chocolate ice cream straight from the container when no one is looking and carefully wipe your mouth clean so no one will see the evidence? Do you fart LOUDLY (or do you "pass wind" as Mom would say) and laugh at how bad it smells when you think no one will hear (or smell) it? Are these times you share with your Shadow, like I do with mine?

On a deeper level, how often, when you are doing the things everyone expects of you (you know...the things that you claim to take joy in doing), do you find yourself confessing to your Shadow "This really isn't what I want to be doing, but please don't tell them or they'll be disappointed in me."?

I've been talking more and more with my Shadow lately. She calls to me to come out to play, to be the wild child I once was... dirty-faced and skinned knees, hair flying in the breeze, arms outstretched, reaching for the sky, singing at the top of my lungs as I skip down the street.

Lately, it seems more important to be "real", than to pretend the Shadow isn't me.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Choices, Decisions and Prayers
(of answered and unanswered varieties)

I often find myself reflecting how a life unfolds. We spend alot of time contemplating the 'meaning of it all'. The meaning for us mortals lies in the way things play out according to our plans, wishes, desires and prayers. The end result...the 'how it plays out' part, will be attributed to a variety of causal effects...depending on our view of what makes the world spin. Some will call it God's will and His response to our prayers (a "yes or no"), others will view it as karma, destiny, kismet, accident, or even totally meaningless, or random happenstance.

We "pray about it", "put it in God's hands", "wait on God's signal", "petition God for his will", or we "take our hands off the wheel" and let God take us where He wants us to go by either directing our steps...or doing the stepping for us. Some of us will live virtuous lives, believing there is a reward for "doing it right". We look for signs that tell us we are moving in the right direction. We leave our mind open to all possibilities, lest we miss an opportunity we might have never considered. Or we close our field of focus and pick one thing (or person) to play the role of what we KNOW we need to make us happy. We try and try to have control of some sort, so that the story plays out the way we WANT it to...happily ever after...as we chase the elusive fairytale that our childlike heart still believes exists for us.

Now I am not trying to paint a dim picture here, because I do believe that whatever gets us there is how we allow ourselves to put one foot in front of the other through the hard times that lead us to the next happy season in our life ...those "kodak moments" when we say to ourself...."this is SO right..this is IT! Surely THIS is my purpose, my destiny, my prayer answered!" And then we embark on the path set before us knowing (THIS time...after so many failed other times) THIS one's going to be different, because THIS is what I have been searching for all my life!

Tell me...how many times has this played out in your life? Have all your happy beginnings...had happy endings?

Happiness comes in small portions sometimes and in subtle ways we might just miss, if we don't pay attention.

One of my favorite movies is "Under the Tuscan Sun". It's a story of a woman who has a prewritten plan for how her life will play out. She is a newly divorced American who happens to have a free trip to Tuscany fall into her lap when good friends can't make the trip and give her the ticket, knowing she needed something positive to do for herself. So she embarks on the trip and utlimately buys a broken down villa in Tuscany and decides to start an entirely new life in a strange country.

She finds herself wishing (praying) for a number of things...things that will surely make her happy if only her prayers are answered. She prays for a wedding in her garden, she prays for the sound of children's laughter in her home, she prays for a family to love and enjoy. But somehow it all seems to be eluding her. She has this picture in her mind. (Don't we all?) of exactly how it all should play out for her "happily ever after". The story's ending might be sad if you buy into things having to play out exactly as you want them to. Your happy ending would be her meeting the perfect man who will love her for all eternity, she has a beautiful wedding in her garden and she is the princess bride, that she would have a house full of laughing children, and all HER prayers would have been answered exactly the way she wanted.

But she doesn't find the perfect man, in fact she has no man in her life at all...at least until she stops trying to find him and make him who he needs to be to complete her self-composed dream for her life. Rather...everything she prayed for DOES come to pass, but it's her pregnant friend who arrives on her doorstep and decides to stay after the baby is born...that ultimately brings the sound of children in her home. And it's the young couple that she befriends who decide to get married in the beautiful setting of her garden, that enables that happy event to unfold. And it's the wonderful friends she has made who give her the sense of family she has never known.

We often get what we ask or pray for... We often don't get what we think we need. We often miss the subtle things that can take us in a different direction onto paths we could have taken. Are these missed opportunities? Or were these things never meant to be, or not yet ready to be experienced because we are not ready for them? Happiness is in the small stuff, the Kodak moments...a life filled with memories (some good, some not so good), a life filled with hopes and dreams.

Pay attention to it all... or you might miss the ladybug sitting on your shoulder.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

And Then Comes the Dawn...

After awhile you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul.
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning,
And company doesn't mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises.
And you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes open.
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.

And you learn to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans,
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After awhile you learn that even sunshine burns
if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul.
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure...

That you really are strong.
That you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn...
With every goodbye...
you learn.

© Veronica A. Shoffstall
Autobiography in Five Chapters
By Portia Nelson

Chapter I
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I'm in the same place, but it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in...it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V
I walk down another street.