Friday, December 14, 2012

The dragons within

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Beyond here, there be dragons

I used to love all that the warning conveyed to me. A sense of danger, yes, but also something powerful that could alter someone's landscape.

Today, after news of the tragedy in Connecticut, I wonder again if the first journey we set ourselves on, on spring breaks, months of summer break and weekends and days off, should be that trip within. To the bank of our emotional wellspring, to the shores of our intellect, the building blocks of our thought processes - tackle the dragons hiding within, so to speak.

I'm so so sorry for the precious little lives that had cruelty and fear as their last view of this fucked up planet. Aside from a  (useless) wish that this had never happened, I also (hopelessly) wish that those children had not known fear and pain in their last moments.

The parents are the ones who will live with it all now. Terrible knowledge and pointless and persistent thoughts about what their children could've had, and what they themselves should have done instead of....

I read on the Yahoo message boards comments about how these things happen everyday all over the world. The people who said them did so trying to make a point of other things. I don't know how one tragedy can diminish another. If I were to hear about all of it, from the world over, everyday, I would certainly go mad.

There's something fundamentally broken. I can imagine an eye roll and the words "finally got that huh, genius?"

They speak of gun laws, more security, people from different places etc...but never about why there is such a dreadful spike in rash cruelty. The murderers don't think...the laws are not a deterrent and the distinction between right or wrong continues to blur. Aside from economy, why are there so many young people suffering from so much psychological instability?

Video games. lack of parental control etc are the usual suspects.

But I do believe it has something to do with children having less quietude in general. No moment when their minds are not on something. Even if their bodies are still, they're processing the happenings of the day. None of which enable measured thought.

I can't blame parents. Or the kids or the schools...or life in general.

There's no one to blame, and yet, it is our collective responsibility.

I can't bear the fact that aside from writing this article, and my vocal support of laws, there's nothing else for me to do with regard to this tragedy. I will likely focus on bringing up my children properly, and even then, there is no guarantee that they will be safe. I can do everything in my (limited) power and still have no way of ensuring the kids safety.

But this much I do know...what happened in Connecticut, the movie theater in Colorado, the temple in Minneapolis and the Oregon mall is symptomatic of what ails our society in general. We have to heal ourselves...and I just can't fathom how.

We're going to bend over backwards to make everything safer with more laws, computer systems and security systems without analyzing why there is so much danger to begin with.

Why is there so much danger in spite of so much knowledge all around? Why is there so much danger in spite of freely available care? In spite of mountains of self help books and incessant comparisons to children from other societies and attempts to match up to them? Why is there so much danger even though most parents are giving their best?

I don't know...it's ripping me apart that there's nothing more to be done. That come tomorrow, I'll go back to my life, be grateful for my blessings and move on. I can't stand that for all of us, this will be a regretful memory. And that we'll grow even more suspicious of each other. And that we'll become even more paranoid about safety. We have to do all of the above to survive of course, but the germ that seems to be part of our societal fabric will continue to thrive.

If murderers are ever captured alive, they need to be taken to a country that is starved of compassion and basics, and they need to work on saving lives...they need to be dropped in the middle of bullets and they need to be told that they are there to save starving kids who "will die" if not for them. They need to learn, what it is to nurture and grow...Not as a means of saving their souls, but to send them into hell of a different kind. The kind that is seen from the opposite end of the spectrum. They need to be made to run to save lives and fear not making it every single day.

We've actually come to believe that we can take away what is not ours. Being offended, angry or upset is reason enough to upend another human's whole universe.

I feel even more like I don't belong.

This world is not for me. At all.

And there's no where else to go.

Wish you all a peaceful weekend.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Moonlight

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I wish you were here with me
in moonlight blessed darkness
stretching into dawn.
pic credit - Exsodus; freedigitalphotos.net

I wish you were here with me
to feel my dreams before words said
chip away at infinite hope and possibility

I wish you were here with me
to play as dolphins would
unafraid together and unafraid apart

I wish you were here with me
and could stand a question about notions
in the emptiness of space

I wish you stayed to answer
and ponder with me about
upturning our lives to live life fully

I wish the moonlight were a cloak wrapped around us,
the pulsing of hearts visible in a quantum of light only
no strata between thought and word and deed

Being-as the past present and future
with no thought to any of these.
I wish you stayed here with me
so we could just be.


pic credit - Exsodus, www.freedigitalphotos.net

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Journey

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There was hardly any light. Her breathing hitched as she squeezed into an entrance that wasn't meant to allow anyone. Infact, it kept everyone out...like a cave from an Indiana Jones movie. The way out was never the same as the way in. A cave full of traps and multiple exits, all leading to deadly creatures or perilous drops. There was very little she could see, so she used her hands to feel the walls as she walked forward, her feet dragging...like they preferred to remain with a seated body. The walls pulsed it seemed...yet it was muted. Not a vibrant thrum, but a low hum..that faded as soon as she honed in on it.
photo credit - freedigitalphotos.net

Breathing in deeply, she struggled to hear a pattern that she'd caught. The cave almost froze, the minute she made up her mind.

The knot in her chest grew thicker and tighter. Dark nothingness beckoned ahead and to the sides. Suddenly, the only option she's chosen her whole life was not viable anymore. She didn't want to back out. She didn't want to leave this place so devoid of light and joy. It had to be understood.

Her foot found a slope unexpectedly. The awful sensation of not being able to catch oneself caused her heart to thump wildly. The echoes of it ricocheted off the cave walls. She slid fast, her bottom on something awfully wet and warm. She had felt this way when she was eight. When she wet the bed in her sleep and dreamed of being lost and uncomfortable. It was a crowded mall then, bright lights and loud voices that intensified her inexplicable isolation.

There appeared a shimmer; a shimmer on the walls and a sudden lightening of the air. Breathing in, heart calming and strangely, the cave growing peaceful, she slid toward a lake. A lake in a cave...how did the water get in? There had to be a way out. She got up feeling the walls again. Was there an opening? A door? How would she cross the lake? Where to anyway? The opposite side was solid rock. The lake was a sapphire sheet. It was easy to mistake it for a solid surface. Only every time she thought, the lake seemed to move. She sat at it's border, contemplating choices. There was no way to go back. Apparently no way to go forward either. That time when she was thirteen and found death meddling in her family for the first time, she had felt the same. Unable to bring back her beloved sister and unable to imagine a future without her. What had she done then? The shutters went down in her mind, more out of habit now, than any real pain or fear. The lake suddenly had little ripples. She tried looking for a source of air. But...nothing.

Sitting back, perched on her heels, she tried pulling up the shutters. What had she done? Her heart had closed. It was then. Her heart and mind had closed to light. And any feeling, most specifically, pain. And love. Which was why her marriage to him was unraveling now. Not because of the absence of love, but because of an overabundance of rationality that made it impossible for pain to be a part of their lives. So there was no pain, no spontaneity and no love. Life was like a science journal, where observations were mentally recorded and outcomes were properly calculated and plotted. Any imbalance in results caused too much turmoil. He hated it, because truly, he loved her. He didn't want to leave even now. "There's hope. All you need to do is let me help you!" He's said, agonized that she would give up on them.

How could she?

She'd leaned in toward the lake as she thought, further and further until she saw her face. She reached out in surprise, and tipped right into the lake. Still calm and sure, she began to wade toward the strip of cave that was the shore. She just seemed to go right in with every big step. Like quick sand, but not so slow. She was being carried downward by currents that could not have been. There was no air! No air...she kicked, lungs on fire, head swimming and images colliding against one another.

Her husband holding her hands at their wedding, her little sister tugging at her hand before the car that ran her over appeared out of nowhere. The images that she had never allowed herself...the little body in pain, her family in shambles, her deep deep fear of the sheer nothingness that life could be and her every attempt at avoiding it.

So much and so little to see.

The black hole appeared and took her straight in where she dropped into a stream. Gasping the little air there was, she lay on it's surface as it carried her on.

Life was all so pointless. And yet, what a shame it would be if not lived. What a shame if one didn't fight for life. But how could she? How could she love and hold on again? What if she lost again?

Weak and wishing for release, she tried to fight as the stream swirled her past giant boulders. Her elbows and knees hurt from pushing them away. Boulders that had been for ever. Strangely, every time she fought back, the boulders nudged and rocked in place. A small body appeared on another boulder, clinging on for dear life. She reached out, to help. A little hand took hers and jumped on her back. "I'm so afraid! The little girl wailed.

"It's going to be alright," She said, suddenly sure. "We'll find a way out."

"How?" the girl asked.

"I don't know, but I will." She said.

"What makes you think you will?" the girl persisted.

Gasping for air, and trying to stay calm, she said, "I trust. I just know."

"Who's there to trust? the girl asked

"I don't know!" She screamed. "I don't know who's there. I don't care if there is no one out there to trust. I'm here. I'll take you and me safely out of here. There's really nothing to be afraid of. Never was!"

Strangely the stream slowed and seemed to swirl around her as the air grew lighter. She lay sprawled on a silky sand bed, hints of water remaining with the sound of crashing waves and the smell of salty sea air.

Getting up, feeling desperately for the tiny body that had clung to her, she felt a massive ache in her chest.
 No! She couldn't have done it again. No...not again. Not again.

As rivers of tears poured down her face, for all the years of emptiness, she saw the little girl again. The girl walked toward her, seeming familiar yet different.

"You were right." The girl said, looking into her eyes.

She stared open mouthed into her young face, the child she'd been before the terrible accident, the child who had been afraid of so much.

"You always had me, and I always had you. There was nothing to fear. Leni went when she had to go, and we had nothing to do with it. And we have to live, because it is what we're here to do. And if we didn't, it'd be like fish refusing to swim in the ocean because there could be sharks."

She smiled, stroking the hair she had always hated, but suddenly captivated by the shine and the innocence of the bob.

"So we swim because we can." The girl said.

"Yes. But also, because that's what we do. We live because it's what we do. And we love because it's our fuel. Refusing to love would be refusing to breathe or move or be. And ..." she choked, thinking of him, waiting for her to understand.

"It's okay. Chocolate ice cream is the best when you're sad." The girl said, stroking her hand.

They smiled at each other.

The brilliance enveloped them.

She opened her eyes.

The distant sounds of traffic told her that she was late. 9 am. Standing upright in shock, feeling the love and light still suffusing her body, she raced to find him.

He wasn't there. She called him and waited to hear his voice. "'Lo?" he said, careful and neutral.

"C..could you possibly come home?" she asked.

"Are you alright?" his tone changed at once.

"Yes!Yes...please...I ...I have to talk to you!" she tried very hard not to cry. It would be a first for him to hear that.

He sensed it, and was already out the office door when he said, "I'll be there in fifteen."

When he arrived, she ran right into his arms, surprising him. He had never been received this way before. She was never home when he arrived from work. And when she was home, she would prefer to converse briefly before heading back to work.

"I...I don't want to leave. I'm sorry. I'm so very sorry that I couldn't see." She clung to him as she said this and he fought to keep his own emotion down.

"I'm so glad," he whispered, "but what changed your mind?"

She took him to their room and laying on his chest, told him about her journey.

"So you were meditating when this happened?" he asked.

"Yes."

"The little girl...I wish I could have met her!" he said, smiling.

"Why?" she asked.

"Just to hug her and tell her that it was all going to be okay." he said, gathering his wife to him. "Do you know where those caves are? Think there's actually such a place? Maybe we could find it."

She sat up, looked at him and considered her answer. "I know there's such a place. And I know where it is. As for finding the caves, I think I've always known where to look."

He waited.

"I believe I journeyed inward into my own heart, love. It was quite scary!"


The end


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Friday, August 17, 2012

Baby and time...

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It's been an eon since I last visited my blog :-) It dawned on me this morning, as I watched a nearly three month old Mini-Baby smile at the lush greenery outside our bedroom window. I had not intended to let so many days go by. I'd meant to document every stage in fact. But I got caught up. In expected changes, unexpected emotion and a sackful of hopes and dreams.

So, Mini-Baby arrived on May 20. I do believe in astrology and such things, and so I was adamant about Mini-Baby not arriving on that particular day. Nature must have heard only the echo of May 20 in my mind and did everything she could to accommodate my non-wish. But it was surprising, when I watched my water break again, that there was not a single, "Oh NO!!" moment. It was pure happiness all the way.

pic 1 credit - www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I remembered Miranda Kerr when I went on to deliver Mini-Baby. I thought of her, inexplicably, when I was trying to push him out. It had been too late to give me an epidural, and so my doctor, while efficiently dispensing orders to prep a room in case I should need a c-section, told me that I "should just do everything I can to push him out." Wait. Before I thought of Miranda Kerr, I also wondered about women who did this what...ten-twelve times? Without the happy effects of the epidural...without supportive women shouting encouragement and all the nurses doing victory dances.

Miranda Kerr apparently pushed out ten pounds of a bouncing baby boy from her Victoria's Secret body. I had all of six pounds and three ounces from a "far from Victoria's Secret" body, and whoo-hoo...I thought I'd reached my grand exit, to put it mildly.

Mini-Baby is worth every contraction and internal exam (what's WITH those?! Especially when your body is being ripped apart anyway, they go...well...RIGHT IN! just....YUCK...and so gosh darned painful!). He came out with a head full of hair...and knew me right away. He stopped crying when they put him in my arms. Just like that. It was gorgeous and all the pain seemed distant and unimportant. He looks like his Dad, Him. So Him, Mini-Him and now Baby-Him are all right clones of each other. It's hilarious watching all of them gazing at each other in perfect admiration and contentment.

I've been weepy and happy, scared and glad and mostly, very aware of the passage of time. Which again, is a human construct. What if I thought of my life in terms of, "the night of the grand chocolate chip ice cream cone" or "Baby-Him's four wet diapers later..."...it was hard writing those sentences without a before/after/moment/...time is woven into our consciousness. Our own construct. That we cannot do without.

I don't miss anything right now. But I dearly wish that I could pop into my childhood every once in a while, hang out with my Mom and Dad, see their energy and drive around us, and come right back to apply it to my kids. So, although my wonderful parents are right here with me, I miss them already! I hate to think of them leaving, being alone, and me not seeing them everyday.

pic 2 credit  - www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net
It's been joyous and difficult. Seeing them with Baby-Him, happily engrossed in changing him or making him smile, trying to figure out the best possible remedy for a constipated baby etc, made me grateful and sad. A profound happiness and sadness at once. I only regret that I'm away from my roots. Besides the fact that I cannot get used to the fact that my parents are getting on in their years And yet, Baby-Him showed me that I've changed too. I've become mulish, according to Him, who is no icon of flexibility himself. But that's alright. 

Baby-Him has had us laughing a lot. He's a fiesty one. Mini-Him was all good natured sunniness. Baby-Him is a regular ruddy faced demand-a-lot! He doesn't cry as much as bark out his displeasure. He's cute and when he pouts, there's very little any of us can do but turn to mush. Even Mini-Him, who will let go of his i-pad to calm him down.

The unfortunate events of the recent past had me thinking of the turns our world is taking...without warning and with less and less concern for our fellow man.

I don't have towering ambition for Mini-Him and Baby-Him. I would consider myself a grand success if they can be well adjusted members of society who can keep a roof over their heads, and help out in any way they can.

Let's just say that I'm taking one day at a time, much like Baby-Him. Every expression is precious, every calm moment is a gift. There's too much out there that I just don't know about, anymore.

The here and now is with me, and that's where I'll be for a while.


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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Messy perfection...

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pic credit - Idea go; freedigitalphotos.net
Through kisses in the here and now
laundry loads and baked goods interspersed
questions arise of depth, and need.

Quick embraces between carpool and shopping
each touch a reaffirmation of love and care,
questions arise of intangible certainties and the conflicting now.

Warm and reassuring, you hold my hand, as we pick out more "stuff",
together we're in this, for sure, and yet,
questions arise of childhood dreams and unvarnished beliefs.

I see you walk, a slight hunch, a bald spot,
You see me waddle a bit, hair a mess,
dreams of perfection seldom had frames showing the passage of time.

Perfection apparently, includes ketchup stained jammies
and your shirts draped over walnut dining chairs,
Humanness perhaps, the only quality our hopes lacked.

Now we'll aim for more instances
of perfection, instances close to youthful yearning and belief
With messy interludes that make it worth so much more.

pic link - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=809

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I wish I could...

pic credit - luigi diamanti; freedigitalphotos.net
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The weakness I wish I could see
would be you, leaning into me
happy or hurting as I feel
while I could find a moments comfort
in understanding warmer than an embrace.

The weakness I wish I could see
would be you searching for me
when nature's own glamor silences words
while I could share that wonder
and feel as one with nature and you.

The strength I want to give
would be living, but not just to live
to hold on to bright hope even when despair
beats down our door, and you, could see me,
and think that losing for us is not meant to be.

The strength I want to give
would be the certainty that the world could be
your playground, and every theory worth a try
but home would be with me, wherever you go
and I would be home whenever you want me to be.

pic link - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=879

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The silence speaks volumes

pic credit - dan, freedigitalphotos.com
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The silence speaks volumes
more than volumes of words
filled with wonderment and definitions
not our own.

Our only affirmed means of communication
that the others recognize,
so the others can recognize
that we're linked, you and I, by that intangible something.

The silence speaks volumes
about the space between us
how little it matters
how much it matters
and that the pressure of space is too much to bear.

Yet words hold the key for them and us
with a final piece of paper/ring/gift of recognition
that confirms to us and them what we are
and the definitions and judgements pile on.

The silence speaks volumes
about what you see beyond me
and I you, to the point of fusion,
oneness that exists beyond this world.

And yet, words shield us from their wrath
and strangely, our oneness too,
the world demanding to be let in,
silence broken as surely as a heart.

pic link - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=587

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Away from you

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pic credit - Exsodus, freedigitalphotos.net
Hope like sunbeams
waltzing through a gray canopy
Insistent, persistent, true, it seems
a reminder that you're lost to me.

Certainty perfused, doubt dispelled
Yet I remember flashes of what will never be
Golden happiness on gray ocean held
for seconds before the 'crest of now' sets it free.

Free from yearning memories
Feelings from another time
Life devoid of you, yet abundant clarity
Another spirit, and me, now entwined.

pic credit - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1974

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mini-Him's potent poem

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Mini-Him is an out and out boy. Not given to "softer" pursuits. Rough and tumble, legos and strange creatures from every new Cartoon Network sponsored show make his days more than exciting. And while he has been an only child for nine long years of his little life, I didn't believe he was too lonely. Atleast, not lonely enough to warrant the shocker of a poem he wrote for Haiku practice in his elementary school. It...completely...disturbed me. Yet when I asked him if he actually felt any of what he wrote, he denied it.

"I have you, and my legos, and my friends...in Panama now. But still, I have some nice acquaintances here. Why would I be lonely?" he asked, a Ninjago (new fangled legos) Lord Garmadon attacking hapless foot soldiers in some mock battle arranged on our coffee table.

"Did you...um...read some parts of the poem somewhere?" I asked.

"Nope." he replied, followed by an "aaarrrrghhhh....Lord Garmadon didn't realize...it was a TRAP!!"

Maybe he had. Maybe he didn't realize he'd picked up something. Or maybe he just had a bloody good imagination. Or maybe he really felt those things...and if this last is true, then I've been seriously remiss as a parent.

The grammar and sentence construction are about what one would expect for the age group.

But the parallels....oh my!

I don't know how others see it...

Here goes...
pic credit - Stuart Miles; freedigitalphotos.net
Loneliness....

Loneliness is like a man drifting in the uncharted seas

Loneliness sounds like the howls of those who have nothing

Loneliness tastes like bitter salt who none would eat

Loneliness sounds like the sorrow of those who aren't cared for

Loneliness looks like a man sitting on an empty corner

Loneliness feels like no matter where you are you are always chased away.


I don't believe Mini-Him was ever given a time out in a corner to warrant such a statement. Time outs never worked with him anyway. I can only think back to his bullied days. Sure I've said that I was busy and that I would "play legos" later.

It's not a perfect poem. But the imagery is very sad, for me at least. It is sad that he associates images in this way.

pic link - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2664

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A new place and rumination

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Mini-Baby is partying and I cannot sleep. He (yep, one more for the man-team), knows just where to kick so he can get me dancing with him.

I'm waiting to move into a house. Have been in comfortable limbo for about three weeks now, since I left Panama.

The cold was relentless when I first landed. Mini-Him saw his first snow flurry, and we huddled, cowering against the sight of the frosty hood of the rental car parked outside our hotel window. Him and Mini-Him are thrilled to bits to be back though. They made a bee line for every fast food outlet that they missed over three years, with Mini-Him dragging a reluctant Him to Chuck-E-Cheese's; he returned triumphantly with two hundred coupons in reserve, a four inch green squishy lizard he proceeded to stuff down my back, and a purple gel filled "slappy" thing that clung obscenely to walls.

pic credit - Stuart Miles; freedigitalphotos.net
This is a different world again. Orderly, impeccable, quiet, courteous and distant. I found myself on Panama mode when I first arrived. Smiled at everyone, really, because there wasn't a tense muscle in my body. It's crept in though, over the last couple of weeks. With a to-do list longer than Him, and an awakening alertness. I'm sort of watching out now. For cell phone salesmen and insurance guys who could sell me something I don't need. For Mini-Him's unrestrained enthusiasm, that could disturb a crowd that has unspoken rules, that silently communicate themselves to everyone, but Mini-Him. For speaking softly, now that we're surrounded by thin walls rather than sturdy concrete ones.

But there is comfort in the familiarity of a place. In a society that is always trying to get better from the ground up. I have new plans now, and hopes for many things. Have to finish that third book, have to jump into a new branch of work a year after Mini-Baby is born. Have things to ready, and deadlines to meet.

So different from last year, when friends' dinners, books, and exercise schedules were the most pressing details of daily existence.

It's life's way of balancing things out for me. Just realized again, sleepless as I am, that life does give me a break. Let's me bliss out. Let's me heal and recuperate and smile. Just before tossing me into a whirlwind again. See some intense years coming my way.
I give thanks for the blessings that are, and those that are yet to be.

Happy Wednesday!
p.s. I have the poems literally bursting through me. Have to put them down once I'm in a quieter place. Him, bless him, is snoring. Mini-him's snores are a mini-echo.

pic credit - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2664

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Moving on


pic credit - Mine - just your friendly neighborhood rain clouds


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I had to cut short a phone call today because I couldn't hear over the roar of the wind.

The wind that sounds outside the huge windows of our twenty fifth floor apartment is loud and unobstructed. The Panama Bay and the Pacific Ocean beyond are just in front of us; sky scrapers rim the constantly shifting shoreline of Panama City. From the distance, approaching rain seems like grey mist, or like the dust from conquering armies. Dispersed moisture cloaks the scattered islands and most of the mainland. You wonder, momentarily, if you're losing sight or if the world truly is disappearing within the wind whipped rain's embrace. The waters of the bay begin to change color, turning a darker hue. You always know how  the rain is approaching, because the waters directly under the onslaught seem to turn inside out.
pic credit- Mine, not a cloud in sight


I will miss this. We're leaving Panama, and while I knew that Him could change trajectory in mid-flight, I had hoped that this time, the flight would be longer. I will miss the rain, the sweep of ocean outside my frighteningly wide windows, the moisture in the air that clings to skin making it lush, the forests abundant and very alive. No place is perfect, and of course, fool hardiness can get one into a lot of trouble anywhere. But my stay in Panama has been a gift. It was a gift of time - to recuperate, heal and allow sanity back into my life. While the waves rolled in from far away, never still, ripples that kept pace with the unending activity in the city, my mind slowed down. Slowed down enough for thoughts to settle like the proverbial 'happiness butterfly'.

I just can't take drama, you know? And now, I'm happy accepting it and won't take anyone else's imposition of it on my life lying down. Just like the little tugboats that race away toward the outer reaches of the Panama Bay early in the morning, for fishing, but race back, even just two or three hours later, trying to beat laden clouds to the shore. They anchor themselves to buoys or the pier and just wait, electric blue tarp protecting the people inside the boats. When the rain abates, off they go again, drawing in fish by the netfuls. I'm the tugboat. I will focus on the fish, being on the ocean and not on beating the storm, which, by the way, I have nothing to do with.

There is nothing to this life without the color green. In plants, that is. A canopy of trees with rippling branches offer a reassuring home. The scent in the forests here reminds me of all those words perfumeries use to describe notes...woodsy, musky, with faint notes of orange blossoms, vetiver, wet earth, caterpillar surprises and impending sunshine...umm...the last three are my personal favorites. It is an embrace unlike any other...being in these forests. Every sense is coddled. In that kaleidoscope of green, where imagination can take you to some scary places, just breathing in the scents and allowing moisture to seep in leaves one with a deep sense of peace.
pic credit - Mine, on our trip to Playa Blanca

The beaches have no warnings posted on the nearly black volcanic soil in the Pacific, or the dazzling white to beige sands of the Atlantic shores. You're really on your own if you decide to take on the mighty ocean when it's got a rip-tide party going. And of course, if you don't check tide levels before getting there, it's your own fault. But no one would actually blame you. Because, everything is just so heart-stopping gorgeous, that you'd be a fool to let a little thing like danger, and possible death interfere with your communion with nature. And of course, it is not cold. Never cold. Either humid or balmy (which they term winter here).

People who vacation in seemingly exotic places, with excellent promotion strategies might miss Panama. From the very modern Panama City to ancient Panama Viejo, the many Kuna governed islands in the Atlantic, to the coffee plantations and rapids in Chiriqui, near Costa Rica, the discoveries and adventures are constant.

There are issues...punctuality is one of them :-) But there's so much to admire...your friends probably stopped on their way from home to watch the impromptu fireworks display, get a mini bite to eat before showing up for dinner! LOL! And there's every chance you could get suckered into paying more for something. Or that flashy gold/designer jewelry you're wearing could get snatched by scamps on motorbikes. Or that you look a little too high maintenance in the wrong parts of town in the wrong times of day. Or you think that all that heated blood when you chance a glance at a good lookin' romeo is a good thing, leading to a steamy romance, that is likely dangerous. But then again, if there is a sense of discrimination in our natures, and the ability to make judgments, these are the reasons I believe we have them. Not to exasperate the heck out of each other, but to keep ourselves safe.

I feel sorry for Mini-Baby who will likely zip line in a different country, unlike Mini-Him who Tarzan-yelled over forests in Boquete. Mini-Baby will miss never catching a cold because, well, it's never cold. Mini-Baby won't know, anytime soon, what it is to want a pineapple and get it off a tree. Or have coconut water, instead of stuff from the tap, because, hey, it's there, and it's about 10c. Yes. Or Mini Baby will necessarily wait for a tropical location to eat passion fruit bought from the local markets with three pounds of tomatoes for $3 and tin roofs. And Mini-Baby will likely wait to eat fresh papaya, also from the local markets, grown in local farms.

And we'll never be here again, where people from, literally, every corner of the world, still find a home and are comfortable. And where billions and millions of dollars can buy you untold luxury, and a dollar goes pretty far, and ten dollars a day isn't that bad. Of course, it could all change; and everyone could start doing the treadmill run here too, where a million dollars are just that, and guarantee nothing. But my experience has been different.

The rain made way for bluer skies and calmer seas here today. Chances of an apocalyptic downpour lasting all of three minutes, every few hours will be greatly diminished from now on. For another three months. Before it all starts again. And this is how I'll be saying good bye in a few weeks, to a warm, generous and slightly off kilter place, that has room and open arms for everybody.

I'll go bawl some of that abundant moisture away now. Might ease the heaviness in my heart.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Never heard of this before today

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Mini-Him is just nine years old. Aside from adventurous acrobatics and needing to spend a little too much time on the computer/TV, he's basically a sweet natured child.

Which is why, when I browsed through google's formidable links on signs of head injury, (Mini-him bumped his head some time ago, he's been okay...just being extra cautious) and stumbled across the term, parental abuse, I was a little shocked.

I've heard of elder abuse, child abuse, spousal abuse etc. But there were actual cases of parental abuse by teens/preteens/adult kids. Abuse ran the gamut from hitting, throwing things, insults, intimidation and black mail.

Most of the parents truly believed that they were doing their best and were, without exception, shocked in the first instance, and never reported it, in the hope that such instances wouldn't repeat themselves. Which of course, they did, many times over.

pic credit - photostock; freedigitalphotos.net
I searched deep within myself, trying to imagine a response should such an unthinkable event occur with Mini-Him or "on the way Mini-Baby". And while it will never be my intention to unload my problems on the rest of society, I doubt Him and I can or should deal with it alone. My first thought was that I would call the police. And let them do what they will, until the child can acknowledge an issue and agree to some sane counseling. I would definitely need distance. I would need an abusive anyone FAR AWAY from me. No matter who.

And of course, my poor child's done nothing to deserve such suspicion. But I am sitting a little stunned and very disturbed that there is a generation without thought of self-control and limits. Without thought of responsibility or even a basic connection to their roots.

There appear to be crisis hotlines for parents. But nothing as definitive as child abuse hotlines. Nothing that will take the child and have him/her in detention for enough time to make a difference(girls were right up there, with the boys, getting physical with their parents and threatening them!).

But then again, we seem to need the most protection from ourselves. How can governments contribute to sane upbringing too? How many crisis hotlines and organizations are we going to have, when basic sanity and responsibility is lacking sorely?

Most parents who wrote in to the various websites seemed like hard working people who sought to give their children a better life. How does pulling a laptop away from a child warrant a punch from the child?

Why do I stumble across this stuff? I wish I didn't. Ignorance is just total bliss, most of the time. Now I have to watch out for "just one more thing".

My wonderful Mini-Him mustn't have some raging, uncontrollable monster inside. At least, nothing that'll split us all irrevocably.

Have you all heard of these things?! What do the parents do? Do they just take it and keep being parents until the light dawns on the kids? Do they refuse to acknowledge the children? Do they fight back?

Oh man! This is so awful!

pic link - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2125

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Excerpt from With you in my heart

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With you in my heart is up on Smashwords - here's another excerpt from it...
Taban is a friend from Varun's time in New York. He has a great influence on Varun's life. A little scene from their particular interaction -



Sitting back one evening, Varun studied Taban thoughtfully as he microwaved yet another Cup-a-Soup and enjoyed it like a gourmet dish. As he plopped down in front of the television, he smiled at Varun. It occurred to him that Taban must have faced tremendous odds to be able to leave his country and study pathology in the US. The little things around never bothered him. Running through Central Park in the dusk, Varun asked, “Did you face opposition when you decided to leave Uganda?”
Taban laughed and asked in turn, “Who would oppose me?” His tall frame running with ease, he said, “I had no one to re-assure!” He laughed again, bright, strong teeth in a serious face, “I would not accept my fate farming chickens and sweeping refuse for my boss. Most of us would have continued until we owned our own farms and moved out. The only thing I loved about the farm was the way they composted. Take everything people don’t want and make it into something essential. So it was waste that inspired me! It appeared that I was superfluous too. But I could still do something with myself. There I was, no one would ever know whether I lived or died, no one would care if I ate or not. It seemed tragic when I was young. As I grew older, it became apparent to me that it could only be a boon. I didn’t have to give in to my fate and no one was going to stand in my way. When I won that lottery that the US embassy had, I could only think that it was not chance. I had waited all my life, preparing for the time when I could be more than I was. More than just waste!”
“Are you happy now?” Varun asked.
“No, I’m still me.” Taban guffawed.
Varun frowned. He meant to have a serious discussion. Taban always ended each of their conversations with a joke.
Chuckling, Taban said, “See, I can’t lose time wondering if I am as happy as I want to be. I know when something doesn’t feel right and I need to get out of a bad place. How do I know I am in a good place now? It doesn’t feel wrong. But I’m thinking that I still have a ways to go.”

Hope you enjoyed it...and if you've read the book and have any manner of feedback for me, I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Our raw flawed laws...

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Just had a thought. A few thoughts related to expectations/judgements and guilt.

I do believe that it's important to be able to judge right from wrong. Like the father in Khaled Hosseini's Kites said, there is no greater sinner than one who takes what does not belong to him. I'd add to that list - taking over some one else's person/purpose and molding it to fit your own view of life can have disastrous consequences.

I think it's important to be able to judge for our safety.

It's important to be able to tell a creep/axe-murderer from a non-creep/lumberjack.

Beyond that, I have wonder why we all expect such a whole lot. Especially since, we're so short sighted (literally too, in my case) and ignorant about why we're each here on this planet.

How do we know, for instance, that someone who appears isolated/uninvolved isn't really trying to maintain and inner balance, and for functioning normally, there can't be anything more important to this person.

How do we know, an incessant chatterbox isn't merely being narcissistic, but has found an outlet for clogged  sentiment?

Or, that a workaholic is working her way toward finding the moment when she can finally stop and smell the roses? That to truly stop, she needs some sort of validation through work/a healthy bank account/some sort of cushion for tough times?

Or that the people who seem so terribly involved with a child are terrified of losing him/her and feel over involvement beats being lax?

Of course balance in all things is important. And friends and family do their part in identifying when someone goes overboard. That would be healthy.

Still, I've seen people dismiss others for reasons that seem mighty superficial (to me).

Perhaps the traits people exhibit are necessary for their survival, and for their particular life lessons/journey. We can't know exactly what they need; most of us are still trying to figure out why we're here and what we're required to achieve.

Yet, it's easy to dismiss actions and believe that we have the right of it.

Why extend our shortsightedness and expect others to see as little as we do?!

Flaws are pieces of the puzzle too, I think. It wouldn't do to have missing parts of our individual selves just because someone else can't stand it! That's not to say that we can't improve. I guess I'm just trying to say that perfection must be the final goal. Perfection for what each of our journeys entail.

pic credit - federico stevanin, freedigitalphotos.net
And as long as we contribute to maintaining civilization's framework, I can't think how it becomes anyone's business that we live a shade of burgundy as opposed to beige...

or that a cat chooses to execute a "Downward Dog" with perfection.

pic link - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=149

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

More bullying, another death

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http://news.yahoo.com/staten-island-teen-bullied-taking-her-life-161151417.html

Do visit the Yahoo! link above for the whole story.

Here's another link - http://www.silive.com/eastshore/index.ssf/2012/01/relatives_of_amanda_cummings_s.html

I wrote about bullying some time last year. It's another girl this time and by the looks of it, felt desperate enough to end her very worthy life. No joys of growing up, rites of passage, family unions or anything. The potential for all those moments faded before the fact that she could not deal with cruelty in the here and now. A boy-friend who formed her world and the insults from other girls that filled her world. A teenager's natural angst amplified by careless words and actions.

pic credit - Salvatore Vuono; freedigitalphotos.net
I read that Amanda Cummings' mother knew and wanted to help. But she was afraid of being picked on even more. Those bullies must feel awfully empowered. Now that they've pushed one over the edge, and the fun's gone (except for, I believe, constantly posting terrible messages to her FB profile), they're going to be looking for another one. Another slightly unsure, hopeful and trusting peer.

There's evidently no remorse. Or perhaps, they're covering up their guilt with a ton of bluster. And I'm pretty sure the adults in their miserable lives tell them that the poor girl who took her life was at fault. For not fighting back/being too weak...what have you.

What gives them such power over another human being? This child took a final step. And irreversible step. I cannot imagine what her family must feel. And ofcourse, in hindsight, any number of options would seem like appropriate solutions - going to the authorities in school/law enforcement/even getting Amanda out of there. Anything but this. They knew about it, but respected the child's boundaries.

It's always been there, the urge to put down weak/different people . The cruel extremes are new and more potent than ever. I could go on talking about societal ills that contribute to the mindset of these children. It can't be anything you haven't heard before.

But they're a bulk of the issue. The issue of leaving tender lives at the mercy of others' dark leanings.

There has to be a system in place...a way to change this. A way to make children focus on what matters without needing to conform within an inch of their lives. Look at the girl's picture, the guarded smile, and the wary eyes.

Why does she need to conform or else?!

What was it, within her, that craved for acceptance? That too, with such a miserable group of girls?

I wish there could be some legislation regarding this. Take away the chance for a future from the bullies.

While this child's actions were her own, and extreme, anyone that pushed her to this extent needs to be brought to book.

Let it go on their records. Just like any other offense. Only, make it severe. Let any institution that they attend be aware of their part in the end of a young life, and make their choices accordingly. Let every work place that they ever attend know about it.

The bullies and their stupidly supportive families need to feel it where it'll hurt. Where they will never forget it and never repeat their actions. It needs to be a part of their future. 


The child who took her life, lost her future too, after all. So did her family. Everyone's futures changed in that drastic moment.




pic link - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=659