In All Our Years

Practicing love and kindness for all.

a school day

Circa 1971

School was difficult today. My mind wrestled with remembering dates during a history lesson and I could not wait till it was time for recess. I ran and played among the other children, never stopping long enough to participate, enjoying the time.

Lunch came with pizza and milk and a wax paper cup of fruit.

Math visited in the afternoon and entertained me. The small rectangular manila paper providing a canvas for both numbers and art. My number two pencil dulled by the wind and land which evolved below the equations.

My walk home through the woods and into the neighborhood, welcomed me as my late afternoon of play and sweat, filled my senses. My father would be home. My mother would make dinner. My family would gather and chat and eat and the dog would sit patiently and wonder why there was not a seat at the table for her.

Night would show, the dishes would be done, a box would entertain, homework would get some attention and sleep would arrive as the moon rose to say, it was a good day, goodnight, sweet dreams Joey.

Let’s Build Something

While building a porch today, I realized something about my father. He had lost the first seven years with his because of a war. As much as he had wanted to see his Dad in those tender years, he could not. Separated by an ocean as his father took care of those he could save and let go of those he could not.

When he returned, or so I am told, he was still the man he was, full of life and love and wanting to do things, but there was a side that had been squelched from his time overseas. War, loss and more loss, all took its toll. When I was a boy, my father was reserved in some regard, perhaps because of this relationship with his. My father was not knowing how to fully connect with me, other than, let’s build something, lets work on this. It is in those times, I knew my father, shared with him, the moments of ingenuity, making something work, building something and then being thankful that we could.

As I built the deck portion of the porch, I found myself making it strong and perhaps stronger than it needed to be. Perhaps to make it last beyond me, and certainly now beyond him and his father.

We move forward each day, and above all, build things because we can and because we believe that they could last, if only for a life, maybe two. We will never know, but we will make the effort and do our best, to make it so.

What ever you build, be it a house or a home, remember that nothing is forever, except the desire to try and do the best you can, with or without him or her or them.

Enough is Enough

Independence day was the result of an oppression of one over another.

All people, our species, all species have the right to be one with the earth,
and one with each other, to live, be and experience this life without hinder or harm.

In our quest for harmony in this world, one makes concessions and compromises to  foster a collaboration that respects individuals’ desire in what they are interested in, curious about, what they pursue in their quest for knowledge, a life, a family, to find joy and happiness and to be enthralled in all there is to behold, to experience and to love.

Independence day was the tipping point for the immigrants that made the voyage across the ocean in hope of a better life, of opportunity and to be free from oppression and the control of others.

When you read the United States Declaration of Independence, the very essence of the document simply declares “Enough is Enough” and we did something about it.

We all may be called Americans in this regard, grouping ourselves as an entity, but we are actually a nation of all peoples from all walks of life and the world. Independence day was the turning point for us to realize this and for us to tell the world that all are created equal and deserve the right to happiness.

As with one nation to another, each individual also deserves this independence and when such an oppression occurs one to one, there is also a time to say enough is enough.

May each of you find your independence this day and respect all others who desire the same.

of Land and Sea

Water has been part of my life for longer than I can remember. From the rocky coasts of North America … Nova Scotia, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and along the eastern seaboard, into the Carribean.

As I experienced these locations, these boundaries of land and sea, I found strength on their shores, testing the fact that I did not have gills and trusting my ability to hold my breath as I ventured into the waters.

As I witness the most active volcano in the world on the Big Island of Hawaii (Kilauea), I can only imagine the feelings each of the residents of this region are going through as the place they call home, dissolves into the ocean.

And I realize that this loss is just one of many for our species, the ones who tempt the boundaries of land and sea.

And I realize that nothing is permanent … not even rocks-

The ones we can walk on-

The ones we can skip along the salty shores-

… and the ones we love…

who do not have gills after all,

but wished they did.

 

Be the Earth for Another

The seed enters the earth dry and alone.
The soil welcomes the visitor as part of itself, unaware of what is to be.

Days and nights trickle by and soon there is a stir and a wiggle.

The soil is loosened and massaged in a way that welcomes water and air.

The sun pours down, through the darkness and calls to the seed, to sprout, to rise and find its way through and back into the light above. The seed entrusts the earth to hold its feet securely and firmly, so it may explore the space and experience the rain and wind and life above.

There is a great harmony in this relationship, where two very different things come together to make another. Another that will create all that we see … all that will nurture and give of itself … willingly and without require but simply to live, breathe and one day, become the one … who held it close, kept it warm and safe from the start.

 

a Tattoo

is the ultimate expression onto the canvas of your life,
displaying the visual of who or what you care for,
showing the world what excites you.

is a flare when you are lost at sea,
and deep inside … do want to be found.

cradles that which you love,
when out of reach-

embeds them in the canvas of your life,
immortalizing their thoughts, their colors-

holds them as close to you as can be-
knowing clear well that nothing lasts forever,
but you can … every waking day,
imagine that perhaps it does.

 

your Objective

I have met many people from around the world, through their words alone. I have not always met them, but it is a joy when I do, to connect in the same space and breathe the same air.

I recently met someone through a close friend and his mind is sharp, keen and invigorating. He posted a question on social media. It was simple and basic and at first glance, not so telling, but the responses allowed for deeper insight into reasons we exist, the whys of our plights and the needs we have for ourselves and others.

I sat on the question for a week and finally after a hard week of my own toils for the need of food and shelter, found an answer to it … for myself.

His question:

“So what’s your objective, when do you want to complete it, and what percentage do you currently see it being completed at that time?”

My answer:

When I first read this post, my mind immediately dropped into a thought process of time when managers asked the same question. There is a resistance to the prediction and answer because one is trying to govern and control an outcome. There is, of course, a need to be predictable and to plan. An Apollo Moon Mission leaves the earth with only a limited supply of oxygen, so you do need to know the exact answers to your question, or to at least have some reasonable margins.

Even with all the planning in the world, Apollo 13 was a very close call, there was the unexpected. We try to plan for this, but sometimes we just don’t make it … the Titanic for example … and yet both of these events did find success to all and some ❤

I have not answered your question yet Joshua Harris … You ask for an objective and a timeline. … As with the oxygen issue, we too have a limited supply each and every day, we can step through our days and plan at least in the moment and project the future based on these moments.

And I have executed plans and set timelines and met them time and time again, but what I find is that the individual milestones, our small successes, are just the continuous results of the higher level goals …

Like when raising a child, we ask them to clean their room and get ready for dinner, wash their hands, when perhaps we should allow them to explore the broader space of their existence … Ask them to love one another in their family, find happiness and joy in their actions, and use their life energy to make the lives of others around them better as they enjoy their own endeavors.

As for adults, we are left with the same … doing the dishes, washing a car, fixing a broken faucet, changing a diaper … but the broader objective is to the life we have and to cover our world with the light we receive from others, the earth, and the star of our earth.

So to answer your question, my objective is to be kind to others, enjoy my life and participate in the lives of others … and given current statistics of life expectancy and extrapolating in an optimistic way, I am a little over 57% complete and while my efforts may be finished in December of 2060, I would hope that others younger than me will continue to use our Star in the best way, for a better day … a very good question Joshua Harris, a very good one indeed. ❤

but Perhaps

It will have been a decade later this year,

since I have seen him, heard his voice, hugged him …

He is living his life in his own way,

and I am so very proud of him …

As his father, I fostered his independence,

both of us (his parents) did actually …

I hope that one day we will come together again,

and he will tell me of his adventures, his life …

Perhaps in a time, a place,

I cannot say-

but … Perhaps


~ this one written a few decades ago, when he was close ~

This Little Guy

 

On the Beach

Your stillness mattered most, amidst the threat of driving rains.

I had slept the night, soundly, safely- not a threat that I could feel or see, remembering you resting there next to me.

The soft raspy sounds of water on the shore, slowly waking me from the night, the place where there was neither song nor flight, just me.

As my eyes opened, I began to see- you were no longer there next to me. Perhaps in my thoughts, you were, but not for real, not today- not for a long time since.

Without much thought or breath, I rose and left the comfort of my stay, and journeyed out to start the day.

The sun barely visible along the span of ocean and air, I walked toward the shore.

Without a soul in sight, bar one solitary bird, its feet planted in the sand, its gaze to me, across the remains of the night. It waited.

In short time as air swooned me toward, I found myself there, within reach of the small bird. It was not afraid of my approach or that now I could easily touch it.

Its eyes looked deeply into mine, not seeing around me but into me as if it knew my plight, my struggles from the night.

The bare of my feet joined the birds as the water flowed over them, sinking them deeper into the soft sand, the shells- the stones.

I knelt and reached for the bird, the wind rustled its feathers as it tucked its wings closer to its heart, awaiting my touch, my grasp, my hands on the full of its body.

I gently picked it up and pulled it close to my chest, the place she used to rest, with me, silently, softly, the many nights that had long since slipped away.

I stood up, tall and free, lifting the bird up from the beach, the sun starting to peek a bit more, lighting the shore.

I breathed, it breathed. We looked out to the sea, not a care in the world, just the two of us then- in this place, the all of it for us to be.

The little bird spoke, “You were kind to me.”

“Yes, you were so deserving of the love we shared.”

And then with my feet shared between us, we started toward the rising sun.

The morning strengthened. The light now ample for all to see. More life appeared.

One then two, people and birds, crawly things from small holes in the sand, sounds from the land of those wanting to be on the beach too.

Our pace slowed as we approached a small pool. It had formed from the mix of currents that found their way to the land, to the beach, moving the sand, the sand that was beneath my feet.

I stopped.  The small bird looked again into my eyes and then wiggled out of my arms into the pool of water. The little bird floated without care or plan, I followed with feet and hands, lowering myself into the ocean alongside it.

We floated there for a while.  The tide wandered in. The pool grew larger until it was- no more, the ocean all around us now.

The heat of the morning, calling for us to drink fresh water. The little bird looked at me, knowing I could not stay, nor it for long, not today.

And before calm or thought, without warning or farewell, the little bird flew up and away, to where it did not tell.

I watched it fly full and free. The light shining on us both now, the bird up in the air leaving … in the water, close to shore and the endless land, just me.

I turned my gaze away and walked from the wet, the dry welcoming me as before, until then perhaps when I would return some other day, to be, on the beach.

OnTheBeachPT

Messenger of Peace

Once upon a time, a guitar found joy in the resonance of sounds strummed on its strings. Its owner loved the instrument, made of a precious wood, carved and crafted into the musical instrument that it was. It was a happy and joyful guitar. As the years moved forward, the playing found pause. The owner busy with life and work and other things.

Along with other household belongings, the guitar found its place in storage and sat in the dark, quiet and alone. As the years went by, the storage unit fell into disrepair and the roof opened to the sky. Rain fell and blanketed all that was inside and dry. The guitar filled with water and the wood swelled. One by one, the musical strings fell away from its neck.

Upon discovering this, the owners took all that could be salvaged and left the rest- to the land. The once happy and joyful little guitar, or what was left of it, sat under a large banyan tree, totally exposed to the elements. As time passed the layers of wood peeled away from each other and mold and moss covered every inch of it. The strings rusted and most all of those parts that allowed it to sing were returned to the earth.

One sunny day, a joydreamer wandered by and saw it. The old guitar, now barely recognizable, lay abandoned. She picked it up and gathered what was left and brought it into her home to dry. The wood began to dry, and twist and curl and bubble. She watched it each day and took care of it. Disassembling it carefully and rescued what remained.

The little parts of the guitar rested in the days that followed, watching the joydreamer work on her art and other things, quietly wondering what would become its fate. And then one day, the joydreamer approached, took all of the parts and spread them out on a large table. Piece by piece, each was touched, caressed and carefully loved, with color and light and sun and air and love.

It would be several years in the making, but one day, the little guitar was given a smile, a most beautiful smile and eyes to see. To finally see the joydreamer that took care of it.

“Ah, you are so beautiful my little guitar.”, said the joydreamer.

The little guitar could not speak, but only looked on as the artist spoke.

“You have been through so much in your life. First from seed, to tree and all the days you grew. To the day, the tree was harvested and crafted into the materials you would become. Metals from the deepest mines would make your strings and then some lucky beings would play you, listen to your song, your voice until they grew tired of you and left you. Oh, my little guitar, not anymore- You are loved again!”

The remains of the guitar listened intently. The artist spoke more and they found conversation in the morning hours of art and life and coffee and joy. Always dreaming of joy.

Then one day, the final touches of love were complete and it would be time for the little guitar to see the world again.

“What shall we call you?”, asked the joydreamer.

The eyes of the guitar looked on and forward, but no words could express what the artist had done for it. They simply gazed peacefully at the new life breathed into it. There was a message there and the artist knew it, saw it and felt it.

“Messenger of Peace!”, proclaimed the joydreamer.

You will travel the world and to all who see you … peace with prevail.

The Messenger of Peace marveled in the name and all that was given to it, forever grateful to the earth from which it came, to hands of those who strummed its strings to hands of the joydreamer who cared enough to restore the song within it.

MessengerOfPeace

Original artwork courtesy of Stephanie Clifton
a.k.a. JoyDreamHer of JoyDreaming Life Art Studios ™.

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