oil on canvas 28″X20″
Posts by deidrenoreen
the kingdom of God is within
I have all that I need within myself. Each of us does. It is simply a matter of belief. Of knowing. There were times in my life when I was more confident in myself and my abilities. There were times when I was braver, more honest, and less worried about what others thought of me. In the last several or more years, I have looked to every else to tell me I was a good person, hard working, kind, and fair. I out did myself volunteering and giving beyond my means, sacrificing myself so that others might tell me I was good enough. It took only a few people to tell me I was “less than’…it seemed it would take a thousand more to tell me it wasn’t so. The truth is that the voice I needed to listen to was my own. If I can’t hear it, I need to take quiet myself down and listen better.
oil on canvas 12″x12″
Ten years or more ago, in another marriage, in a time that seems to belong to someone else’s life, I had an other worldly experience. The grandfather of my then husband had passed away. Russell was in his 90s and had lived a long and full life. His wife Charlotte, also in her 90s, survived him. I had known Charlotte only a few years. She lived in Hawaii and we lived in Oregon. I saw her at holidays or weddings, maybe once a year, once every two years, never for very long…a dinner, a short visit. I did write her though, several times a year. And at Christmases I would send a simple gift, a book of poetry or homemade jam. On one occasion I gave her massage. I was a massage therapist at the time. Charlotte was a tiny woman, she practiced yoga long before it became mainstream and ate ridiculously healthy.
We were in Oregon when Russell passed. We got a phone call with the news and plans were made for a service; we would be going. A night or two after Russell’s death, Charlotte came to me in a dream. She was very upset. She wasn’t ready to die yet she told me, but she felt like others expected her to die too. She felt her family thought it would just be easier if she died as well, that the estate could be taken care of and everything just settled. Charlotte did not want to die she told me. I cannot recall how or if I answered her in my dreams. What I do remember is that she came to me because I would listen, I would hear her.
Charlotte died 4 days after my dream, six days after her husband. We flew to Hawaii to attend their service. Charlotte and Russell had had live in help for many years, and their caregiver was naturally there. I spoke with her and told her about the dream I had. She told me that Charlotte had expressed the same thoughts to her that she had in my dream. I am not sure why Charlotte came to me. Sometimes I believe that she came to everyone, but I was the only one who heard her that night. I remember asking my ex husband if he had dreamt about her at all, but he had not.
Perhaps when I die, I can ask Charlotte myself.
Many many years have passed. I am another woman, living another life. And again, in death, I have experienced something I cannot explain.
Almost 2 years ago, my husband’s grandfather died. His passing was sudden and unexpected. Chris and I couldn’t find plane tickets we could afford so we rented a car and made a long trip down the Los Angeles area. It was an awful trip. A long miserable drive, coupled with my husband’s distress and sadness. Chris had a very difficult childhood. The death of his grandfather seemed to awaken all the memories. Chris’s grandmother who had survived her husband, was not well either. His family (Aunts) were and are estranged from Chris’s mother. Chris has a distant relationship with his relatives; distance not of his choosing. Distance created by his mother and the choices she made when Chris was just a child. Distance created by Chris’s grandmother and the choices she made as well . Choices that effected Chris’s life, then and even now. It was a difficult trip.
During the drive and the time we were down there, I knitted a sweater. Or rather, I began knitting a sweater. In the car, in the hotel, whenever I needed a bit of an escape from the discomfort and sadness.
When we returned home and to our lives I never finished that sweater. For the last 2 years I have tried many times to start it back up, but every time I picked it up, I was reminded of the trip and the stories of Chris’s childhood. It’s like every stitch of that sweater held a sad memory. In two years I hadn’t added one stitch, truly. Until yesterday.
Yesterday I picked up the sweater and began knitting. It was a bit of a chore at first. I had to count stitches and figure out where I’d left off, and I had to refind the pattern which I had gotten off the internet. So many things which in the past would have had me shut it all down, didn’t seem to bother me. I figured it out and kept knitting. The feelings of that trip were gone, time had passed and it was okay to move on.
Chris came home tonight and told me that he got a call form his Aunt’s husband, his Grandmother had died…yesterday.
a more beautiful day could not have presented itself
Two parts of genuine acceptance..clearly seeing and holding our experience with compassion..
More wisdom from Tara Brach. Below is a view from our little deck on the beach. It’s been a beautiful day at the beach.
When we get lost in our stories,we lose touch with our actual experience
Currently I’m reading Radical Acceptance Embracing your life with the heart of a Buddha. I’ve read books like this before,many of them in fact, but right now my heart is open and I’m resonating with Brach’s writing in a way I haven’t in the books I’ve read before. Perhaps I’ve been preparing myself for this book all along.
I’ve been exhausted and sick lately. For too long really. In seems that even when I’m painting, which I love so much, I feel rushed and inadequate. Where’s the joy? Why is life so hard right now? The truth is there is joy and life isn’t as hard as I make it out to be. I’ve fallen into a funk, a groove that keeps me from being mindful and full of gratitude.
Last night I talked with daughter as she drove to a friends house (she was on speaker phone). It’s a long drive as my girl lives in the middle of a prairie in Colorado, making it far from everywhere. She told me me work stories and recipes, talked to me about her dog, and how school was and how stressful it all seemed right now. SHe has it under control though. She’s got friends and a mantra that says “it’s only going to be like this for 3 1/2 more months.” I told her about my painting and how much I loved the socks she gave me for Christmas. ( I LOVE those socks!! Smart Wools, super warm, super cute, super comfortable)
So much joy to be found in that in talk. So much to be grateful for.
Today my husband and I are going to the coast for the weekend. It’s the first time (except for our week in New England) since March we’ve had a weekend off together. My work schedule doesn’t seem like it will ever change ( I work Friday-Tuesday, so that means I work every weekend ), so instead of waiting for it to change and feeling resentful about it not changing, I’ve decided to be proactive. I took PTO, I made it happen. And despite the fact that I really love my job, I’m looking for others.
Sometimes I get caught up in what’s not going well in my well that I forget to remember that I have the power of choice and can make changes.
Three gratitudes today
1. a good nap
2. a healthy dinner
3. having art money to buy books
I had to take Max today to a doctor’s appointment. I had Fly Boys with me. I read slowly. Sometimes I rush as I read, but I was determined to read with deliberate attention. I am not sure why I feel an urgency when I get a book. It’s exciting to start a new book, but I need to slow down, savor what I read. Today I did. It was lovely. Paying attention makes all the difference.
A walk taken with mindfulness is so different from a walk that is rushed. Doing yoga focusing on my body and breathe rather than the time changes every thing. Today I was mindful of mindfulness.
oil on canvas 11″x14″
a commissioned piece..I live this cat!