The Resolution that is Not a Resolution

images-1Sometimes, I am way too driven for my own good.  I bet that’s a case for a lot of people as well.  We’re all trying to plan, save, arrange, control, and set expectations for a safe and comfortable future.  And, here it is, December 31st, and many of us are thinking of how we can change ourselves and our lives in order to have the best new year possible.  Many of us make resolutions and say that this year we will stick to them.  Some of us achieve everything on that list, and others of us don’t, but we all find that somehow we are back on the hamster wheel of planning, saving, arranging, and controlling another future that will look and feel better than the one that has already passed (and didn’t look exactly like the one we had hoped for anyway).

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I have never made New Year’s resolutions.  And besides, every aspect of my days usually seem to be based around how productive I possibly can be and how I can achieve my goals and dreams.  When I turned 40 a few months ago, something inside of me clicked and told me that I should start shedding a skin of societal expectations I and others have set and start getting real with myself.  Still, this morning my mind started spinning and I became frustrated that I am not where I thought I would be at 40.  I found myself asking once again the same questions many of us ask:  “What do I want to be and do when I grow up?”  “What can I do to make my life more meaningful?”  “What is my purpose on this God-forsaken and God-damned earth?”  “Why are my dreams not coming true already?”

As my frustration, anxiety, fear, and anger started to build, so did my sense of play and sense of humor.  I heard another wiser, kinder, sillier part of myself just laugh and say, “Really?  You want to go for a spin on the crazy hamster wheel again?  Haven’t you gotten dizzy and sick from that damn thing by now?  Let’s play.  Let’s dance.  Let’s get dressed and fix your hair, brush your teeth, put on some perfume and turn on some music and dance and move.  Afterwards, if you still feel like reliving your past woes and spinning your wheels in the muddy tracks, then you can by all means waller in self-pity.  Let’s just give my solution a try.”

I wisely listened to that part of me and shook my money maker to the tunes of an African drum instrumental I found on YouTube.  Feeling more alive and joyful after 10 minutes of butt-wiggling (tribal and belly-dancing moves included), I sat down and began a quiet meditation with my journal by my side.  This is what flowed out of me:

The Resolution that is not a real Resolution (more as a way of being in this world):

I resolve to savor my morning cup of coffee and feel the warmth and enjoy the flavor of the full-bodied roasted goodness.

To snuggle up with my pets and feel their warm bodies, heavy on my lap, as I scratch their ears and tummies and feel their soft fur between my fingers.

To relish my nephew’s laugh and small voice that is filled with big dreams, ideas, and pure imagination.  Allowing that voice of his to strike a chord deep inside of me, awakening the inner child who is yearning to be seen and recognized once again.

To embrace my moments of anger that well up from my depths whenever I witness an injustice or experience a cruel word.  And to follow that thread of anger as it rises up to my solar plexus and gets mixed in to my open and beautiful heart that ignites tears and words of passion.  And to not stop those tears from flowing or those words from materializing when I have recognized their truth and validity, despite the fact they may make others feel uncomfortable or strike a chord within them that has been trapped or brewing inside for awhile.  I’m wise enough to know my own power now and how not to abuse it.  And if I do by chance abuse it, may I feel the sting and the pain of the bruise from any and all repercussions and consequences and learn and grow stronger from those experiences as well.

To look others in the eye and recognize them behind the masks:  the old man who is still a child at heart; the aging woman who is still radiant and sensual behind a few wrinkles and gray hairs; the insolent teenager who tries my patience and tests my boundaries simply to ensure he is safe and loved; the tired, angry, and bewildered parent who feels it is her duty to control and tame her child’s beautiful wildness and curiosity while at the same time she is longing to release her own beautiful wildness and curiosity as well.  To love and protect myself in their midst and remind myself that their emotions and issues are not mine to carry around, but to also stand next to them, open my heart, take off my mask, and give and receive love that is around and within us all.

To touch the earth.  To feel the soil slip between my fingers as I press them into the ground, securing my plants for a long winter, spring, or summer ahead.  To place my hands on the trunk of a tree and feel its healing powers fill up the aching spaces within my body.  To breathe in the fresh air and exhale it out.  To let the fresh air breathe my body as we dance in the flow together.  To allow my breath to be given away to a glorious sunset and my hips to sway and my shoulders and arms to lift with a passing breeze and fast rolling clouds.

To dance.  Anywhere.  Anytime.  Especially in the middle of my living room as the magical connection between my wi-fi and cellphone turn out beats of drums and percussive instruments while my body recognizes the ancient rhythms of ancestors long since gone but somehow mysteriously not forgotten.

These things and more I resolve to do in my  daily life.  As many times as I can remember to do them every day and every moment that I draw a breath on this God-given, God-blessed earth.

 

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How to Find Your True Love

FullSizeRenderLooking for love in all the wrong places?  Feel free to read this blog post for unsolicited and free advice on how to find your true love.

My 8 year old nephew, Ben, is a hopeless romantic, I think.  He struck up the following conversation with me on our drive to my house this weekend.  We were at a rest stop letting my dog, Lucy, use the restroom.  Ben saw a man with his two dogs (but didn’t see the other man with him).  When we got back in the car, Ben told me that I should have asked that man out.

Me:  He already has a boyfriend, Ben.

Ben:  What?!  Boys can love boys?

Me:  Yes.  Just like girls can love girls.  It doesn’t matter.

Ben:  No. True love is true love.

Me:  Yes, it is.  What brought this conversation on?

Ben:  Well, you know how you have said that you are open to love?

Me:  Yes, that is my  saying on my board at home.  You remember reading that at Thanksgiving?  I can’t believe you remember.  That’s so sweet.

Ben:  Well, yeah!  It’s important!  I want you to find your true love.

Me:  Awww.

Ben:  I also want that because I want an uncle and I want to know what that’s like.  And I want cousins.  I’m so bored being by myself.  So, we gotta get a move on it, woman!  Ha ha!

Me:  Oh geez Louise.  So, this is about you, huh?

Ben:  Well, yeah.  Kinda.  But, I’m your guide to true love.  You will be walking your dog one day and you’ll see your true love and you have to stop him and say, “Hi, I’m Megan.”  Do you think you can do that?

Me:  (chuckling) I think I can manage that.

Ben:  (serious)  Ok.  Good.  Because you’ll have to keep the conversation going and that’s a good way to start.

Me:  How do you know all of this stuff?

Ben:  (blushing)  Well, I got like 5 girlfriends.  Duh.

Me:  How’s that possible?!

Ben:  I just say, “Hi, my name’s Ben.  What’s yours?”  Then, I help them carry things and I wink at them.

Me:  (laughing)

Ben:  And you need someone now to help you carry things and wink at you.  It’s important.

Me:  Yes.  It is.  And, how will I recognize my true love?

Ben:  He will be Russian.  Well, he will look Russian or even Japanese and he’ll teach me how to speak Russian and Japanese.  He will have blonde hair and he will be really nice.  He is silly too.

Me:  How can he be Japanese and have blonde hair?

Ben:  Well, he will have brown or black hair, but he will be able to speak Russian or Japanese.  He may be American or European (pronounced Yer-a-pen).

Me:  (chuckling).  European, Ben. Like Yer-a-pee-in.  And will he be kind?

Ben:  Definitely.

Me:  Tall?

Ben:  Really tall!

Me:  Handsome?

Ben:  Oh yeah!  He’ll be good-looking, too.  And he’ll teach me how to hunt with a 450 pound bow.  He’s a hunter and he’ll let me shoot with a rifle or a b.b. gun.  And he’ll teach me how to box.  Because it’s important that a guy knows how to box.  But, not in a UFC or a mega-Chinese wrestler way.

Me:  Sounds like you’re in love with this guy.  Are you sure I will be, too?

Ben:  Well, duh!  Yeah!  He’s your true love!

Me:  What’s his name?

Ben:  Ryan.  Or maybe Corbin.  Or maybe Matt.  Or Jack.  Hank is a good name, too.

Me:  All good names.

Ben:  And, Meeda, you’ll meet him very soon.  Trust me.  If not this year, then next year.  (laughter)  Get it?  Next year is pretty soon.  So, don’t worry.  That won’t be too long at all.

Me:  (laughing and a bit nervous.  What if his prediction comes true?  Will I owe the meeting of my true love to my nephew?)

Ben:  Oh, and Meeda!  He will have 2 cats, and a dog!

Me:  Any kids?

Ben:  Yes.

Me:  He will have kids, or we will have kids?

Ben:  Both.

Me:  What if we adopted kids?

Ben:  That would be better so your stomach wouldn’t hurt every single day and night.  Then, I’d have cousins right away.  But, you would have to buy them first.

Me:  You don’t buy kids.  You adopt them from orphanages or foster homes.  You welcome those kids into your family because they don’t have a family.

Ben:  (shakes head affirmatively)

Me:  What is true love to you?

Ben:  It is, um, love and. . .and. . .(embarrassed laughter)

Me:  Kissing and stuff?

Ben:  (blushing)  Sure.  Whatever.

Me:  Isn’t it more than just that, though?

Ben:  Yeah.  It’s when you meet your true love, help him, and wink at him.  And you’re friends.  You’re in a relationship and you’re best friends.  You play together.  You have fun together.  Friendship is all kinds of stuff.  It’s a good thing.

Me:  Well, I feel like it is time for me to get a true love if it is as great as you make it out to be.

Ben:  It really is.  And, I’m your guide to true love, remember.IMG_0271

 

 

A High School English Teacher’s Dilemma

Today is the beginning of semester exams.  Today is also the ending of rational thought and behavior.

Forget everything that teachers have taught their students.  Forget the appreciation of literature, the analysis of symbolism, the construction of a well-written essay.  All of that has been tossed out the window in a panic to make room for the perfect grade – a meager percentage which will keep a student at her perfect “A” or keep another from failing the class.

Students wander, push, shove, fall, slink, and slam into the classroom.  They yell obscenities at one another in the hallway and get tangled up in each other’s earbuds while trying to kiss, hug, and say goodbye to the love of their young life.  Ninety minutes of isolation from one another seem unbearable and cruel, although each one promises to text the other to ensure the relationship is still going strong.

2bornot2bThe bell rings.  The teacher steps up to the front of the classroom, wondering if it is truly nobler to “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” and to endure a series of irrelevant, off-topic, base questions; or if it is easier to just tell them to all be quiet and then handout a trivial exam that will only adjust their overall grade by a small percentage.  A “Hail, Mary” pass for only a small few who are on the brink of going up or down a letter grade.

After the exam has started, one student opens up a bag of chips and starts crunching and munching.  The teacher gives him the stank eye.  Another girl shakes a bag of hot flame Cheetohs in her mouth and then smears the orange flakes of dust across the exam.  The teacher gives her the stank eye and then casually walks over and takes the Cheetohs and bag of chips from these students and throws them in the trash all while giving them the stank eye.  One young girl doesn’t understand why it’s not Ok to make a tuna fish sandwich in class during the exam, while another boy has just gotten kicked out of class for bringing in White Castle in which the grease that has leaked out of the bag is now smeared on a desk.

In the middle of the exam, another student from another class walks in and asks if the teacher will edit his final essay.  She gives him the stank eye but sits him down and marks up his paper for revision so he’ll get a passing grade.  And after the final bell rings,  all the students leave class pushing, shoving, falling, slinking, and slamming into one another in the hallways and getting their earbuds interlaced with the arms of their long lost boyfriends and girlfriends.  Just when the teacher thinks it is safe, another student walks in and demands she grade his late work so he doesn’t fail her class.  The late work is from late September and early November.  Today is December 17th.  The teacher gives him the stank eye and tells him to leave her class and go see his counselor.  He will need to give up one of his “easy” classes next semester so as to retake the English class.  One he could have passed had he turned in his work the day it was due.7019ff94ebe1a7d22703d1e3008140e9

As the teacher stands in the middle of this  hurricane of hairy, hormonally-challenged humans, she mutters a mantra that she has been reciting since the beginning of the week:  “Please don’t let me murder my students.  Please don’t let me murder my students.  Please don’t let me murder my students.  And if I do, please spare the one who just left a box of milk chocolate truffles on my desk.  Unless it is a bribe to get me to change his grade.  Then, may the blow of my red ink pen be swift and fierce.”

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