Archive for the ‘Spirit’ Category

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.

I Love A Parade

August 25, 2016

I love a parade. It’s theatre on the move. Music, costumes and lighting by God.

Not considering myself particularly patriotic, it never ceases to amaze me each time that familiar lump in my throat arises; choking me with what I can only describe as pride. My heart beats a little faster to the beat of a marching band and strains of Sousa spring memories of my marching in parades and performing in concert with my Junior and Senior High School Bands.

I learned my roots in music there and I guess all those marching feet share the cadence of each note I heard and sing today. I march to first their drums and, ultimately, my own.

I love a parade.

I am a parade.

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 : http://consciousshiftcommunity.com/standing-on-ceremony/

 

“Believing Is Seeing”

December 1, 2014

by Florence Ondré- 11/29/00

 

The day was gray and cold.  Wind cut through layers of clothing.

Who cared?  This trip of a lifetime was incredible and had presented itself in a most curious set of unfolding events.

First there had been the the fleeting thought of possibly going to England for Valentine’s Day.  That idea  had been scotched when we lost everything in the stock market crash.

How could we even entertain being so frivolous when we had no idea how we were going to live this coming year?

Then Tom found the vouchers for airline tickets in the back of the file cabinet.  They were from a trip that had been botched for us last year and had to be used by the end of February or be lost.   Free tickets for a trip to somewhere.  Great but what would we do when we got there? Where would we stay?  We’d been told that  the tickets were for travel in the continental U.S.  Upon investigation,  Tom found  they were transferrable for travel to the U.K.

England danced in our dreams again.  Not London of last year, but the Arthurian and Celtic countryside of Glastonbury and Stonehenge I’d always dreamed of seeing.

With his usual trust-in-the-Universe optimism, he said, “Hmmm. I can’t see how  but maybe there’s a way we can go.”

“Out of the question,” I said with practical opposition.  “Surely this is a time of tightening belts,  bucking up for a tough climb out of the hole and work, work, work.  No time for fun.”

That’s what I  learned in my childhood.  Seeing is believing.  If it can’t be seen,  it isn’t real.

As I sank back into  fear and depression; just when the cloud over us looked  blackest; when my brain was screaming,  ‘what are you crazy?’  the call came from London.

Our travel-guide friends were going to be filming in Egypt in February and they offered us their home in the countryside- 20 minutes outside Bath, half an hour from Stonehenge and an hour from Glastonbury.

“Just look after the plants for us.”

Wow!  Ok, there were the airline tickets and where to stay,  all for free, but how would we be able to afford a car?  Rentals’ notoriously expensive and gas prices through the roof in Europe.

“No.  We can’t go,” I stated; still the practical parrot.

Tom was not dissuaded.

After a few inquiries, calls started coming in like a bidding war for our business.  Messages on our answering machine sang out bargain prices that plummeted from $300 a week to $150 with free mileage no less!

“Yes,  we can do that but where was the money for daily needs?”

No sooner than I’d asked the question, two clients paid their overdue bills out of the blue and there was enough cash to carry us through a week’s stay.   All that was left to worry about was  being up to the adventure of driving on the left hand side of the road.

The house in Midsommer Norton turned out to be a wonderful greystoned estate.  Our thoughtful friends had left food for us, drawn maps of the surrounding areas, jotted down clear notes on how to find everything we might need, from petrol to marketing, and left stacks of books out for us to peruse for history and traveling.

In the town of Bath, after visiting the ruins of the Roman pools and lingering over clouds of clotted cream on scones at late afternoon tea, theatre tickets popped up for us at the very last minute before show time.

In Glastonbury, being part of the filming of an historical reenactment of the Passion play at the ancient cathedral where, Peter’s tree bears white blossoms from Jesus’ rood and King Arthur and Guinnevere  are buried touched our former lives remembered with incandescence.

Climbing round the Glastonbury Hill beyond the running red sacred waters and sitting  atop the windy Tor, treated to an impromptu, sunset didgeridoo concert; echoing inside the tower, while hawks circled and sheep ran round the steep, grassy slopes, more than fulfilled our dreams.

In each place,we met wonderful people who welcomed us and felt like dear friends and family.  Serendipity was everywhere and time seemed to blur between past and present.

We chose to spend Valentine’s Day going to Stonehenge and Avebury.

For the past 20 years walking into the center of Stonehenge had been off limits.  For protection of this wonder of the world, a pathway many feet away from the circle had been constructed so that people could walk around the circumference to look but not touch.

Some time ago, we’d heard a whisper that it might be possible to get special permission to enter but we couldn’t remember who  to contact.  We’d read it was open  to Druid gatherings at Solstice but you had to know one of the Druid priests to be invited as a friend of ours had been.

I would have given my eyeteeth for that experience.

Before we left NY,  Tom had called the  tourist board and any office he could think of to find a way to gain us entry- all to no avail.

We inquired at the National Heritage office in Bath and they’d never heard of any such thing.

“No.  That’s been ended for about 20 years now, dears.”

The London office was called to make sure no stone had been left unturned as it were.

“Sorry, no not possible anymore,”  was the answer.

“Any other places to call?” asked my determined Tom. Got to give him credit for stick-to-it-tiveness.

“No, see here, the rules state ‘off limits to the public,’ luvs.”  She kindly held up the directive for us to see with our own eyes.

Ah, well, just being there would have to do and at Avebury we could actually walk amongst the giants encircling the little village. A woman in Glastonbury said that simply putting your hand on them was an incredible experience and since we were sensitives and the energy so great, we’d be able to hear them sing.

I walked on air at the mere thought.

On February 14th, as we crested the hill to Salisbury Plain, it seemed to me that the hugeness I’d always read about had shrunken to a small group of grey hulks, huddling together on a flat stretch of land with a few mounds in the background.

“It’s dinky,” I said,  “I can’t believe how much smaller it looks than in pictures.”

“It’s Stonehenge, honey!”

“It’s dinky,” I replied.

From the parking lot we could see lines of people stretching before us to a little ticket booth.

“This is gonna take forever,” I moaned.   “We can see this from the roadside.  No need to pay to not even be able to get close to it.  Let’s go on to Avebury where we can hug those stones.”

“We’re here, honey.  Let’s just check it out,”  Tom encouraged.

Off he went to the front of the line, poked his head in the window and asked if there was any way to get in to the center of the stones.

“No. Next.”

Onward my man went to a uniformed guard with the same question.

“Go see the gent in the office over there in the back corner,” he whispered as he quickly motioned us away from the crowds.

A knock on the weathered, grey wooden door brought a silver-haired gentleman into view as the top half swung open like a portal from the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz.

Again the question.

We were informed  that we’d have to read the quite strict rules, fill out  proper forms to request  permission and state our purpose.  “What month & year would you like to apply for?”

Omigod!  We can actually get in?

Filling out the paperwork in shock at having finally gotten an affirmative answer and writing the single word, ‘spiritual,’ under the heading marked, ‘Purpose,’ Tom replied, “Today, please.”

With a soft chuckle and a kindly smile reserved for maiden aunts gone round the bend, he gently told us that people like scientists, historians and filmmakers generally reserve months to years in advance.  To give us a visual confirmation, he hoisted a huge, ancient, dusty green ledger out to show us the pages filled with appointments for the coming years.

“See, here’s today’s date. There’s a party of two.”

“Only two people? Do you think they’d mind if two more joined them?” I asked.

“Oh, no, Miss, that’s not possible.  Just the people who’s names are in the book are allowed to go in at 4 PM, after closing, for a single hour’s time. Even if there were one name, only that  person alone would be allowed.  Sorry.”

Barring some miracle from Heaven, this was obviously  not going to happen.

He took our application and, as we disappointedly began to walk away, Tom  turned with one last ditch effort and asked,  “Do you ever get any cancellations?”

My immediate thought was, “What? Are you out of your mind?  What do you think this is?  The Holiday Inn?”  But the gentleman took pity on us poor foreigners and said , “Well, not really but you could give a call around 3  o’clock… to see.”

“Great.  We’re outta here. Off to Avebury and we’ll call later to see if we need to come back,” said I, not wishing to miss getting up close and personal with ancient stones.”

“Well, we’re here. Why don’t we just pay the admission, go through the tunnel under the road and across to take a quick look-see at Stonehenge,” offered my dear, Tom.”

I acquiesced.

Nothing prepared me for the energy that took me in like a kid gazing at the magic kingdom.  It held me in its thrall at every angle.  On each inch of that walkway, I was mesmerize; pinching myself to belief that we were actually looking at one of the most historic and enigmatic wonders of civilization that we’d only seen in films or books.  Tom couldn’t pull me away.  My feet were numb with cold and Avebury was forgotten.  This was more than enough. I felt grateful to my core for this opportunity as one of the guards described her experiences with the stones.  This was her last day and she generously shared facts and stories with us.

I asked, “What was your favorite time of day with them? Sunrise or sunset?”

Her answer was, “When the mist rises off the moor and rings the stones.  It’s magic.”

“Ooh, I wish I could see that,” I sighed, “That would be my favorite too.”

Feeling  blessed and radiant, as we returned to the entry gate, the keeper of the Register, came running up to us.

Visibly out of breath, “Oh good you’re still here. I’ve been looking for you,” he said as he motioned us out of earshot of the human herd.

Back in the private office, he opened the ancient ledger.

“See here,” he pointed to today’s date and then flipped the pages two weeks forward.  “This never happens.  The names are the same and I’ve no confirmation for today’s appointment, so I’m putting you in for today.”

He scratched out the other names and wrote ours in beautiful flowing inked script.

“You must be ready for the guard to take you over at precisely 4 o’clock.  If you are late, you will lose your time.  You’ll have one hour alone in the center of the stones and he will come again to collect you and bring you back.”

Stunned we paid the fee and went to sit in the car.

Tom was taking no chances of driving anywhere with the possibility of getting lost and losing this amazing miracle.

We sat for hours  in a pool of  wonder and joy, feeling the incredulity of the miracle which had just come to pass.

‘Breathe,’ we reminded each other as tears of gratitude flooded through us as we sat in the car looking out at the barrows in the surrounding countryside.

I wished I had brought my silver Celtic love knot ring to energize here.  Tom had given me one of a matching set.  Well, at least he could soak up the energy for the two of us. He always wore his.

I glanced over and noticed his empty ring finger.  He told me he’d left it in his suitcase.

‘Nevermind,’ I thought,  ‘We’re here together to experience this magical Valentine’s Day.  That’s what counts.’

Then at 3:30 it started to afternoon drizzle.  We watched people baggy up to go see the stones and run back as it became a steady rain.

‘Oh, no.  What’s the purpose of this?’  I silently asked the Angels.  ‘Why give us this opportunity only to turn the weather foul?’

Umbrella at the ready, we would go no matter what.  Cameras were loaded, video charged, extra film stuffed into carrying case and fresh batteries and tape put into the tape recorder.  I would get the fantastic opportunity to channel a meditation from the consecrated center of Stonehenge.  My skin tingled with excitement.

The car park emptied and only a few hardy souls hung around the outer fence across the road at the henge.

We tugged on layers under our raincoats and went out to meet the guard who silently escorted us under the roadway tunnel through the gate to the other side of the fenced in span of earth and stone.

We cleansed our energy, took a deep breath, and as we stepped over the rope of the outer pathway, touched the heel stone and stopped in awe as the reason why rain had fallen became apparent.

Before our eyes, the downpour stopped and the mist rose from the ground, just as had earlier been described as magical; ringing the stones with the ethereal quality of another time.  The hair stood up on my entire body.

Voices of people behind the fence gasped as we smiled at each other, joined hands and began the long walk up the avenue of grass to enter the hallowed hall of Stonehenge much as we realized we’d done lifetimes ago.

There was familiar sense of ritual as we chose to enter through different linteled uprights and we gave each other time and personal space within the ring, to simply be.  We felt the awe  of being alien and the sense of belonging all at the same time.  Tom’s walk  from stone to stone was the grace of a silent prayer.  A mantle of serenity descended upon him like invisible royal robes.  After completing  the entire inside circle, being afraid to touch yet unable not to, I stood still at the fallen altar stones sunken in the middle ground. The amazons’ energy vibrated and sang their tones into the air and into our being.  I sank to my knees and channeled a meditation of peace for the world from that sacred center.

And when I finished, my dear Tom came to me, gently lifted me up and knelt at my feet; his palm open; our two silver Celtic love knot rings shining there, as he whispered the words, “I have loved you for lifetimes.  Will you marry me in this one?”

Tears of surprise and love splashed a cascade of  ‘yes, I will’ down my cheeks onto his face to mingle with his own liquid prayer.

He had surprised me again and been prepared; believing without visible proof that we might  see this moment.

After setting our rings upon the grass to be blessed and thanking God and the Angels  for making possible the great gifts given this day in so much love,  we  placed the rings on each other’s fingers.

Now, here we were standing on the wind swept plain of Sarum with the saracens of Stonehenge drawing us into the magical energy of their ancient circle; shielding us from the cold.

Knowing the full truth of Believing Is Seeing, we held each other and sent the warmth of our love and appreciation out to light the world.

Two Year Anniversary And Still Sandy

November 5, 2014

by Florence Ondré

 

“I’d have a go bag ready, but she already got mine 2 yrs ago.”  is what I said out loud as I saw Liz Treston’s go bag photo posted on Facebook.

And, as I read my dear friend, Veronica’s posted anniversary words of wisdom and great heart, stating that she couldn’t participate in celebrations until her friend, Florence and everyone was back home, I was touched deeply, as I accepted the light she sends and asks for; knowing you all dear earth angels do surround, lift and uphold me in light..2 years ago,  today and going forward in a journey that is still longer than anyone expected.

Couldn’t do the lighted ceremony walk and standing tonight.

For me,  it would have been a schlepp and crawl… yet I thank my dear friend, Lori Stein, for taking my spirit with her; walking in light and love; carrying me in her heart and placing my ribbon on the boardwalk with hers.

Odd day…morning took me back to 2 years ago….looking out at the grey ocean, I remembered sandbagging til we couldn’t see day light then grabbing what we could carry, to evacuate to my son and daughter-in-law’s apartment on the 4th floor of their apartment building around the corner.

As much as my son was hurricane-prepared, we were all not one bit prepared for the magnitude of the disaster bearing down on us.

I’ll never forget thinking at night, ‘Ok we lived through the first high tide, now just one more and we’re home free.’

Then, seeing the tsunami size wall of water breaking the sea walls; rolling down my street, over my house and the neighborhood; bending light poles to the ground; sweeping vehicles along raging waters like paper boats; submerging them  and covering everything to blackout in the entire island, wiped out forever what slight hope there was for anything less than total devastation lingering in  our shocked minds and stunned hearts.

Watching exploding green transformers in the pitch dark; feeling winds and rain rocking our shelter of a 6 story building like a leggo tower and seeing fires grow like flower blossoms into ever bigger raging in homes in the canals, brought me to my knees as prayer died on my lips.

I don’t think I yet have the feeling back in me even as I remember.

It is weird how sunshine on water make me stop disconnectedly in my tracks and I’m discombobulated, like my grand children, by wind.

There is a wariness about weather and a tentativeness to living.

Maybe it is in large part because I am one of thousands still not home.  I feel the homelessness acutely in a deep ravine of sadness within me as at the same time I am grateful for the roof over my head, which I know is necessary shelter… but still not home.

My landlady and her sister have become dear family to me.  Yet I am still a stranger in a strange land.

I love that they understand with compassion and outrage that I have to go through a recovery that is not a recovery at all..but a challenge as high as the “Game Of Thrones’ winter wall.

Today I met three deadlines with minutes to spare.  Titan’s work. Man-made, hamstringing, keep-you-from-getting-back-home-or-surviving; working a cut throat game of keep-away with funds supposedly earmarked for survivor’s home rebuilds.

Duly filled out in proscribed forms, I sent all out on angels wings and marvel at myself for the miracle of getting my sight back just in the nick of time for me to bear another kind of brutality of Ocobert 29th….insurmountable mountains of paperwork, unimaginable feats of courage and endurance, and superhuman, lift-the-car-off-the-kid,where does it come from – strength.

People think I am a never-ending deep well of can do….sometimes I can/sometimes I cannot.

Today is a sci-fi conglomeration of both.

As the last ‘t’ is crossed &’ i’ dotted, I am grateful for my dear Tom, at my side then and now, who sits beside me and acknowledges with words what I haven’t been able to say out loud…”I want to feel like we should be celebrating something big but I just feel so exhausted & numb.”

I am once again , as always, appreciative that he speaks my heart and soul; knowing and showing continually that we are on the same page.  And I am grateful for his help with everything that gets thrown like tons of bricks at us.  I walk around sighing out loud with no explanation of the sighing. It’s like steam hissing out of my very cells of my weary worn body.

Sandy taught me to accept that I have no control over much outside my own self, and even that is not set in stone.  So, sometimes, I just lay down;  flattened and give myself over beyond 100 per cent and say the short form prayer….”Help.”

Today, grand daughter, Selia, had her first grade class trip to Schmitts farm and asked if I would go too.  I took those few precious hours off from paperwork mountain and thought, as I watched the children’s pure joy at learning how to pull radishes from the earth and green beans from their stems, ‘This is the perfect way to spend the second anniversary of the storm which changed us all forever… to be involved in life-giving simplicity.’

So,  instead of going to the rebuilt, multimillion dollar boardwalk, which I cannot seem to make friends with or the ocean which can rise up and knock the stuffings out of everything,  we took time off from work, so Selia could have both her Gramence and Grampy with her.

I’m glad we both were there today.  It seemed right in so much wrong.

And,  I am content at the end of the evening to have hugged and been hugged by my grand daughter and her classmates and happy in the company of good teachers and friendly, 6 year old, farmers who get delight out of the discovery of earth worms under radish leaves and run with free abandon to climb haystacks to slide down a curlicue tube; shrieking with delight… certainly not thinking of how scary 2 years ago was or how long so many could not be with their school or pals because they were displaced.

I drink in the energy of them as they pile onto the tractor and sip their juice boxes and hug sheep on this Autumn day which warmed to near summer temps….just to give us pleasure on a day which was anything but.

Threads In Theatre Tapestry

October 20, 2014

by Florence Ondré

 

My friend, talented actor, Ashley Grantham, posted on facebook, these profound and grace-filled words of newly passed actress, Marian Seldes, from one of her interviews with James Grissom for his book, “Follies Of God:”

“The theatre keeps presenting to me the wonderful experiences of learning to tell time and falling in love for the first time.   I get these experiences-these feelings- every time I work on a play.  I get to start all over and relearn things, and I get to meet new friends– family, really– to whom I can give and receive love.  And this rejuvenates me, and it keeps me strong to serve the writer, to serve the play.  I guess I’m saying that I am always loving and I am always bending  time, and that’s as good a description as I can manage of a life in the theatre.”

Reading this perfect description of work and purpose in the theatre, simply stunned me with the accuracy of what it is all about and how fortunate we are, both those of us who do this work and those who experience the soul and life touching in the witnessing.

Over the years, I’ve struggled with the my own high respect for all aspects of theatre and, as time moves on, feeling a bit like performing has slipped into more a personality contest; worth minutes of limelight and too light an affair of single dimension, than a craft with depth in the endeavor.

I think to myself as I read Ms. Seldes words of wisdom, garnered from years of experience and well-earned success, ‘Who speaks like this anymore?

Who waxes multi-levelly on ever-expanding understanding of the depths and heights of their work with such careful and honest thought?

Who shares, with such kindness and generosity of heart, the inner workings to inspire and give how-to-gifts to co-worker-family with regards to spending well the coin of their realm of time upon this stage of life?

Who ‘gets it’ on so many layers of understanding lessons come to fruition by humble work ethic and love of profession?’

To be able to ‘start all over,’  ‘relearn things’ and know family of choice shows up in family of work for the claiming, if one is lucky enough to be awake and aware; to go beyond what one can see and touch to ‘always being loving’ and ‘time bending,’ both of which we are all capable of if only we would be open to that inner viewing, knowing and relishing.  How fabulous is that?!  How fantastic is the possible zest and willingness to see our own lives and work and days filled with this kind of love, service to chosen craft and be in awe of the time-bending we do in our mortal moments?

For me, I have to go back to my roots to see how far I’ve come on my journey and what light of clean scrubbed-faced-wonder still lives and breathes in me and whatever work I do.  What integrity, such as the above, was in me at the beginning and what wisps of wonder waft through my being today?  What nugget of motivation fuels my creativity and how have my perceptions changed or remained the same?

Surprised by  MS. Seldes beautiful, oh-so-acurate description of acting as ‘bending time,’ the breath of complete understanding and new realization hit me like Cupid’s arrow to the heart. These wonder full words, cobbled together, describe the indescribable; the intangible.  The very reading of the words is an ‘aha’ moment.

This is what work in theatre always felt like to me….working in wonder.

In my early, tenderling, formative theatre years, I fairly glowed with this shining light and thirst for learning and giving; for exploring one’s nugget of skill to be willing to be of service to the skills and talents of others in cooperative creation.

In a world of so much great talent, it is easy to be have humility and keep practicing; working while still searching for one’s own best defining talent.  One can be told by respected teachers what they see before their wise eyes and yet have depth of understanding dawn down the road.

It is only later , I learned what my team of master teachers in my first summer stock, at Dorothy Shay’s Duke’s Oak Theatre, where I was a most grateful apprentice, meant in their end of season review and assessment of skills learned and strengths discovered.

As I stood along on the bare stage, with only a work light for company, I heard their individual report cards.

“You are not the best of the dancers.”  “You may not be the greatest of the actors.” “You do not have the best voice of all.”

Time stopped.  My young heart sank because I was the last of the apprentices to be reviewed and the others, with family lines tracing back to theatre royalty of Lunt and Fontanne, Windust and Ritter had received high marks for at least one of these areas of performance.

It seemed forever in moments, standing statued still in my leotard and tights, waiting for their collective summation.

My mind raced hurdles with fear.  Did I have a career ahead?  Would I be good enough in this life of endeavor which I’d always known since childhood was my passion and lifeblood; a part of me like breathing; a place in the world to contribute and make a difference with my own gifts; to be of service?

Or had it all been in my own head; a fantasy land from which they would flunk me?

Breathe and smile, breath and smile your tremulous teen smile.

“…but you have ‘it,’ ” I heard  director, Mary Ann Dentler, of Broadway’s “Peg O My Heart,”  say.

“It?”

After politely thanking the board of theatre owners and master teachers,  I exited stage right in confusion and disappointment.

What was ‘it’?  Could I put that on a head shot and resumé?  How could this be an attribute when ‘it’ sounded like the plague?

“How did you do?”  my enormously and validated, talented singer, dancer and actor apprentices, excitedly asked as I stumbled into the wings.  “What did they tell you is your best attribute or strong suit?”  “What did they say?”

In a soft, quiet, uncomprehending, green voice, I replied, “They said, I had ‘it.’ ”

They hugged me.

I never knew if they understood anymore than I, what this invisible gift from the gods was, they were simply my first family in the theatre. It was these dear ones I loved; who loved me back in that special energy of unconditional acceptance which I came to know as extended family with each show and cast I’ve been privileged to join.

A life in the theatre is endless learning and growing; transcending all barriers; ascending and plummeting the roller coaster of emotions.

And, when you can touch an audience, even when you are not the best singer, dancer or actor; yet reach into hearts in the dark and move  people to tears and laughter and give them pause for thoughtful looking within, there beyond all wishes otherwise, is the best gift one can bring and give in the theatre, “it!”

You can study til you’re blue in the face, but this odd nugget is what you are either born with or not.

…The incandescent warmth of connection; tender, always loving, time bending, in the ever-expanding family and leaps of learning…. honest to goodness, ‘it!’

 

 

 

 

 

Butterfly Angels

October 18, 2014

by Florence Ondré

 

A classmate from high school, Sue Floyd Turner, posted a lovely picture of a person looking at a butterfly fluttering closely by, on which a quote from Doreen Virtue, read, “Butterflies are often messengers of love sent from Heaven above.”

In this month of the 2 year anniversary of superstorm sandy, where so many thousands of us remain displaced; out of our homes with not much more than empty and broken promises in a recovery system that has failed us cruelly, life has become a ‘before’ and ‘after.’

‘Anniversary,’ what a disconcerting name for an event not engendering much singing, dancing or huzzah celebration.

While stunningly still struggling to survive in hardship and basic deprivation as deeply devastating as the storm at landfall 2 years ago, it has been hard to know if Angels are anywhere near.

We tens of thousands feel forgotten; yesterday’s news, receivers of  “Aren’t you done, already?” “Thought you were back home because the yard looks nice.” “I thought everything was fine by now,” comments.  We’re a people of the invisible in between; halfway to or nowhere near a land called ‘rebuild; trying to appear as some semblance of  lost ‘normal.’

In all the overwhelming, with deadlines and more cut offs and losses of help to get back home and frustrating feelings of hopelessness, I realize as I stopped and read this post, that I have noticed the occasional butterflies wafting by in odd circumstances and places.

‘Stragglers to the winged migration,’  I’ve been thinking, as I push on to the next meeting, pound through redundant paperwork, sit on phones trying to track down information to open the channels of funds earmarked for rebuilding which still remain tied up in  mismanagement and blood red tape… and send light to be of some support, inspiration and oddball humor to as many as I can.

Sitting in sunset silence in the backyard of my gutted house; letting my eye and heart wander; remembering which flowers and trees were planted where, before, I can practically smell the lilac tree;  creator of Monet lavender and jade moments,  which grew, over the years, to lush health and  tallness like my sons who played with their friends there; growing up with the roses and blueberry and raspberry bushes; the garden where the great zucchini, big enough for 5 boys to have to line up and hold, took reign over string beans, tomatoes, broccoli and carrots and gave giant sunflowers, as tall as the first floor of the house, a run for their money…the grape arbor that shaded the patio where our golden retrievers lay for cool shade and the evergreen, with soft, sweeping-the-ground arms, that covered the hiding place, buffalo-wallow-like retreat of Bailley, our dog blogger.  The sheltering boughs of the years-before-us, Russian olive tree which created a secret garden corner nook where children, big and small, could look up to see soft silver fur on the underside of green leaves and peek through bird and squirrel nests to see patches of blue sky and scudding puffy white clouds to play ‘who-can-find-the-angel’ in them…the puny peach sapling, newly planted only days before destruction; the least likely to survive and the surprising sole survivor of the flood, produced a prodigious portion of precious peaches this season.

In this back and forth memory lane, I am less sad and more comforted as I pull my focus back to present and see the empty canvas, waiting to be a new work of art in nature.

As I wipe the tears from my face, a lone butterfly comes flittering by: kissing the fluffy stalks rising from the gift given by next door neighbors,  after the flood receded; a small clump of dune grass replanted in hope for life.  For the first year, it drew in upon itself and faltered in the spot where our robust butterfly bush had made its honeyed home; busy with buzzing bees and beautiful butterflies, before the sea drowned it.  Yet, this summer, this dune grass plant tripled its size and grew strong stalks; wide, lengthy, variegated  leaves and white, fluffy, feathery arms high   in sea breeze and whipping-winds, interpretive dance, above the cedar newly reposted, salvaged, cedar fence .

It is odd what died and what lived; what withered and what thrived.

My human focus, needing to be on surviving myself, took me away from the garden and as I sit still, now, in its energy; noticing, I realize that this backyard haven was the first place: the first piece in a puzzle of gigantic loss, where I let go.

This design is no longer mine.  Everything grows or not in its own perfect way, without me.

What lives, lives. What doesn’t doesn’t.

And, just for today; just for these moments, I am grateful for it all as I sit in the simple silence of what might be…whenever it will be.
And I send thanks to Sue and Doreen for reminding me that Angels come in many forms to gently light upon our awarenesses like butterflies, uplift, lighten burdens and show us, in all the world changes and crushes, that we’re not alone or forgotten.

We are guided and loved.

… and, ooh,  ooh… just as I typed these words on my laptop at my makeshift desk, there’s a butterfly right outside my window here in Mt. 6 Manjaro; the top floor, high rise apartment shelter I fondly have dubbed thus, from the early days when I had to climb 7 flights of stairs up and down several times a day when there was no electricity, elevator, heat, water or sewer.

There she is with her rice paper wings, saying hello and farewell;  readying to make an arduous, miraculous journey of her own from New York to Mexico…from start to finish.

How will she do it?

How will we?

On Angel’s wings perhaps.

 

Remembering Robin

August 13, 2014

(by Florence Ondré-8/12/14-)

 

Depression descended like a dark, heavy greatcoat. No matter the good,large or small, on my very full-plated life, I couldn’t get above sea level in feeling overwhelmed with underwhelm-ment.
The emotions were confused and yet clear in “undertoad” waves; making no sense, no matter the ebb and flow of strengthed shore crashing.
An enormity of “yes, I know there is good’ and ‘arrggh! I don’t want to do this show,” “write this assignment,” “accept invitations to dine,” “talk with anyone,” took up battle stations in my brain. All these wonderful things turned to dust devils from one heartbeat to the next. It was too much trouble to lift an arm or leg; to breathe, to stay awake and upright nevermind accomplish my to do list. All the ‘importants’ felt insignificant; trivial in what loomed large in my mind taken up with thoughts of a life wasted.
I could chalk it up to Sandy survivorship; to almost two years after the devastation of my house, community and East coast of America; losing pieces of family and the home in which I raised my children; still sheltering “off-site,” with continuous, health debilitating grief and stress; wading through the most enormous amounts of crazy-making, pencil- pushing, victimizing-victims bullshit any cracker factory could dream up.
Oh, that would be easy.
But then my stubborn, angry, ‘never-let-’em-see-ya-cry’ self would rise up to scream-point of “Oh, no you won’t!” “Never quit 5 seconds before the miracle!”
This inner space stretching before me from within dove back and forth beyond the highlights of career, attributes or life parts well-lived and hard times and tough challenges. This was the “Losing My Mind” Sondheim siren song.
“I’m so depressed.” I murmured aloud. “I know I shouldn’t be but, for today, I’m depressed and can’t get out of it.”
“O.K., stop trying to figure it out. Lay it all down. Let go. Live with the depression.”
So I gave in and did.
And at day’s end, after moody meanderings on the why’s of my own existence or purpose of continuance in the clown chaos, the shocking news came that he was gone.
Gone in a flash!
Not to return.
No rehab reawakening. No healing to go on in his family, in this world, in our lives.
There had been a brief social media buzz about it in the afternoon and then sloughed off by everyone’s denial that it could even be considered on the edges of our belief systems, as a hoax.
Depression? Suicide?
Bad Bazinga!
Reality does bite.
Yet it’s a bit easier to get through the exit-stage-left shock with Robin Williams’ staggering amount of good left behind to focus on in reviewing his movies and considerable career.
Still, the incredulity of such a robust loss remains.
And, though we are left as human beings, ever wanting more, we are the better for his having been here.
As I read Joanne Woodward’s words, “Not only was he a brilliant actor and comedian, he was also a mighty force of philanthropy, doing so much for the homeless, for the arts and for those in his orbit who needed aid,” I shot back in time to a long ago, tucked away memory of a night at “Catch A Rising Star,” the club in Manhattan where comedians and new acts could get a start and established or establishing artists worked out new material where their own gathered and supported each other.
My singing trio, “Amethyst,” was slated to go on at the end of the evening, in the wee hours when stars came in after other gigs and audiences were loosened up liberally with libation.
We waited with our accompanist; huddled at a table in the back corner of the club, watching comedians like David Brenner do their stuff that night.
Lenny, the Bionic Chicken, finished up his set and, at last, introduced us to a round of applause.
We walked into the spotlight, in our fringed, bejeweled, white-booted outfits; a velvet, sultry-voiced, red headed, blues singer to my left, a perky brunette with a pop voice and a belt that wouldn’t quit to my right and me, the fluffy, shag-haired blonde, handling the comedy songs, in the middle.
As we finished our up tempo opening theme song and were about to go into our next number, a group of guys at the round table nearest the stage went beyond appreciative applause into hooting and hollering, “Hey! Blondie!” “Hey Hotstuff!!” and vocalized numbers of their own to the tune of whistles, heckles and stomps until one guy got up from his chair and loudly announced, “Yes! You, sweetheart.  I want you, Darlin!” as he began to climb the stage.
Yep. He wanted the blonde in the middle… me.
And like one of the rough hewn in the movie musical, “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers,” it looked like he was set to pick me up, throw me over his shoulders and carry me off.”
No amount of continuing singing would thwart this late night Lothario.
I froze as he advanced. The music and show stopped.
And moments before he got to me, Robin Williams appeared like magic!
Shazaam!
He jumped in front of me like a cape thrown down across water for protection and started heartily cajolling the guy back to his seat and stayed barrier between us by heckling the heck out of him and the rest of the band of merry men; making jokes at their expense; pointing out the men’s room if they needed to rise to the occasion, to which they laughed uproariously as he got them to stay seated; inviting them to enjoy the show ‘from their buckboards’…..and with his half sweet, half sly ‘we’re-in-this-joke-together’ smile, added, with that shrug of his shoulders that could be mistaken for self deprecating, but-hey-what-do-i-know, aw shucksishness character…“Let’s let the little ladies sing, Hoss.”
We finished our song set to standing ovation and I will never forget that night in my performing career where I could say, “Lenny The Bionic chicken opened for me and Robin Williams closed.” What a show biz night that was!
“In his orbit,” ever so luckily, I was…
A fledgling singer with only a microphone between me and a singer-napping…
And there he appeared, well known by that time; ready, willing and able with his special skills and talents to help someone he didn’t know who was indeed “in need of aid.”
He took no credit, garnered no write-ups or kudos and slipped away as if he were an anonymous everyman just doing what anyone would.
And, though I hadn’t thought about that rescue in a long time, especially being ‘sandy submerged’ for what seems like eons, obliterating thoughts I ever even had a career, it was this memory that came back to me as I bent over the kitchen sink in my little top floor apartment, which I fondly have dubbed, Mount 6 Manjaro, and wept with grief for his going and gratitude for his being.
Andy Hammerstein reminded me today, as we all remembered our favorite movies and characters, that his favorite was mine, “The Fisher King.”
Then the thread rippled out across the minds and media of our world. Everyone sharing which ones they liked and the why of how their lives were touched by this gigantic talent.
As I read, I found my head bobbing up and down in agreement… of course “The Fisher King;” the madness and the fragility making it top the list of craft for me and “What Dreams May Come,” for the muddled and magnificent; “Aladdin”…who else could try to do a more behind-the-scenes voice; taking no credit, and be so recognizable and memorable as to become synonymous with the character onscreen…”Patch Adams,” the tenderness within the boisterous laughter….”Good Morning Vietnam,” the giving of good in horrendous circumstances…”Good Will Hunting,” more good in the will and willingness to be vulnerable on the road to educating the heart and mind…”Dead Poet’s Society”… Who of us didn’t want to stand up on tables to get that different perspective…”Mrs. Doubtfire,” with her layers of persona added, padded and ultimately stripped bare as we all are in our relationships…
The question may arise as we hear there are those who preferred his characters to his ‘hyper schtick,’ “Did the hyper drive the depths and heights of his creative genius, which gifted us with so many multi-levelled characters, or vice versa?
I love how Bette Midler put it, “Oh, dear God. The wonderful Robin Williams has gone.”
There feels to me, a softness in the words, ‘has gone.’
They flutter feather light, gently as a Robin Williams’ smile and warm the heart like the sincerity of his soul… as if he has just left the building like he did the many years ago in a dark nightclub.
And here he is again, in his leave-taking, prompting people to speak in anything other than whispers; aiding so many who struggle with depression; shining the light of his star on another dark place in need.
And…Oh, you peacemaker… you, good-hearted Robin….with all this drawing us together in your leaving.
Look at all the good we are remembering, focusing on and smiling about instead of being at war with each other and our own selves.
There you are superstar, still cleverly at work now…. and forever.
I realized today, after all the ‘why’ questions beyond even my experience with ‘the greatcoat’ and puny human understanding of the rippling and ripping of the fabric of life, as with all great life passings…
Simply put… his journey here was done.

And the words from his movie, “Jack,” now seem more poignant than ever:  “Please, don’t worry so much.  Because, in the end, none of us have very long on this Earth.  Life is fleeting.  And, if you’re ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky, when the stars are strung across the velvety night.  And when a shooting star streaks through the blackness, turning night into day…make a wish & think of me.  Make your life spectacular!  I know I did.”

I join with and quote Shirley Callaway, because I love the encompassing warmth of her words which are in my heart too, “I send light to all who cherished him and his brilliant work.”
Rest in peace, dear Robin Williams.
Job well done.

Quote (and possible smile) For The Day

June 16, 2014

Every time I wonder, ‘Is it just me?’

It never is.

Florence Ondré

Project Hope

June 11, 2014

by Florence Ondré      8/5/13

 

Project Hope has helped us cope

 

With surviving superstorm sandy

 

Victim’s pace given space

 

Unwrapped us like Halloween candy

 

Waves came in crashing; homes and lives smashing

 

In aftermath, sane was old news

 

Broken and bent; energy spent

 

We straggled in by ones and twos

 

Stranger than fiction, our stories of friction

 

Sparked up a new kind of flame

 

Within difference in some, rose a new kind of one

 

Acknowledging so much the same

 

A circle was born in piece-mealish form

 

Leading onward by gentlest crew

 

Sometimes we’re myopic and slightly off topic

 

Still one as we all muddle through

 

In rants, tears and raving, our own lives we’re saving

 

While feeling we’ve gone down the drain

 

A labrynthian reeling without any ceiling

 

Upheaves every cell of our brain

 

Rules change hours by day; in Machiavellian way

 

To hamper and truncate our path

 

Driven b.s. crazy, we’re a little less hazy

 

By Monday night’s sharing our wrath

 

Overwhelming sadness gains glimpses of gladness

 

With topics for practising focus

 

Unravelling together helps us all weather

 

Seeing real under pure hocus pocus

 

We curse worse than sailors; we’re weepers and wailers

 

Losers of faith, family, friends

 

We’re tattered and torn; on winds of change shorn

 

Of all we thought we could depend

 

Each week we unfold; heart warm from the cold

 

Tentative, baby skin new

 

Bedraggled and strange; shocked, rearranged

 

With courage, we show up the few

 

Patience at nil; in repetitive drill

 

It can look like we’re stuck in the mud

 

Then just when we’re weary of hearing things dreary

 

Insight can land with a thud

 

Understanding arises with smiles and surprises

 

Just when we think that we’re done

 

The importance we share is the fact that we care

 

When the rest of the world’s cut and run

 

Recovery’s brutal with not much in neutral

 

Nothing of rest or reprieve

 

With lies and deceit the dim, daily treat

 

Monday night is our one sure relieve

 

We can say what we wouldn’t in couldn’t and shouldn’t

 

Honesty down to the core

 

Without judge and jury, emptying sorrow and fury

 

Eases this surgical chore

 

A word on an easel helps with retrieval

 

Of strengths we’ve forgotten we had

 

Giving us pause and plausible cause

 

To see our inner good in a mountain of bad

 

In this circle, there’s quiet, weird rhythm and riot

 

As we talk, listen, flail and sit still

 

The longer we stay, we learn each in our own way

 

That the road is not always uphill

 

And if only brief moment in constant, contentious foment

 

There’s a place to speak honest, truth, free

 

Here victims can rise through any storm skies

 

To become victors eventually.

 

 

Thank you, Chris, Jackie & Mohamad for your kind, gentle, nourishing, caring and constancy in a world gone off the rails.  Lights-off moments in mini meditation, held off until we felt safer, gave us the small yet powerful pieces of peace to take to our mats and shelters. You have reminded us that we have the power to stand in the center of our own peace. You are in our hearts always.

 

To Project Hope: Thank you for being. The gift of the creation of your existence gave us, survivors of superstorm sandy, a much needed light on a path through the darkness of our great losses; our homes, community and lives as we knew them.


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