Months of stressful multitasking has left my mind and body depleted. It took extraordinary planning to carve out a few precious hours. Could a short break have a notable effect on my spirit?
After a parent teacher meeting, I take the slow way home, a road that winds through woods and fields. I let my heart lead me, took the some time off from work, took my last look at emails and social media, and disabled most phone alerts.
Why did I have so many alerts set for things that don’t matter? Isn’t there enough urgency in the world without manufacturing more?
After creating some distance from the demands of my life, I head to the ocean, armed with everything I needed: good coffee, sunglasses, a pad of paper and a pen.
I set out on more winding roads. April foliage looks bare but the start of life is all around. You can smell it in the air.
As I turned a corner, the ocean came into the view. The waves were slate with a soft baby blue skimming the surface. A mist rose blurring the boundary between liquid and gas, softening the rocky edge of a pine topped island. Oh to live on a spot of land surrounded by the beating ocean.
Each turn of my wheel, I feel more and more giddy. I called to myself to keep this real. Is it possible that the ocean means this much to me?
Perhaps it can. Perhaps the code of the waters are embedded in my DNA.
On the edge of the beach, I notice a gray haired woman with a white cane. If I lose my sight, I will still come to the ocean. When I open the car door, a rush of cold sea air greets me. I take a deep breath and taste kelp. The woman’s face turns to the sound of my car door closing. I walk up and greet her. Her face radiates with the love of the ocean. She cannot see that mine does as well. I talk about the sounds, and smells and cold air. I want to share my joy in with her in the ways she knows the shore.
I sit on the sand and close my eyes and the sound of the waves become more complex. The sun is warm on my face. The air cold.
Yes. Even without sight I would love this place.
I open my eyes. The churning of the sea makes me feel stable. Blues and greens mixing with white. The rhythm matches my breath. I catch a glimpse of larger waves through the rocks. I want to get closer. I take my shoes off and walk along the beach.
I climb the steps that take me to the tops of the headlands and walk high above the sea. I am reminded of Mendocino though the scale of the Atlantic cliffs are much smaller.
I see a sign and wonder is this a trail marker or a warning.
The sounds of the waves deepen. I walk to the end of the point and sit cautiously on the edge.
I can feel my hour winding down. Slowly, like one rises from a massage, I prepare to rejoin the busy world.
I walk along the path listening to the birds signing in the barren branches.
In the car, I turn back only the most essential alerts.
And I answer my own question. A well planned hour can have a notable effect on my spirit.
I wonder if he knows that I drive fast on the highway singing at the full volume to songs new and old. The songs I sing boldly proclaim my feelings for him.
I wonder if he knows that I mostly only write in my journals when I am angry. The words he would find scattered around do not tell the story of my love.
I wonder if he knows that I both love and fear the passing years. A graying beard and laugh lines suits him well.
Inspired by my love and the daily prompt: wonder.
With a little imagination, we can do anything.
No more spoon fed ideas!
Puréed politics is as unpalatable as over-cooked carrots spun through the food processor.
Talking heads in 1950s suits telling us what to think is so retro (and not in a good way like that mid-century modern you’ve been eying).
If your words are sharp, short and fire rapidly, think for a moment: have you heard this before, in exactly this way. If you have you know you have been memified.
Let everyone know, our brains are not empty waiting to be filled with their memes that crowd out original thought. Imagination needs the space that the memes take up. So throw them away like moldy cheese.
We have been playing it too safe. Think of your worst ideas.
The worse the better.
For brilliance rises not in the safety of acceptable ideas that carry no risk. Brilliance bursts into life from outrageous ill conceived unconventional thoughtS.
Failed ideas are the food of the precious few.
You cannot fail if you open a void
Why the gun control versus mental illness debate is dishonest and dangerous distraction.
First and foremost. The majority of people with mental illness are not violent. It’s quite easy to say, “look at that horrible violent crime. The perpetrators must be mentally ill.” The media look back at mass murders reinforces a stereotype that pathogizes people who seek treatment for mental health issues.I’ll repeat because we cannot say this enough: the vast majority of people with mental health issues are not violent.
Pro gun republicans and libertarians are planting a false debate that gun control should not be an important part of the solution. “It’s mental health!” they say (or immigration, depending of the color of the perpetrators skin).
The truth is the policies that republicans push eliminate the very safety nets essential for people with mental health issues.
You know those adults on Medicaid that are demonized as not working enough for the republicans? People with untreated mental illness are more likely to be unable to maintain steady employment. Their Medicaid is their ticket to essential mental health care. Republican states are queuing up to add able bodied adult work requirements for Medicaid that will most surely impact people with mental health and substance abuse issues.
If they are able to sustain employment and have private health insurance, the affordable healthcare act (ACA) ensures that mental health benefits are included in their plan no matter what state they live in. The GOP opposes essential health benefits. Along with prenatal care, mental health services are targets of the “I don’t need it so why should I pay for a plan that covers x” mentality.
It’s no secret that the National Rifle Association (NRA) makes significant donations to politicians, heavily focusing on republications. Again, Trump and the republicans have proven through policy that access to weapons trumps public safety and the needs of people with mental health issues. Any attempt to implement common sense gun legislation is targeted with a two prong attack: legislation and heavy propaganda. This article from 2012 documents NRA’s highly effective social media reach.
The NRAs propaganda is highly effective. Most Americans advocate for common sense gun legislation yet the debate is entrenched and we are mired in inaction. Democrats are not looking for an unconstitutional ban on guns. Yet the NRA political campaigns would suggest that we are divided. The social media campaigns seek to push Americans apart when it’s time for us to come together.
Sadly, there are too many moments when children who are killed and their families are in my thoughts and prayers.
My heart aches.
And I never want to become numb to the grief. I never want to become desensitized. I hope you don’t either.
I want our grief to mobilize us to unite and take action. My faith tells me that I have a responsibility to be part of the solution. That prayer and action are linked.
I want common sense gun restrictions. I want a robust safety net for people with mental illness. I want effective treatment. I want my elected officials to break the grip that the NRA has on them.
I am an engaged citizen and I vote.
By now, most of us have seen the sketch that went viral. In spite of its simplicity (or because of it) a thief was caught. I get it. A few lines and a couple of dots captured the visual essence of a man.
Less is more in the detective business.
Saturday over breakfast, my son and I decided to throw our towel into the forensic artist business.
I offer the following sketch to my lovely neighbors in case their dog should go out galavanting and get lost on their way home.
You would surely recognize their dog at a glance if posted on any poster.
Please understand I have complete faith in the careful puppy parenting of our neighbors. I anticipate that this image will never be needed for anything greater than my own portfolio.
I also present my talented son’s forensic sketch.
He is seeking a long lost friend from kindergarten.
The image is a good likeness though perhaps less effective than my own.
I do not mean to throw my son under the bus but if a position for a forensic artist becomes available, I am the better candidate for the job. Our family would be better served by an income spent on food than an income spent on the latest and greatest hockey sticks.
Remember everything passes.
Each moment is a new beginning.
Abandon “should be” thoughts.
Trust in your power.
Here is your opportunity for growth.
written in response the daily post, mnemonic.