Radical Gratitude

stained-glass-hearts-whimsy

What if we gave everything we received,

More notice than a checkout clerk gives

To your weekly grocery order that happens

To click, beep, clack, whir, and push its way

Birthing into the cocoon of recycled Christmas trees

Or reduced trees that once held dominion over Oregon.

What if we examined every aspect of our day

Giving more attention to the opportunities

Written on billboards, bumper stickers, back alleys,

Cardboard box fragments held by sunburned bits

Of human scattered at the exit ramps like accident debris.

But, there are no accidents. Life doesn’t live itself.

It must be championed, battled, chewed up,

Swallowed whole-heartedly with passion to fire it up

To the blazing hot necessity of burning away

The unnecessary baggage that we all carry.

Let us practice enthusiastic radical gratitude

For laughter

For joy

For peace

For balance

For opportunity to try again tomorrow

Radical gratitude for being able to witness this moment

This creation that we’ve all been gifted

That we all share with beating hearts filled with awe

Peppered with wonder, wondering why we’re here.

I can’t but I can

I can’t tell you where to find your peace of mind

or to hear the voice of the Universe coursing with power

or to notice the song of the world’s orchestra as it plays

or even to taste the brisk of sharpened words.

I can’t show you the color of your balanced spirit

or tell you the tale of your sacred birth

or cherish the moment of truth you witnessed

or embrace the love you so rightfully deserve

I can’t marry you to your passion for life

or point you in the direction most profound

or take away anything you’ve learned

or dictate your growth rate in any form

Loving you Always

Loving you Always

What I can do is:

hug you

reassure you

encourage you

believe in you

support you

hear you

see you

love you

“Miss Marge’s Cat”

When I took Miss Marge Swenson on our date, we had a conversation. I tried to pawn my last kitten off on her. She said, “At this stage in my life it wouldn’t be fair to bring a cat into my home. I sure do miss having a cat.” She’s 93 and that was a valid, although sad, argument, it was sound of logic.

We talked a bit more and I found out her favorite color is purple. It used to be blue, but for some reason, she explained, it’d changed to purple. I immediately decided to paint her a cat.

When she saw the painting for the first time, she immediately named the purple cat, “Mr. B.” because that was the name of her friend. It absolutely delighted me to see her aglow with joy. I don’t think it gets any better.

In the small painting in the background, I filled that with four other paintings before I stopped myself and asked how I feel when I see Miss Marge. I see her as a breath of fresh air as if I were standing on a mountain on a clear sunny day in the early spring with maybe a suspicion of rain hanging in the air but not enough to feel any kind of muggy. As soon as I thought that, I saw it and painted it.

I liked the squishy flowers because I wanted them to represent the four Sunday’s in a month (sometimes five) when I get to see my Always Beautiful friend, Marge Swenson.

This took me to this, the 5th try, before I got it right in my head.

This took me to this, the 5th try, before I got it right in my head.

The contrasts were some of my favorites. Don't hate on my leaves.

The contrasts were some of my favorites. Don’t hate on my leaves.

I love warms and cools together. It feels rich and lively to me.

I love warms and cools together. It feels rich and lively to me.

Miss Marge will always have comfortable slippers to wear on this stage in life.

Miss Marge will always have comfortable slippers to wear on this stage in life.

Miss Marge's Cat Mare Martell Acrylic on Board 16X20

Miss Marge’s Cat
Mare Martell
Acrylic on Board
16X20

Always Beautiful

I fall madly in love every day with people I meet, talk to, hang out with, shop with, or see on the streets. Sometimes I keep them (like my dearest of friends), while others I write off to good feelings, but I always fall madly in love. It’s the best part of being alive for me.

I think it’s crucial. If you see someone do something kind, overhear a pleasant conversation, see someone being completely them…fall in love without regrets. You don’t have to act, just fall because when you do…the world is a prettier place. It’s a better place. Happiness and hope flow like liquid silver throughout the day as if nearly transcendent. Who can feel poorly when love is all around flying through the air with graceful messages on every face?

In my pocket full of happiness, I keep little cards that are about 2X2”. On them there are little hearts in the corners with some pretty art down three sides. In the middle, the card has the words, “Always Beautiful.”

A short stack of beauty

A short stack of beauty

That way when I see beautiful things and beautiful people I can let them know that I witnessed them in this world. I SAW them be beautiful. I do it because we all need to be reminded of the beauty of our lives that we take for granted too easily. Life is too precious not to acknowledge beauty when we see it.

My little cards give people something to hold onto that is a tangible reminder that their beauty shined brightly enough for a stranger (or me, rather) to notice. I give them away for radiant smiles, a sweet gesture, a considerate action, a note of dedication acknowledging their hard work, a perfect laugh, or elegance in crafting a movement of body enough to bring me awe or wellies.

But, love. I’m a sucker for love.

I see a kiss between lovers that is one that reaffirms that they are together. Just a simple brush of lips with the inevitable smile of tenderness and affection. That will coax a card from my pocket so fast it practically catches fire. I am particularly fond of couples who aren’t considered mainstream (YET!) because it demonstrates to me that the power of love is worth every sacrifice.

Copy, print, send them out into the world with love, beauty, and happiness in your heart!

Copy, print, send them out into the world with love, beauty, and happiness in your heart!

I encourage you to make your own. I use cardstock to make them last a bit longer. It’s a small way to make the world a happier place in which to walk. It’s a great way to say, “Hey, you’re beautiful and I want you to remember that for as long as possible, because today, I noticed.”

I stop with me

I have discovered a magic within

one that depends not on blood, kith, or kin

It is the luminous moon

the heated sun

the gathering of teary puddles

the shattered undone.

The siren’s wail of my mortality

blooming forth into all possibilities

For some a child is a promise of eternal life

a quenching relief from the death born strife

But I have found magic within my hands

which I’ve been commanded to touch on the lands

to forgo my fears of tomorrow’s gleaning

to step loudly into the room of vanity preening

that I, with the breath of truth on my lips,

must shatter the walls with the twitch of my hips

While singing hymns of thanksgiving, love, and peace

While weeping with gratitude, I crawl on my knees

The oceans of tears that matters to healing

have accepted my joy of life now appealing

For I have discovered my magic within

Ne’er shall I die, for the darkness can’t win.

Home At Last

Bunny Ears and laid back mornings

Bunny Ears and laid back mornings

I have arrived at your door.

I’ve unpacked my suitcases.

I’m ready for Your/Our more

My bridges burned cold blazes.

You allowed me haven inside

Fortified soul food, tenderness wed

You gifted my envisioned sight

A place to rest my weary head.

From darkness crept my prism

With rainbow fiery lights

No more the battled schisms

My spirit freed to endearingly alight

The Month of May I Please

I believe in good things. I believe in great people. I believe that talking to the ceiling and looking to the sky will get anyone through anything (I’m living proof) if they want to see the change happen. (Barring major health issues because I’m not sure how it works with that thank goodness). But I’ve been given something I’ve dreamed about my entire life; Happiness.

During the month of April I participated in a NaPoWriMo via Magaly Guerrero. It was a challenge to complete but I did it and, if I do say so myself, kicked out some pretty decent poems too. Then May rolled around to my front door while I was beset with grief over the loss of my best friend, Gary Buckets.

Gary Buckets

Gary Buckets

Gary Buckets is asleep in the picture, not dead. I wouldn’t do that to you.

Anywho, the month of May rolls in with teary eyes, a feeling of resounding loss that even as I write this hasn’t quite escaped my heart. But, I’ve been artistically on a roll. I’ve just published my first book, broke it up into two other editions (three of them for sale), had art displayed, have art in an auction I take Knoxville Pride in, and have a solo show coming up on June 20th.

The deepest feelings I’ve expressed artistically are something I treasure about myself. I wonder how I got so lucky. I mean, I’m rarely with money in my pocket, but yet I rarely want for anything I need. I have limited mobility, but I’m always where I seem to be needed most. I’m a hard worker, but I’ve had more fun painting, drawing, and experiencing life in full color, full emotion, full on/head on in the month of May, then I’ve a recollection of doing. It’s been an extraordinary bout of love, grief, joy, peace, spirituality, conviviality, writing, poems, and art.

The only thing I did differently in this month was saying Yes to what fills my heart with the most joy. If that means serving, then I’m doing it. If it means transporting, okay. If that means sitting with a friend whose heart hurts, then so be it. I’ve listened to my intuition every day with such great success that I will continue to do so. It works. What’s weirder still, to me anyway, is that not only am I happier, but other people around me seem to find happiness easier too. They seem to take my challenge of “Why not?” seriously and have tried some pretty extraordinary things which, good or bad, have all taught grand lessons of fantastic proportions.

I encourage you, my friends to do the same for thirty days. Follow the bliss that is your heart. The negative voices be damned. You are worth every bit of this joy. I keep saying this, even in a recent post, but it’s true. It really is. The world needs YOU! The YOU that you’re meant to be, not the one you’re told by outside people you SHOULD be. Give it a spin. 30 days. If you can’t commit to that, I’ll show you a quick way to learn to fall madly in love with yourself in three days if you’ll trust me.

May I? Yes, please!