Originally Blogging the Artist's Way. Thoughts, musings, experience of the 12-week course, January to March 2006. And after that?.... Life, creativity, writing. Where does it all meet? Here, perhaps.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Scrbblings: Observations

Sunday is almost done, so if I want to post something while it's still actually sunday, then I'd want to make it pretty quick.

Observation of self: I've noticed that I've hesitated to come post anything here. See the gap? Well, I haven't been home all the time, that's true, but I've been about some of the time, and still haven't posted. And the why is connected to returning to "normal"; a sense that, after my mother's death, nothing else is important enough to blog about. Well, it's not about what's important always. Just what is. But part of me was feeling odd about that. So I've decided I just need to post something to break past that.

Some of you wanted to know how my trip to the US was.

While my visit to the US this year was cut short, I still had almost 2 weeks of a wonderful holiday there. I got to attend and assist at the SoulCollage® training at Land of Medicine Buddha in Soquel, California, during my first four days. When I left there, I thought I'd be travelling down Highway 1 by the coast to Los Angeles, but I hadn't reckoned with the forest fires, and found myself having to turn back just as I reached Big Sur and travelling an alternative route. The delay meant I found myself stopping for an overnight stay in Summerland, near Santa Barbara. I treated myself to a room at a beautiufl inn, with every luxury. As they say in certain adverts... I'm worth it!

My five days in Los Angeles were wonderful - visiting with a dear friend, relaxing, chatting, visiting LACMA, (The Chicano art exhibit! The Japanese art!); eating good food, making SoulCollage together, chatting... On 4th July, we went into the old part of the city for a wonderful Mexican lunch; visited the Cathedral,
Union station and the Disney music centre. And that night, unplanned, we found fireworks, right in the neighbourhood. I love fireworks. I don't get to see them often, but I just love them. There was the sheer excitement of being in that place - the initial thrill of entering the city, driving down Laurel Canyon, crossing Sunset Boulevard! I was so proud of myself for navigating my way to within yards of my friends front-door, though that delight in my arrival became somewhat overshadowed by my panic and upset when I simply couldn't find my way on that last short leg of the journey (later discovered the reason was a wrongly-transcribed address!). All was well that ended well, and I just loved my time in LA.
When I set off to drive back to the Bay Area, I knew I'd need to make an overnight stop, but wasn't sure quite where that would be. It turned out to be at a motel in Salinas. There were fire-fighters staying there, coming in, going out, ... a row of firetenders parked in the parking lot. Smoke on the hills. One young man asked me to keep them all in my prayers. I did.
On Sunday, I drove on, skirting San Francisco, (with the intention to return to the city a few days later to join my son for some sightseeing), to arrive at the home of my adopted American family. They take me to their hearts. We hang out. We visit fabric shops and Lacis in Berkeley - a museum of lacemaking. We shop for groceries. I'm planning to be with them for a few days more before the rendezvous with my son, and then heading off for more northern parts of California, and on into Oregon and Washington state.

And then, word came that my mother had passed away peacefully, and I needed to get home. My wonderful friends held me, prayed with me, made sure, once I'd made travel arrangements, that I got safely to the airport and through check-in.
My American sojourn this year ended in a way I couldn't have expected, but I'm so glad I got to be there, and that I have those memories. I'm so happy to have met the wonderful people I encountered again on this trip. I'm so looking forward to returning again... next year, maybe... Maybe next year.


Find more Sunday Scribblings HERE

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Life Goes On

I've been in touch with many of the people who offered their sympathies on my mother's passing, but there may be some of you I've missed, who've wondered how I've been.

It's four weeks today since her death, and life does indeed, go on. My sister has just become a step-granny! A beautiful baby girl has entered this world, and we welcome her!
It has seemed strange to me at times over these weeks that there can be such a depth of sadness, such a sense of loss, so many tears, and yet, at the same time, we can be laughing, enjoying music or a poem, but this is just as my mother would have wanted it. She didn't dwell at length on instructions about when she died, but two things she did make very clear were that (1) she didn't want any artificial flowers on her grave. [That was so well-known, that we didn't even need to tell people. Of the 50+ wreaths and bouquets that came, none had a hint of anything artificial about them]; and (2) that we (my sisters and I) were not to wear black after her funeral. Some of my aunts wore mourning for a long, long, time after my grandmother's death, and my mother told us we were not to do that for her. She loved to see us in bright, cheerful colours, and that is what she would want. I have a good deal of black in my wardrobe, but when I wear it, it's just because it's there, and not because I'm in mourning.
My mother would want us to get on with our lives, to have fun, to enjoy the good things in the world, as she did.
I've posted the SoulCollage® card that my sister made just a couple of weeks prior to Mam's death. She's there at various stages in her life - prior to her marriage; on her wedding-day; as a young mother (I'm the baby on her lap in the upper right); and as the mother of a growing family. This card is a lovely mememto, and my father has been greatly comforted by it, with its reminders of all those times.
I really have appreciated all the kind words, the thoughts and prayers that you have sent my way in these weeks. So many people have shared their own stories of loss and bereavement, and offered their wisdom about the need to be gentle with myself. I'm listening, and taking that to heart. Thank you all.
She would have been so happy to hear about the new baby entering our extended family today.

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Friday, August 01, 2008


For Death

(by John O'Dohohue)

From the moment you were born,
Your death has walked beside you.
Though it seldom shows its face,
You still feel its empty touch
When fear invades your life,
Or what you love is lost
Or inner damage is incurred...

That the silent presence of your death
Would call your life to attention,
Wake you up to how scarce your time is
And to the urgency to become free
And equal to the call of your destiny.

That you would gather yourself
And decide carefully
How you now can live
The life you would love
To look back on
From your deathbed.


Lila kindly sent me a link to where I could find that poem, among the comments on his book - "To Bless the Space Between Us - a Book of Blessings" on

The commenter left quite a long essay about O'Donohue, who died in January of this year, concluding with a quote about what O'Donohue said happens on the other side: "I believe that our friends among the dead really mind us and look out for us," he wrote. "Often there might be a big boulder of misery over your path about to fall on you, but your friends among the dead hold it back until you have passed by."

I now have someone very special watching over me. Since my mother has moved into the spiritual realm, she is more aware of me now probably than she had been during the past few years. In this I am blessed.

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