Posts Tagged ‘Mother’s Plunge’

Hanging up my stocking

December 7th, 2009    -    4 Comments

It was the first time we’d ever ended up at a restaurant solely on the basis of a Google search, and we were the only diners on a Saturday night.

Nirvana, the sign outside said.

Customers! the woman in the sari called to her staff as we stepped inside. This was no wannabe in a sari. This woman really belonged in a sari, the lonely hostess in a narrow room of empty tables and chairs. Our hearts were instantly broken, and we bored deep into the menu of unpronounceable names and inscrutable descriptions.

We ordered lavishly from the bespectacled man who came around. Her husband? Her father? And wine too, like a desperate blessing, a piddling unguent, to call forth the missing multitude. Before our food came another lost party wandered in. I’d seen them pacing back and forth in front of the window. This is our first time, they tossed the words anxiously into the void like a flimsy raft before jumping in.

Our food arrived on rimmed tin platters, mounds of rice orbited by silvery planets of fragrant sauces, like nothing I’d seen before, out of this world, a savory palette to paint the palate and we were overcome with awe and relief. I dipped a spoon into my bhindi masala and took one taste, then flashed a thumb’s up to the other table. Fantastic, I mouthed exaggeratedly, and they grabbed the rope and ordered it too. And we were then, all five customers and five servers, so effervescently happy to be together, to have spanned the bottomless gap, to be inside the door everyone else had overlooked or hurried past: the door to Nirvana.

***
This isn’t really the post I’d intended to write but reading it now I see how it must be. These are times that stretch all of our pockets: our hearts, our minds, our hands, our wallets. We have learned that there is no big bailout to save us, only small rescues and tin-rimmed kindnesses. And so I’m hanging a modest stocking here.

These are tough times to give, and tougher yet to ask. As before, I know of women who are waiting for help before they can give themselves a hand. Waiting for the impossible before they can see what is possible. I have a list of mothers who could use an assist to make it to the Mother’s Plunge retreat in Phoenix (heavenly Scottsdale, actually) in January. Perhaps you are one who can give help, or allow yourself to receive it. If you can fund either part or all of a $75 scholarship to the Mother’s Plunge, please contact me privately at kmiller(at)turningwords(dot)com. Likewise, if you need a rope to pull you across the threshold, a little extra help to make it happen, contact me as well. There is a small yet radiantly happy community of us who can attest that miracles happen when and where you least expect it. Everyone who wants to come is shown the way.

I don’t know how that happens, but I thank you, and I bless you.

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Nothing you’ve seen until now

November 22nd, 2009    -    4 Comments

I’ve been captivated by this view of the unseen marvel in a prickly pear bloom.
It’s a sign of thigmotaxis.
And that’s a sign that it’s time to get a move on and register for the Mother’s Winter Plunge in Scottsdale, Arizona on Sat. Jan. 16.

A stickler for the holidays

November 17th, 2009    -    1 Comment


I was cruising through the living room with a basket of laundry the other day and caught sight of the television (hint: it’s not hard to catch sight of my husband’s new 47-inch Panasonic high-definition attention span) where I learned that we are already in the midst of a holiday shopping season described as frantic, manic, rough, tough and tricky.

This was completely news to me. Frankly, news like this is always news to me. After Jan. 1, everything that comes stampeding at me for the rest of the year – all the Hallmark occasions, the manufactured shopping seasons, the media histrionics and pandemics – is news to me. I’m living on the tail end: the perennial last to know. It’s quiet here, and we’re not in the midst of any mayhem.

The truth is, I kind of like it that way. I like not getting worked up ahead of time. I get plenty worked up right on time. And it occurred to me, being so concerned with the well-being of others, that I could share the bliss by offering a one-touch way to get someone else’s holiday shopping done before they even begin!

Just point them in the direction of this gift certificate to the Mother’s Winter Plunge on Jan. 16 in Scottsdale. This year, care enough to send the very best to that special someone who is frantically shopping for you. Tell them to save the hassle, the traffic, the wrapping paper, the hiding place and the surprise for someone else. Tell them to send you to Scottsdale.

And after the shopping is done, have some tea. I might have to ask for some myself.

Mother’s Winter Plunge Holiday Gift Certificate

Thick with the sisters

October 23rd, 2009    -    5 Comments

I am a keystroke away from booking another merciful spot for a Mother’s Plunge, this one in San Francisco on May 22. I’m so thick with the sisters (nuns) these days. It’s as though these forgotten spiritual hideaways wait for the taking by the desperate rest of us. Promise me if you’re on the shady northern side of our glittering state, you’ll join me there. Mark the date now.

One thing that astounds me about these gatherings is the reach of our sisterhood. I’m awed by the mysterious origin of the audience that comes. Oh, some of my bloggy girlfriends appear. But more, far more people come from who knows where. This world of ours goes so far beyond these flimsy filaments of social media. So far beyond the bitsy bandwidth we blast away at. Do not fool yourself: real is much more virtual than virtual pretends to be. In the real world, you can really see one another: hug, hold and heal. There are no usernames or password protections. No codes or learning curves.

A part of me is pouncing forward with this momentum. And yet the movement is backward. To the simple, innocent, magical power of women (men, too!) meeting face-to-face, and opening our eyes and hearts to the ancient truth that no technological blink can hold a candle to.

All that, plus today’s winner of the Shambhala Sun subscription is Jena Strong. This time the early bird caught the sun, the worm, the dew, and the fading glow of moonlight. Thank you to everyone who had the good sense to try.

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The mother you never knew you had

October 18th, 2009    -    3 Comments

Bring me that mother.
The one who fills up a pot
turns the flame up to hot
dials the phone for a long talk
and lets it boil over again.
It’s okay.

Bring me the one who wakes from a snore
plants his feet on the floor
grabs mismatched socks from a drawer
darts out the front door
running fast, late and stressed out again.
It’s okay.

Bring me the one who lives by herself
a chipped cup on a shelf
unaware of her wealth
power reach magic health
until she smiles at a stranger again.
It’s okay.

Bring me the one who sniffs change on the breeze
covers a sneeze
lets the air freeze
and knows the bloom will unfurl once again.
It’s okay. It’s always okay.

Bring me that mother who isn’t a mother.
Not the kind you think she would be.
Man, woman, mother or not.
It’s okay.
There’s no other mother to be.

Bring me that one.

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The bigger the hat the smaller the horse

October 16th, 2009    -    22 Comments


And other recollected wisdom from the day heaven kissed earth. These two thousand words are from the hand and heart of Tracey.

And just because, leave your name in a comment, plus a way to reach you by email, and I’ll draw for a gift subscription to my literary patron, the Shambhala Sun magazine. Winner drawn next Friday, Oct. 23, rain or shine.

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Desert oasis

October 8th, 2009    -    5 Comments

After the thrill chill of Minnesota, awaiting a winter bloom at the Mother’s Winter Plunge, Sat., January 16, Franciscan Renewal Center, Scottsdale, Arizona. More details and registration coming next week.

It’s your mother calling

October 6th, 2009    -    9 Comments

All wisdom is a matter of call and response.

The sun comes up, your eyelids flutter.

The bell rings, you answer.
Work appears, you do it.
Mail arrives, you open.
Sadness fills, you cry.
A stranger nears, you smile.
A crack opens, you fall.
Hunger rises, you eat.
Quiet descends, you quiet.

All struggle is resistance to response.

That’s why I will always respond.
Announcing June 12 in Seattle.

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How to get wet

October 1st, 2009    -    11 Comments

Today I stuffed the envelopes and mailed the welcome letter for those attending next week’s Minnesota Plunge at Assisi Heights. It took half the day but it filled me with quiet wonder and glee. The Plunge will be marvelous, I’m certain now. It has shaped itself into a circle, as life always does, replicating my visit to the original Assisi 15 years ago.

Truly, every place is holy, and every place is home.

I’m ready to plan more Plunges in the places you live. But here’s the thing: there’s only one of me. If you are one of those who has asked me to come to your town, now I’m asking you to help me. I need the eyes in your head and your feet on the ground to locate the right venue for our group. I’ve written some short, snappy guidelines on how to spy the right spot. If you’d like to put things in motion for me, just shoot me an email at kmiller(at)turningwords(dot)com or leave me a comment with a way to connect. I’ll send you my one page instructions on “How to Get Wet: Having a Mother’s Plunge Where You Live.”

Cities on my to-do list are Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, Washington DC and anywhere in New York, New Jersey and New England. If you can help with any of those, or one of your own, I would love to hear from you.

Let’s make it rain.

It takes a mother

September 11th, 2009    -    2 Comments


Last night at the back-to-school picnic, a few of us moms looked around for a garbage can.

We were on the front lawn of the neighborhood school where all our kids and a good number of dads sprawled having summer’s last sandwiches and drinks. There wasn’t a trash can to be found.

“We don’t need a trash can because we have moms,” I said, and it was true, each of us with hands full of apple cores and bread crusts, totes of green waste and recyclables, water bottles sweating rivulets inside our stained handbags.

It takes a mother to spread a meal and make it disappear.
It takes a mother to clean up after.
It takes a mother to adapt, undo, invent and start over.
It takes a mother to heal a mother, a sister, a brother and a father, a nation, the world.
A mother to be a mother again.
I’ve given up thinking that the good old boys, with their bully monsters and toys, will get a damn thing done.
It takes a mother to make it better.
A mother first and a mother last in line.
I wish it wasn’t so, and it’s not always.
If you’re a father and you do all this, that’s how good a mother you are.
And I bet you have a sack of trash to prove it.

***
If you, your friend, your mother, husband, sister or brother are thinking about joining me at the Rochester Mother’s Plunge, now is the time to commit. If you have the means but not the time, consider funding a full or partial scholarship. I have mothers waiting for a fairy godmother to appear. Email me at kmiller (at) turningwords (dot) com to make a mother’s day.

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The giving is easy

August 27th, 2009    -    No Comments


You can enter her giveaway, you can enter my giveaway, or you can enter both, and if you win something you can’t use, why then you can give it away. Easy!

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Chapter and verse

August 20th, 2009    -    4 Comments

Blah blah blah. Meditation is good for you. But I’m bad at it. It’s boring. Who has time for it? It’s hard to do. Too spiritual. Not relevant. Some day soon you’re going to have to stop reading about it.

But when?


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The road traveled

August 18th, 2009    -    7 Comments

Spying the untouched package, realize this is the last doll.
Watching her take a bath, realize this is the last of childhood.
Counting the days until deadline, realize this is the last draft.
Lifting the carton from the shelf, realize this is the last Mint Chip.
Tasting the grounds in the cup, realize this is the last coffee.
Facing the shrinking summer, realize these are the last lilies.
Remembering everything, realize this is the last regret.
Nearing the horizon, realize this is the last stretch.
The color! The color!
This is the road traveled.
None traveled less, none traveled more.
Everyone travels the same, alone and yet never apart.
Hello, traveler.

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