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FTIAT: For this I am thankful

Victoria (The Loneliness of Stay-at-Home Mother) is unabashed in sharing her earnest, loving thoughts both as a friend and as a blogger, no matter how far she has to reach to make sure they are received. She is simultaneously strong and gentle; in turn, quiet and vocal.

We don’t live close in person, but she is a neighbor of my heart. Whether I am ebullient or sad, I am always comforted to know she is out there brightening the world with her love.

Recommended post: There may indeed be a monster

For this I am thankful

Spoken word. Birdsong. Music. Laughter. Languages. Poetry and prose. Love.

These are things that move me; things I cannot live without; things I am certainly thankful for. But really, my thanks must be directed at something much more basic than even these simple things. Something elemental, so to speak: vibration; the pulse, the energy, the movement that brings all of these other things into being.

Vibrations help us rise

Yeah. Vibration. Can you feel it? It’s right there, inside of each of us, all around us. It’s a part of every sound we hear, every touch we feel and every movement we make. Every beat of your heart, every pulse of energy pushing blood through your body, every spark of electricity you feel when you see “that person” enter a room: those are a vibration. The sound of that smallest of birds flitting around the feeder, the hum of the power lines you bike past, the wind rustling the leaves of the poplars on the lake path: those are a vibration. It’s everywhere.

I remember as a teenager feeling huge raindrops thrumming down around me on the sand at my favourite beach, and then feeling the electricity burst out of massive lightning bolts, making the hair on my arms and the back of my neck stand upright. It was magnificent. Those were vibrations.

I can remember waking up one morning to the sensation that someone was lifting and shaking the foot of my bed – now this was the 80s and I was young and foolish – but on opening my eyes seeing that I was alone. When I went down to breakfast in the dining room (this was when I was at university and living in residence) there was a buzz of conversation .. “did you feel that?,” “wasn’t that weird?” Apparently we had had an earthquake and I hadn’t been imagining someone shaking the foot of my bed, it was just a different someone than anyone I would have been thinking of. My second earthquake experience was a waking one: I was in a small class at my second university; our professor was explaining some important passage in a book and those five of us sitting opposite him all stopped listening at the same time. There was a tremor, more of a buzzing, really, that moved through each of us; we all felt rising heat, blushed and released the breath(s) that we didn’t know we had been holding, following up with small nervous chuckles. Our professor and those sitting next to him on the other side of the small room hadn’t felt a thing. It was amazing. Those were vibrations.

I hear my son laughing, giggling and guffawing. The birds outside my window are arguing about whose yard has the best nest-building material or will yield the juiciest worms. The buzzer on my alarm goes off and blends in with the stop-and-go rhythm of the garbage truck making its rounds on my street. The wind picks up and I hear it whistling through the branches of that tree I still need to prune. I stretch myself out of bed and pull fresh air, fresh energy into my body. I am surrounded by vibration.

When I read or when I have conversations with myself (or others) in my head I sometimes like to speak aloud, and sometimes it only feels like I am. The sensation of the words passing from a pulsing spot in my brain through my vocal chords and tumbling over my lips makes me feel just that little bit more alive than I would were I only thinking quietly. On occasion those thoughts in my head are whirring around so fast that I can actually feel them: little electrical pulses that bounce around and around until they manage to organize themselves into tiny columns of marchers who move through my central nervous system looking for a way, any way, out; like the steam in a pressure cooker. If I can’t release that vibration, that nervous energy, I will blow; whether it will be implode or explode is never clear but if the channels are open then the flow is out my fingertips either on to keyboard or with pen to paper. That energy, that pulse, that vibration is what moves, in my humble opinion, every writer of prose or poetry, every composer, every artist, every creative genius.

The one thing that starts at my core; that is the very foundation allowing me to experience the hum and flow, the buzz and melody, the pulse and beat; that opens me up to the fluidity, the constant movement that feeds my soul and spirit: love. Love feeds all of these things, love grows all of these things and love brings all of these things to life. But what is love if not vibration? We vibrate with joy and with a soaring spirit. We vibrate and ache our way down into a pit of despair. We catch a glimpse of the future in the eyes of those we love and that vibration floats us right back up to level ground and shoots us to the stars. Love is the ultimate vibration. As Marky Mark said, “come on, come on, feel it, feel it, feel the vibration.”

Vibration. For this I am thankful.

last : The Power of Words to Reconnect a Life | Set it free : next

Categories: FTIAT, Guest blogger Tags: , ,

The cost-benefit analysis of higher education

Shortly after graduating law school, a dear friend from law school told me he’d encourage his future kids to go to trade school. At the time, I was shocked by the idea of not encouraging one’s offspring to obtain a higher education, which I then perceived as one key indicator of success.

Today I understand. As I set aside money for my own son’s future, I, too, hope he will use that money for trade school or investment in a business versus sinking it into an education apt to be far more costly than it is beneficial.

When I signed up for six figures of initial debt for law school, I did so understanding only abstractly the costs of that choice. Now, at the age of 33, I can look back on eight years post-graduation and see the very concrete, very unfriendly impacts of that choice. Paying the principal itself is hard enough these days, though I  make sure to pay extra in principal every month despite this.

But wait! There’s more! Every time I look at the interest I’ve paid so far, I want to reach back in time and shake some sense into my 22-year-old self. “I know you think it’s gonna be worth it and that it’ll be a breeze to pay it off, but don’t only think about what you’ll have–namely, a J.D. from a great institution. Think also about what you won’t be able to have as a result of  all this debt you’re about to take on! Think of the interest you’re going to have to pay!” I have already paid in education loan interest alone an amount that could easily have been a down payment on a house. Read more…

FTIAT: The Power of Words to Reconnect A Life

Penny (Life Reconnected) began her blog to help cope with a convergence of losses, but it’s grown into something much greater. In addition to  documenting her many–and I do mean many!–external adventures, she’s enchantingly forthright about her internal adventures piecing together “a sense of place, purpose, balance and love in this world.” Her blog enhances my own sense of connectedness to this world.

Recommended post: A Month in the Country of Blogging Land

The Power Of Words To Reconnect A Life

‘I’ve Been Blogging Since You Left Me’ was one of the original title possibilities for my blog. Along with ‘Dumped at Fifty‘, ‘On The Scrapheap’ and ‘Better Out Than In’. As I moved through trying to amuse myself to getting to the essence of what I needed to express ‘A Design For Life’ and ‘House, Job, Life’ finally became Life Reconnected. That was one year ago.

Then, I was sitting in a house that I hated. Strong words but it felt like I had a life that I hated then too, one that I couldn’t control, recognize or find any purpose to. I was disconnected. So I began my blog.

It became my lifeline, literally a line to connect my life to something, anything, that felt meaningful. It has all been said before about how writing is cathartic, a way to find meaning and how blogging is the modern way to put that writing out there but like most things until you actually do it you don’t feel all of the power. I had been diary writing for years in that cathartic way but the power of blogging has come to me in ways different to what I imagined.

In her book A Brief History of Diaries, Alexandra Johnson traces the history of writing for and about one’s self through centuries of writing and she notes that some of the most widely read diaries, many still bestsellers, are written by women. Centuries of literary prohibition and inhibition she says, had driven women to diary keeping:

“Safe yet secret. The finest diaries expose the raw nerve of creative ambition. For writers like Mansfield and Woolf, by being able to practise craft, a diary became a first draft of confidence……..At their core, Burney’s (Fanny) diaries involve the deep permission to begin and sustain creative work

I am just recently back from Amsterdam and I visited the home where Anne Frank wrote what was to become the most widely read diary in history. I had my moments there. That time when the feelings and emotion well up and you embody the connection. Just the day before a friend had told me the most moving part of her visit to the house was hearing Otto Frank, Anne’s father, saying how he had realized on reading her diary that as a parent we never really know our children. So true and my response had been, well, do we ever really know anyone?

I came away from the house with a poster of the chestnut tree that Anne had been able to see out of a window. The attic space had been the most significant part of the building for me; I could just imagine how being able to see the sky and have some connection with the bigger world was so important for her. To be able to see through a gap of any sort sustains hope.

Traveling back from Amsterdam I was sitting in Schipol airport lounge with a friend and I was commenting on the fact that my blog had had two views that day! We were having a conversation around me starting my business and how I had felt such a disconnect with where I lived and how I hadn’t really told anyone I knew about me blogging and having no ‘local’ readers. “But how would you know?” she asked. How indeed.

Sometimes we don’t appreciate how powerful our words can be and how far out the ripples can radiate. In her second day’s entry Anne wrote ‘Writing in a diary is really a strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I’ve never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old school girl.’

As I sit today in the front room of that same house I hated a year ago, I look out at the gorgeous view of two magnificent Birch trees framing a small slice of a longer view to the mountains surrounding Belfast. The newly sprung leaves are dancing magically in the wind. Looking more closely in my frame of view I embrace the newly painted walls, the bobbing blackbird reflected in the shiny mirror, my rapture at the patterns my magnificent light shade make on the ceiling above. I appreciate it all. My lovely house swept white, clean and modern. My life swept white, begun again, healed.

I have effectively swept clean my life. A new and lighter life with small details that bring appreciation, grace, shape and form to enjoy. Each day to admire, to take pleasure from as I begin to use my art, my journey and my expression of it here in my blog to form both a business and a basis for my new life.

I could just as easily called my blog ‘The Power Of Words to Reconnect A Life’. It has given me a deep permission to begin and sustain creative work. This little house, this little blog. This little life. Reconnected.

I give thanks to all who share and express some of what and who we are.

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