The Peace of Wild Things

A poem by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

and I  feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. for a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


The lake called to me this morning. I took my coffee and sat on the bench, drinking in the relative cool of the morning air.

 The surface of the lake is still, interrupted occasionally by a fish jumping or insect skimming the surface. The  light blue cloudless sky foreshadows another hot day – upper 90’s, high humidity. 

As I sat, memories of the last two years crowded my mind. I have lived and loved and learned so much — finally feel like I’m on the verge of adulthood, even though my 58th birthday is just around the corner. I break my life into segments – my childhood and adolescence, my first marriage with all the children, my second marriage with all the chaos, the first year after that of singleness and dating, of working on me like crazy, seeking the wholeness of loving myself first, and being ok with the possibility of living my life on my own, while also going out and having a great deal of fun meeting  a lot of new people.

I think of the times I sat on this bench, wanting to live where I could look out at this view every morning, and moving, just over a year ago, to the third floor apartment making my intention a reality.My heart swelled and I shed some happy tears, thinking about the events of the last year, since I met Robert, and the gradual awareness that this was the person with whom I wanted to spend time with, to share life with, and that this was a mutual experience. We took two trips to California, to the Chopra center, experiencing expansion of happiness. My first grandchild was born, my youngest child left home, my second eldest got married, which facilitated a reunion of all the kids, probably the last for a long time.

Now, another transition is happening, as Robert and I made a decision to share living quarters, both of us tired of the 40 minute drive between us. We are staying here, at my place by the lake, and it is an interesting and challenging endeavor in so many ways. We have been gradually bring his stuff in, working on the blending of our possessions in a way satisfactory to both, and it is a wonder to me that over and through all the decisions and work, there is a strong rope of peace and love connecting us, a healthy love, not emotional dependence.

As I continued pondering these things, gazing out at the beauty of the water and sky, a boat interrupst the silence, sending ripples my way, I find myself asking again – what is my purpose? The answer this morning is strong in my heart. I am a mother, have borne children and loved them as best I can. My continuing purpose is to be love, in whatever form that can take, with whomever I find myself sharing moments with. Everything else is icing.

Don’t worry, my heart tells me, rest in each moment, and don’t be afraid.

“Fate is how your life unfolds when you let fear determine your choices.  A path of destiny reveals itself to you, however, when you confront your fear and make conscious choices. ”     – Carolyn Myss

Freedom from fear

Recovering a Sense of Identity – Part Two

Everything has a purpose. Even if you have spent part of your life dealing with a Crazymaker. Take it from me!

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. — Elisabeth Kubler Ross

This post is a continuation of commentary springing from my reading of the second chapter of The Artist’s Way. If any of this is resonating with you, I highly recommend that you get this book. Even though it is supposed to be a 12 week course, life happens and if it takes 12 years that is ok.

In addition to really emphasizing the need to get away from toxic people, the author reminds us that there is a higher guidance available to us in moving through our fear and accessing our creativity. We tend to think that it is arrogant to speak of ourselves as creative artists, but the truth is that it is arrogance to refuse to acknowledge it. Whew!

To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive. — Robert Louis Stevenson


Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness. –Shakti Gawain

It is one thing to point the finger at others as the barrier to our recovery, but an even greater enemy comes from within, Ms Cameron goes on to say, and that enemy is skepticism!  It doesn’t matter what our belief system is — we have this tendency to doubt the idea of creator and creativity. But, I am learning,  the thing to do is just keep letting it flow in spite of doubt. The author recommends morning pages – freely writing about 3 pages, longhand, every morning. I have been doing this fairly consistently, and I think it is making a difference, somehow, even in the midst of a very busy life.. The “artist’s date” has been a little more elusive – it is doing something by myself, with “my artist.” So far, I’ve taken myself shopping a couple of times and spent a little time painting, but haven’t really dedicated myself to doing anything, although I think I’m getting better at just being with myself, getting in touch with the silence within, primarily through meditation. But I digress.

We need to look for unexpected opportunities, or coincidences, or as Deepak Chopra says, synchronicity. We need to set aside our skepticism, take risks, and nudge open that door through which we can see dazzling light. In that light are lots of ideas that seem impossible, so we stick with the comfortableness of the dark room we are in. It takes recognizing that wall of fear and continuing to push the door open and walk into the light of creativity.

Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music –the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures,beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself. — Henry Miller

Long ago, before the internet and email and social media, people stayed in touch by writing letters about their lives and sending them to each other. Often those letters were about small details of their day, or observations about what flowers were blooming or the change in the weather. This paying attention to detail about the now is a way to connect to the universe and expand happiness and creativity. The reward for attention is always healing. I have journaled on and off through the years, and much of what I have written about is pain. The author of Artists Way also notes that she has written about pain, and that is what it took to get her to pay attention to the present moment. Think about it. The past may be too painful to want to remember, and the future could be too terrifying to contemplate, so focusing on the right now is the safe place to be. Right now, I’m breathing, and in the exact now, I am always all right.

What is blocking you? and what are you going to do about it?

Crazy feelings!

Recovering a Sense of Identity – Part One

All sanity depends on this: that it should be a delight to feel heat strike the skin, a delight to stand upright, knowing the bones are moving easily under the flesh. — Doris Lessing

I started this blog after reading chapter one of The Artist’s Way. After almost 2 months, I opened the book again. I have borrowed the title of Week 2 here. I got pretty excited as I read that we must  “Go Sane” to recover and begin to trust our creativity again, and we might look crazy and erratic in the process. What  a relief! This endeavor has certainly been erratic!  The first post was truly inspired, and I wanted to keep writing, but inspiration is not always there when I want it! But I decided that the most important thing to do is write, for myself first, and if others can gain something, whether it be a laugh, encouragement, or a sense of community, that’s great, and if no one reads it, its ok, I have still expressed myself.

Children are so naturally creative and expressive. What happens to us that often we lose that, or squash it to the point that any creative endeavors are met with self-doubt?. I was creative all my life, others saw it and acknowledged it, but I didn’t believe it. Now – I wish I had more time to write, to paint, to just color with pretty colored pencils, even to do needlepoint again. But for now, I will do what I can, and reading this book and writing is part of my journey to unknown delights.


Snipers are people who undermine your efforts to break unhealthy relationship patterns. – Jody Hayes

A major part of this chapter is devoted to “poisonous playmates”, otherwise known as people who are toxic, who will capsize the artist’s growth. Another name for some of these types is “crazymakers.”What a great word for people who create so much drama around themselves that they bring everyone else to a point of craziness.

These are the people who are charismatic, charming, often highly creative themselves, but they become destructive to those around them because they have to be the center of attention and basically suck the energy out of anyone near them. Here are some things she said Crazymakers do, and I can say this is absolutely true, based on being married to one for way too long:

  • break deals and destroy schedules ( yours)
  • expect special treatment
  • discount your reality
  • spend your time and money
  • triangulate those they deal with
  • are expert blamers
  • create dramas – but seldom where they belong
  • hate schedules – except their own
  • hate order – chaos serves their purposes
  • deny that they are crazymakers

But then – if crazymakers are that destructive, what are we doing involved with them?  The answer, as surprising as it seems, is that we are that crazy ourselves and that self – destructive.

Since I have been away from that situation in my personal life, I can see that this is true. Hard to admit, but true. Somehow, dealing with those circumstances is less frightening than the challenge of a creative life of our own. Fear of ourselves can be a strong enemy.

So – the first step is to admit the truth of your situation – that this crazy person is actually a block you chose yourself, to deter you from the path of creativity and true happiness. A book that helped me make the changes that  led to personal freedom and eventually a pursuit of creativity is Discovering Choices. Another good one is Opening our Hearts, Transforming our Losses. Those two books, as well as attending Al-anon meetings for a while, are what got me to see that I could make a change and have a better life.



Summer evening

I spent a little time outside this evening, enjoying the blanket of humidity and the song of the cicadas. I live in a suburban area close to Houston, very near Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The temperature now, at 9 pm, is 83 degrees and the humidity is 81%. I live on the third floor, and caught the sun setting behind the magnolia trees.

sunset behind trees

A couple of hours earlier, I enjoyed the sight and scent of the giant crepe myrtles, another reason I love living upstairs.

tops of crepe myrtles

But this little guy got the better of me, before I got the better of him.

blood sucking villain
blood sucking villain

So I didn’t stay out long – it’s easy to work up a sweat just sitting around swatting mosquitoes.

“People who claim they don’t let little things bother them have never slept in a room with a single mosquito.”

attributed to several people, but actually an African proverb.

What do you like to do on a summer evening?