Category Archives: April Moon

Sweet: #aprillove2015 and Wish: #aprilmoon15

littlemadmanApril Love prompt, “sweet.” This is a picture of my husband Eric at about six years old with his little sister Angela. They lived in Germany at the time, (their dad was in the Army and stationed there). Eric was on his way to a birthday party. He looks like a little Mad Man, except for the socks with sandals. It’s one of my favorite pictures.

April Moon prompt, “I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I wish…” I am acutely aware right now of the ways in which those who are sick, specifically those with various addictions, generate suffering both for themselves and those who love them. It’s so hard to watch someone you love be in pain, to be so sick and confused, and not be able to do anything about it, to have your support rejected, to know that the only way things will get better for them is if they choose to get help and you can’t convince or make them do that, to see them continue to resist, choose instead to keep going down a path of self-destruction.

I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I wish for suffering to ease. I wish that the confusion would lift and the truth be clear, that she’ll see how things really are and have the strength to make the right choice, that with the help of qualified professionals she’ll be able to save herself, turn things around. I wish that no matter what happens with her, those who love her will be able to find some peace, will know that they did everything they could for her. I wish for all those struggling with addiction the same clarity and strength, and for those who love them the same peace, the ability to be okay no matter what the outcome.

Catching Up: #aprillove2015 and #aprilmoon15

whenthingsfallapartThursday’s April Love prompt was “ten years ago,” which I skipped writing about here because I’d already written about something similar the other day when I answered the April Moon prompt, “Knowing what I know now, I would tell my ten-years-ago self…

Today’s April Love prompt was “Life-changing book.” Even though I love books and have many favorites, and there are quite a few that have been instrumental in helping me shift something that was stuck (for example, Brene’ Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are or Geneen Roth’s Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything), there is one that was a complete life-changer, one that I come back to again and again, the book I would save if I could keep only one, read only one for the rest of my life — Pema Chödrön’s When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times.

Thursday’s April Moon prompt was “sometimes I wonder if I will ever…” slow down, calm down, be peaceful and content, stop worrying, feel entirely comfortable in my own skin, take really good care of myself, write the books, have the life I’ve imagined since I was six years old but was never quite able to manifest entirely. Sometimes I wonder, and yet I feel more sure now than ever that it’s absolutely possible, if I keep wanting it and I don’t give up. Like the lines from Arundhati Roy say, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

Today’s April Moon prompt is “this is what makes me feel lucky…” That I’m here, that I continue to try, that I haven’t given up, that I have big love in my life, that I’ve been able to do mostly what I wanted, that I have a good partner, that my dogs are healthy and here, that I don’t have to worry about money, that I have a sweet little house with a garden, that I’m healthy and strong, that I’m smart and curious, that I can be creative, that I can come here and write and then share whatever I want and people actually read it, that I have a good job, that I have time to practice and study, that I have good friends who make me laugh, that I am sane and safe.

Obsession: #aprillove2015 and Story: #aprilmoon15

librarybloomsApril Love prompt, “current obsession”: Cherry blossoms. There are lots of trees on campus and around town, and they are exploding with blooms right now. My favorite thing about cherry trees (besides the fruit, which most of the ones blooming right now won’t even get because they are ornamentals) is that the blooms have three distinct phases. When they first show up, they are curled so tight they look like tiny berries. When the blooms open, they are crazy beautiful, full and soft and plenty. Then when the petals fall, it’s like snow and what’s left on the tree is like a tiny firework.

April Moon prompt, “I am trying not to talk about”: The things that are bothering me, the stuff that irritates me, the problems I have, my issues, other people’s stories and the ones I’m making up about “poor me.” I’m trying not to talk about the big plans I have that carry me way into the future because it overwhelms me, makes me miss what’s happening right now. I’m trying not to talk about the ways I feel like I’m failing, missing out, not doing enough. I’m trying not to talk about what is wrong. I’m trying not to talk about things that don’t really matter. I’m trying not to talk about stuff that I’m only talking about to fill up the empty space anyway. I’m trying not to talk so much about me…me, me, me. I’m trying not to talk about what I think, what I feel, what I want. I’m trying, but as you might have noticed, I kind of like to talk.

Love Note to Myself: #aprillove2015 and The Kitchen: #aprilmoon15

April Love prompt, “love note to self.”

Dear One,
You are like the blossoms on a cherry tree — your natural expression of yourself such a wonder, such a welcome surprise. You don’t need to do anything but be as you are and you bring such joy, such beauty to the world.
Love you.
Love,
Me

clementinesApril Moon prompt, “The moment I enter the kitchen I feel”: happy, safe, nourished. It’s surprisingly the place the dogs are the most relaxed, content. They’ll sprawl out and snooze right in the middle, as we carefully step around them. Eric spends a lot of time there — cooking, reading, listening to the radio — and leaves me love notes on the counter when he knows I’ll get home before he does. It’s more his space, but it feeds me too. I wrote something about it a year or two ago and have never found a place for it, but it’s still true and this prompt reminded me of it so I’m going to share it with you here. I think it was in response to a prompt from Laurie Wagner’s Telling True Stories class. (Another session of that starts up May 4th. You should check it out.)

The Boy

Most of the time I can find you standing in the kitchen, or on the couch with one or two dogs, or in a lawn chair on the patio; almost always reading. The kitchen isn’t really that great of a space. We call it the Hallway. The technical term for the style is galley kitchen. Two people and two dogs make it seem even smaller. If you open the oven or fridge, there isn’t enough room remaining for anyone to walk past. We say “excuse me,” “look out,” and “move” a lot in that space.

We had the whole kitchen redone about a year after we bought the house. Not because we were unhappy with it, in fact we loved the early 60s style cabinets and retro look. But, a longstanding dishwasher leak improperly fixed by the previous owners had completely rotted the subfloor and we had to gut it and start over. However, we hadn’t planned for it and didn’t have a lot of money to spend, so though updated, it’s still a regular, pretty small and just okay kitchen. And some things, like the long block of fluorescent lights that you don’t want to update because you like the quality of the light, were left as is.

There are a few reasons you spend so much time in the kitchen. One is you do most of the cooking. I like to bake, but you’re the one who makes dinner every night, (that’s where you are and what you’re doing as I write this). I cooked for the first five years we were together, except for the bird at Thanksgiving, which you did because I couldn’t stand to, as it still looked way too much like the original animal. But then when I was in graduate school, I got too busy—teaching, taking classes, writing my thesis, so you took over. By the time I could have taken the chore back, we’d realized that you actually liked cooking. This is how many of the chores in our home have been assigned: you either don’t mind it or you even like it and the other might even hate it, so you do it.

You watch shows like Iron Chef: Japan, and America’s Test Kitchen, have a subscription to Cooks Illustrated, check books out from the library about the history of various foods and spices or DVDs about home canning or bread making, and request cooking gear (pans, knives, quick read thermometers) as presents. Sure you grill like the stereotypical man, but you also make an amazing peach tart.

Another reason you like it in the kitchen is if the oven got used, you like to open the door and lean on it, soaking up the residual heat, (we’ve had to reattached the handle on the oven door twice because you lean on it so much). Your radio is also in the kitchen, tuned to satellite stations playing radio shows from the 30s and 40s or NPR’s Splendid Table or Moth Radio. You often listen to the radio while simultaneously reading a book or magazine. You read a lot, making good use of the library and Al’s News in Old Town. You like mostly nonfiction—local or world history, stories about people climbing Mount Everest or crossing the Antarctic or hiking the Appalachian Trail, philosophy books, or how-to books about building fences. Currently, you are reading “Life in Medieval Times,” Outside magazine, and a book on how to build greenhouses.

Inspiring Person: #aprillove2015 and Collections: #aprilmoon15

spApril Love prompt, “an inspiring person.” Susan Piver. She’s a tenderhearted, brilliant, wise writer, teacher, practitioner, friend, human being. I adore her. I want to grow up to be just like her, specifically in the way she’s been able to merge her practice and her work. We are both introverts, 4s on the Enneagram, Buddhists, practitioners in the same lineage, women, writers, teachers, so I feel like the ground is there, that it’s possible I could one day offer something as meaningful, as helpful as she has. In the meantime, as I work towards it, I look to her for inspiration. I get to do a virtual retreat with her today, and I’m so excited to see her, to listen to her wisdom, to practice with her.

April Moon prompt, “I wouldn’t call it a collection as such, but I do seem to have a lot of…” Oh, I’m a collector, a curator of things, so this isn’t just one item but a list of them.

I collect books and journals (which at first are blank, but eventually full of my mad scribbles), precious containers for words written and empty spaces for those to be written.

journalshelvesbookspinepoembookshelfI collect seashells, rocks, and feathers. I try to tell myself that I don’t need to pick them up and take them home with me, and yet before I know it, they are in my pocket and then on the tiny altars I build everywhere.

workcomputercollectioncollectionwritingbodhisattvaI collect Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and malas, all of them reminders of who I really am, instruments of practice and inspiration.

officeshrine shrinenewyears shrineofficebeginI collect pictures with birds. I hadn’t realized this until one day I just saw it, that so many of my pictures had a birds in them.

The Heart of Things by Christina Rosalie

The Heart of Things by Christina Rosalie

buddhabirdI collect love notes from Eric, keep every note left on the kitchen counter, every letter and card. I always make him say “love you” when we part, so that no matter what ever happens, the last words we said to each other were that.

lovenotesI collect divination tools, books and decks of cards.

wildunknownfirstcardI collect quilts. My aunt is a quilter, so that might be part of it, but that’s not all. Maybe it’s something in our DNA that is drawn to the color, the pattern, the comfort.

japaneselanterngardenquiltshrinequilt

ringobluefeelingbetterI collect keepsakes from my dogs — baby teeth, collars, toys, adoption documents, ashes, and pawprints.

ringosbabyteethdexterspawprintlittled

Superpower: #aprillove2015 and First Thought, Last Thought: #aprilmoon15

generosityApril Love prompt, “my superpower”: Generosity. Attention, love, help, gifts. What I give always seems to find its way back to me, in tiny offerings and grand gestures — from a love note left on the kitchen counter to an entire jar full of every reason he loves me, from a half dozen fresh eggs to sitting with me as I cry about the news that my dog has cancer, from feeding me lunch to making me a beautiful mala, from leaving a blog comment or liking a Facebook post to making me a tiny precious book or writing me a letter.

April Moon prompt, “It’s the first thing that comes to mind when I wake in the morning and the last thing I think of before I go to sleep.” It’s sad that my response to this is in direct opposition to my superpower. I am a giver, but my first thought in the morning and my last thought at night are of lack — there’s not enough time, I’m not getting enough done, I need to do more, but I’m so tired, what about me? I’m stuck attempting to work the same faulty math problem, believing that if I’m not getting what I want, what I need, then I need to work harder, do more, earn it. Generosity in this way moves from sanity — an act of wisdom and kindness, a deep knowing of what is needed and how to provide it — to neurosis. It shifts the feeling in my chest from a light, open, warm radiance to a constricted jittery panic, a weight and tension that makes it difficult to focus, hard to breathe. I’m working to shift this story, but it’s an old and sticky one that’s dug itself in deep. I practice generosity towards it too, giving it space, being soft and gentle, allowing and accepting it as it is, knowing that it isn’t as solid as it seems.

Five Years Ago: #aprillove2015 and Thunder: #aprilmoon15

nosetonoseApril Love prompt, “five years ago”: Sam was just a baby, five months old. He’d only been with us for two months. We thought we had so much time, but just two short years later we discovered Dexter’s cancer, learned it was terminal and there was nothing we could do about it. The year he had left together was a miracle compared to the two weeks – two months we’d been told we had, but it didn’t make losing him any easier. At least it gave him enough time to teach Sam to be so sweet.

buttpillowApril Moon prompt, “whenever thunder grumbles overhead, I think of”: that first summer living in Fort Collins, in the basement on Locust street where the back door was our front door and I planted a tiny flower garden next to the concrete step that was our front porch. Every afternoon around 2 pm, the sky would turn dark, the air hot and heavy, and the thunder would start to roll. Soon after, the sky would open up and it would pour down rain, soaking the ground. The temperature would drop 5-10 degrees in half an hour. Then, almost as fast as it started, the rain would stop and the sky would clear, done for the day.

I also think of how afraid Obi was of storms, how he could sense them coming an hour before they’d start and he’d glue himself to me until it was over, shivering and shaking so bad that sometimes his teeth would chatter, how it made me hate the summer storms that had always been such a relief, how hard I wished them away now that they caused discomfort to one I loved so much.