Actually, I'm a lot more than a little behind. June went by in a flash, and I am several weeks behind in emails, and not caught up on shipping. If you are waiting for an email from me or a shipment. Hang tight. I'm dancing as fast as I can.
I aint no hero, that's for sure. I'm just a regular gal who is trying to make it through the day, day by day.
IF you want to learn a little more about me this is a reprint from something I wrote several years ago, for a public speaking class (of all things) that I was taking. Our assignment was to tell the class who we were, within a certain amount of time. So, here's what I wrote - and I still think it does a pretty good job of summing up my philosophy of my life:
Generally speaking, I am the kind of cookie who crumbles, not the
smart kind. Still, the smartest things I have ever done have been
admitting that I was powerless, and then sharing with others, all of
life’s joy and pain. Not holding it in as if it were mine alone.
Yeah, I am a cookie who crumbles, but life has graced me with the
knowledge that even the crumbs are sweet.
For years, when people would hear my stories, they would respond by
telling me, "Chelise, you are so strong." But I never believed this.
I always thought they were wrong. I can see now, what they were
talking about. It’s the fact that when life is a roller coaster, I
have a tendency to wrap my arms around the people and places and things
that I love, and hold on.
My mother once wrote a poem, and in one stanza she vowed to "bring
beauty up." I hope she knew, before she died, that she had
accomplished exactly that. Like all parents, fostering the miracle of
life - bringing beauty up, is exactly what my mother did, when she
raised my brother and me.
I think it was Albert Einstein who once said, I don’t know one
million of one percent of anything, and this is definitely true for
me. I am a veritable plethora of misunderstanding, every day that I
get up and walk out my door. But who can argue with the fact that as
long as you are still breathing, you still have the chance to learn
more? We are all like Michelangelo, who, after painting the Sistine
Chapel, said, “I am still learning.”
As I stumble around out here, there are a few things which make the
journey more beautiful. I may not know much, but these are the things
I do believe:
I believe in sunny days, and I believe the rain washes the world
clean. I believe in preserving forest and rivers, natural places,
spaces that are wide open and free. I believe in redemption and
healing. I think you can find them by eating applesauce, or reading
the Tao out loud. Or sometimes, simply by realizing that you have made
your mother proud.
I believe in the sacred wisdom of Buddha and Krishna and Kali. I
believe that Christ was a prophet in our time. But I also have some
problems with organized religion, I think there is reason why the terms
rampant insanity and Christianity rhyme.
I believe there is at least one angel sitting in every tree, and
that when you learn to see them, all of life opens up and becomes the
most lovely kind of poetry. So I believe in reading poems to your
children, and helping them with their writing. I think parents waste
their time when lecturing their kids about coloring inside the lines,
or minor indiscretions, like nail biting.
I think the Bible is full of wisdom, and I do believe that for
everything, there is a season. I believe we all suffer periods of
sadness, rage, and, grief that seems unbearable. But I think that if
you focus on why me, you are way too caught up in searching for an
I don’t think that grief needs a reason to be. And in truth, when
it comes to my own grief, the word unbearable, has never applied to
I think it is something wonderful, and a miracle in addition, this
gift we all get called the human condition. Who could ask for anything
I know that airplanes can be guided like bombs and fly into
buildings. But I know too, that heroes will follow. I think everyone
on this earth should be wary of blind patriotism, I find the military
concept of necessary losses, awfully hard to swallow.
I believe the Rolling Stones were right when they said you can’t
always get what you want. And I think they were on to something, when
they suggested that sometimes, you just have to let it bleed. But
unlike the former song, my experience has been you don’t even have to
try, you still get what you need.
So I believe in music, reggae, rock, hip hop and the soul soothing
that comes from listening to a slow country ballad. I believe that art
is everything we are, it can show you the way we are distinctly
separate, and also that we are one huge collective we.
I’ll tell you all this, these few things I know. But I’ll also say
I’m wary of the word believe, I worry about assumptions, I try not to
espouse rigid philosophy.
I know that the ones we love sometimes leave us. That even what
seems permanent, gets annoyed by assumed permanency, and responds by
going astray. But I also believe in reconciliation, and the fact that
we are all energy. I believe in quantum physics, because physics will
tell you that energy never really, goes away.
So mourning, like joy, and pain, and sometimes lovers too, will indeed come and go.
But just like the sunrise, all of it, is as it should be.
This afternoon, my incredible God Daughter Alyssa participated in Oakland's Open Studios. She's a photographer, and my GOD she is talented. She is just incredibly talented. She creates these extraordinarily sensuous photos, that somehow remain innocent, becaus she knows just where to place an errant puzzle piece or penny. I"m so proud of her.
Afterwards we had dinner at her mom's house, my best friend Jenna. Jenna is recovering from a lumpectomy and is getting ready to begin radiation treatments. It's invasive Breast Cancer but it doesn't look like any of those nasty cells got into her lymph nodes, so we are all holding our breath and breathing at the same time. Isn't it funny how life is like that?
I doodled away while I hung out at her house. Here's my silly little girls:
I think I was preoccupied with women and strength. What do you think? :D
I'm writing again. I have a memoir that I am working on, but the writing got jumbled up in the midst of my breakdowns, so I am moving a bit slower on that one, but still, I have it and I am having fun with it.
I don't how exactly this fiction piece cam to me - but, as can be the case with writing, a story kept developing in my head and it knocked around in there begging to be told. The first draft title is All of Me. Some of it I wrote at home, some at the hospital.
It's ready for readers. If you are interested, let me know. Here's a preview and a little graphic cover I made to go with it, for now. It seemed to fit - again, if you are interested in reading it or reading more as it is uploaded, let me know and I'll send you more info or put you on a mailing list to be alerted when a new chapter has been uploaded:
~ ~ ~
All of Me
Shauna Sover is a loner, but not by choice.She believes that everyone she has ever loved has left
her.Her sole comfort is a confusion
about whether she ever really loved any of them anyway.She holds closely to herself in a world that
calls out for recklessness, and when she gives in, she pays the ultimate price.
In All of Me, Shauna
learns that every price has its reward, and every reward has its price.Purgatory is the space-in-between, the place
where you can finally determine the true value of your choices and mishaps.
The space in-between is where Shauna finds herself, never
even having realized she was lost.Knowing small pieces of who are you are, is rare.Finding your way to the land of All of Me is the point of the journey.
What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul -Yiddish Proverb
I wrote in an earlier post (here) about the fact that I have restless leg syndrome. (Here.)
Then, (months later) I was web surfing and I started to see that there were several websites that suggested putting a bar of soap (!) in your bed, to combat the RLS.
This sounded totally crazy to me, but I mean really - what harm could it do? I have this really cute little sack, (don't you just love those graphics!) and so I grabbed a bar of soap, stuck it in the sack, and put it down by the foot of my bed.
All I can say, is that I have been doing this for a week now, and I haven't had a smidgeon of RLS!
Why? I don't know. Is it a placebo effect? Who knows. Who cares! It seems to be helping, AND my bed smells nice and soapy fresh. If you have RLS or know someone else who does - give it a try.
The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy. - John Rohn
My kids are in their last week of school. My step-daughter, who still blushes if she hears a swear word, will be going off to high school. How can this be?
My son will go on the 7th grade, which for him is the second year of middle school, but for me, was the first year of Junior High.
Junior High was my year of rescue. Up until that point, I was the poor girl, the dirty girl, the girl in dirty clothes with crooked hair cuts.
In 4th grade, our teacher told the class to sit in a circle and then announced that we were going to have a discussion about why everyone was so "cruel to Chelise."
I am pretty sure I had an out body experience the minute she made the announcement. My class mates couldn't wait to get in on the conversation. "She smells funny." "I think she might be sorta retarded." "She doesn't know how to brush her hair right." "Her clohes are wrinkled and dirty."
I was 8 years old. It went on and on. It was 5 years worth of excuses for why I was emotionally pummelled every day at school. I think the teacher tried to deflect or argue some of their points, but for every disparaging remark that was made, another came tumbling after.
I floated up there, waiting for the sounds of laughter and agreement to end. I can't remember it ending. I do remember the teasing was worse, the next day, and the day after that.
I think my teacher was trying to get the kids to stop being so cruel.
I think my teacher had absolutely no idea what she was doing
In fifth grade, the other girls in my class started calling me Shaggy Dog. All year long. My throat still closes up at the thought of it. "Shaggy Dog, will you pass the crayons?" "Shaggy Dog, what's in your lunch today - Alpo?"
I lived alone with a recluse of a mentally ill mother in an apartment that had no washing machine, and I was on my own. God, I did my best, but I was on my own.
The teasing started in kindergarten, and continued until Jr. High. What was different? at 11, I figured out how to carry my own clothes to the Laundrymat in town, and clean them. at 11, I learned how to iron. At 11 I flirted with adolescence, and suddenly - I was pretty.
Oh, to send my children off to these wonder stations of growth and education - it makes my heart so heavy. "Don't fall in the viper pits!" I want to warn them. Oh my.
When I was in kindergarten I was so afraid of the other children and my teacher, I was afraid to ask for a bathroom pass, and i wet my pants in class. Just a tiny bit. Just enough so that everyone, all day, told me I stunk like pee. And I knew it was true.
When we had our photos taken that year, the photographer became agitated with me because I wouldn't smile properly. I became frightened of him. I thought he was going to tell my parents that I had been bad, and that they would be angry. Maybe I'd get spanked.
So I smiled the biggest hardest smile I could. I smiled so that my cheeks hurt afterward. I smiled so that I wouldn't get hurt. But there was no joy there. There was no joy.
When our pictures came back, I stared at mine - trying to see anything other than what I saw and felt when I looked at that little girl.
That afternoon when I got home school, I asked my mom - "why am I so ugly?"
(This part makes me cry. I was 5 years old!)
My mother told me that sometimes you couldn't see beauty on the outside, but you could find it on the inside.
I had no idea what she was talking about, and I still didn't understand what I had done to become such an ugly little girl.
* * *
I think about these things as we end another shool year (My kids have it MUCH better than I did, thank goodness).
And yet - I am exhausted. It is as if I constructed that wall so many years ago to keep the sadness out, and it was made of steel and stone.
Some days, I climb endlessly, falling often, but still trying to get past it.
* * *
I look at that picture of myself now, and I don't see such an ugly little girl. I see a tiny piece of who I would become, me - a part of her, and she, a part of me.
Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead. - Lucille Ball
As evidenced in just about every picture I post, I truy can't draw a straight line. And yet, I've learned to love doodling. I keep all my colored pencils and a pencil sharpner and 110 different drawing pads in a big huge gift bag beside my bed.
My love affair with doodling began when I realized how many incredibly talented artists are self deprecating about their talent. I have a broad philosophy about creativity - I think we all have some floaing around inside, and instead of judging it, we should just - you know - let it flow.
The outcome is not important, it is the ability to free your conscious mind from judgement about the outcome, and to just go for it.
So several years ago, I began doodling these silly figures and drawings. You know, even though I can't draw. I like to lay in bed at night and doodle away the knots (physical and emotional) that I have accumulated throughout the day.
The outcome doesn't really matter. But letting my creative side take over for a bit helps the rest of me settle down.
So last night before bed, Red Headed Ruby came for a visit. Some people like warm milk. I prefer nicely sharpened colored pencils. What can I say?
Here is to hoping that you allow yourselves some creative freedom today.
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. - Buddha
I have always loved that quote by Buddha. The story goes that he was meditating under a tree when a group of people who had been seeking him, found him and begged him to answer their complex questions about theology. Buddha answered in that cryptic parable way that all great mystics seem to have in common.
And then, just as the group of people felt they had begun to understand a bit of what he was saying, Buddha looks up and says something along the lines of: "But don't believe a word I say. Go out, and find the answers for yourselves."
In any case, I digress...
My wonderful beautiful fabulous nephew Adin is turning three years old this weekend!
Tomorrow we will have a party and eat ice cream cake, and play silly three year old games.
My nephew is at a stage where, when he sees me come into the house, he runs full speed directly at me yelling "Auntie Sheees!" (SO CUTE) and in that moment all is right with the world.
At his mother's suggestion, we bought Adin books for his birthday. We picked out a space themed counting book and an airplace themed alphabet book, and then a cute little book about being a big brother (because my sister-in-law is due to pop out baby #2 in about six weeks!).
And here, I make the connection to Buddha. Our gifts to him are meant to help him continue to reach and grow, and learn. But more than anything - we hope they will inspire that spark of curiosity that jumps from the page. That spark that you follow out into the real world, beyond the printed words, that spark, which encourages you to go and find out for yourself.
Here is to hoping that you all have sparks to follow, and that where they lead, is good, safe, strong, and beautiful.