old long since

Auld Lang Syne.  I have given this song some consideration and appropriately so.  It seems like my life, not unlike the lives of others, has been nothing but letting go and starting again.  Letting go.  Of times.  Of long ago and not so long ago.  And starting again.  And again.  And today is no different.  I suppose I have always known it and I have made a vow to begin living it.  Good and bad… letting go.  Forgetting what I can.  The bad will be easy enough to let fall away.  But I think, as I head forward, I will try to let fall from my heart some of the good too.  To make room for more good to come in.  I think it will be like waving goodbye to a trusted friend… letting go of a hand… glad for the way it filled my heart once, a little sad to see it go, but hopeful that I am fuller because of it and open to welcome what comes after.  So, take a cup of kindness and have a happy, healthy, peaceful New Year.

auld lang syne


As I approached the last day of this year, 2012, I was hardest hit by the concept of lasts.  I wondered how different my life would have been over the years had I lived as if every day events were lasts.  Not with the sadness that might accompany those lasts, but with the idea of treasuring those times.  Kissed my husband as if it were the last time I would kiss him.  Looked into his eyes the same way.  Said goodbye at the airport like I would never say goodbye again.  Touched his face with my hand.  I wish I had listened to his voice tell me he loved me as if I might never hear it again.  I wish I had listened to anything that way.  How differently I might have lived.  Because you never know, right.  So, if I could tell myself, or anyone, one thing on this last day of the year, I would say, Kiss him as if it might be the last time.  Listen to his words the same.  Speak like it might be the last thing he hears.  Love, with everything you have… like it’s your last chance… love.

wednesday mornings

lucky 13

golden slumbers


I’ve never believed in luck.  I don’t believe in it now.  2013.  May I just learn to live it.  In hope of a better year.  Fewer words spoken.  More life lived.  And may I find smiles when I rise.

Golden slumbers,
Fill your eyes
Smiles await you when you rise
Sleep pretty darling
Do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby.   ~The Beatles




golden slumbers

Golden slumbers,
Fill your eyes
Smiles await you when you rise
Sleep pretty darling
Do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby.   ~The Beatles

I used to sing this to my son when he was a baby.   He turned 16 today.  My baby is over six feet tall.  And his smile still lights me up like it did when he was little and we would race up the stairs to “naptime”…  I would have to trick him to make him think I wasn’t going to make a break for the stairs.  And then he would see me out of the corner of his eye and  RUN!  and if I were ahead, he would pull my foot out from under me and climb over my back when I fell.  And we would laugh so hard we would BOTH need naps by the time we made it upstairs.  He can do trig, no problem.  He’s been helping his older sister with her math since he was eight.  But he can’t figure out that if you step on a pool cover while it’s over the pool, you WILL get wet.  Very wet.  My life is worth whatever it is, for at least two reasons.  My son is one of them.  Happy Birthday, Chester.


Merry Christmas and love letters

I woke up this morning to absolute quiet.  And it was glorious to hear my own heartbeat.  My own breath.  It’s been a few weeks, maybe longer since I’ve done that.  After some prayer, I eased back to myself and then the strangest thing happened.  There, in the dark, in the early hours of Christmas morning, I began to compose a love letter.  First, I filed back in my mind’s eye to find an image of the recipient’s face during a really happy peaceful time.  And it flowed so easily from that point.  It was simple.  Kind.  Full of love in its first blossom.  It was full of comfort.  And smiles of familiarity, because I know secrets.  It was sweet and forgiving and caring.  And it started, “Merry Christmas.  Dear Ellen… ”



I’m feeling like I am lost.  And I only know what it feels like to be lost, because I know the direct opposite.  Because I know what it feels like to be at home in myself, I know when I’ve left home.  It didn’t happen overnight.  I wandered away slowly.  And after a while, I didn’t notice.  Like when you live near train tracks and the whistle wakes you up at first in the middle of the night.  But it doesn’t take long before you don’t hear it at all unless you listen.    Unfortunately, if I’m not home, it’s impossible to be home to anyone else.  So, it must begin there.  Always.  Fortunately, I get lost in the physical world quite frequently, so I am familiar with leaving “breadcrumbs”.  Markers.  To guide my way back.   Breadcrumbs… Photography.  Dreams, a little altered.  Family.  Friends.  Quiet… my quiet.  And my heart, that came with me on this journey, and is always there.  Loving me home.

bw bench

gifts and gifts

Today, I was handed this very simple gift.  Snow.  And the quiet it makes when it falls.  And the peace it brings.

Sometimes the best gifts are right in front of us.   How often have I heard this.  And still, I waste them.  And then they’re not in front of me.  And I miss them like I miss my own breath.   I have wasted so many gifts by trying to hold on to them and keep them safe, instead of being in them.  Living them.  Breathing in them.  And today, for the first time, it actually felt possible to learn to be in these gifts minute by minute, being careful not to make them anything but what they are and let them flow right through me.  It’s a consciousness.  It’s being aware.  And it’s going to take some practice.  But that’s what my life is now.  Practicing what I’ve learned…

snow 1

… a moving sea

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous.
But let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together;
For the pillars of the temple stand apart.
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
(From “The Prophet” by Kahil Gibran)

I usually don’t quote something this long.  But I needed to include it all.  Because I want to see it all.  If I forget any of it, I should forget all of it.  If I remember any of it, may I remember all of it.  ~

maine and me 2

just another way.

When I reached my forties, I thought my choices in life were severely limited.  And truth is, they do diminish somewhat.  My careers choices are fewer.  Certain physical limitations have arisen.  But recently, I have discovered that while it’s too late to become an astronaut or start a family of ten, I am faced with more choices about how  I live than ever.  I have never been so aware of how I interact with people.  Aware of the affect my words and actions have on them.  And that these are choices.  I have never subscribed to the phrase, “well, that’s just me…”  It’s only me if I choose for it to be.  In the last few years, in particular, I have been made fiercely aware of my behavior, my words, both written and spoken, even my expressions.  My interactions with those around me have been more intimate than ever in my life and the impact is profound.  I have watched work relationships and personal relationships either thrive or wither over time based largely in part on choices I make.  My words, tone, timing, mannerisms, things I simply don’t give much thought to, have all played a part in whether the relationships were nourished or starved.  Some of it is perspective.  Some of it is simply being caring instead of careless.  But every day, it is nothing more than choices.  And I have more than I ever imagined I would.

just another way



a:   to hold dear : feel or show affection for

b:   to keep or cultivate with care and affection > nurture

I’m getting a jump on my New Year’s Resolutions.  The top of the list involve words and concepts that I want to learn and live in a new way.   Words like Cherish.  Simplicity.  Listen.  Wait.  Charity.  Wait some more.  Love.  Patience.  Write.  Silence.  Breathe.  Rest.   Do.  And the list goes on… Join a gym.  Take vitamins.  Eat more fresh vegetables.   Stop drinking.  (just in case I start and can’t stop)  Drink more water.  Recycle something.  Learn a new language.  Read twelve books.

drooping flower