Viral gratitude ~ 5.18.20

Susan Leslie Moore has captured my heart with her words in her poem,

I Have Tried Hard to Have Appropriate Feelings.

It is personal and honest, and at the same time casts a poetic spell in the very best way poetry zings to the soul and spirit of life itself. Yes–zing and sing. Her line about the polar bears touched a deep chord, and reminds me that I/we are connected to all life, and that tears are meant to heal us.

The highest compliment that I can give another poet is, “I wish that I wrote this very poem.” They are few and far between, but oh so satisfying when they grace our being.

This poem was selected by Naomi Shihab Nye and published in the NYT Magazine section. The poem is from Ms. Moore’s (book),
That Place Where You Opened Your Hands

~

I Have Tried Hard to Have Appropriate Feelings

By Susan Leslie Moore

I have folded them away like sweaters.
Kept my distance from the moon, visited the sick.
~
I am proud of the life in my head. Nobody knows
the garden I’ve seen. I am tender with the suburb.
~
Some days even the ceiling worries me, the way
it keeps the roof on.
~
I only cry when the polar bears get to me.
The ones stranded on the melting ice.
~
Otherwise I’m kept in line by the steady curve
of my driveway, the tight fists of the roses. I can easily
         converse
about the sweet peas and our eventual disintegration.
~
The sky has more to say to me than I could
ever hear, given the restricted space between
houses. Frogs sing at night and the whine of the train.

 

Viral Gratitude ~ 4.20.20

A bouquet is defined as an arrangement of flowers. Often given as a gift or carried by a bride on her wedding day, a bouquet has come to signify thoughtfulness and beauty in one form or another. Bouquets tender our souls and our spirit and come in all forms and sizes. I would suggest that bouquets also come in any form of kindness or tenderness when flowers are unavailable. 

Yesterday, and on other days when completely isolated, I received phone calls from friends just at the right time when I needed some comfort. Their voices carried caring, solace and laughter—bouquets of kindness. I would posit that holding a hand, hugs, smiles, a soft or strong shoulder, a listening ear, and withholding judgement to name a few are also gifts of bouquets during difficult times. 

Last night I received via text, a photo of a few wood violets with the words: “This reminded me of you.” A very simple and thoughtful bouquet that lifted my spirit and quelled loneliness.

There are heroes on the front lines in hospitals and behind cash registers in grocery stores and others delivering mail etc. who are deservedly getting accolades and attention for their service and sense of responsibility. However, it’s easy to forget at such a dramatic and chaotic time, that small bouquets of concern and virtual hand-holding can and do ripple into rivers of kindness and grace for all.

Viral Gratitude ~ 4.16.20

Friends. Our link to Angels and our better selves. They walk with us through the darkest nights and celebrate with us and for us when the sun shines. Sometimes they even lift us when we are in the shade and cannot see the light. We laugh, we cry, we grieve and we birth together. And in the most difficult of times, we honor death together. Despite all disagreements and even some drama, we are better humans because of our friends and friendships (including the animal and plant world). 

Today I am grateful for all my friends, past, present and future as well as friends (strangers to me)  who love and support each other around the globe. I am honored and blessed to be walking this walk with many friend-souls every day. In particular, today is the birthday of my soul sister and Jaguar kin, Vicky, who has repeatedly shown and taught me the true meaning of generosity of spirit and materials. She asks herself, over and over again in the most demanding and difficult situations, “What would love do here?” and for the most part meets herself in that field. And countless other souls besides me have experienced this/her unconditional love through her work and life.

In lieu of celebrating together during this pandemic, and in lieu of grieving together for those who lost loved ones at their last breath, I honor this moment within the grace and mystery that life offers to all of us. AHO. 

At the Farmer’s Market ~ Viral Gratitude 4.15.20

I wrote this in 2013, however my gratitude for the farmers all over the country and one farmer-leader in particular, Jess at Chickadee Creek Farms in NJ, grows every season. Farmers, like teachers do not get enough recognition and payment for their services. Let’s hope that this will change for the better going forward. If this poem sounds a little dramatic–I apologize for the drama but not for the sentiment. I am in awe of farmers everywhere.

Awoodlandrose's Blog

At The Farmer’s Market

On most weekends
are women who farm
wearing a look of dusty denim
and tired smiles.

You exchange pleasantries
with most everyone
as you bag and bundle
the week’s harvest.

There is no time for makeup
and your hair is cropped short
or haphazardly pulled back
without a second glance.

Soil under your fingernails
accent strong fingers and hands
while on your feet
only water and mud-proof shoes will do.

Tee shirts or faded flannel
with rolled-up sleeves
cannot hide your muscled arms
or disguise an earthy beauty.

Musky scents that ripen
with the nurture of birth,
growth, harvest, death and decay
mix into your sweat and laughter.

At the farmer’s market
are women who farm
and walk home after long days
wearing their fields in dusty denim.

With gratitude.

ag ~ 2013

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Viral Gratitude ~ 4.5.20

s
o
m
e
times
the tiniest
flowers in the
teeniest of vases
catch our breath and
give the cheeriest hello
in a split second of delight
on a day that would otherwise
pass as a drama too complex
and sophisticated for the
delicate loveliness of
wood sprites unless
we unleash our
true selves to
play with
these
tiny
s
t
a
r
s

~

 

Viral gratitude ~ 4.4.20

It is very difficult to maintain a sense of equilibrium during this novel viral distancing. For me, “social distancing” is widening the cracks in our societal assumptions as well as our physical proximity. I feel proud of our everyday heroes, guilty for not participating more, resigned and hopeful—all in the span of an hour. On any given day, my internal barometer ranges between sunshine and hurricane. This is the new normal for most of us, but especially for empaths. 

I think of Peggy at Shop Rite. She is the kindly old grandmother stereotype who womans the register while chatting amiably and not missing a beat in speed bagging and perfect alignment of food groups. I was amazed and grateful for her skill and dedication pre-coronavirus. She actually likes her work and customers too, despite the many challenges of the job. I wonder how she is doing. I have not been grocery shopping for a couple of weeks having stocked my pantry and freezer. I’m not sure I will see her when I do run out of stock or afterward.

I can and do keep the Peggys of the world, as well as our leaders, first responders, friends/family, farm and field close to my heart in conscious gratitude and reverence.

I just read this and would like to share its wisdom:

“Let your dreams be bigger than your fears,
your actions louder than your words, and
your faith stronger than your feelings.”

Unknown

 

 

 

 

And We’re Off…

Once again, as has been my practice for about five years now, I make the choice to take the time to reflect, write and focus my attention on one thing during each day in January that I might normally whizz by and lose sight of. In this spectacularly busy world, we regularly make and ignore small choices that do impact all the rest. This practice is called mindful writing and asks that we pay attention and bring presence (by writing here) to all these seemingly insignificant decisions that in realty shape who we are. This is not just about being serious in a somber way (I couldn’t do that if I tried). It is about staying present enough to look beyond our own foibles in order to appreciate the humor and grace that we can normally and easily ignore.

My official practice begins on January 1st every year, however as I age, I need to do more stretching and warming up physically and mentally. Hence this long introduction and a reblog of my last post from January 2016 to start things off:

 

Writing My Way Home  – A Kyirelle

As a mindful writing practice,
I blog daily on that and this.
It is called sharing a small stone,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

January lobs with a cold moon,
And winter scenes of snow monsoons.
My muse inspires an artful tone,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

Tales of grit, grace and gratitude,
Shape its forum and latitude.
With tears of laughter, grief and groans,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

Presence is my daily prayer.
Growth is awareness being here.
To this end I write my way home,
A spoonful of prose and a poem.

c   Andrea Grillo ~ 2016

“Yes, Virginia (and Andrea) – there is a Santa Claus!”

These words, minus the added parenthesis — (and Andrea) — appeared on the editorial page of the now-defunct New York Sun in 1897. Written by Frank P. Church to Virginia O’Hanlon in response to her question “…please tell the truth, is there a Santa Clause?”

His wise response included the above “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” and the following: “He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias (and no Andreas, Graces, Donnas and Toms etc.) There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.” We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.”

So thankfully, with these remembered words, I am inspired to believe in the magic of Santa Claus or Papa Noel knowing that there is kindness, generosity, beauty, joy and a frivolity in our human clan. There must also be the same spirit and light in our greater “hood” – the milky way and beyond its star dusting. Actually, there are no borders in expressing and sharing joy, love, and peace. And there is also space for grief, anger and sadness. It’s all on the creative spectrum. Just for now though, during this feminine and holy Solstice season, I welcome childhood’s version of Santa’s magic (grace) into my life and believe in it for all life.

Peace.

 

 

 

What is it …

Grace

 
What is it about grace
that tenders an angry moment
into a peaceful movement?

What is it about grace
that yarns hands into hats
and humor?

What is it about grace
that placards profanity
into protest poetry?

What is it about grace
that that takes stutter and slurs
into song?

What is it about grace
that takes blue into azure and sky
henna into meadows with mice?

What is it about grace
that takes a humble haiku
into the history of words?

What is it about grace
that tumbles small stones into
a river wild?

And what is it about grace
in a child’s smile that is no
different than our own?

Summer 2011