“To live in this world you must be able to do three things”

“To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” – Mary Oliver

There’s no one like Mary Oliver.  She really touches a pulse, doesn’t she?  I know that I have done the first two things on her list fiercely.  I have been “loving” and “holding it against my bones” (I love those words) my entire life.  But letting it go, that is the hard part.  Letting it go is the freeing part.  This freedom is exactly what I need here in my little pocket.

So today, I start a new day, er well evening.  I’m done trying to make amends and righting wrongs and singing sad songs.  It’s time to let go of the attachments, positive or negative as they may be.  I’m getting back on the rollercoaster that is my life, throwing my hands up to the sky, and just “let it go.”  So tonight, may my hair wisp away in the wind, may my heart be empty as the night, and may my mind be filled with wonder like the stars.

Your dearest dream is coming true.

A rainbow sorbet end of the day

I often wonder about life. I ruminate about it and all the paths I’ve taken up to this day. And I try not to let that rumination ruin the present moment. I’ve had one of those days where reflection and enjoying the moment coincide peacefully.

After driving home after a breath-taking Jersey sunset, I took some time to reorganize my music collection to include some new additions as well as import some of my well worn cd collection catching dust on the shelf. It was a musical journey as I played familiar tunes of my past paths. This process was complimented by completely new songs and feelings. Lovely. It’s definitely something I will enjoy doing again and good thing I still have a lot more oldies but goodies CDs to import into iTunes.

30 Reasons to Love BEING SINGLE

1.No accommodating.
2.No appeasing.
3.No compromising.
4.You get to watch whatever you want, the remote control is yours again.
5.You get to do whatever you want, you call the shots.
6.The only one who criticizes you is you, don’t do it.
7.You only worry about your own dinner.
8.You pick what’s for dinner.
9.You get to raise your dogs how you see fit.
10.You get to enjoy your own company.
11.Laugh at your own jokes.
12.Solitude is a peaceful, beautiful time for yourself.
13.Spoil yourself often.
14.You have to learn how to love yourself.
15.Love yourself hard.
16.Take excellent care of yourself.
17.The toilet seat miraculously stays down.
18.You can lounge around in sweatpants and go without make-up.
19.Your true friends will be there.
20.You call on the real people who love you.
21.You can cuddle and kiss your puppies.
22.Dogs are woman’s best friends too.
23.Go out with your girlfriends.
24.Get a pedicure.
25.Play angry chick music all day long.
26.Work out to gangsta rap on your iPod.
27.Long talks on the phone with people you love, no cutting it short.
28.You get to be messy.
29.Do the laundry when you feel like it.
30.You are your own cheerleader, hold your own hand, praise your successes and focus on Team #1: YOU.
“Out of the chains that bind – never fall in love again.” –Dionne Warwick

Love is like invisible algae

Several days ago, I realized that I have never written a love poem before, not a pure one that is.  I’ve been writing poems since I was twelve years old so that’s almost twenty years of poetry and not one love poem.  Well, I take out my pen and pour myself over the task, known here on this blog as “Winning”.  Then, I look at my phone this morning and I’ve been broken up with over a text message!

I will not get into petty details but it has come to my undivided attention that I do not understand love one bit.  Oh, I used to think I knew everything there was to know.  Oh, I used to think I was an expert, the crème de la crème of the love, how I would bask in it, how I would commit to it, how I would go to the end of the earth for it.

But listen to me now.  Love is like invisible algae.  Sometimes you can grasp it, taste its salt, but other times it slips right out of your fingers and you wonder if it was ever there in the first place.

Well I know this.  I may have been through the ups and downs of romances.  I may have had numerous failed relationships.  I have never been married.  Maybe I will never be a lifer, a no-matter-what committer, a wife.  But I have loved.  I have loved hard.  I am loving.  I love love even though it kills me sometimes.  But I don’t understand it.  Are marriage and life long commitment the ultimate expression of love?  If so, I can’t speak to it.

And I’m a thirty-year-old woman now.  I am no kid.  What is it, if not love, that I have been doing?  What are these sacrifices?  These time commitments?  What is the sweetness?  The kindness?  The passion?  The caresses?  The tenderness?

I love even though I’ve let go.  And guess what?  I think that’s love too.  I love even though it may not be the right choice for me.  I’ve loved more than one person in my life, and to some people, for a woman, that makes me a whore.  Well, I know that they know even less about love than I do.  I know that when and if I say “I do” it’s going to be because I mean it.  I know that I don’t need a ring to love.  I know that some people who do that do not know love at all.  I know that the people that marry for love I admire greatly.

But I will end this musing on love reiterating that I do not understand love one bit.  I do not know why love would lead you down the wrong road time and again.  I do not grasp why love would leave you completely and utterly alone.  I do not know why it is here for moments, for days, for years, and then disappears.  I do not know why it reappears in a different form.

And you know, maybe I have written love poems.  Maybe I have written lots of them.  Maybe it’s just too painful to look back on all of them, knowing that in real life it didn’t work out.  Maybe I have only yet to write a poem about marriage because the right person has not come into my life.

But now I’m convinced that this love stuff is really invisible algae.  It may be lovely, soft and graceful, a joy to be covered with, but it has slipped from my fingers yet again.  And this time, I don’t know that I want it back.  Here’s hoping I don’t slip into love amnesia again.

In love of mothers

It’s a beautiful day in New Jersey.  It will be seventy degrees and full of sunshine.  In a few hours, I will be going over to my grandmother’s house for a mother’s day lunch with my mother and grandmother and rest of the family.  We will be partaking in a small feast complete with heavenly cupcakes for dessert.  But the greatest part of the day will be getting to party with my two favorite women.

These two women love me a lot.  I cannot begin to describe how much they’ve done for me and how great a debt I owe them for making me who I am.  They are the shoulders I cry on, the women I turn to with anything.  They’ve been there for me when no one else was there, through thick and thin, storm and high water.  My mother has toiled in the trenches to provide support and my grandmother has been a constant caregiver.  I don’t know what I’d do without them.  Between the two of them, I have the double-whammy of female role-models so I know the multifaceted nature of being a strong woman.  My mother goes out into the exterior world.  She is a superstar of song, hard work, and living your dreams.  My grandmother is the master of the interior world and making a home and caring for your family.

I hope to one day be the best of both their worlds.  I eagerly look forward to the day I will have my own family for which to care and support.  I also want to be an example for my own children in living my dreams.  I think I am that woman.  And it is thanks to my mother and grandmother.

In love of mothers everywhere, happy mother’s day!

Integrity in the workplace and beyond

I have been working for fourteen years now.  ‘What’s that?’  You say.  ‘You’re not even thirty yet?’  It is true though.  I have worked consistently since I was sixteen years old when I was able to apply for my working permit.  Yes, I am counting the waitress and cashier jobs at the pizzeria and the bagel shop – all work counts as experience.  These jobs were my core foundation in customer service and the very principles I still hold onto today.  Simple tried and true principles like courtesy and respect… From day one, you are honing skills if you are paying attention and applying them.

Thirteen of these years have been spent in offices.  And, fortunately, I have had the opportunity to start my career with extraordinarily good people and upright companies.  These leaders of the profit and non-profit worlds have demonstrated the meaning of integrity in the everyday.  Sure there are always moments of frustration, mistakes abound, people have power trips… but what was ingrained in me was a deep sense of right and wrong in the workplace.

I can’t pinpoint the very moment when I started to realize that my work experiences were something of an exception to the rule.  It’s probably been in the last few years though.  My more recent perception has been that there is a real absence of integrity “out there” so much so that it hardens you up a bit.  You have to toughen up and look at others through different lenses.  I am still a proponent of reserving judgments at least until you’ve gathered a good deal of information and experience with another human being.  On the other hand, in often quick and dirty business exchanges, you have to set your lenses to ones of caution.

We are conditioned not to trust.  We are expecting insincerity and deceit.  And in that regard, we wield our own virtual spears of insincerity and lack of integrity.  But, the eternal optimist that I am, I still believe in the inherent goodness of others.

Lately, I have been listening to my audio book of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (for more on Stephen Covey – go here.)  There is a reason why Stephen Covey has something of a cult following.  It’s because his advice resonates with what we all know to be true.  Call me new-agey if you’d like.  But I believe we are on the cusp of a societal shift.  I would like to see it shift to one where principles like integrity are seen as the norm and not the exception.  I would like to see it shift so that people treat each other with more heart and less caution and disdain.  I’d like to see us dream big.

That’s my two cents on integrity.  Please pray for Haiti and donate as generously as you can.  God bless.

-S