Ladybug Luck Revisit

Ladybug Luck Revisit

Hi all,

I have just revisited the place that inspired my original essay, and thought it’s time for a repost.

Ladybug Luck

Ladybugs…who could imagine at least 50 ladybugs in one place?  Aren’t they a symbol of good luck?  Wow. I must be in for some!

I sit by an aged window with the seal broken and water drops sparkling between the panes, light streaming in as I look out to sun-kissed snow reflecting the blue sky.  My mind wanders and I notice the muted sound of a tractor in the distance pushing snow and the lilting melody of a 40’s female jazz musician singing in the background, as I sip a Vermont made Chardonnay.

The memory of the stabbing rejection of yesterday is fading…as she sings “you will find that life is worthwhile”, and all I can feel is a warm surround, knowing that love will keep me going.  The loss and deepening holes resulting from unsuspected arrows will not destroy the spirit.  No human is granted the authority to judge or carry out the judgment of the greatest judge – the one that is LOVE.

A very well known and loved character, Piglet, once said, “it is not meant to be spelled, it is meant to be felt.”  And so, I feel anyone who pushes away the heart in an attempt to explain LOVE and save their soul, will feel pain in their steps.  For the calling of their heart follows them like a loyal puppy, calling for notice.

And then I notice the promise of young love seated two tables from me.  I don’t hear what is being said, but I hear the tone of promise…promise to be each other’s everything.  That beautiful red sky in the morning, that cries,  “sailors take warning”.  Yes, the sea of lovers that reminds us all what love can be, someone there for us unconditionally.

Yet there exists a darkness that believes its job is to judge and suck the life out of love.  The ongoing legalities first practiced by the Pharisees make their way into the modern day, exposing the expectations of their own making, calling it God’s will.  The most amazing revelation is thus exposed; our individual beliefs pave the road we follow.  The journey can take us closer to love or push us into an abyss where love continues to be the rope that saves us.

It’s all too simple of a message explained in depth by a weathered soul who still grasps for the hope of love.  This afternoon as the sun warms my soul, I drink to being lucky in love…

-Erika K Rothwell

-Erika K Rothwell

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BUYING A LESSON

BUYING A LESSON

 

 

The expression was aimed at me too many times, “too much time on your hands”.  My poetic creative spirit and its defense create the story. 

Time to smell the roses, time to breathe in deeply, and time to actually hear the words my child is sharing with me.  Precious time, never enough and never too much.

Savoring my morning coffee after dropping the kids off to school, listening to the endless loads of laundry spinning, while watching the early sunrise teaches me time is worth its weight in gold.  The treasures of life are found in moments that most of us miss from our busyness or our business.

Time cannot be bought, or so I thought.  In fact, it is possible to sell your time by sacrificing it.  Merriam-Webster defines sacrifice for us, “the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone.” 

It is now that I react.  I sold my time, time with my precious babies, time to savor the daylight hours, time to breathe in life.  It was time to make a living.  And material pursuits were flaunted as a tempting invitation. 

The accession of career success sealed the deal, so the paycheck bought my time.  At times, regret and resentment still rear their ugly heads.  The truth is…it was a choice.  However, my choice to better my children’s lives, to give them an abundance of material things, landed me flat.  All they ever wanted from me was time, time I could not give them.  Worn out, stressed out, and hollowed out, I used up that time.

And now, I cannot buy the time back even though it was bought from me.  I only have what is left, and the experience to value it.  Then the discovery…in the act of selling, I purchased a lesson!

We will never have enough time on our hands to capture the elixir of life.  Life is too short, sell it wisely.

-Erika K Rothwell

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American “Grandmother” Idol

American “Grandmother” Idol

– An Ego’s Audition

She had a small voice that desperately wanted to sing, but at times wanted to scream.

If finding a voice, is finding who someone is and expressing what they find, you could barely hear her speak. 

Her eldest children were approaching 30, an age at one time she would have immediately equated with the word old.  How did this happen?  When did things change?  Was it when they went off to college, when they walked down the aisle or was it when they became parents gifting her grand-motherhood while she was still busy intensely trying to redevelop her abdominal core and coloring her hair? 

Graceful aging, it’s called.  Accepting that only surgical procedures would reverse the gravitational pull, is what she named it.  And while she was busy considering vanity, her voice was getting smaller.

Not so long ago, there was a voice.  It taught her children principled living graciously mixed with a ticket for exploration.  There were times, they listened for the answer.  In later times, their friends had better suggestions.  Their worlds of influence continued to expand when husbands and their families came into the picture.  That voice got ever smaller.

More recently, she noticed she monopolized conversations with her grown children, in-laws included.  In her misled conception of having all the answers, constantly stepping into professor shoes, her voice desperately strove to bring value, having so much to say.   All that time, the volume was being noticeably turned down. 

The children’s own voices were morphing into a personalized set of values, hopes, and dreams.  Not only that, their own little ones were now listening.  It was in the madness of frantic family gatherings, her voice nearly disappeared.

Her sorrowful stare only hinted at the voice screaming inside, which seemed to fit well in a quieter world where her voice started speaking on paper.

The story of a self-pitying, washed up career woman turned housewife, was starting to be written.  At this point, the muse visited granting an inner voice permission to get louder.  Poetic expressions peeled open, releasing a storm brimming below, and rain poured out in tears. 

It was clear her voice was needed. She knew what was needed, carefully crafting stories to share with those she loved.  Further, her discovery dictated that on the outside it’s better if she spoke rarely, upon invitation, and very quietly, while the seasoned woman simmered below.

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And then no one is sure how it happened, but she could suddenly sing.  The tone-deaf days of her youth had passed.   As she sang a bedtime serenade, “Think of Me”, from the Phantom of the Opera, for an audience of toddlers, her sweet granddaughter couldn’t hide awe-stricken admiration imploring, “How’d you learn to sing so good?” The grandmother’s song had come from a place often hid, the deepest part of an experience-laden core, and the sweet youthful appraisal from her progeny struck the heart of meaning. 

She had always wanted to sing, and now she had reached the pinnacle of stardom in the music hall called Grand-motherhood. 

Her tiny voice was singing, and the only screaming she wanted to do now was from the rooftops!

-Erika K Rothwell

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The Wind and Work

As I set out my run, my husband shouted after me, “The wind is going to blow you over today!”.  He couldn’t have been more accurate.

I remember an essay I wrote about the wind years ago.  I ponder the imagery and decide its time to share it with you now.

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Headwind:  As you run into it, the struggle begins.  It becomes much more difficult to move forward.  At times, it forces you backward.  You push forward regaining strength and restoring balance at a reduced speed. This invisible force arrives in unseen challenges, a storm rising up in us or an unsuspected circumstantial gust.  All that time you feel pushed back.  If you make it, you are eventually propelled into a tailwind.

Tailwind: It carries you, sometimes in an unplanned or undesired direction.  Less effort is needed to move, with an effortless flow of momentum.  You may question the ease of travel, and whether you are truly working hard enough.  You tell yourself, you deserve the break from the obnoxious headwind and you coast.  The effortlessness nags at you though, as you fearfully anticipate the shift in direction around the bend. 

Wind is an awe-inspiring force, a gift hinting at the powerful might of its source.  It is unseen, but to deny its effects is ignorance at the highest degree.

So I ask myself, Why am I being challenged?  Why has it become such a struggle to move forward even a step?  Why am I working so hard to get nowhere? 

And the bigger questions follow.  Could the wind be strengthening us, readying us to face even stronger forces?  Does balance need to be restored?  Why are we being propelled in the opposite direction, or perhaps an uncharted direction?  And most importantly, are we trying to force our way past the infinite velocity of fate?

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When I wrote this, I was hanging by a thread of hope.  I had been spending my life in a tailwind facade of success, accolades being received in six-figures.  When the wind direction changed, I was blown away. 

My whole being was shattered, not knowing who I was anymore.  Being a mother and a wife had taken second place for years.  Quality time was a farce.  There had been no time, period. 

And now there was time, way too much time.  The deafening silence of time.  The anxiety-producing, hollow sound of being in a house alone time.  Minutes felt like hours, and dark thoughts grew in the empty space.

I forgot how to eat.  I forgot how to sleep.  I forgot how to live.

And then the paranoia grew.  Everywhere I went, society’s eyes glared at me tellingly illustrating their disgust for my failure.  The forced exodus represented my life in entirety.

I had nothing.  I was nothing.

All I could do was run, run away from a self I no longer was.  I was a prodigal running, from a previous life.

Then it occurred to me,  there were others like me.  I wasn’t alone.

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The connection came back slowly.  Connecting to others in word puzzles eased my loneliness.  Prodigals were suffering everywhere, and I could now empathize with true compassion.  I was humbled. It was time for a repentant return to a simpler life where meaning could be found in daily family activities and in the smiles of my children as I picked them up from school.

The wind had taught me a powerful lesson.  I needed to push forward running and writing through the struggles, stay balanced and coast when it wanted to bring me back home.

Work finally became what it was meant to be…work…not life. 

And my motto was born, 

Life is work, but work isn’t life.”

 

-Erika K Rothwell

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Sweeping Repetition

Sweeping Repetition

There is a pattern emerging.  I’m sweeping the kitchen.  I do this often, but not at as often as it needs to be done.  Suddenly, my mind wanders to writing not only what I know, but what everyone knows.

As repetitive as chores are, the messages of life that are written and rewritten remind me of a cycle.  We are taught, we learn, we learn to teach, and by teaching we learn.

I know this because I write what you already may know, but in sharing it, I learn.  The difference between you knowing and I knowing is only in the display of words I use to express that insight.  The time I took to mentally simmer a simple thought, gives me the depth of flavor I need to fill a page with what you may have already been thinking and feeling. 

Writers do this, they capture a moment, a phrase, a philosophical debate and create an in-depth look for the audience.  This view can be personal and reflective, but also inclusive and encompassing.  Do you call it art?  Or do you call it life captured in a moment?

I believe the writer, can create both simply from what y’all already know.

-Erika K Rothwell

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