Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Can a Solar Eclipse Teach Us To Live In Peace?

My biggest fear in the seventies was whether or not my brothers would be drafted to go to Vietnam. They weren't, but my uncles served stints in southeast Asia. As worrisome and serious as that was, I could never have envisioned the state our world is in now or that we would experience the horrors of terrorism at such a brutal inhumane level. The word suicide-bomber wasn't in my vocabulary in the seventies. 

It's on our collective minds tonight. 
The threats. The bluster. The bullying across the sea. It feels like the world might tilt and fall into an abyss. In a few days, citizens in many parts of the world will share the phenomenon of a solar eclipse. A celebration of the wonders of the universe we share!  We wouldn't exist without our solar system holding us in space. For just one day planet Earth will feel connected as her humans stare at a power that is magnificently aligned and bigger than themselves. We are at its mercy, this power.  When the moon, the sun, and earth peacefully intersect, we will don our funny looking glasses and stand in awe. It somehow doesn't compute that we may be on the eve of destruction.

If the will of the moon and sun can coincide peacefully without extinction, while all of humanity looks on, then surely man has an obligation to preserve and honor life on the planet that's bequeathed to him.

 That worrisome 'draft' word has been replaced with 'nuclear' annihilation.  And as dire as that is, we can't stop speaking for, hoping for, praying for peace.

Do it.
Don't ever stop.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday Mimisms ~ Let's Talk About Depression

Headache, Head Ache, Pain, Head, Ache Depression @ Mimi WritesOnce upon a long time ago, I had a part-time job working for a salesman who lived in my neighborhood. I needed extra cash and he needed a secretary to keep him and his endless sales paperwork organized and accurate. It was a perfect arrangement.

My boss was a funny guy, albeit with a cynical side, who had an unfortunate penchant for near constant migraines. Much of the time he was in terrible pain, barely able to function. On the road to sales calls, we spent lots of time talking about our lives and families, while I recorded data and created invoices. This brief blip on the road of my life would ordinarily seem unremarkable, except for one telling conversation I've never forgotten to this day.

One day I noticed he was particularly anxious. Nervous. Jittery. Unwell. I asked him what troubled him so. He divulged very little and simply replied,
"Mimi, just remember this -
stress'll kill ya."

A few years later, he committed suicide.

Beyond being sad and grieved for his lovely family, I found it oddly prophetic. When I am overwhelmed and anxious, I sometimes hear his pain-filled voice say....."stress'll kill ya." He was warning me to try to learn to control the stress in my own life.  I wish he could have found his way out of that space.
Directory, Signposts, Hope, Hopelessness, Mimi Writes, Depression
What I've noticed lately is this: There are a lot of people walking around with what I call Life PTSD.  They're not clinically depressed, not on medication, and not in therapy. But their situations and circumstances seem to constantly spiral from hope to despair and back again, the likes of which a tilt-a-whirl ride has never seen. In today's world,This Is Your Brain on Drugs has morphed into This Is Your Brain on Life

Cumulative situational depression is a very real struggle. It is rampant in the society we live in today. It steals your joy. It fogs your brain. It hurts your relationships. It tears you down physically in ways that doctors are only beginning to truly understand. There is no way around - only through.

And we need to talk about it.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

It's A Great Day To Walk On The Beach

I'm not at the beach today but I remember this vacation well.

I wrote in the sand.
Exploring the island like a Bohemian...
eating ice cream at 10am....
coffee at sunrise on a blanket with my books...

buying flip flops and T-shirts....
and tossed a few messages in a bottle in the great Atlantic sea

Storms brewed. 
A spectacular sky and a feeling of change on the winds
 and in my life. 

Take a walk with me.
 I'll wear my hat and you can sing on the shore.

Images copyright Mimi Lenox

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sunday Morning Me

For a teacher, every day is "Sunday morning" in the summertime. And I'm loving it! My body needs about three weeks (no exaggeration) to physically and mentally recoup from the school year. You go go go go non-stop for ten months in exhausting and stressful conditions, working 12 hour days (and more) and that's just ON campus. Off-campus preparations and performances add to that workload. Summertime is collection of overtime pay. The people who know me get it, but really only people in academia know the kind of exhaustion-to-the-bone I'm talking about. 

Week three is here and I'm beginning to feel somewhat rested and ready to embark on a few gentle summer projects before the bell rings in August. After twenty-one years in the classroom, this may be my last August bell. Yay! We shall see how it goes and what's best for me.

I've been couching. Listening to music. Updating old blog posts. Reading. Researching retirement options. Going to physical therapy (a story for another day!) Visiting with my mother and kids. Learning some new songs. 
Mostly couching.

 Baby Beans and I are going on a river trip next week if I feel up to walking. I've lost my camera. How does one lose a Nikon camera?? I'm sure it's in that-place-I-hid-it-for-safekeeping-that-I-will-obviously-remember-but-will-NEVER-remember. You know what I'm talking about? 

I also need to respond to an email I recently received that gave me pause....So I paused. I will respond when I know what to say.
Meanwhile....gotta find that camera.
And some words.

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors

Sometimes I worry that age will dictate who I am.
That I'll end up being one of those women desperately trying to hold on to their youth, in ways that don't flatter them. Wearing shorter hair because it's suitable for a woman of that age  (there's that word again), or wearing something that looks ridiculous on the frame of a seasoned woman. Buttoning up plaids and shortening pumps to the cold cold floor, afraid to wear horizontal stripes or show lily-white bare legs in the public arena of judgment. 
I don't want to be that woman.
Once a pencil skirt, always a pencil skirt.

I've played with mirrors and light all my life. Examining who I am and thinking out loud for an audience of blog souls who cared enough in the House of Blogs to offer a hand-up from some dark places I stepped into, who saved me from the comical tragedies I wrote about in precarious attempts to make sense of my world. You let me.

Thank you.

You can't bare your lily-whites to just anybody you know. Oh, the scandal! It takes a special blog breed to accept the timbre of an occasionally out-of-tune skirt.

And that's where I've been lately.
Sorely out-of-tune.
Purposely so. Wallowing in imperfect fifths just to confuse hollow chords into resolving. Perhaps a little angry. A lot introspective. A tiny bit off my game. Riding on the crux of an avalanche, though not permanently derailed. It's that fascination with mirrors you see.... you need them to help you stay centered. 
And honest with yourself.

I snapped this picture when I was shopping last summer.
It was only when I got home that I realized how "divided" I look (ha!)....how disjointed.....how fragile.

And how stubbornly, surprisingly strong.
Only a seasoned woman in an aging frame would post a picture of herself with a price tag and no head on her shoulders. Like Minnie Pearl's swinging hat tag or the mysterious old woman in the poem "When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple."

I hate purple.
It's so....well.....old.
Wear red. Or mirrors. Or groovy glasses.

So what if I lose my head once in a while? It gives me pause to wonder what really lies in between? What part of me closes the gap when there is loss or emptiness or fear? Is it wholeness to bare your vulnerability...or self-destruction in the hands of a cynical cruel world? What connects the two parts of me and makes me whole? Is it Spirit? Luck? Destiny? Serendipity?
I should know that by now. 

So, here's the thing.
I'm about to start a new adventure, closing a chapter and turning a page. It's not at all scary.
 As I move forward into the next decade, please God, don't let me wear long skirts or cut my hair too soon. I will wear large sunglasses and play my piano at midnight (sans the glasses) for the squirrels and the raccoons and the owls in the woods, for the people in the audience and the pews in the church and....for me. Just me. I will crank up the volume on my microphone and sing what makes me happy. My broken fingers will fly over keys of memory. Every raw emotion will pour out and drop as water on the ivory, because that is what storytellers do.
And furthermore,  I will sit on the floor in a hippie skirt and flowered jeans (not at the same time), strike matches on a matchbook and pretend I know how to smoke, and write lyrics and stories until my not-so-flexible-anymore fingers are happy with the ache it brings, until I taste and smell and feel what those perfect imperfections mean to me and until my hands burn from some kind of spirit I can't explain.....the One I respect but can't see.

Because I've learned that the most beautiful chords are unresolved.

And this time, Dear God, let the man by my side refuse to hold my hands.

I'd rather he clothe them with kisses and let them fly.
It is not for me to separate the young from the old or the naive girl from the wiser skirt - but to honor both.

Go find your mirror.

I hear there's a sale this weekend.

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