Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Ecstasy of Paying Attention

As a writer I pay attention to what is there but is not always seen. I stand watching the details of the moment in an effort to evoke emotion. I stand apart but engaged. I seek to attain an attunement with a focus outside of myself.

When I view the world in technicolor, I avoid a blurring of the senses.

When I pay attention to God’s world, I find ecstasy in my own.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Paper Flowers

Cathy walked toward me breathing with difficulty.

“Could you help me get my suitcase? I just can’t manage everything what with my asthma.”

“Sure. Where is your luggage?”

She pointed to the building ahead in the near distance.

We walked haltingly towards the place where she had spent a mini-vacation at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, CT. I slowed my footsteps to accommodate her shifting gait.

For nearly twenty years, Isabella Freedman has provided affordable country vacations to urban populations for adults with mental illness. The collaboration with the National Alliance on Mental Illness provides a four-day, three-night program for clients from New York City and Connecticut.

When we arrived at her room, a pink leather purse rested on the floor.

“That is my medicine bag,” she explained.

I picked it up. Prescriptions carry a weighty load.

When we arrived at the main building, I placed her life-preserving satchel next to her black-wheeled suitcase.

“Thank you,” she said. “Wait here: I want to give you something that I made.”

She returned with a celery green paper flower as big as four cabbage heads.

“Do you like it? It’s yours.”

“I have never seen anything like this. I will place it on my bed as my replacement Teddy Bear.”

We hugged. I placed her possessions on the bus to Long Island. She left my sight.

Every night, I take the bouquet from my bed and place it atop the dresser.

Cathy is back home, but the fragrance of her paper flowers continues to intoxicate my being.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Cycle of Seprations

My daughter drove me to Union Station in Washington, D.C., early Sunday morning.

With two red suitcases, a backpack, and a pocketbook, I was sent off to an adult Jewish spiritual retreat center in the Connecticut Berkshire mountains. For two months, I will serve the community at Isabella Freedman.

When she was nine years old, I drove my daughter to the synagogue parking lot where she boarded a bus to her summer camp in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina. For two months, she made new friends, learned new skills, and explored and experienced a living Judaism.

Separating from her then and separating from her now had a familiar feel. Although decades have passed, the scenario of separation continues: Child leaves mother, mother leaves child, and the cycle continues.

Love creates the connection and then the separation. Recycling both goes hand in hand.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Summer Transition

Summer is a time for travel and transitions.

We slow down and anticipate the long days of light and lightness.

We discontinue time and connect with the present.

Our physical body rests in quiet repose.

Summer is a time for travel and transitions.

Where will you be when the transition occurs?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Safe and Sound

A few days ago my Gmail account was hacked and a bogus email was sent suggesting that I was in London and in need of money after having been robbed.

I knew of this scam since one of my friends had experienced this most recently.

I wasn’t happy about this inconvenience, but what I didn’t expect were the phone calls and text messages I received from friends and family from across the country concerned about my whereabouts. Some thought it could have happened, given my past history (robbed once in New York and once in Rehoboth Beach).

I heard from some acquaintances who felt an obligation to dispel this technological interference. Etiquette for the internet generation?

I felt obligated to answer each call politely and with gratitude even though I knew its content before the conversation began. After all, they took the time to call. Phone calls are becoming obsolete given our email and texting possibilities. Picking up the proverbial phone has become a last resort for communicating information.

People still care. When people see trouble coming, they offer comfort, aid and practical support without hesitation.

People still care. They thrive on a sense of what is right and what is wrong. They have a sense of fairness and justice.

People still care and for this my heart is glad.

Thank you all for being in my virtual community.
Just for your well being . . . I am back online safe and sound in the comfort of my living room still wishing I had a complimentary ticket to visit the royal couple in London.