“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
When my friend Jon and I couldn’t figure out what to do with our 8ish-year-old selves, we often walked around town and picked up trash. Right now, I sometimes don’t exactly know what to do with myself (you know, given the state of the world and all). So here I am, a 53-year-old woman, once again, walking around town picking up trash.
You know what’s pretty cool about this? I’ve discovered I have a superpower. I can spot inorganic matter like nobody’s business.
INORGANIC: not arising from natural growth (Merriam Webster)
Sometimes inorganic matter is very obvious…
Other times it’s barely detectable…
As I walked along the beach, I thought about the concept of organic and inorganic as they relate to our feelings. Organic emotions are what we know on some deep, cellular level. Inorganic emotions are planted by others and adopted as our own over time.
LOVE is organic, we’re born with it.
HATE is taught and learned, very inorganic.
Twenty-four-hours of news television, radio, and social media are inorganic. Talking heads paid to tell us who to fear, what to buy, and who or what we are supposed to hate is far from organic. All of those media platforms make a lot of money off of our thoughts and clicks.
This dangerously inorganic system was designed to make us fearful, divided, anxious, angry, and uncertain. Sadly, it’s working like a charm.
Searching for personal understanding is challenging (and exhausting)—especially during an election year with a world-wide pandemic causing health, economic. educational, and employment chaos.
Q. With so much uncertainty in the world, how can we keep inorganic matter from clouding our inner knowing?
A. Notice. Practice. Repeat.
This was one of the oddest group of items I’ve happened upon so far—an attachment for a vacuum cleaner, a s’more stick still in plastic, orange netting. and an ant covered coconut chunk. I could easily concoct a narrative about why these items fit together. I didn’t bother though.
I left a chunk of the coconut, I thought some kid on the beach would get a kick out of seeing the ants chomping away. Organic, yet out of context…worthy of some good ole’ fashioned pondering.
original utility by Lisa Lillibridge
walking Scusset Beach at low tide
we came upon a buried boat trailer
submerged and deserted
sadly, no longer transporting anything
no boat ramp nearby…curious
my sandy-kneed observations kept shifting
a salty adventure miscalculated perhaps?
oh, the seduction of coastal fog
heightens my investigations
in ways sunshine just never can
later, observing my photos
what I could not see intrigued me
and my mind wandered
as it so often does…
allegory, metaphor, or perhaps, punchline
in need of rescue and repair
while other nations
adapting to their shifting tides
ignore what’s beneath our surface
our nation’s collective principles
waiting to be exhumed
and one day
restored to original utility
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
—Preamble to the Declaration of Independence
1a: government by the people, especially the rule of the majority
b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
1a: government by the few
b: a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes
Sir Peter Alexander Ustinov (16 April 1921 – 28 March 2004) was an English actor, writer, filmmaker, theatre and opera director, comedian, radio broadcaster, and television presenter. He was a fixture on television talk shows and lecture circuits for much of his career. An intellectual and diplomat, he held various academic posts and served as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and President of the World Federalist Movement. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Ustinov
“Go to you bosom: Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know.”
micro: very small
view: extent or range of vision
macro: intended for use with relatively large quantities or on a large scale
A constant macro view can be exhausting—wasting our time and talents. Most days require us to narrow our focus, take a micro view, and determine where & how we can make the most difference to the people and circumstances we face in our lives.
Notice a difference in your perspective?
Source: Merriam Webster
I have so many half-written posts from the last few weeks. I’ve written about democracy, racism. aging, my fears about the state of the world, cults & narcissism, sexism, motherhood, the artist Milton Glaser, the con of 1980s televangelists, kayaking with seals, our intricate vascular systems, humanism, menopause, radical acceptance, letting go, and realists vs. optimists. I haven’t felt like posting anything. Why?
I got curious, then it hit me…I think I have PAYING ATTENTION FATIGUE and I suspect many of you do too. The world is asking us to pay attention to so many things. I don’t need to add to anyone’s electronic burden now.
So, for the summer anyway, I’ll be posting mostly art, photographs, and short quotes…unless I change my mind, of course. The summer is still young.
“What if pain—like love—is just a place brave people visit?”
―Glennon Doyle Melton, Love Warrior
- curiosity: marked by desire to investigate and learn
- listening: to hear something with thoughtful attention, give consideration
- empathy: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another
- compassion: sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress
- courage: mental or moral strength to persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty
- cooperation: to act or work with another or others, act together
- sisterhood: the solidarity of women based on shared conditions, experiences, or concerns
- leadership: a capacity to lead
When curious, compassionate, and courageous women of all different races, colors, creeds, religious, and national origins serve in leadership roles from the corner office to the front porch—every aspect of American life appears to benefit.
I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.
NOTE: Tonight on your local PBS station you can watch Timothy Greenfield-Sanders documentary—Maya Angelou: The Pieces I Am. https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/
As I age, it seems much of life is experienced within the gray areas of uncertainty. Thankfully, now at fifty-three, I’m finding not knowing is sort of interesting, perhaps even a bit wonderfully mysterious.
study in grays, June 18th, 2020
I’ve been reading Pema Chödrön’s book When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, she writes about hope and fear—
“Hope and fear come from feeling that we lack something: they come from a sense of poverty. We can’t simply relax with ourselves. We hold on to hope, and hope robs us of the present moment.”
HOPE verb: to cherish a desire with anticipation, to want something to happen or be true
FEAR verb: to be afraid of, expect with alarm
Hope was on my mind, so this morning Dusty Springfield’s 1964 song—Wishin’ and Hopin’ popped into my head as did Emily Dickinson’s poem—Hope Is A Things With Feathers. Oh you brilliant, creative women…you’ve been homesteading in my psyche the last few days. Thank you, your timing is impeccable.
Wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’
Plannin’ and dreamin’ each night of his charms
That won’t get you into his arms
So if you’re lookin’ to find love you can share
All you gotta do is hold him and kiss him and love him
And show him that you care
Songwriters: Hal David / Burt Bacharach—Artist: Dusty Springfield
All of this hope talk made me think about parenting, religion, and my childhood. My mother’s prayers for me when I was growing up were that I would eventually become someone or something else—an idealized version of the raw potential she saw in me. Please help Lisa stop picking her fingernails, overeating, cussing, being lazy, not caring about her grades, reading the wrong books, listening to the wrong music, drinking beer, or NOT believing the way I do.
I don’t blame her, this was her programming. I’m sure it felt quite loving hopin’ and prayin’ for my needed improvements. She feared who I might possibly become, and truly believed her prayers could turn things around for me. Her faith then required that she gave the God of her understanding credit whenever my improvements, no matter how barely detectable emerged.
I did the same thing to my children—always hopin’ they would become the best version of themselves. I guess I thought wishin’ for the hidden potential in them to emerge would reflect what a stellar job I’ve done mothering and flatter my ego. Damn, that was my programming too.
Emily Dickinson’s poem, Hope Is The Thing With Feathers reveals the unsettling nature of the never ending loop of constant hope…and never stops – at all -.
Hopin’ I believed would make all of my sleepless nights and heartache worthwhile. However, instead, what I’m finally understanding is that all of that motherly wishin, hopin’, thinkin’, and prayin’ kept me from accepting them as they were/are in the present. I’m truly sorry Ellis, Lucy, and Willa that I did not learn this sooner.
Wishin’, hopin’, thinkin’, and prayin’ doesn’t seem to actually be working in any part of my life now that I give it more though...and never stops – at all—thanks Emily for that reminder.
What if I practiced more acceptance in all areas of my life? What would that feel like? Complacent? Uncaring? UnAmerican? Untethered? Unbelievable?
Let’s experiment, take a moment…breathe, just let the word acceptance settle into our soul a bit…repeat it a few times. Thoughts?
What if right now in America we just quit wishin’, hopin’, thinkin’, and prayin’ for things to be different than they are? What if collectively we ACCEPTED that the God of our personal understanding is desperately trying to reveal to us that all of the political division, rage, wounded egos, destruction, inequality, brutality, greed, spiritual aches, righteousness, grief, and suffering requires our heart’s immediate attention right now and we can no longer keep hopin’ and prayin’ for it to magically disappear?
All you gotta do is
hold him and kiss him and love him And show him others that you care