Drops of Vitamin Sea & D


Today I was graced with a day trip to the shores of Lake Erie. It’s a beautiful shore line with turquoise waters. I’ve dubbed it, “The Poor Girl’s Florida Keys.” There’s no coral reef for snorkeling, just varying levels of waves, blue water, sunshine, and sand. I grew up in Florida and Western Pennsylvania. In Florida, I spent my summers in the Gulf of Mexico or in a neighbor’s pool. Once my family moved to Pennsylvania, I maintained my relationship with water in my cousin’s pool, and even joining her family on a trip to the Outer Banks in NC and Hawaii. Despite my ghostly, fair complexion, I love the beach. I find healing in a few hours in the sun, being cooled by the ocean breeze, and tossed in the rhythm of waves.

Last summer, I was blessed to travel to Dubrovnik, Croatia on the Adriatic Sea. It was glorious. Just the view of a coastline eases my soul. I haven’t yet seen a coastline more beautiful than the Adriatic Coastline. I waded and swam in salt water for it to cleanse and heal my body, mind, and soul. With a trip like last summer’s, this year’s budget did not allow for such an adventure. So, as the summer winds to a close, my family and I snuck in a day trip to Lake Erie for me to get my water fix.

The summer has afforded me a great deal of rest. I’ve done a lot of thinking for myself and my relationships. This is nothing new, as I’m a constant thinker. However, I do feel more confident in my place with myself and others than I did a couple of months ago. It hasn’t been easy, though. Self-growth isn’t easy or fun; just worth it like everything else that follows the same rule. All summer long, I’ve craved the water, knowing how beneficial it is for me. Weather, logistics, budgets, and excuses all seemed to get in the way. Until today. Today was now or never, and I was hopeful that it would be exactly and completely what I need.

Except, there’s no quick fix. There’s no immediate, one-time solution. Maybe the cure is only achieved once the bucket is filled; drop by drop. Drops in the bucket. Today a drop, or maybe few were placed in my bucket. My impatience convinced me that I would be cured by some “Vitamin Sea & D.” Only, I still feel wounded and empty, just not as much so. Progress, I’ll take it. My impatient expectations set me up for failure, not for improvement or love. Instead, I now realize that healing sometimes comes in drops, and with it comes giving the space needed for patience and acceptance.


Day of Return

Information overload.

Good ideas, but there’s no hope for follow through.

There’s too much.

Frustration in lack of effective change.

Culminating passion, fatigue, stuck in mid level, status quo.

This summarizes my first day of teacher in service. It was a return to the busy. The return to pressures and demands. All of it left me conflicted, lost, and deeply overwhelmed.

To counteract the anxiety and fatigue, I napped, fixed dinner, drank a glass of wine, and took a walk with my husband and dog. I prepared my tomorrow materials and showered. I slipped into bed and began reading in an attempt to correct my bed time habits. I said my prayers, more than usual.  A FB check snuck in, which only confirmed I need to step away. I don’t need it. I logged off and continued to read until I had to write.

I’m reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Big Magic explores what it means to live creatively, and how to  achieve such a lifestyle.  I was already a fan of her work. 16 pages into Big Magic and I’ve fallen in love with her all over again. Simple, clear, and brilliant all at once. Finishing her accurate description of fear, I’ve had my first realization.

It’s always been effective; creativity. When I’m low, the only thing that soothes and stimulates is creating. That thing may be on paper, made of clay, or moving my breath through my body while in any given asana, or independently choreographing my movements to whatever is playing.  It’s my therapy.  It’s the connection to myself, and the result that flows forth, regardless of quality.  That’s the sweet spot with all the good stuff.  It’s the moment when inspiration strikes and you’re riding the wave of pure divinity.  It’s an exhilarating and calming practice that brings clarity to my mind and resets my soul.

So after finishing the chapter on courage, following my ‘Day of Return,’ I jotted these words. Because I had to. Because these words in this moment are my “Magic.”


Observing Common Threads

Not without hesitation, but refusing to stay silent I present this essay.  I have no intent in engaging a debate or insulting anyone.  My intent is to highlight a common theme and send a message of love and understanding.

Recent national events have stirred up controversy and highlighted deep seeded wounds. Over the past several years, racial and religious, and political tensions seem to have caught a blaze. Unity feels as if it’s at an all time low. Less than a week ago, such tensions came to the forefront once again.

It feels surreal. As if it’s a dejavu, simultaneously uncharted and familiar. Familiar because we’ve been down this road before, uncharted because it’s a new generation at the helm.  Hopefully we will not need to relearn our ancestors’ past lessons.

In scrolling through my feed, I know, I’m trying to quit, but that’s a different topic, I’ve noticed a common thread binding racism, politics, cruel victimization, and religion. The voices in opposition to those who rejected the white supremacists are the same which support the president and the Republican Party. They did not support the supremacists, they simply attacked their opposition. To be clear I am not referring to all who voted for him. I am referring those who did vote for him, are republicans, and have spoken against the left side of the debate instead of denouncing hate. I see this lack of denouncing as a careful seduction of the worst kind. Opposing those who defend equal and human rights and not rejecting the incitement of hate, in fact IS supporting those who are limiting human rights. Perhaps, they disagree with the Left’s’ methods. Perhaps, but this is not purely about methods. This is about what lurks beneath the surface.

Hiding underneath the chaos, confusion, and manipulation is a pervasive, diseased mentality. I’ve noticed that these same individuals who blame the Left, are the same folks who say anti-bullying and diversity campaigns are futile. They cry that kids and parents are too sensitive. According to them, we should teach our children to stand up for themselves using force, NOT that we should be teaching our children kindness in the first place. This is how it begins. The lesson becomes reactive instead of proactive with the victim caught in a persistent cycle of revenge. Just like that, the child has learned to rationalize and use hate.  This matures into each side being unrecognizable and guilty of the same crimes. We must stop blaming the victim.

I find it deplorable. Yes, “deplorable.” I find one human manipulating, oppressing, or victimizing another for any reason as deplorable. I find supporting such acts equally deplorable. I become further disturbed when the same individuals cite religious justification. Regarding the present turmoil, the president’s supporters/Republicans/permitters of hate proclaim themselves to be Christians. Maybe they are. This is not for me to decide. However, I’ve been a Christian all of my life. I have never been taught that harming or even threatening another was ever Jesus’s central mission. Jesus said, ‘What you have done for another, you have done for me.’* Prior to Jesus’s teaching, God gave Moses Ten Commandments* to live by. Every commandment calls for respect and love without exception.  Regardless of what religion you may or may not practice, these themes are relatively similar in ALL world religions. Each religion teaches a core set of values which are focused on loving and respecting oneself and one another. Nowhere does it say that if someone angers or disagrees with you, you are excused to assault, injure, or murder. The guidelines call for love, peace, and patience. In the book of 1 Corinthians, love is placed before hope, and even above faith.*. The layers of hypocrisy and illogic that surround the weekend’s events are terrifyingly bewildering.

The warped idea that the mistreatment of others is permissible, especially if it is self serving, is dangerous. It’s the common thread threatening humanity. It is driving the dehumanization of individuals and groups which leads to further polarizing extremes, racism, and cycles of hate. Even more troubling when it’s passed onto the next generation. Children are not born hating. Think of holding an infant. Innately, they receive and give love. Is there evil out there? Yes. It is wise to teach our children how to handle such hardship and how to problem solve? Yes. I argue that if we are to move past an age of hate, we must teach our children how to treat others with respect and how answer the hate with love instead of perpetuating it.  Our children are watching and learning.

Not until we begin to look beneath the surface, will we begin to value one another. Together we need to put in the work to allow understanding and healing. Unless we take such an approach, this type of behavior and violence is sure to continue. We must teach our children what is means to love. We need to show kindness in disagreements, demonstrate empathy, and NOT be driven purely by own self serving desires. Will it be easy? No. We as adults need to honestly reexamine our motives and behaviors.  It will not be easy.  My belief is that it will bring peace. I believe in peace.

Be kind. Love another.
It really is this simple.

*John 13
I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

*Ten Commandments

1. I am the LORD your God. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
3. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
4. Honor your father and your mother.
5. You shall not kill.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.

*1 Corinthians 13:13
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Responding With Love

The headlines breed fear, disgust, and anger. When disagreements arise, it’s easy to choose a side and stand firm, armed with stubborn blindness. Daily, the American politics stir the pot of domestic and foreign affairs. With a dash of narcissism, pinch of hypocrisy, one part control, and a smidge of doom, the power-hungry chefs prepare the feast of hate. And so the guests arrive, each adorned in their fitting attire. With signs in hand and emblems on their sleeves, they dine and plot.

What is the counter strike? It is love. Love is calling to be delivered. Mercy and Grace are ready and waiting in the wings.
Friends, now is not the time for silence. Instead speak and live in kindness. Give failure to hate. When met with the positive, the negative neutralizes. Be the light that does not cast shadows, but reaches into the darkness to offer support. Give love that nourishes your brothers and sisters.

We are not called to agree. We are called to love one another. Where there is hate, love is the comfort. Where there is fear, love begs to be the focus. Greed, fear, hate, and pain have only one antidote. Using one to answer the other is foolish. Only love’s trifecta of kindness, patience, compassion cures the troubled. We must teach kindness and practice patience in order to thrive, especially during such turbulent and divisive times.

Friends, be the light. Be the love. Love one another. Share the message of kindness in your works.  Peace be with you.

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