Sunday, February 26, 2012

Anyone for Mud Pies?

When I was a kid one of my favorite pastimes was making mud pies. It was amazing how much time I could spend with a couple of muffin tins, some dirt, water, sand (for sugar topping) and a few twigs (these served as candles).  On a warm summer morning my mom would sit in a lounge chair nearby while I made my little pies (which actually, should have been called mud muffins), and served them to her. Or, my dolls and stuffed animals would come outside for the feast.
            Another activity I adored was taping names on my marbles. Yes, I had a huge marble collection, and at one point in my young life I decided it would be fun to personify every one of them (of course, this also meant they couldn’t really be rolled). But that was okay—I didn’t really want to play games with my marbles that much. I just wanted to collect them, admire them, and get to know them.
            There were other, seemingly silly childhood pursuits that also engaged my time though I won’t go into them here (I will admit that sweeping the dirt floors of my imaginary home under the dogwood trees was a favorite) but the main point was that while I was immersed in these activities I was in the “zone.” Time stood still; nothing else mattered.  I was so focused on one thing only that my mother could have been calling me to dinner and I wouldn’t have noticed. Fire engines could have raced up my block and I wouldn’t have heard.
            Sometimes, I wonder, while we’re rushing around these days, multi-tasking, checking our email while making dinner, taking toddlers to the park while chatting on cell phones, texting while driving (a not only stupid but dangerous habit), eating breakfast while watching TV, and other such pursuits, if we could ever get back to the harmless, innocent days of mud pies…or if they are gone forever.
            I’d like to think that there are still days ahead when we will just do one aimless thing for a very long time. Like planting marigold seeds…or cloud gazing…or just daydreaming.  Or yes…making mud pies. After all, spring—which frequently comes with a generous supply of mud--is just around the corner!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Laugh a Minute

Laughter is a funny thing…
When you feel like laughing there’s nothing that’s more enjoyable than a hearty chuckle. But when you’re in a bad mood, well, who wants to laugh? Certain topics are just not amusing.
            It’s the same with a lot of things, I’m finding. For instance, it’s easy to be calm, optimistic, and not worry when everything is going along just fine in your life.  But the question is, can you be calm, confidant, and trust that all will be well when your world seems to be falling apart?  Can you maintain your equanimity when it seems like all the news items in your personal headlines are bad?
            Most people see me these days as a calm, centered person. But it’s so easy to fall off the wagon. All it takes is an ominous phone call from one of my kids, or a cryptic text message suggesting that all may not be well in their universe to sending me spinning crazily out of my own orderly cosmos.
            I’ve decided the real test isn’t whether you can approach life with laughter and joy in your heart, but whether you can laugh when you feel like crying or be calm when you feel like screaming with anger or frustration. Can you laugh when everything seems sad? Can you find the gratitude and peace in even the most difficult moments?
            A dear friend recently gave me the garden stone pictured above. I placed it next to my front doorstep, which may be why I have laughter on my mind a lot lately. It always makes me smile when things are going swimmingly, of course. And, when I come dragging home after some sort of unpleasant incident or outing, the stone reminds me that no matter what, the sun always comes up in the morning.
They say that laughter is the best medicine. Have you taken your medicine today?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine's Day Wish for Army of Women

Happy Valentine's Day to All!
I'm posting this Share the Love heart from Army of Women today in support of this amazing organization with a mission to find the cause of breast cancer and eradicate this disease once and for all. What do I love about Army of Women? I love that it is an organization dedicated to research and proactive, positive choices. I love that it is women (and men, too) taking matters into their own hands, and charting their own destiny. I love that it is research and science-based, that its goal is to come up with solutions, answers, and hope. Please join me this Valentine's Day in support of Army of Women and help to create a healthy, happy, breast cancer-free future for all. Go to to find out more. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Love in a Locket

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and perhaps for that reason, the Universe saw fit to plop my mother’s locket into my lap the other day when I was looking around for a particular pair of earrings. I rarely wear it (I gave it to her when I was younger), and I got it back upon her death. Inside she kept a photo of me taken one summer day at our favorite lake when I was about five. My hair is a mess and I’m squinting, but I look so happy.
            Because of Valentine’s Day, and because that locket reappeared for no apparent reason, I got to thinking about the magical nature of love. Of course, everyone knows what love is, what it feels like, how it can weave a spell. But one of the most remarkable things about it, in my opinion, is the way it can time travel. Holding my mother’s locket brought my mother right back to me, and brought her love back to me as well, even though she’s been gone for eleven years. It’s so remarkable that to feel love you don’t have to be near a person, you don’t need to touch a person, you don’t need to see, or hear them. All you have to really do is just conjure up that person’s essence and the feeling of love washes over you. They could be miles away, or have passed onto another realm. Doesn’t matter.
          In the past, I thought love was all about being with someone (and I spent many years pining away for various guys, wishing I could be with them all the time). I realize now that that’s not true. Love is about being, not being with. Love isn’t confined by space or time; in fact, it isn’t confined at all. It can be everywhere and anywhere at once. 
             Even in a locket.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Look, Ma!

© Sabilin |
I wrote a cute little essay once (I thought, anyway) about how, when they were young, my three boys used to always want me to watch them performing such various feats as climbing up on the back of the sofa, brushing their teeth, hopping on one foot, or coloring a picture.  Most of the time, even if I thought the feat was pretty unremarkable, I would drop whatever I was doing to observe with feigned fascination. After all, I didn’t want them to think that Mommy had better things to do than pay attention to them.
            Well, as they say, that was then and this is now. I am still fascinated by my children—probably even more so now that they are doing truly remarkable things like drawing up architectural plans, designing websites, or writing phenomenal poetry, but I don’t feel quite the same way about the rest of the world, and at the risk of sounding cranky (yet again), I would like to say that I am getting rather tired of everyone (and I include myself in this) asking everyone else to watch, listen, or look at them. The problem is, between Facebook, You Tube, websites, iPhones, Linked In, and all these other places where we can watch and admire one another, sometimes I feel dizzy.  How many articles, pictures, comments, videos, and on and on ad nauseum can one person possibly examine in a day without totally losing their mind?  (And yes, I know, here I am writing yet another blog!)
            A yoga teacher I greatly admire (you know who you are, Charlotte!) is fond of telling us to pay attention to our own mats and not be looking around all the time to see what others are doing (thus becoming competitive, envious and feeling either superior or inferior). Your yoga practice, in other words, is about you and your own body, your own mind, your own soul, not anyone else’s. There is really no need to check to see if someone’s leg is lifting higher than yours, or if they are rising into Wheel when you are still stuck in a baby-ish Bridge pose.
            Sometimes I feel this way about my time off the mat, too. Yes, I know we all have our various talents, and we all need to sell our wares.  But I wonder what would happen if one day everyone just stopped yelling, “Watch me!” and looked within, instead. It might be one dull day on Facebook, but who knows what we'd all find out.