Archive for the ‘change’ Category

Close Call Gifts In Strange Wrapping Paper

March 18, 2018

We were lucky enough to have reasonable tickets pop up at the last minute, and got to go to the theatre last evening to see Hamilton, before the cast and crew pack up and leave town. This historic show based in the time of forming this country is as relevant to today,in this time of breaking apart the very work of those immigrants all forefathers, who gave their lives so all these years later, we could have lives lived in freedom; with rights, safety and happiness. Yes, that piece always gets me. They wrote ‘happiness’ into purposes and rights for us!

Here in this century, is a groundbreaking production of American theatre history. A broadway musical in a new form of tale and tune; to an au courant beat and lyric expression. The words from the experiences of long ago ring out to the audience too true in today. The tapestry of us all being beings is woven across time. One can be suspended and upended by the depth and height of experiences then and relevancy now.
The incredible foresight and guts to fight for and build a new nation from a melting pot of many differences from other places in the world; the courage to place one’s life on the line for the the highest Good and betterment of ALL against tyranny of one ruling unendingly over many, birthed for us the life we’ve been privileged to enjoy, with all its human frailties and faults.

One of the lines sung by George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, after the war ends…‘winning is easy; governing is harder.’
They both go on to, as they are trying to form a good government by the people, for the people, and sing:

“The constitution’s a mess.
So, it needs amendments.
Its’s full of contradictions.
So is independence.”

And King George, in conceding the loss of the war, watches from afar with shock and awful prescience the initial steps this toddler America takes and fairly bristles with pleasure and portent at the preposterousness of a democracy of presidents and rights of people. He hisses, “They’ll tear each other to pieces!”

We, in the audience, shudder for a second and glance around at each other; knowing  that. among us, using office is living proof that tidbit is true.

For, as we entered the beautiful 90 year old grand dame Paramount Theatre, gathered, taking our seats inside her gracefull sculptured inner sanctum, gazing at the immense ‘way back machine’ stage set for our journey into history, along with ushers passing out programs and helping theatre goers to their seat rows, we noticed a dog moving up and down the aisles. My first thought at this oddity was, ‘ must be a service dog…looking for its master?’ The full house was packed and busy with excited energy of anticipation and readying for a long and life changing show.

Then we noticed there was one man in navy blue walking up and down the aisle, allowing the dog to smell each row on either side. A dog! In the theatre? Unheard of!
Then came the dawn!

This was a service dog of a different breed…a bomb sniffing dog! We and our seat mates all whispered as if we were trapped in a plane cabin afraid to disturb a bomb or bomber. I froze in fear. I could feel my heart stop and my muscles pull in to tense. We all looked around for the exits. Were we close or too far away, God Forbid?

Two people hadn’t yet arrived to fill our row and their seats were in the upright position. I wanted us all to check under our seats for ticking devices or c-4 packs.

I remembered the oddity of mere minutes ago, while waiting outside the theatre for my dear Tom to park the car, of the voices out on the sidewalk telling people to have their bags/purses open and ready to be inspected at the doors.
“No back packs or large handbags or satchels will be permitted into the theatre!”

I watched a lady go by me with a very large satchel bag. She didn’t come back out. A gal with a backpack on didn’t  even take it off her back, never mind open it. She never came back out. A couple of guys with back packs went in and didn’t come back out.
We’d been to the show last week and it felt odd then to have entrance lines where everyone purses were literally hand searched before gaining entry to the lobby. It felt strange and more rock concert like than genteel theatre.
Then, like everyone else, that thought got shrugged off and lost in the excitement of seeing the show.

This night, though, with the addition of bomb sniffing dogs (there had been none last month when we first saw this production) I was petrified, wondering how or if we could get out. Could we leave the theatre right now? Screw the show; save our lives? It didn’t look good. We’d have to trust the dogs. I joked, as I do when I’m nervous or trying to lighten a heavy experience for folks. “Good thing I didn’t put that summer sausage in my handbag.” Nervous smiles. Nervous bits of laughter.
The gal one seat over from me looks wide eyed and we assured ourselves everything was all right. In my mind, I’m thinking of my grandchildren being told that Gramence and Grampy at least died doing something they loved. That’s not such a terrible thing, right? I really want to get out of this place. Nice present, Tom. Ohhh, Screw this, it’s just a show; just money. No one will die for giving up either. Breathe. Breathe. All
is well. All is well. Be still and know. Angels surround.

Wait! Is this how we’re sposed to die? In the theatre!? Oh, that is too rich. ‘Not funny, you guys up there!’ I think really loudly to my too many theatre friends, family and colleagues already gone to that big theatre in the sky before me. My outrage and fear melt into more of a Let Go and Let God thing I’ve been practicing.

I sort of choose faith. And moreover, authenticity.  I’m sick of trying to be strong; bucking people up, I lean into Tom and whisper, “I’m really scared.”
And the orchestra begins, lights dim on us audience & come up onstage as the players fret their hours upon the stage and we are in the nuts and bolts; slings and arrows of the founding of our nation. The booms we hear are just the vocal ones from the singers’ lyrics representing canons of war and awareness of insights.

We all, onstage and off lived.
This morning, as I write this, I have a gigantic energy hangover and the first thing I see on facebook is about the verbal abuse and mean misunderstanding being slammed at the survivor kids from most recent massacre of children in schools, (Isn’t that a sad thing to say…’most recent massacre?!’) These survivor kids won’t stay silent or go away in their courageous public grief. They have demands for change for public safety. Imagine the chutzpah of that! People who lost people in nightclubs, movie theatres, concerts, temples and churches want that too. I want that too.
It dawns on me that the announcement of ‘no large satchels or bags’ allowed in the theatre last nite was to keep automatic rifles used in all the other massacres, out!
I am in shock! I am naive even in my own good heart and character stance for sane removal of these weapons of war meant for maximum killing and optimal flesh damage. I want them out of and unavailable in civilian life. Responsible sportsmen know the sanity of this. Vets know and deserve to come home to the country they fought to keep safe from that carnage, and not have to be in the middle of weapons of war anymore.
I got a whiff of that insecurity in a place once never thought of where weapons of any kind might be commonplace.

A whiff.

No one got mangled or died. But the threat was obviously there in a normally safe place.

Who knows? Was there a threat turned in that we didn’t know about? it is after all a very political show.

Weapons of war in civil life are already so commonplace, and, ghastly, actually supported by many for profit, prejudice or posturing, that we, the people, are subject to far worse than King George ever could have imagined…. but now that I’ve said that, maybe his words were more pronouncement than at the time petty. “They’ll tear each other to pieces.”

Who could have known with what flesh tearing, life obliterating weaponry that would be done…or where sanctuaries of common safety and decency in our communities would be destroyed in the name of greed and treason.

Back to the future lived last night in the theatre.

People in our row talked about the signs of our times…..the notice posted on a cinema front door, “no weapons allowed inside”..the shocking little ‘ no guns’ sign on the entrance glass door to The Cheesecake Factory. We were all shocked, trying to process these losses of civility and safety and depths of the sewer to which America has descended; the erosion of morals; the acceptance of the degradation in our country.
This shock will never wear off, as uncomfortable as this heavy cloak is to bear and wear.

We did not have to run for our lives like the school kids did and yet the omininous threat of the possibility was too real…because those with the power to make needed change are wanton and unwilling….for personal profit!

I’ve said too many times, I can’t understand….This or that depth of terrible experience and pain.
But now I have a very valuable thing, in addition to my moral compass, within me forever,….a whiff.

In Hamilton, when those young men who became our forefathers took to the battle field, the soldier forefathers sing; “We’re finallly on the field. We’ve had quite a run.
Immigrants get the job done!”
A roar goes up and fist rise woot woot in the air every night from the audience members, as if we are right there on the battle field too; because we are….again… and every blessed, or damned, one of us immigrants.

As is said, in this historic production, after the founders fight for and hammer out tooth and nail, a creation of a better life; a better, safer country for highest Good for ALL:
“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
We fought for these ideals and we shouldn’t settle for less.
These are wise words.”

We, the, people, descendants, must not settle for less either.

Rise up.
Speak up.
Stand together
Honor what was gifted us.
Do not accept the unacceptable.
It is not commonplace.

I think of the young people standing up to those in leadership positions who won’t lead and are only interested in being well fed and not rocking their monied boat.
The founders were young too.
‘Young scrappy and hungry.’

Treason and death are inside our gates.
That is unacceptable.
Words from “Hamilton” that were true then and are true now:
“There is a battle for our nation’s soul.”

And, after last night’s scare, instead of living in fear, I choose to focus on another line, from the women characters of that time period, who were also activists; I heard with different ears, connecting them from then and now which give me another way of looking at the wreckage going on around us, that I despair of seeing:

“Look around. Look around at how lucky we are to be alive now. History is happening in America and we just happen to be in the greatest country in the world.”

A ray of the light of hope opens in my heart and liquid light of pride and the love I have for our country and those who have fought to bring her into being and raise her well, slips down my cheeks.

How can we heal her?
Can we heal her?
Yes, we can.
Yes, we will.


When Batlight Calls

October 8, 2017

One day my daughter in law, Hope, called to tell me that the children’s school was having super hero week and, knowing how I love to go see my grands in their second natural habitat, she told me parents and grandparents could go and read the children a story in their classrooms.  I’d read to their cousin, Benny’s, preschool class a while back and shared lots of bedtime stories with all of these beloveds, so she knew I had experience, heart and qualifications for the task proffered.  Also, knowing my love of school activities & being involved in the children’s lives by showing up to their events, she asked if I would like to do this fun sounding job.  
Would I!?! And how!

‘Please, Let them know that’s a resounding, Yes!’

Date and time set, my mind started whirling.  Hmm what to read? Level. Subject. Time needed. I’d be reading to Selia’s 2nd grade class and Jack’s kindergarten. How long? It’s super hero week. Which books? I checked out the artwork projects in the school hallway to get the drift. Did the adult readers dress up? As specific characters children would know? I’m no Batman. I’m just a grandmother with gumption and a love of children.

With it being short notice (no months or ability to make a full costume. And Superstorm Sandy had sadly taken all my stock of Halloween and stage costumes from various shows I’d done over my career.   It was next week!  and on further investigation, I found out it really wasn’t necessary….the focus was on simply reading.

Still….how to make it fun for the children? What books did I have left intact and unsodden by the flood from which I was still struggling to recover? If so, were any of them specifically about super heroes? Hmmm. No books on the totally lost first floor, survived. I looked through the 2nd floor, where what I could put upstairs on the day of preparation for the coming storm, I’d done as best I could. What a wreck to wade through! ”This would take a super power!’ I thought.

The few survivors I could find were old dusty ones from their Dad’s childhood. I kept searching until, lo and behold, I found a slim unopened Amazon book mailer among the piles of pillows, blankets and boxes. Upon opening, I found what must’ve been kept for Christmas or Birthday gift giving.  I’d always shopped well ahead of holidays and celebrations; keeping an eye out for sales! and stacked away the gifts until the fun days arrived. Friends fondly called this yearly clutter, ‘Gramence’s store.’

Staring up at me was a crisp glossy white-jacketed book entitled, “The Invisible String.”  
It had a drawing on it of 2 children and a heart on a piece of string flying above them. I opened and read a most wonderful story of children and loss and how ultimately no matter how far away we all may go or be, we are always connected by love in our hearts.

It was packed with feelings that every human has and I remembered purchasing this gift for the two of my grandchildren who lived through the night of the terror of the giant storm with 100 miles per hour wind whipping and whining in the night; rocking the 7 story building in which we sheltered;  hunkering down in the dark with flashlites when the power went out in the whole town and the ocean roared down every street; smashing into houses and buildings.

People got uprooted and friends and families got the storm and after.   
Many people had to find other places to live, away from their houses that got damaged in the flood. Kids couldn’t go to their regular schools. They too were flooded and wrecked. Everyone who knew everyone got scattered.

I wiped my eyes touched with tears as I finished reading and wondered if, as lovely as this book about hearts always being connected no matter how far away people can go; the next room, across the world or out of it when they die, might be too heavy for the elementary children of East School of Long Beach New York.  It had just gotten repaired  and opened again and was filling up with students who were returning to their home area as it healed. Yet no matter what other book I found, this slim volume tugged at my heartstrings and its simplicity and comforting truth gave me the courage to choose it.

Now to tie in the fun of the theme. Super Heroes with Super Powers! 
I borrowed a short red cape, I’d given Hope for a prior Halloween Super Woman costume, because she is a super Mom & woman.  I tied it around my neck, scrunchied my hair up in two pony tails; standing out, one on either side of the top of my head, wore red clogs, blue slacks and a bright turquoise, long sleeve top.  
And off I went to school!

Arriving and reporting for duty at the principal’s office, I announced myself ready for heroic reading to class.   
They cracked up at the ‘costume!’ and loved it!  Calling the teacher, for time to read and getting the ok, off I went; cape flying in the hallway breeze. Kids on errands turning like tops,  agog with the sight. Who was this superhero?!

As I knocked on the door, a teacher invited me in, introduced me to the children while another got their students seated in a semi-circle on the carpet of the story-time area of the room; a small chair awaited me at the front of this arc of bright-eyed, bushy-tailed kiddles who chorused “Good morning Gramence!”

I took my place and my grand daughter, Selia, took her special place for the visit, on a little chair next to me, as the privileged page turner.

After the exchange of the ‘hello chorus’ and book title introduction, I took a deep breath, centered and began….’Once upon a time…there were two little children who couldn’t sleep one night. ..who cried for their mother because she was so far away from them…in the living room!  So, their Mom told her not-so-sleepy, sleepy heads about how many ways people can be far apart and still always be close with each other. 
 The children in the story asked lots of questions and so did the boys and girls in my reading circle when the last page was turned.

What I thought might be possibly a tale too serious for young children,  turned into fresh-scrubbed, upturned faces of thought, understanding and inventiveness of their own, as I answered the end-of-story curiosity.  
 Selia was beaming from ear to ear; centered with me in the ‘stage-door-after-show-mob-scene’ on the reading carpet; holding the, now beloved, book up for her classmates to see up close and personal.

Questions, questions, oh, boy, did they have questions! Silly and serious. How far out into space can the invisible string go if you’re an astronaut? Does it work with pets? What about fish or turtles? Or Grandparents who live far way and only get to visit on your birthday?

One boy told us his grandfather had just died. Hearing that the invisible string could never be broken even when some one goes as far away as heaven, he was serious and seriously smiling when he approached me after the reading; adjusting the little yarmulke on his head; he nodded a tone of certainty that he and his grandpa were connected at their hearts. Looking all the world like he was a miniature Rabbi instructing me of his new knowledge; he was firm in repeating his new found positive clarity. Happy in his step, he strode back to his desk to inform his two friends. All three conversing on new insights.

At the moment before I left for my  next class, a tiny, wisp of a girl who had sat at the edge of the carpet circle in complete silence, came up and whispered haltingly in my ear, “The hurricane… broke my house and… we had to move away. I miss it …and my doll and …kitty. My best friend next door had to move away too… I don’t know where she is. Do you think she remembers me? Does she have an invisible string? Do I?… Everything is gone… I’m very sad.”  Visibly heavily burdened,  she barely got out this confidence through tears rolling down her sweet cheeks. Answering her in gentle affirmative; telling her that they both had invisible strings from their hearts to each other and that ‘when she was missing her friend, her friend was probably missing her too,’ evoked one of the biggest hugs I’ve ever received!  
 I enfolded her in my arms, thanked her for her brave sharing and good questions and told her that she and I now had an invisible string and that no matter how far away I was, I would always remember and think of her and that when I did, I’d send love through our special invisible string from my heart to hers…just like I do for Selia and her brothers, Jack and James and cousins, Sofia, Benny and Joey, when I go traveling.

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught both teachers nodding and when I stood at the door to the hall, one said, “ Class, Let’s  all thank Selia’s Gramence and say good bye!” and the other whispered to me, “Thank you. You have no idea what a positive breakthrough you created. That little girl lost everything in Superstorm Sandy. She and her small family evacuated to a shelter and have been displaced ever since.  A shy girl to begin with, she hasn’t talked about any of the losses since. None of us has been able to get her to open up. Did she tell you?” I nodded.yes. “She rarely speaks. This was major. Thank you so much!”

As I waved goodbye and walked on air, down the hall from 2nd grade to kindergarten, I now knew why the Angels kept drawing me back to this book of choice… 
 For this boy and this girl…and for the kids in a community where children had been scattered and were first returning to the homes, schools and safety from which a major devastation had wrenched them.  
 My heart swelled with gratitude for the ‘super guidance.’

My grand son, Jack’s, kindergarten class was equally receptive and the children just hopped in on the reading of the last page with their own delightful additions as to who and what their invisible strings were attached.

Spontaneous happy hugs arose from one child’s assertion that hugs were also part of the whole equation and could be visible AND invisible; seen with your eyes… and stuffed in your pockets for when you went on vacation!  
 Such were the super powers of super heroes like themselves.

What a day in my ‘still struggling to survive 3 years and counting, Superstorm Sandy aftermath, where  not only possessions were ruined, but in the dealing with the wreckage of my own home and life, where they’d been no time or ability to even remember connection to beloved books, teaching and learning.  Fun had faded to a too distant memory.

What a gift these children, this school, this daughter in law gave me… under the guise of helping out a school project; helping children, I got the gift of opening of my own heartstrings!  Purposeful usefulness. Remembrance that, though, somewhat like that tentative little 2nd grade girl had felt, I too, had been storm lost; beaten by weather; stripped of home; bereft of friends being close; wondering if I’d ever see them again; tempest tossed by insurance crookedness and helping agencies hamstringing,’ which had narrowed me down to slim scope of ‘one-foot-in-front-of-the-other-recovery survival.’ This day, gave me back a gift of purpose renewed and clarity.  I was still connected by my own invisible string to people I love and the work I have been given abilities to do which can enrich others.

We all can and do make positive differences and can  be pleasantly surprised by that remembering when we get lost.

We are all worthy and we all have superpowers of our own, which we can choose to implement when need arises.

Children gave me back a clue in their response to a story.

I can now happily say: “My name is Gramence and one of my superpowers Is reading!” What are some of yours?







Quote For The Day

September 10, 2016

” If there are honey bees left after the destruction in this world, how can I not go on?”


by Florence Ondré, on a sunny September day, after North Carolina’s short-sighted mass killing of this life giving, beauteous species; this day  before 9/11/16, when a solo honey bee visited a flower outside my door, like a lone fleeting angel visitation of Heaven on Earth.

Musings On Storm Preparedness & Progeny

September 5, 2016

by florence ondré 8/25/11

A parable, written with loving observation whilst checking in to see if my three sons were ready in case hurricane Irene hit.

I have three sons.

One built his house of straw… a kind of dreamy artistic kid.

One of twigs- a positive kid, who always figured… ah, that’ll do it…the lawn is mowed…looks good from the front.

And one meticulously planned his construction; scouted the best from stone masons, got his building permits in order from the county, pronto; took out his trusty trowel and saw to the solidity of the foundation mortar as he built his two story brick colonial with double safety exits, taking as few chances as possible should the wolf storm his door or could gain entry.

Oh yes… and anchored a boat by the back door… in case.

A Light Dusting Of Appreciation

June 5, 2016

by Florence Ondré    c. 9/5/11


Do they remember?

What do they remember; growing up; the good times; the bad; the joys;

the sorrows; the lessons I taught; the energy in which they were taught?

Do they remember the kindness; the silly; the serious; the laughter;

the love?

How do they perceive and pass on these things?

Do they remember the warp and the wealth;

the ills and the health?

And how did living with me affect them? In what ways were they shaped?

What ways do they pass on to their children?

Are their kindnesses, boundary settings with their children reflective

of my power of example, added to with the shine of joy they beam to their children?

What failing and mistakes of mine became their opportunities to find

their own better ways?

Do they remember?

Did they see the efforts on my Mother/Father part to give them more than I had?

Do they remember food stamps and welfare in proportion to prosperity?

Did they know the truth? Do they Care?

Do they have gratitude for the simple things?

Will they wonder these things years from now too?

I know I am eternally grateful for their being gifts every day of my life.

They grew to wonderful persons with family and paths of their own.

And I grew….older.

Do they have a light dusting of appreciation to occasionally waft my way in their busy lives?

I wonder.

I wish.

And then, at the end of a silver heartstring, I let go and simply keep on loving;

unconditionally loving… and letting go becomes the next gift.







A Good Look In A Full Length Mirror

June 4, 2016

by Florence Ondré    c.7/5/99


there it was staring back at me

full of doubt, discomfort and discouragement

the image of frustration and fearfulness

the judgement of years of not good enough

a frame around a forever changing façade

years flying by in reflection

looking good for nanoseconds

still, never quite good enough


breathing in bits of courage

prying eyes from the want to turn away

I glance at the nakedness of the familiar stranger in that glowering glass

someone I’m afraid I’ll know and not like

a blink and every wrinkle, bulge, bone and contour

cling to the lingering lens

all that I did not like or approve of was waiting there


tremulous, almost too quiet for dogs ears to hear

the words slip semi-silently from mouth to air

“You are beautiful.

You are worthy.

I love you.”

‘oh, not good enough’ rings in my ears

and I feel foolish and false

day after day, the same act plays out upon this silver-backed stagepiece

cardboard-cutout rote

until the moment arrives when the foolishness fades…a little…

when awkwardness softens, my gauging gaze befriends

when the bulges become curves; bones artistic angles;

wrinkles warmth of wear; hair a halo;

when the voice inside attempts more than

a whisper of the extended hand of friendship,

in soft reply,


‘yes, I might be’ ‘yes, I think I am’

‘yes’ unfolding from within me, in each new day;

each new lesson; each new opportunity to stretch my wings

and notice that they are stretching far beyond my wildest dreams

I’m a butterfly, a bluebird, an eagle,

a metamorphosis of all I was, thought I was, am now,

wished I could be and am becoming

spirit flying free


so much more than good enough

this reflection that faces me from within..

within a good look in a full length mirror.



Once Upon A Wild Hair

December 6, 2014

by Florence Ondré


This morning I dragged out the 10 times magnifying glass and took a what everyone the sane world says you must do….a good look in a mirror!

Shock of shocks, the discovery was that I’d gone right past becoming my mother and straight to being my grandmother! …and every bushy, crazy looking, wild haired old woman I’d ever seen.

Yes, I was right up there on my own world list of wild haired women where I’d wondered, “how could she go out in public like that?  good god, how could she live with those crazy ass eyebrows?”

There in the light of day, I stood aghast at my window, peering thru my eyeglasses to the magnifying mirror (yes I need both to see anything now) and viewed my own eyebrows gone awry.

Wasn’t it recently I’d tweezed the errant chin hairs which so cruelly and capriciously grow when and where they want?  I took care of those little stubborn hard line, now thankfully white instead of dark colored bristles.  I may not be able to see you but I feel you and out you go.

Then I moved the glass to my eyebrows and saw I had farm work to do.

Hairs had sprouted like gmo wheat fields from my upper eyelid to my brows.  God, how could I go out in the world looking like a mad scientist!

Pluck pluck groom groom…gone gone.  Whew.

And then I spied the brows themselves…. Hey! Wait a sec!  Shouldn’t eyebrow hair be short?  What karma had I been dealt overnite, with some leaning into the maginot line; lengthy enough to hang down over castle turrets; long and strong enough to be braided for princes to climb upon?

What had I done to become Andy Rooney or deserve curls gone wild every which way but loose?

Memories of women I’d known whose facial hair seemed to explode in odd directions on their aging faces floated to consciousness and I reached the terminal at the end of platform ‘why me?’  I had become them.

I wondered if my friends who spend tons of money on face creams, depilatories and spas had arrived at this plateau, unhaired, or had they just had more time and money to hide the inevitable? s

Some whispered the truth.  Don’t tell me we are not all one.

Stow the baggage of judgement and surface ego on this trip called life.  It’s simply a matter of arrival time.  Just for today, I’m a bit dishevelled from that red eye.

And now that I’m momentarily presentable, where am I going?

To a children’s party… and you know these are our greatest critics!

Who I Am What I Do

December 4, 2014

“It’s not a ‘rant.’  I am not ‘fussy.’  I just tell the truth, ask q’s, be reasonable, kind & then express appreciation for what is & for what is still coming.”
florence ondré dec 4th, 2014. inconvenient truth teller & survivor.

Standing On Ceremony; Looking Back And Forward

December 4, 2014

by Florence Ondré

For years I made a formal burning bowl ceremony for all my New Year’s Eve gatherings and have had slips of paper for everyone to write their release wishes on and slips of paper to write what they would like their angels to help bring to them in the new year and an envelope to but their names and addresses on, so nearing the end of the coming year I could send them to them &/or give them to them at the next year’s New Year’s Eve gathering as we shared a feast at my home.

Even a tin foil pan large enough to accommodate safe fire-releasing was done outside in any weather…snow was present many times as we bundled up and trudged through the winter white to each take our sacred turn.

At each New Year we could share what we’d wished for and then, with the help of our dear friends, find that even if we thought we didn’t get what we wanted in the ways we’d written down, we found that angels had heard us and answered in ways, many times, better than we could have imagined.

Through tears and revelations; with a little help from our sharing, caring friends, we healed in addition to being included in a tradition of closeness, caring, kindness, compassion and enfolding in the hearts of each other.

No one was excluded and tables and chairs got added when needed….even one year when I had no heat in my house due to a heating system break, and an insurance company overlong refusal time for fixing what coverage had been paid for years, we few friends and people invited to join, who had no place to go; bundled up, sat on the living room floor, ate from a communal pot of of chilli and paper plates of salad and shared round a few candles, how we’d experienced the past year and what miracles we’d seen in any of it… the burning bowl tradition was started…in our modern day version of a long ago time in a manger, with people who knew and had never known each other; simple gifts of honoring and finding peace and joy for going forward with hope in our hearts, because we had come together. That was the first year with many to follow; each with more delight and sharing of food and friendship and holiday spirit enriched. How we all looked forward to that every year now traditions filled tradition.

There came a time when illness took that ability to be the open house of my open heart and a couple of people stepped up to step in and host the annual togetherness from the warmth of their abodes; a joy in tradition taking turns.

Differences showed up. The in-house-ness became..go to restaurant then perhaps back to someone’s house to play games & have dessert…or gather at a friend’s lovely bachelor pad, everyone bringing a dish to continue to enjoy another tradition of my instituting; gathering around the piano and singing together.

Since Hurricane Sandy demolished my home and swept away that sacred gathering open house, more things and people went out with the tide too.

The piano which sat in my lovely warm living room; where we all sang amidst freshly hung fresh, front door, pine-coned, red-ribboned wreaths, fir roping across the mantel and mistletoe in the hallway; pine scent wafting heavenly amidst aromas of home cooking & happiness… these were the visions and memories in my sad and numbed mind, as that, now sodden with sea, bay and sewage water piano got hauled to the curb and the contents and possessions of my home and life became garbage in dumpsters and high heaps of ripped and bagged, barely recognizable, wreckage.

Photos of family green and growing and all the wonderful gatherings blurred in waterlogged albums turned to mush.

Every letting go tore my heart out and yet reminded me of so much good over the years for so many.

I think when they took the piano out to the curb and a sanitation worker; spotting the broken musical instrument got down off his bulldozer, pried the lid off the keys and stood over it to play a tune, was one of the most poignant times for all of us present in surviving the biggest national disaster in the history of our east coast of our country in over a hundred years.

We were, bereft and broken & grieving & stunned into silence as our next door neighbor’s piano joined ours at the curb and the music stopped and the gatherings without kitchens and warm shelter and holidays and burning bowls stopped.

Survivors who were the open and welcoming, warm hosts for many years got left out of inclusion in the last two years.

Connection has dwindled down to a rare returned call or a call-in just for caring and connection.

Last year friends of ours who were always at our gatherings, went out to dinner and didn’t even manage to invite us to join them at a local restaurant minutes from our shelter.

That ripped my heartstrings and severed my illusions.

This year, a call to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving turned into a crabbing about how upset this woman was at my recent in-communication, as she wanted to vent her frustrations on my ever bearing ears…yet it never occurred to her that I might be depressed and ill, these 2 yrs later still displaced without hope of my still gutted to the studs house, cold and emptier than her own totally rebuilt arm abode.

The next disappointment was from someone I’d thought of for over 25 yrs, calling the nanosecond before Thanksgiving to cheerfully wish a happy holiday…this from one who has dimmed her closeness down from daily visits and sharing cheesecake, tea, cocoa and confidences and phone calls several times a day, just to share a laugh or something we see funny; like good girlfriends of close heart who went with tears and trials to the Blessed Mother statue on the beach to sit together in sacredness and closeness like sisters to gather hope and just to be happy in each other’s company… now boiled down to barely ever calling and avoidance of connection with rare returned calls in days or weeks.

And another who I introduced to my own friends who went on to make my connections her own, only to exclude me and still post happy pics of her with my friends, sans my mate & I…phone calls reaching in, which did not ever say ‘would you like to join us?’

Even if one knows you might be under the weather, it is still nice to be invited….but I only heard the whispered, ‘oh’ dear, so want to hear what is going on with you’ instead.
It sounded so unrealizing, or was it hoping i wouldn’t be aware that it had no feel of real concerned because there hadn’t been any regular connection or caring for a long while; knowing sadly that it was as it had been before… just to get the dirt and gossip about it later with my ‘old friends’ so she could say, ‘aww poor them’ and look into her own mirror to say, ‘see I’m a good friend. I called.’
Becoming aware that these calls were, strings attached; more about and for the callers than simple expressions of unconditional love for me, silenced me more than the pneumonia with which I’d just been diagnosed. No one took my quiet or silence for sacred time for me or possible illness or loss of voice or hope. Sadly, these supposed friends rife with promises of get togethers which never happened, just got crabby, angry and dismissive that they didn’t get their wanted on their schedules, self-centered results.

I got referred to this past week as ‘fussy’ and my expression of hurt spoken of as,’rants’ and dismissed with self serving anger from those who hurt me, judged and tried to ‘fix’ me, dismissed me and forgot the heart of the warmth and caring of years of sharing home and heart.

On this planet, my path has been varied leading ultimately to becoming a teacher of Spirit, an Angelic Channel and Reiki Master Teacher. Yet, after seeing firsthand, the tsunami sized waves cover the world and plunge it into darkness and devastation with no essentials left standing for human survival which devolved into anarchy and streets under armed guns, Marshall law, drove me to my knees. I lost myself and my beliefs; feeling a failed healer. Aspirtual person bereft of spirt or connection to spirit.

It is a long walk home in more ways than one. Yet, I am remembering. I am a sensitive, I can feel the real emotions under the facades from afar. There are those who forget that about me and count on me forgetting too or sweeping the dirt under a forgiving heart; forgetting, being and staying less than I was.

Years ago a spiritual mentor, once seeing my good and forgiving, generous heart getting tromped on, gave me this reminder, “My dear, you must remember that Jesus said, ‘I am the door’ …not the door mat!”

Until reading this lovely piece, I was so sad and in grief and mourning; wondering in all the let downs, what my life had been for, if anything, that I almost forgot that the tradition I started does not have to die along with the self centeredness of today or the friends who I now move into acquaintance areas of past as I let go of deeper layers of losing so much.

I am homeless in another level and, yet on the porch of my shelter/little off-site storage unit, there is a tiny terrace. I have a tin pan and scrap paper upon which my love and I can write what we want to release. We are still paddling together the rough seas of a recovery which is no where near recovered and healing only becoming apparent as bones are laid bare as my house bones.

Relationships may have gotten washed away. It continues to become apparent as facades crack and truth outs; so I place my energy to surviving and helping the storm homeless and hungry like myself that people don’t want to hear about.

Even though now outsider, treated as an inconvenient truth, I remember including all in my home and in my heart.

I am reprioritizing the minuscule energy and health and time on earth that I have left….

And thanking the Conscious Shift Community and Lauren Mclaughlin for reminding me that I can stand on a different ceremony which is familiar and soothing and honoring, which no one can take from me.

I can take the sadness, hurt, loss, grief, unfair treatment and selfish, compassionless, unkind, treatment, heart sobbing and write these things down on paper to step out onto the terrace of cold air and put match to make ashes of my heart lift up to the heavens to be taken by angels away to leave me again lighter and ready for better than I can imagine to show up in ways I can’t imagine at this time….

Free to be grateful and appreciative for all that I become awake and aware to…

To remember that I am a spiritual being in an earth suit having human experiences with a most wonderful angel at my side always, my dear Tom, a sensitive spiritual teacher too, who holds the burning bowl up for me and stands beside me though it all with unwavering light, love and honoring.

Standing on ceremony indeed, dear ones, standing in good company and honoring.

in light & love, enjoy reading :


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