Posts Tagged ‘Fulfillment’

What looks like Christmas

December 13th, 2009    -    9 Comments

Purchased the Wii she put #1 on her wish list for the last three years now that it has fallen to #2 behind hamster, the kind of retro hamster that – like the two fish, turtle and dog – requires someone’s mother to clean and feed it.

Encouraged her good dad to buy a little Christmas tree and found out three days later it cost $100.

Coerced my daughter into having a cup of hot cocoa with me at Starbucks despite her protests that, in 70-degree sunshine, she wasn’t very cold right now.

Raided her piggy bank to pay for the cocoa with every intention of repaying it.

Let my husband pick out a computer for her and he chose one that is better than mine.

Spent $160 on gifts at Target and allowed the cashier to sign me up for a store credit card to save 15 percent, a process that took 15 percent of the trouble it will take to cancel the credit card.

Soon realized that 15 percent of $160 isn’t nothing but amounts to less than nothing.

Learned that a plumbing leak requires replacement of the dining room ceiling before our Christmas company comes.

A ceiling over our heads instantly amounted to my greatest wish and blessing.

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How to unwrap your life

December 8th, 2009    -    22 Comments

I speed-read a short story collection last week, Ishiguro’s Nocturnes, which I cannot recommend. Despite that, one story in the book stuck. It was about the relationship between a cellist and his musical mentor, a woman who described herself as a virtuoso. The woman gives her protégé weeks of technical and inspirational corrections before revealing that she cannot play a cello herself. “We are both virtuosos,” she explained in pitch-perfect logic, “but my virtuosity has not been unwrapped.”

A wrapped-shut virtuoso. Does that resonate?

We dare not yet pick up our own instrument for fear of, well, everything. We are cautious, guarded, unprepared. Getting closer, we tell ourselves. Getting ready. Awaiting the moment of fulfillment, when our mastery will be revealed. In the meantime, our virtuosity is unchallenged, shielded beneath layers of tissue, inert, immobile, a precious empty ideal. Held in reserve for one day.

How to Unwrap Your Life

1. Do something you’ve been avoiding, without thinking twice.
2. This might mean that you need to mail the letter or send the proposal. It will put things in motion.
3. This might mean you need to make the call or send the resume. Go for broke.
4. This might mean that you need to tackle the hand wash cold.
5. This might mean you need to make a meal from whatever you have on hand in the kitchen, without restraint or apology.
6. This might mean a dog walk or a litter box cleaning.
7. This might mean forgetting what he said, she said, you said and everything that has been said before now.
8. No one can tell you a thing. There is no “how to do.”
9. There is only do.
10. Play as if your life depends on it. Without you, there’s no music.

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Eight is enough

July 1st, 2009    -    3 Comments

The momentary fascination with the reality TV train wreck “Jon & Kate Plus 8” has me wondering if the sad saga of family striving and dissolution is beneficial as a morality tale. Does the failed couple’s melodrama teach a real-life lesson about balancing careers, money, self-image, household responsibilities, individuality and passion post-parenthood?

Yes, there’s a lesson, in the same sense that wildfires teach us not to throw matches and car accidents teach us not to text behind the wheel. The damage, however, is so dear that it’s hardly redemptive unless we can change the course of our own catastrophe.

“Jon & Kate Plus 8” is the story of what happens when what we have is not enough. A young and aspiring couple finds that the babies don’t come easy enough, the family isn’t full enough, the money doesn’t go far enough, the house isn’t big enough, the help doesn’t help enough, the good times aren’t good enough and the ever after isn’t happy enough.

Sound familiar? This isn’t just their dirty laundry; it’s mine and likely yours too. More than that, it’s the basis of Buddhism.

Read the rest and leave a comment on “The Laundry Line”
my blog at Shambhala SunSpace

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Daily bread

May 24th, 2009    -    9 Comments

My grandmother set her bread to rise each day before the sun yet dared to dawn, wresting two loaves into the oven before a shadow had stirred. She saved a handful of the dough to roll into the morning’s coffee cake and topped it high with buttery struesel. By the time I tramped into her ancient kitchen on summer mornings, the air bloomed with the sweetly sour greeting of yeast. It was breakfast time, and no one needed to ask.

Her house is now flattened, ground into the dust of the earth’s eternal crust. She is gone and the time has passed. But what she fed still ferments on my tongue, and I recognize my place and lineage.

I made pancakes today.

After the ecstasy, the ecstasy

May 20th, 2009    -    10 Comments

For the before, click here.

Dear Karen,
Thank you for helping us doing our book. You are a very good author. Yesterday at the book tour I was kind of shy to read it but then I was very excited to do it. The kids asked us how many months did it take to do the book. We said it took us about 2 months. We kind of got like every kid’s question. They loved us and they loved our books a lot. One of the kids said I want to be an author too!

You are the best author ever in the whole wide world!


Like sand through the hourglass

May 12th, 2009    -    8 Comments

Another spring.
Another carnival.
Another gallon of distilled water every week.
Introducing Zippy and Bubbles.
Newly installed and counting the days in this life everlasting.

A morning memorial.

Photo by Georgia Miller

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We are all Susan Boyle

April 15th, 2009    -    11 Comments

I know you’ve already seen this 5.9 million times, but this time, I want you to give yourself a “Yes” and go back to your own small village with your bad hair held high, blowing kisses to strangers.

Keep singing your song, and I will too. What else is a church volunteer to do?

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Genuine fulfillment

March 17th, 2009    -    20 Comments

To chop the soft and blemished fruit into a past-due breakfast parfait, lace with warm oatmeal, then cajole my daughter into eating it instead of the Trix she finagled from the cereal aisle and which I’m certain will give her sugar-induced pea green diarrhea.

To rise from my sickbed to do the weekend laundry, resurrected from my habitual resentments, appreciating this simple task as the essential business in a whole and healthy life.

To tenderly, mindfully, as though approaching an altar, hang nearly every item of my daughter’s laundry to air dry, because although it is our fervently futile wish that she never grow up, I can still do my best to ensure that she not too hastily grow out, and starvation is not an option.

To notice that, within the full hamper of cleaned clothing, not one pair of her socks had been worn in the previous week, meaning she is suitably free of her mother’s fastidious conventions.

To hear my grace, my Georgia, against her willful inertia, practice the piano and deliver to me the most lovely praise songs, thus knowing that my own mother, standing in her own kitchen, despite my fumbling artistry, once received the same sweet cup of satisfaction from me.

To flush and fill the fish tanks with fresh gallons of distilled elixir, a weekly baptism, comforted that in the vast mutabilities of this life, I can pour this gold into the goldfish forever.

To watch my husband and daughter circle each other in wary regard, to wrestle and shout a messy wreck of feelings, to see them suffer their deep adoration of one another, and leave it be, well and good and theirs alone.

To receive, sort and distribute 1,700 boxes of Girl Scout cookies into and out of my garage, ennobling each girl with the triumph of her participation, relieving each parent by the discharge of their duty.

To take, one by one, copies of my book to the good old United States Post Office, knowing these recipients by name, the readers by heart, and remembering full well that I can “wait a year to get rich.”

To see without doubt that when my dog places her muzzle on my left thigh while I sit here at the cockpit of my ruminations, it is indeed time to take her for a walk, because dogs are never confused about what time it is.

To relent and allow, when my daughter asks by name for an afternoon snack, the bowl of Trix she favors, and makes for herself, apprising me in the process that she had a bowl of the same yesterday and it didn’t turn her insides green.

To have all of this, to forget it, and then remember again, remember again, remember again.

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