Thursday, January 28, 2010

The morning sun

.....the morning sun
     won't shine on me
                      on such a broken day


It tints the sky a sadness pink

i want to melt away

     For some time now I have felt like this rather bad attempt at poetry, dating from my twenties.  I think almost everyone who has not yet destroyed it, has some such writing around from the time they were teens and/or young adults. 

I keep these old note/sketchbooks around, not because my entries in them are worth much to anyone else, but because there are times in my life when it is valuable to revisit those times and feelings in my own life.  (I can only fervently hope that nobody finds them and reads them after i die...i am trying to retain some sort of reputation at not being completely dopey.)

In those days, I recall just how easy it was for me to drive myself into a depression with not much cause. Others, in looking at my life may have thought there was cause, but in reality, i was doing quite well.  There was just something attractive in occupying the role of the melancholic.

Now, forty or so years later, i no longer find that position at all attractive.  In the last couple of years, I have lost friends and acquaintances to all the things that create these losses.  Cancer and one or two other illnesses have been in the highest numbers at this party, but in looking at my life it is clear that there are other culprits that take us away from each other. Changes in lifestyle, marriage, children, illness (in my case-rarely serious, but annoyingly chronic),distance, misunderstandings and a list that could go on for pages. 

I am bored with this melancholia, despite the fact that I do look good in black -- slimming, you know.  I am also bored with writing this blog colored by it.

I was asked, when I wrote for a small mag. to write a short collumn on the matter of "letting go".  Parts of it are relevant not just for me but for so many others at this time.  I think of the losses of the people of Haiti and then realize that we have yet to complete the job of putting back the lives of those who lost so much in Katrina.  How many years has it been, and who ever speaks of it?  This is a kind of letting go that we are all good at and it is not good for the world.  However, I promised a change from the melancholic and so here goes. 

In the winter, many of us are compelled by the obvious changes in nature around us, to take some stock of our lives, goals, relationships, etc.  For this collumn, I have been asked to write something about "letting go".

This question is like a lovely (gluten free - i guess) cheesecake for me.  I could easily think and write, ultimately reducing the poor thing to crumbs.  Although this approach leaves out no minutae, and thereby might speak to all, it would all ultimately become meaningless, ideas lost in the chaos of more ideas.  I worry about carelessly turning such a valuable question into that kind of experience.

Brevity is not my strong suit, but I will try.

Last year, I had to face the fact that I am an incredible hoarder.  I am a hoarder not so much of things, but I have some issues there too. I have been battling this concern all my life, yet I find that I easily move things along into another life when it is their time.  My hoarding is of a different kind, one that many of us have known since childhood. I cling to relationships, memories, ideas, goals wishes and views of myself, views of others and the big one---sameness.  I do not want things to change and will often hold on tooth and nail to pretend that they have not.  I  can think of no other explanation for the size 6 jeans in my closet!  Failing this first strategy, I may then move on sullenly to some sort of accomodation.

Culturally we are given the sense that it is "incorrect"  to admit that age or infirmity of any form can limit one's life or cause one to be different. (I will avoid my usual screaming rant here..)  The truth is that time and the traces our living leaves on our hearts and bodies forces us to give up some of the things by which we may have formerly defined ourselves.  (Shallow is perfectly ok in my mind..)  For example, no matter how creatively fashion forward I may have been at another time in my life, four inch heels are totally out of the question unless I want to put my back out.

I find that I am forced to look at myself through the eyes of others and surprised at what I must leave behind.  Throughout the decades, I have had some wonderful and close relationships that ultimately suffered from mutual neglect.  During that time, the course of our lives have wrought the kinds of changes that, though slow, are enduring.  (This could be called the water drop on the rock model).

Letting go of the comfort of who you are in the eyes of another is one of the most painful and difficult of human emotional experiences.  As a therapist and as a human being --well semi-human, I know enough to know how little I know about each individual's experience through this.

The marvelous thing about our winter ruminations is that they are infallibly followed by another spring. We remember the flowers from last year and are perhaps surprised by a few new volunteers as well.  That becomes an easy time to put away these resolutions and thoughts you made earlier to try to ensure no letting go.  Perhaps the only one you made was to try to discover the roots and locations of your rigidity.  Leave it and if need be, leave yourself some notes somewhere. 


There is a marvelous quote by Mohandas Ghandi that sums up where I want to get:  "Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony."

Here's to diving in, taking the girdle off life and showing up every day in a different costume!! love and peace to all.  sopha davenport

Monday, January 25, 2010

My friends are safe, but...

Pardons for this short posting, I have too many things to do these days and am feeling too restless to write well.  My friends have returned from Haiti and are well.  Haiti however, like the legacy from Katrina goes on and on and on.  It is so easy to forget once our personal link with tragedies is broken.  Let us never forget those who have more troubles than we do.  Blessings and peace to all. sopha d,

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Finding the time. Is it really lost?

I began writing this on Friday evening Jan 15, 2010. 
Last Monday, I noted that I was three blog entries behind.  This can only make sense to you if I explain that I write these missives out longhand in a lovely old ledger with lovely smooth paper using my favorite fountain pen.  I simply cannot write anything worth reading at all using any other method.  Although it sounds snooty, it is not meant to be.  I think because of how my brain is wired with both ADD and synesthesia, I need a certain physicality to become involved in certain kinds of activities.

Another reason for maintaining this method of writing has to do with my hope that I can edit what I write into at least a tolerable quality of writing. Previously, when writing for people who paid me and had deadlines, I was know as the seven draft girl. 

I was going to write a bit about how the constuct of SHOULD impacts our lives, but since the earthquake in Haiti I have other things to write about.  None of this is edited. 

Many, many years ago, a wonderful woman named Amy persuaded me and my friend Randi to open our own preschool and daycare following the model we wanted to do.  In some ways it was a bit like the Reggio Emilio model only done on $400 starting money.  We also were dedicated to the idea that children could be taught social responsibility and other ethical issues could be addressed with children as young as three.
If you knew Amy like I know Amy........you also know that it is fairly impossible to say "no" to her.  This is why soon her son Jesse and ten  or so other children were all enrolled at the Willows. Time went by, the kids grew older, but Amy remained on our advisory board and Jesse still went strawberry picking with us.

After five years we had accomplished our goals, which were miriad and I will not list them here.  It was time to close the Willows and I accidentally sort of came to write a book detailing our experiences with helping children learn conflict resolution skills.  (KEEPING THE PEACE-PRACTIVING CONFLICT RESOLUTION WITH PRESCHOOLERS).

More time went by and Jesse was ready to marry Sarah.  They did not have a great deal of money to spend on a wedding dress, so I offered to make it.  At the time I was unaware that she would be gone for a month in Haiti during the time I needed her for fitting, but even though I helf up the wedding a few hours I was forgiven. The dress was beautiful made from vintage kimono and pale green silk charmeuse.  I was to have gone to the wedding, but not having slept for 48 hours in order to finish on time, I watched her walk from the balcony on Jesse's arm and she looked just like the mermaid she had wanted to be.

They had a child last year.  As with all children, he is of course beautiful. Sarah has been in Haiti and so Jesse took Miles down to see her and they got caught in the earthquake.   If you have more interest in this story see the Seattle Times coverage from yesterday. 

There is nothing more important to write or think about.  That earthquake, like so many of these catastrophes seemed so far away to me until I heard Jesse talk (in an interview over the internet) about being deputized as a nurse, being overwhelmed by the cries and screams of people still trapped in the rubble.  It now feels very personal.  I encourage all of you who read this (two people??) to do what you can.  Donate, help out, whatever is in your power.

I cannot tell you how much I appreciated my warm down comforters and clean bed last night.

peace and good life to all. sopha d.

Friday, January 8, 2010

shameful I know!

...to continue a writing after one month of nothing with three small dots could be considered the height of temerity, however it is the easiest way to get the point ----aaaaargh!!!------really, no pun intended, across.

It feels important to me to complete the ideas in the writing I began about Thanksgiving in November.  I had begun to describe a feeling of being beset by a cloud of small problems as irritating as a mass of small bugs swarming one's sweaty face late on a summer day.  

Clearly, not all those matters were gnat size.  A few elephants and hippos were in that swarm as well.  They have not gone, continue somehow to try to fly up my nose, interestingly as the day nears its end, just like when I used to go camping.  I never did like camping and I do have a large nose, just to clear that matter up in your imagination.



Luckily, we humans have such a thing as perspective and the ability to modify and enlarge it.  Speaking from a neurological viewpoint, our ability to enlarge our perspective, thereby changing our value judgements about the events and circumstances in our lives and ultimately shifting our position emotionally is called neurological plasticity.
This term actually refers to a long term process in which the brain continues to prune and grow neuronal branches throughout the lifetime on the basis of experience, in a sense, thereby also shaping experience. 

As an artist I like circles and intellectually I can be quite fond of a circular argument that actually gets us somewhere, not unlike a wheel, so this idea has captivated me for some time now.

Perhaps you are thinking that by now, I have rambled so far afield even I cannot find my  way back again.  Just remember as you read the following, that should some misguided piece of intellectual flab be hanging loose here or there, you can get your own virtual duct tape and make thinkgs all pretty and smooth.     Here goes:

I like to take this big time, well granted research phenomenom and mix it up with ways to come to my own senses when I am lopping off pieces off my life with that sharpest of swords, known as SELF PITY.  Self Pity is a beautiful  knife.  She looks as light as a feather and when one looks at her one thinks  that the shining  and glistening color that is not just on the surface but goes deep into her must surely enter the colorless and faded thing that you have become.  She promises a glowing lightness of being as translucent as a sunset or better yet, the sweet freshness of a sunrise.

It is a lie and so I entered the Office of the charming Dr. Lee on a cold drizzly Seattle morning    with my left side useless and aching.  I thought,"Try to practice some grace.  When you have a stroke some of     it will     feel like this and experience is a  goog thing."

I went into an office with my favorite colors, windows with trees outside, easy eye access--my favorite! and found a rich thick stack of all manner of magazines.  New ones!!!! I was then offerred a water bottle and handed a list of things to check.  Of the 100 ailments listed, I only had  to make one mark!!  Not bad for 60 I thought and began to lay my shiny sword down.  Somehow, she was not as shiny now. (Taupe carpet, ya know)

During the exam, the lovely Dr. Lee asked me to push with my hands and arms against his as had as I could. I took a breath, pulled in those flabby abs, found a little chi and gave a push.  I surprised the young man.  Again, not bad for     60.  There is nothing serious or permanent   wrong with my shoulder/back.  The problem is getting used to sleeping with a full face mask from my sleep apnea machine.  A referral to physical therapy and when I came out the air was still cold and drizzly but oh, the smell of the pine needles!  How had it not been there before?


I just now realize, I must have left Self Pity behind in that office somewhere.  Good night.  Peace to all.  more to come. sopha davenport