Friday, October 28, 2016

A Mindful Moment

I've been working at a busy for children in pre-school to grade 5.  With a steady stream of people coming in, the ringing phone, schedules to study, and procedures to remember, I realized that I need to come back to mindfulness.  Mindfulness is taught at this school, which I find amazing...I'm been aware that meditation and mindfulness have been taught in schools for a while, but this is the first time I've worked in a school that practices it.  Kersten, an administrator at the school, teaches it.

Here are some helpful videos that I've located on the subject:

I'm grateful that I still have cd's by Mary and Jeff Brantley of Duke to help me along the path.  Also, the R-A-I-N process:  recognize, accept, investigate, non-judging

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Alice Osborn

Chatted with Alice Osborn at the Flyleaf tonight and we talked about Steve McQueen, and her poem about him in Heroes Without Capes..and the documentary about him made by his son Chad...

Her photographer is Steven Whisnett, who photographed Michael Jackson.

Monday, October 10, 2016

War's End

children of Breslau
drag suitcases behind their mothers
watch slips os paper floating to earth.
they fall like snow
their message echoing across
time, "Germans, surrender now!
Nothing will happen to you."

800,00 people
wait just outside the bombers'
too late to escape
they clog the train stations,
their babies in strollers filled
with pots and pans
while the men keep watch
from church steeples
machine guns in hand
benign protection against
the 90.000 souls
who perished in the cold.

Trump Melt Down Continues

     The defensive, arrogant posture that Donald Trump initiated during the first Presidential debate, continuted through last night's exchange.  Broadcast from St. Louis, the format took shape as a Town Hall discussion, with imput from the audience, as well as viewers sending questions via Facebook.

     Several days before, on Friday, October 7th, the air waves were struck by a video/audio of Trump's vile locker room talk, in which he bragged about how, because he was famous, he could "grab women by the can do anything."

     His appearence last night during the second Presidential debate, did little to assure voters of his contriteness over this remark.  Quite the contrary.   His remarks were far from apologetic and in fact, focused mainly on "her" (Hillary Clinton's) shortcomings.  Trump really owes an apology to his daughter (whom he agreed was "a piece of ass") and to the women of the United States, as well.

     Trump dug himself further into a hole by saying that if he were President, he would order "his" attorney general to have a special prosecutor to "look into" Mrs. Clinton's affairs.  In response, Hillary Clinton implied that it would be inappropriate to have someone of Trump's character as President, to which Trump retorted that if he were President, Hillary Clinton would be "in jail."

     This shows that Donald Trump is clearly ignorant of even basic civics, because the President of the United States cannot order an adversery jailed.  That would be more characteristic of a dictator.

     I can only hope that Trump will be defeated.  Yesterday, I went out with a church group to register voters.  Our group actually got 7 people registered.  Being non-partisan, we can't tell them who to vote for, but 7 more people are now more likely to vote than before.  I'm trying to do my part.

     Having just watched a White House performance of "Hamilton," I feel embarassed by what is happening in our country now.  The Founding Fathers must be spinning in their graves.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

My First Rosh Hashanah

   Since working at a Jewish school, I've been interested in the Jewish observances.  This year, I watched  several events at the school which I found very inspiring, the blowing of the shofar, for example.

     Because the school was closed for Rosh Hashanah, I decided to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.  Things started of with an invitation to dinner with the Warshovsky family in Chapel Hill.  I thought of the song we sing at Thanksgiving, "Over the Hills and Through the Woods," as I drove along a country road, past old gas stations, tobacco barns, and run down  motels.  Then I got to Jordan Lake and was surrounded by beautiful, blue, clear water.  The Warchovsky home is a beautiful estate called Legacy which has an automatic gate that opened as I entered.

    Present were husband Steve, son Josh, and his girlfriend Jamie.  Jamie and I were the only "gentiles" there.  We sat on an enclosed deck overlooking the woods and I munched on celery and dip while the others drank some wine and we all traded stories of how much we love the area.  The Warchovskys moved from New York and spoke of the harsh winters there.   Steve made a comment something to the effect that he felt like he'd been released after 40 years in jail.  I really sensed how happy he was to be in his new location and home.

     One thing that really made an impression on me:  he said that he enjoyed DPAC more than Lincoln Center.  Parking is hard to find at Lincoln Center and it's in a bad area.   They saw Aretha Franklin and talked about what a champion she is.  She chipped her tooth on the way to the theater and still gave a stunning performance.

     On the first day of Rosh Hashana, I decided to have a juice fast: a soymilk, strawberry, and banana smoothie for breakfast and spinach smoothies for lunch and dinner.  Tuesday afternoon, I wrote down three shortcomings:  procrastination, resentment, and unforgiveness.  I found three stones and took them to the dam on the Al Bueler Trail, and cast them into the water.  My first practice of the ritual of the "Tashlich."

    Monday evening was spent with my church community group discussing the subject of "work."  I realized then that I've probably spent too much time looking for work and not enough time developing my writing and just enjoying being retired.  I'm seeking balance.

     On the second day, I had a healthy breakfast of raw oatmeal fruit, with broccoli salad, black beans, sweet potatoes, and applesauce for dinner.  I went to my poetry class and we discussed our poems for two hours.  I'm obsessed with "iron gall ink" which was used by my great grand mother in her diary, written on the occasion of her leave taking from Tennessee to Virginia.  I wrote a poem one sentence in that diary about how my grandmother managed to sneak the diary for a sweet message to her mother, signing it Love, Birdie.

     In the afternoon of the second day of Rosh Hashanah, I journeyed to Aveda for the most wonderful, relaxing facial and conversation with Katie.  I admired their display of "Chakra" sprays and the imposing wooden statue illustrating the seven chakras.  Steve, one of the staff, is accomplished in Reiki, which I'd love to experience again.  I ended my first Rosh Hashana with dinner on the patio, serenaded by blackbirds.

     Spent the rest of the evening relaxing with a documentary and a bit of the to bed by eleven for a peaceful sleep with vivid dreams.


Monday, October 3, 2016

How I Spent My Sabbath

At church I visited with friends Alex, Whitley, Anna, Marvin, and Erin. And what a treat to see the Rubistellos!  Hope they will be able to make the pilgrimage to Durham often.

After church, I watched the field hocky game with Duke against Boston, chatted with a woman who had a beautiful bassat hound, and walked around the wall at East campus.  Then I went home for a delicious smoothie for lunch on my patio, put my feet up, and read the Sunday N & O.  

I celebrated the eve of Rosh Hashana over dinner with friends in Chatham County, driving past Jordan Lake and into some of the most beautiful country side around.  So much laughter and great conversation!  Exquisite food:  veggies and dip, gelfite fish, squash, Challah, chicken soup and matzo balls,and the traditional apples and honey.   I decided I'd make a good Jew!

I'm observing my first Rosh Hashana today and tomorrow by not working.  I work part time at a Jewish school and that experience has helped me learn about this "high holy day."  So I'm taking the next two days for "meditative rest" and reflection.  What a gift!