Thursday, July 30, 2009

Marble and Hostess Cupcakes

It is Thursday. I am here and paralyzed, well, not really but stunned, for sure. He said it is the size of a marble. I can't take this in - the words have meaning but I fight not to understand. Is that possible? Can I become ignorant to language, unable to comprehend, pretend I lost my vocabulary? No easy feat. My heart swelled and then deflated when he said, "I didn't think I was scared, but as soon as I heard your voice I just had to tell you." I felt so close to him, so intimate, so thrilled that it was me, me he trusted, me that he I told him not to wait, not to see if the marble rolled away. He agreed, we hung up, he called me back. His appointment, Friday at 2:00.

(I use the "f" word as this post unfolds - sorry in advance if anyone is offended)

It is Friday morning - I feel sick. I don't know what words I will be writing later. All of my writings about truth and surrender and faith and courage and handling and facing whatever seems like total bullshit this morning. I want it to be an outcome that will make me scream in gratitude and celebration of all that is good and fair and right. This is my boy, my son..

God, please......

Mean while I made cupcakes, Hostess cupcakes exactly like the ones in the packages, me and JoJo, my best good friend - her son and my son are best friends - I went to her house, and she showed me how to make Hostess cupcakes - and we cried when I told her my fear, and we hugged, and we baked while we waited. And look at these cupcakes.

And so my son called, and he said that the doctor said "not to worry, it is NOT a tumor, keep an eye, and here is a name for a specialist should there be any changes, but I don't think there is anything wrong"!!!!!!!!! I feel relieved, not screaming relief but relieved - it is NOT a tumor. And what of my doubt, my lack of faith, my being ready to tell God to "F__K OFF!! Hah!! That means I am human - that means I am SO alive. That means I can feel whatever I need to feel to get to the next moment. That means I was revving up to fight. Sometimes I read some of the, shall we say, more syrupy posts, mine included, and I want to stick my finger down my throat. As if to say, - c'mon, no one is that "at peace" or that trusting" or that "one with themselves and the universe", or that "in tune" or that "forgiving" or that "I am right where I am suppose to be" or that "surrendered" all the time, every moment. Sometimes before any of that can ever happen I/we/you need to be really, really angry at whatever just fell on me, you, us like a freaking ton of bricks!! I am not going to be smiling, at first, or happy for the "gift of the opportunity", please - that is ridiculous. In retrospect, sure, I have had many tragic things happen and each one is now a gift of character and passion and truth and I know how important each experience was - but don't anyone tell me my son has cancer and expect me to go singing merrily along, don't even think about it. It's not fucking happening, not now, not ever. So for today, I am relieved - I am so relieved - it is not a tumor. My boy is okay. If that makes me lacking in some spiritual depth than so be it - Personally, I think I would be quite spiritually shallow were I to find even a moment of gratitude in an outcome such as a child's illness. Yes, spiritually shallow indeed. So on this one I take the high road, shallow, deep, whatever. I do not believe for one second that God would have wanted me to praise him on high today if that marble was a tumor. No fucking way!!

peace - sorta

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ordinary Miracle

The days are thick with haze, and sunlight speckled with pollen flurries. The leaves are inward, almost upside down as they are tossed about on the hot breeze. The clouds are cumbersome, heavy with humidity and the clammy hot dampness is on every surface. I sat by the brook which due to the rain has a flow again - but not for long as the heat of the day puts it to rest. The water reaches as far as it can until it it can't stretch any further.
Life is like that some times - stretching ourselves until there is nothing left and we have to rest, stop and wait for the next energy flow to sustain us and move us along. And those sources are every where. I find the first source is my core, my essence that is resilient and truthful and always has motivation to continue. I am surrounded by many external energy sources - love and laughter, music and books, nature and food, wine and water, oh and so much more. Each providing sustenance - nourishment - hope - peace- beauty - strength - power - passion - and I need only be open, vulnerable, truthful, and take no more than I need. Sounds so simple. And most days it is. There are times when life's challenges seem larger than every resource available to me - that's because some times things have to be broken down in to doable increments. I forget that at times.
And so like the brook, which is so sluggish and drained. It has reached as far as it can and now must wait and believe and have faith that the energy will flow again - that it will move along and clear and build momentum. That all that it needs will be provided.

I heard a saying once, "Don't give up five minutes before the miracle happens"

I hope you enjoyed the song. One of my favorites.

Peace and miracles

Friday, July 24, 2009


I was quite happy to see that some of you responded to the 'inner-child' post and even named your inner child. :-) In my work in addiction counseling within an in-patient rehabilitation setting the inner child groups are always so powerful. I am always so moved by the courage, strength, endurance, and survival of their inner-children. Children they, like me, hid and dismissed for so long, believing that whatever happened to that child was just too painful, shameful and tragic to reveal. And coming to realize that this same child is, in fact, their greatest source of wisdom, hope, strength and freedom. Take a moment to listen to this song, please.......

"Annie" is so free and so thrilled to have a voice. I silenced her for a long, long time. I didn't know about the power of "truth" and regardless of the details of my truth "it" is part of me and therefore has purpose, place, passion, wisdom and needs to be loved with all my other truths. All the other parts of me. I fought against this for years. When I met James, the priest, - my journey to truth began. Annie was buried, silent and afraid. He saw her through my spirit - spoke to her for the first time, and freed her, gave her, her voice.......and gently brought her in to the light. It was a long journey. I did not want to remember, feel and know what happened to me. James taught me, showed me, believed in me and Annie, and so it came to be............I remembered, I felt, I surrendered to truths that are unthinkable, unimaginable, and yet my survival, my existence, my strength and courage are also true and purposeful. I was in a swirl of emotions from paralyzing fear to agonizing memories and cathartic recall that almost broke me. But it didn't break me, I am full memory, full disclosure, full truth. All love. Amazing.

When I was to finish my journey with Daniel, the co-pastor - the truth became a tool - a means for Daniel to use me and Annie. I obeyed - like a good Catholic girl should. I believed Jesus was guiding him and that he loved me. He told me again and again that he did and that he would never hurt me and that Jesus would help him sacrifice that so I could be free. I followed him without question, - doubt - but never question, and so he brought me to my knees.....and James found me. And later said it never happened. The priesthood is quite a brotherhood of deception and cover-ups!!!

I survived. It was the only time I ever wanted to die - but I didn't. I survived, I stood up again and I fought. I found an honorable and professional therapist with appropriate boundaries and no "agenda" except to help me heal. And I did. Amen.

Annie is alive and well. I do believe that most of us have an "inner child" we need to be in touch with intimately. I learned that every decision I make needs to consider how the little girl in me will be effected. I picture me at a young age and ask, "how will this effect her?" It is so wondrous how doing that changed my life for the better forever.....Annie is my guide, my most powerful source of courage and strength. I adore her. And to think that for years I was so ashamed and so intent on hiding her - hiding my truth. No more.

I hope you are all in touch with your inner child and that you always give that part of yourself a voice and a place in your life. To do so is all loving, all surrendering, al purposeful, all freeing, and life giving to you and everyone you meet.

I will end with another favorite song of mine and of my brother-in-law Kel's - who died just six months ago - and saw his last sunrise htrough his wife's eyes and his two son's eyes as they all looked out that window facing East - kel's oldest son, Clayton? He was waiting just the other side of the sunrise - open arms to welcome Kel home.


Monday, July 20, 2009

MY 100TH POST!!!!!!

I am quite excited that that is my 100th post. It is a land mark, so to speak. One of my first thoughts as I approach this marker was of my Grandmother - my Mom's mom. She died when I was eight. I remember her so well though. She made home made macaroni on Sundays and always had the largest peaches on her table. She always had loose Brioschi in her front apron pocket and munched on it all day like candy. She called my Dad - "Jackie" - which was not his name. :-) She was first generation here form Sereno, Italy, landing at Ellis Island around the turn of the century give or take 10 years. She was a "Luciano" and definitely related to "Lucky" (the gangster).......that part of my heritage is fascinating. Weddings and funerals in our family looked like something right off the set of the 'Soprano's.... My grandmother raised six children on her own during the depression. Her husband died at age 39 of pneumonia. She died at age 60. I recall gong to her 'wake'. It changed me forever.

Back to my original thought. My Mom told me that when she was a little girl and my Gram would dry the silverware and put it in the draw in the table she would count............." ninety hundred" as she put the last two pieces in the drawer!!! Clearly there were not 99 pieces of flatware but she always said ".........ninety nine, one hundred"!! Now a days that would be called OCD!! :-) So as I write my 100th post I was reminded of my grandmother's OCD, "...............ninety nine, one hundred".

I thought some 'snippets' of previous posts would be fitting............. and this is a long post, so settle in, ok?


Hi and welcome............

I am Gail, from the east coast. I will keep this short. Your "It" is your truth(s). People go to great lengths to separate themselves from themselves, up to and including death. Wishing so desperately that something they did or that was done to them was not true. The challenge and purpose, I hope, of this forum is for people to find a place to stop running from themselves; TO STOP AND STAND IN THEIR OWN TRUTH, FINALLY, AND FACE "IT" WHATEVER "IT" IS.....


For the sake of this writing let's all agree that acceptance happens in our heads. It is a conflict of thoughts; bargaining, arguing, angering, resisting, denying, fighting, wishing, praying, begging, raging - getting the picture? It is pure chaos!

So what of surrender then? It happens deep inside. It is a total experience and captures our essence and core. It is: a relief, peaceful, hopeful, freeing, pure, cleansing, and has a new direction. New direction? Yes. A new direction. Stay with me here.


I challenge you to look at the people in your lives and put them in that fenced in area with you. If there were an event that dictated you getting out of that fenced in area would they go over the fence and leave you behind or would they reach back and help you to safety. You already know which people in your life would go on without you and which one's would never leave you behind. Get rid of the one's that would go on without you and hang on tightly to the one's that would never leave you behind and that are truly "Over The Fence" people. And by the way, which one are you?


Hi, my name is Annie. Yes- Annie. She is me, the kid in me. Every adult should name the kid in them. The professionals refer to that as the 'inner child'. I like, - 'the kid in me'. Now that I have freed her to "be" that part of me is alive and vibrant and strong and loud and rebellious and a trouble maker, playful and a fighter and scared and courageous and cautious and brave and to think I tried to keep the kid in me hidden because she is a wounded kid too. No one can see or know of the wound, the "it", right? Shudder at the thought. Fooey.



I mentioned James in an earlier post. James is a priest, well he was, now he is a minister in a non-Catholic arena. Anyway, James dug Annie out of the grave; freed her, parented her, challenged her, loved her, listened to her, scolded her, played with her, cared enough to even shake her once, and he promised her a life time friendship and then one day he was gone.

This really got me to thinking about my "nests". I have my "home-nest", my "family nest", my "friend's-nest" my "work-nest", my "community-nest", my "blog/email-nest", my "town-nest", my "state-nest", and my "country-nest" For this writing my focus will be on the first few; home-family-friends-work. That is where most of my"world" matters on a day to day basis. It is where and how I have chosen to belong and with whom.
I am living and loving in some promises given and received these days and I have been for almost 20 years. These promises, vows, have become ever more important, increasingly valuable, life sustaining, celebratory, comforting, contagious, enlightening, powerful, and enforced every day. I look back upon a myriad of broken promises and the 'promise' I have been gifted with in my life for almost two decades surpass and over shadow all the broken promises that shattered me before. They are all a distant memory. Their purpose? - was to give me great delight in the vast difference of then and now.



November is my favorite month of all, Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. I muddle through October. October is when I first encountered the teacher. October was also the final "IT" with Daniel, the priest. The colors and smells are quite provoking. October is also the month my Dad died, October 22nd to be exact. It is 25 years this year - a very odd and distant, yet 'only yesterday' marker.


After being ordered to remove clothing I waited nervously as I stood awkwardly before the monster who glared at me anxious to make me his next victim. I was exposed, half naked and frightened. I felt his cold stare and saw the strength of his stature and knew there was no escape. It was just me and him. I was given commands to move closer to him and stay still. His touch was anything but kind and his intent was to look through me and enter me in places I couldn't see or reach

Apricot Brandy!

"I am going to buy myself a bottle of apricot brandy"!!

Hearing those words from my Mom this morning filled me with gratitude and hope. She had received some money in one of her birthday cards and decided to 'treat herself' for her "85th"
birthday, tomorrow. Of all the things she could have said she needed to do or get or deal with she spoke happily of apricot brandy.

"CHOICE" and how not to be "Tied To Te Whipping Post"

I just deleted a "post", titled "Tied To The Whipping Post", named after a song by the Allman Brother's Band. I saved it in a document for later posting. It wasn't time. Perhaps it will never be the right time.
I was definitely strongly challenged regarding an understanding I live by that explains perfectly, all human behavior. I am going to put it out here for your considerations. I have touched on this in earlier posts. Here goes: This is founded in William Glasser's 'Choice Theory' upon which the counseling style 'Reality Therapy' was developed. For this writing the focus will be an explanation of 'Choice Theory', earlier referred to as 'Control Theory'. To validate my right to even explain this I will tell you I am certified in this theory, on the Board of Directors of The New England Association of Reality Therapy and live freely, not blaming or as a victim by knowing its rationale.

A new tradition has been born with "HOPE." I realized that this Norfolk Pine is a tangible reflection of hope. In honoring that thinking, we hung two items on her diamond dust needles. Items that mean 'hope' to us
The oppressed memory, now active has facets of insight that slowly have made their intent known to me. I am accepting, however I am ridiculously surprised. How can that be given all I have embraced? And, I am remembering the other victim - made to watch, we were eleven.

I am blessed to love and be loved. I am filled with gratitude that all my senses are alive - I can see, smell, touch, hear and taste. I can see the beauty of Winter, - I can smell the warmth of wood burning, the innocence of snow and the spices of Winter foods, I can touch my family and friends in long embraces, I can hear music, laughter and wind and ice storms and words of love and kindness, I can taste the delicious bounty of home made traditional holiday foods and wine. I am surrounded by all of it and I am drowning myself in every wondrous simple truth.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I Was Lost And Now I Am Found

Somehow, as of late, I lost myself on this blogging venture. My blog is about truth. It is about owning my truth and loving myself regardless of the details. It has been no easy journey to self, to the truth and I am integrated with it all. My writings also give honor to my life as it is today. I am blessed to be very content in my marriage. Our love is kind, adoring, purposeful, powerful, peaceful and free. We share these gifts of "us" and our humble home with others as it is impossible to contain, nor would we want to. It is bigger than "us."

MBB is solid. A pillar of all that is good and 'just' in this world. He has an amazing sense of humor too. He often wishes I would have saved his dead twin, claiming he would have carried it around in a jar with him. I have no doubt that he would. (MBB is my son, the post is titled "My Best Boy")

Friday, January 16, 2009

All We Need Is Love

I am safe here, protected, if you will. I have no fear of ground war attacks or missiles being fired or raids of any kind. I live in peace. I make no apologies for this - it is the life into which I was born. And we live quite simply - try not to take more than we need and we give back often until it hurts. We share.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Room With The Window Facing East

She said, "I need a room where there is a window facing East." The woman nodded with understanding, assuring her it would be so. She felt accomplished, successful and certainly relieved that she could make this happen, for him - her husband of 40+ years, and for her too -committed to honoring his wishes. She said, I know how to do what is necessary for death but I don't know how to do the dieing. I answered, "yes you do Sis, you are doing it."
Their 45 year relationship had it's share of events. They were not spared nor were they denied all life has to offer and take away. They weathered every storm and rallied together like a force to be reckoned with. Three sons - all strong and right. Their eldest? Died an untimely death at age 32. And where most would fall apart they bonded together. After all is said and done, love won. Yes, love withstood the tests of time and tragedy, and illness and became alive again through truth and understanding and honoring one simple request of millions over the years.. What brought them together back in 1962 is still evident today. I know because I witnessed it. Those words, "I need a room with a window facing East" will stay with me forever. To think of all that we ask, even demand of those we love and selfishly at times refuse or resent doing and at the end - it all comes down to just one room with one window facing East, two people that survived against all odds, loved no matter what, forgave and held on, raged and relented, believed and kept hope alive - so on this day, one day in January they can sit together, hand in hand, facing East and watch the magnificence of the sun rising upon them, together, one more time.

Love Gail
I laid my head on his chest and for a while I covered him with cascading hair and tears - I whispered - "I love you Kel." The music played on...............'Blowin In The Wind, '500 miles', 'Stew Ball', 'Lemon Tree', a Jewish final prayer was sung to him. His body stayed warm - giving back what felt like love and essence to those surrounding him. The love in the room was bigger than death.

Rest now Kel, rest...............................

Monday, February 9, 2009

At The Core

Kel's death has had a profound impact. It is interesting to me, considering my own thoughts; fears, hopes, denials, realities, and what it all means. In one breath I am telling Skipp we need to buy two cemetery plots where the rest of my family is and will be buried and in the next breath I am saying, fuck it -let's just sell everything, buy an RV and take off. I like the idea of an RV because it would have it's own bathroom which, is one of my realities - the need to have a bathroom in close proximity.

I am lucky to have a best good friend. I can tell her anything and I never worry about judgment or an 'eye-roll' or a raised eyebrow. We trust each other with our secrets and we celebrate our joys and agonize over our sorrows. JoJo and I are forever friends - of the heart.

Our trip to the South Bronx to visit our son for his 25th birthday was perfect. The high school at which he teaches English is a castle, yes, a castle right in the middle of the South Bronx. (post dated 3/19/09.)
The Canadian geese seem delighted with one another too. She dotes, he hunts, and then they calmly sail along, side by side......................stopping only to poke at each other as if to say, "I'm glad you are mine". (post- 3/29/09).


As the song builds so do I - to tears and my hands raised in desperate hope - hope that one day we can all reach across lines of prejudice, difference, and indifference and offer acceptance, understanding and love. Oh yes, I am an idealist and proud of begins with you and with me-what we teach our children and those we influence - the change begins with you and with me. In this song one Mom believed in the innocence of one daughter - joined her in her desire to love. The power of that is great (post 4/1/09.)

Great song- great video :-)

A universal understanding - A smile. :-) (Post w/video dated 4/6/09)

Everybody hurts, some time, hold on...................... this song, wow. It sends chills, ya know? I was commenting over at Grizzlies amazing site about nature, and Easter and traditions around Easter, what was, what is no longer, what is, and I found myself sharing that "it" hurt then and "it" hurts now. His responses were beautiful, and comforting and understanding and with what I experienced as heartfelt concern and wishes for me to move on, let go, be happy. All of his wishes are true, - I have moved on, I am happy - and I believe this is true because I have not let go. Let me explain:

I believe people go to great lengths to separate themselves from themselves, - up to and including death. I have witnessed this in my work in addictions services countless times. This fight to separate is almost always about something they did or something that was done to them that they wish were not true. For me, what I experienced at the hands of Roman Catholic Clergy is unimaginable, and yet "it" is true, "it" is part of my truth. And the truth is "it" hurt me, deeply. No matter how far I move on or how much I heal the experience was what it was and in my moving forward I honor that. I am actually grateful I can feel "it" when I choose to. The difference is, I am in charge now - "it" is my experience to accept as it happened. My wishing it were not true would be wasted energy and I would be living falsely were I to try, let alone succeed. My past is just that, my past. I cannot pick and choose which events I will hold on to or let go of, they are all part of my unique tapestry of design - all the colors that make me, me. Each one is as it should be.

When a day, such as Easter comes along I remember years passed when I was part of a faith community and so yes, I 'feel' the loss and I remember why I am no longer involved with church. The why is painful, it is suppose to be, I was hurt. At the same time I realize my strength, gifts if you will that resulted from the hurt. My faith is strong, my wisdom abounds, my surrender and acceptance of it all is integrated. What is tragic betrayal and frightening abuse are also some of my greatest gifts because "it" is part of me, and a source of my strength. In order for me to love myself I must love all of me. I didn't come to this place easily or quickly - it was/is a journey and I arrived, whole and enlightened.

So yes, "Everybody hurts" hold on, I did................don't let go. There is a price for that - a high price. What I did with the truth, the hurt is the greater promise - reality......because now, "it" no longer has me tied to the whipping post - I am free, and not of the experience, quite the opposite -I am free to "be", dare I say, in the light because I don't have to hide or keep "it" hidden - remember, "it" is now one of my gifts of self, - I, like you, are a gift - and nothing, or no one can take that from me or from you, only if I/you let them. Don't let them. And don't let go, hold on.............................and at the risk of over-stating, this is "tragedy to triumph", yes, triumph, indeed.

I think this song is a perfect way to conclude my 100th post. Almost perfect. You, like me, have to hang on.........
hold's all good.

Love Gail

Now this is perfect.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Glorious sadness.......

This is one of my all time favorite songs - for many, many reasons. I believe there is 'truth' in these lyrics and 'truth' is the theme upon which this blog is designed - and upon which my life is built. "knowing My It's" or as the blog is titled "KNOW YOUR ITS"....

This song touches me deeply. You?

"...........................and this glorious sadness that brings you to your knees" Imagine the words glorious and sadness together. I understand those words combined all too well. As we surrender to some deeper truth, some consuming reality, some life changing event it is glorious in it's opportunity and sad in it's often harsh demands. But ah!! I rise, rise up to face it - tears streaming - arms stretched out to whomever is watching, scream to whomever is listening, and whisper "I believe" - some times I falter, and bang my clenched fists to the ground, curling up and away from light and truth and challenge - but to what end? My despair changes nothing -

and yet I declare my right to feel despair, and rage and question "why"? I have my tantrum - I don't apologize for it either. It is exhausting but I tantrum until it is over and not one moment before. With swollen eyes and red face I collapse - I look a fright! Agonizing does that to a person. I feel empty now - relieved even - I can rest now - quietly and be comforted by all that surrounds me. Funny how we don't really recognize or acknowledge that which comforts us until we need comforting. Comforts are often taken for granted. My pillow feels softer, my sheets cool and protecting. My long hair swirls my neck and face like a veil of shadows that disguise. The faces of my stuffed animals look up at me adoringly each one cuter than the next. The pictures on end tables and walls of family and precious memories speak to me with reminders of what is mine. The sparkling seltzer with little ice cubes and a fresh lemon slices soothes and cools my lips and mouth and throat. There are arms to hold me and eyes to gaze into - there are words of support and love spoken and unspoken. The sun filters through Windows and sky lights and the wind sets the chimes in harmony. The scents of flowers and wet grass and the sounds of birds sweet voices and bulky frogs bellowing fill my senses. And so it is, the truth is still the truth - regardless of it's nature - and the arms of the angels extend out from every where and in every form. I need only to relax and be embraced.

And so I will do just that.

Love and comfort

Thursday, July 16, 2009


These are some of our guests for breakfast each morning. They wait patiently for their meal to be served. The finches are all set since their food is in their feeder. The others wait for me to get up and serve them. I love it!!
I love the predictability of their arrival each day. I find it comforting, secure, and without pretense. They show up as is, and partake of the meal set out for them. I don't need to fuss or dress up or even comb my hair - I sit at the table in my jammies, sipping hot coffee and watch my guests enjoy themselves. Sometimes they quibble over a peanut or dried berry - no different than us humans wanting the cheese that slid off our slice of pizza and was left behind in the box. I am quite territorial over such things. :-)

I love to entertain. And these guests are delightful.

Over the years so many have sat at our table and enjoyed a meal and some wine and good conversation. As my life continues to redefine I am remembering so many faces, hearts, spirits, laughs, tears, holidays and celebrations and a squabble or two. Hi-chairs and booster seats, stools, chairs and upholstered benches that supported many a behind - round tables and harvest tables and picnic tables covered in dinnerware and deep blue glasses and sippy cups and plastic bowls and crystal stem ware and gold plated flatware and airplane shaped forks and plastic utensils and cloth napkins and paper napkins and sometimes paper towels and bibs and salt and pepper shakers and old hand me down bowls and corning ware dishes filled with foods all prepared with love and just the right seasonings. Oh yes, many many people have 'broken bread' with us. And as my Dad would say, "If you leave this house hungry or sober it's your own damn fault"!!!!! :-)

I am a bit nostalgic today. I had my appointment with my neurologist. I am pleased. Odd word to use because I am talking about letting go of my life's work - at least in how I was able to perform it for over 20 years. As harsh a reality as this is I am relieved I know. He asked some finite questions which had defined conclusions. I have been hanging on to the hope that my symptoms were going to improve - and therefore I would be able to perform my job. Not the case - where I am at is just that - where I am at - I can manage this - I can remain independent - I can be true to my limits and enjoy my freedoms. Pushing myself to perform beyond my ability will further lessen the quality of my life. Again, I am glad I know. Next month is more tests and collecting "hard data" to support my managing my health. I see him again, mid-September to conclude and define. The hand writing is on the wall - as the saying goes.

So what does this have to do with breakfast with my wild life fiends, or nostalgia for the many meals shared for many reasons - it is quite simple actually - I am hanging on to what is mine from days gone by and days ahead. I am cushioned nicely in between. Oh there will be many meals and celebrations in our home with family and friends - and there will be many breakfasts with my wild life friends - so as much as so much has changed - so much is still the same. I am moving along the spectrum savoring every moment albeit it harsh or freeing - it is life, my life....

Love Gail

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Deer - "The Circle Of Life"

I was so thrilled when this lovely and large deer wandered out of the woods the other day. I was having a "lemon-gin-fizz" with my friend/mate from Australia - Dale. We both were so excited by the visit from the woods. She stayed a while, the deer and my friend!! :-) The rabbit came as well, although she stayed in the shadows so the picture was a blur.

I love when friends come by - planned and unexpected. There is always enough food, and a place at our table is quickly set - or chores that can be put aside so to spend time visiting. I am discovering and exploring a freer life style as I limit my work schedule to balance and manage my health. I thought this would be so hard to adjust to - and quite the opposite I am finding is true. I do feel some loss of my work as what I did was not a job to me but rather a calling - a ministry of sorts. Serving those in need during the height of their addiction crisis is challenging and intense and I was 'called' - 'destined' to serve those in need. And so, as I relax in nature, and find purpose in what bird seed to purchase and how to 'serve' the wild life that is all around me - it is, quite a change. And yet, I am easing into it without regret. In my twenty plus years as an addictions counselor I have had the privilege of being part of thousands of people along their journey to wellness. I am forever changed for having served so many. And, in some small way, I made a difference in their lives, as well. I know my ability to continue serving those in need at a full time or even part time employment basis is closing in - closing down - as doing so will make managing my health very difficult and could, in fact, increases my symptoms should I push myself. I have been wrestling with this reality - and holding on as best I can. I have a couple of fingers still clinging to the ledge - almost, but not quite ready to let go. Such things are NOT events, but rather a process.

I am pleased, for the most part, with the grace and calm I am experiencing as I surrender to my life's direction. Some mornings I am fooled, when I am particularly refreshed and feel energized. And so I embark excitedly, doing laundry, and cooking a meal ahead, and then I start to wane - feel the fatigue - the strain - and I know - I must balance and manage - and were I at my place of employment I would need to forge on and my symptoms would intensify - and then I am clear that I am right where I am suppose to be - home. - where I can stop and rest, manage and balance, pick and choose what I will and wont do, can't and can do - Sometimes I feel moments of anger at this disease and how it impedes me. I quickly move to all that I CAN do so long as I honor my symptoms and manage my life.

Knowing I will be retiring on full time disability soon is not easy to say. And so I am writing it, here, to all of you. I have some medical tests in August - I will meet with my neurologist again and the final decision will be made. In speaking with him today - he does not want me to return to work while I am having tests and until I am re-assessed. And so it is that I will be home. A place I love so very much. A haven, a sanctuary - a healing and loving tree-house.

And so what of the deer that came by? She, for me, means that the opportunities are endless in nature - that it is my time now to savor and explore and view and smell and feel all of it - I can be open to the unexpected and willing to go with the flow of the moment as never before possible. I am reminded of my childhood - a time when I was free to explore my yard and the woods and the apple orchard and the lakes and oceans. I had time and I was inquisitive and I loved exploring every season and all it's glory. And so I have come full circle - like a child again - free to explore and ally with nature - truth - perhaps an innocence again - caring for all of God's creatures.

and so it it goes.

Love Gail

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Before The Storm

Watching this storm build was wondrous, powerful, ominous, assuming, exciting, erotic, and determined. The wind stirred and the leaves turned every which way as the sky blackened and the noise thickened. I felt it's wrath surround me and have little concern for how I would be effected. The strength of the wind danced a vigorous step and the pellets falling like bullets stung my bare arms and face. I saw bright light streak in a jagged, razor sharp line, promising fire. The loud crack and train like rumbles came from every direction, or so it seemed. I was consumed with anticipation and an odd hope for a fierce and wild experience.

The sky lightened - the noise thinned, the leaves calmed, the stinging pellets began to fall like delicate pearls and the promise of a fierce and wild experience was broken. I was ready though, ready indeed.

And so storms as they arrive and strengthen are so much like life as it unfolds, - darkens, brightens, strengthens, weakens, promises, disappoints, frightens, calms, challenges, provides, surprises, predicts, excites, deflates, and we each forge on through every storm - to celebrate the glory of the light and calm when it is over - only to do it all over again and again. Are we crazy? Oh I think not. We are determined, just like the storms and the aftermaths - we are hopeful of truth and surrender - we are faithful to what is promised and believed - we are strong, stronger than ever imagined - we are resilient and resourceful - we are everything and nothing - we love harder and trust. Through every storm, all of us, who are here reading this and alive knows what I am writing about - and so for all your storms survived - each one preparing you for the next - I want to honor your courage, mine too - because somehow, on the end of some lightning bolt or wind tunnel or tossed leave we ended up here, together. and I think that is amazing and miraculous. "Thank you" for fighting to survive all your storms so I could be blessed with the gift of having each and every one of you in my life today. Amen.

Love Gail

Nature realized.

I am quite the amateur, I know. Compared to Grizz and Wanda - my goodness. I did, however, want to elevate the mood of my blog a bit given the depth and intensity of the last two posts. Our garden, yard, flowers are also "truth" - life giving parts of my world that sustain me and bring me great joy.

The center, top - is along the side of our house. The top left? I wanted you all to see my herb pot. The clay pot in the front is over flowing with mint, basil and parsley. My sister made up the herb garden pot for me for Mother's Day. Nice, huh? The first photo is a close-up of the herb-garden. The daisy? The first that bloomed this season!! And the yellow flower? There are many, many of them as you can see. Please, can you tell me what they are called?? :-)

We so enjoy our garden and all that it offers in sight, scent, and a play ground for the birds, and the bees, and the butterflies and the deer which eat some of the flowers. There are statues and signs and stones and a cart and a painted vase placed about, as well. It is so colorful and full with life and offerings. :-)

We love our simple,humble home and we know how blessed we are. The pond out front is a habitat for wild life and turtles and frogs and fish and the heron and geese and ducks. The brook that surrounds us feeds the pond and maintains the balance and flow for life. Very much like a metaphor for the sources that flow life in to each of us. We don't fuss a lot with nature rather we align with it. And in that way the natural beauty with all it's perfect imperfections is realized - right before our very wondrous eyes.

Peace, love and nature to you all

Tuesday, July 7, 2009



Here's another side of me, two sides perhaps. After watching "THE WRESTLER and "DOUBT", both of which drove me wild for very different reasons. I must admit, I am many things. each with their own purpose, experience, style, truth, design, and passion, Oh yes, passion. For all my simplicity, peace, introspection, faith, hope, love, compassion, - I am wild. Wildly passionate. The video below, "Everlast" - from the series "Saving Grace" - Oh my - I am intrigued, excited, fascinated, by the song, the show, by her - I love her character, Grace - the challenges, the history, her friends, family, her work, her Angel, her passion and strength - loyalty and honesty, her fears and weaknesses, her secrets, her inhibitions, desires, her dog, and how hard she works at everything. She is confident and yet in her quiet times alone, quite insecure. Ah, but she hides that as she 'fights' for justice and love of family and friends. she is quite promiscuous - it fills a void - puts her in charge - her way to conquer past traumas. Sound familiar to anyone?

Great song huh? I shared my love for Grace as a precursor to my writing about the movies. "The Wrestler" and "Doubt". I am in character somewhat to do so - Grace's character. It is an armor of sorts, a protection, a fierce approach, if you will. I may sound "out of character" for those of you who know me - and it is because I am - I apologize in advance for any harsh realities written in harsh tones and aggression - and as much as I am out of character it is a part of me I can access but seldom do.. Call it my dark side, or perhaps where I am moved to a rawness that is seldom exposed. I believe we all have that side to us - it is created from extremes survived - get it?!!

First, "The Wrestler". Mickey Rourke is absolutely amazing. He is really nice to look at. Talk about fantasy!! More importantly, he is passionate about his life's work as a wrestler. He lost a lot because of it. I was moved to tears by his desperate re-union with his daughter. He failed even after a tear-jerker' of a moment they had. In the end, he died for her and because of her. He was continually haunted by his life - and remained true to his truth - sometimes the truth can destroy us - his did.

"Doubt" I was an emotional mess at the opening scene. Phillip Seymour Hoffman - as Father Flynn. There he was on the altar giving his sermon - the faithful, trusting him - hanging on his every word - as he professed to be a man of God - and all the while he was "diddling" a boy, an altar boy - Donald. And Meryl Streep - Sister Agnacious - She knew - she stood firm - she had certainty . In the end, her certainty became doubt - the church and all it's pompous arrogance was embedded in her spirit - it made her doubt herself - this being the biggest tragedy. I know this doubt - when I filed suit against the arch-diocese and I asked the priest who knew everything to speak on my behalf he said he had no idea what I was talking about - I thought I was going out of my mind - it was a crucial moment of doubt - so powerful it was the only time I ever wanted to end my life. This doubt represented years of strict Catholic Italian upbringing and religious guilt. This doubt was life shattering, life changing, and life as I knew it ended on many levels.

Eventually the whole experience of doubt was life-giving as I emerged with new faith, new insights, new direction-purpose-hope-healing and after years - forgiveness. Quite a journey.

So what is the connection to Grace, The Wrestler and Doubt? Grace is courageous as she faced her past traumas and is on a journey to wholeness. She is filled with doubt and determination. The wrestler surrendered to his truth, the outcomes to his choices and tragically died doing so. He too was on a journey to wholeness and died trying. Doubt? It is a strong emotion which leads people in directions that often destroy them. Why, why, why? Even though Sister Agnacious stood firm to her certainty, in the end her doubt crushed her. Self doubt can be paralyzing.

As I reflect on my strong emotional reactions after watching these movies intertwined with Grace's character I am swirling and remembering. I am Grace, I am The Wrestler, I am Sister Agnacious. I am Grace because I, like her, have fought demons. Although my life's work is not as a cop where I can "get the bad guys" -my work does give me the gift of being part of other's slaying their dragons. I am The Wrestler because I remain true to my truth - even though some of it is horrid it is still me. I felt like him when I wanted to die - I understand his final decision to do so. And Doubt. I stood firm like Sister Agnacious - I was unyielding - and yet in my moments alone with the truth - I had doubt. And truth be told - even today, as I think back - I can doubt my own reality as I feel the power of church-priest-sacrament-sin- still wondering, if when the back of his hand came hard across my face did I deserve it - after all, he was a priest - a man of God. I should not have resisted him. Yes, I have doubt - for all my certainty - for all my standing up and fighting - for all my crushed beliefs -betrayal -that I KNOW to be true - I have moments of doubt. And so I carry that doubt, hidden but there all the same - allowing it to surface when provoked such as with Grace, The Wrestler and Doubt - Recalling that him hitting me was the act of aggression that brought me to light - even all else that he did as he prayed over me, telling me how proud of me he was, that he loved me and was sacrificing himself for me so I could be well - I believed him, I trusted him, right up until he back-handed me.

I am many, many things. It is a miracle I can write this - know this - feel this - believe this - and fear your rejection because most folks want to reject such truth. Do you reject this, me? Do you?

Okay, enough huh? Just know I have no expectation of you one way or the other. I have long since stopped expecting. Regardless, I am here, still me, still a woman of peace and wisdom - love-and compassion, humor, and trying every day to keep it in"neutral". And ya, I 'wrestle' with 'doubt' at times, do you?

Love Gail

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The lesser of two evils. = Crossroad

I don't handle dismissal well - especially when I believe I matter. And I believe it because purpose and place have been defined through endless opportunities and shared experiences while developing trust. I then come to know where I am most welcomed and who I am in the lives of others and the same is true for them in my life. I come to value and hold very dear the place and space I have made for someone and I also value and hold dear the place and space I believe is being held dear by them for me. This understanding is unspoken, - it just becomes. It does require nurturing, and time spent, and honesty and challenge and humor and acceptance and kindness to sustain. In other words, it is part of my life, a choice I make to give life to that space and place between me and someone else. These spaces and places have varying degrees of intimacy, contact, sharing, time, understandings of purpose and they become quite defined over time and take on an element of design specific to each person in my life. I come to know who and why someone is in my life and also why I am in theirs. I like that very much - it feels secure and true and can continue on without much fuss. I don't like fuss.

When something happens that changes the design, challenges the space and place I find that most unsettling. When I thought the space and place we each created in our lives was secure and held a defined purpose and suddenly, when I believed I would so be a part of the next chapter in that person's life and I come to know otherwise!! WTF??!!! I really don't know what to do with that change. Do I just say, "hey, whatever, call me when you think I have a place again?" That doesn't feel right at all. Also, when I care about someone and have shared in their journey and then I am left at a crossroad I feel lost. At least for that space and place reserved and honored for that person. That space and place becomes very much in the fore front, riddled with wonder and question, concern and confusion. I believed I had my place, an unshakable place, Hah!! I was quite wrong. I don't do the push pull thing well. Either I am in or I am not. That is not to say that I don't respect privacy, personal space, time to regroup etc., I just don't like being dismissed. Not only is the person dismissing me and the space and place I hold precious for them - my space and place within them is closed, as well. I find it very comforting to know that I have a space in place in people's lives. I respect that gift and value the inclusion very much.

I don't understand this part of human nature. I think it is one of the cruelest things people do to each other - Create a space and place and then close it off. I have never done that to anyone - Except to Marc which I mentioned in an earlier post and promised to write about some day. I have certainly isolated or been less than forthcoming but I found a way to do that without closing off the space and place within me unless it was the end of the relationship and we both knew that was so. As was the case with Marc. Otherwise, all the spaces and places inside me that belong to the people in my life are never closed and no one is ever left wondering and confused. I think such dismissal is selfish and cruel.

And now, here I am struggling to dismiss someone in my life. Go figure. Maybe dismiss is not the right word. I desperately want them to stay. The changes in them are so hard to ally with that keeping them close is dangerous and unhealthy. I recall and hold dear who they once were, who we once were to and for one another - except now that cannot be trusted. I have witnessed and experienced behaviors and values that have caused harm. I have tried to shed light and have not been heard. I have been accused falsely and investigated and challenged. I want to be able to tell this person why I am retreating but to do so is a risk for me on many levels. I believe there is a difference between dismissal and retreating. Or I am rationalizing so I don't appear to be the exact type of person I said is cruel. I don't have that answer. I know that the relationship is different and that the trust is broken. Where before this person would have been one of the first people I would call with news, good or bad - now this person is the last one I would call, if at all. How I/we got here is complicated and multi-faceted, - but got here, we have. The only thing that hasn't been said is that we both know it. I haven't said it because if I ever tried to explain why, well, the ramifications of that are endless. And so it is, I am silent - my silence being the lesser of two evils - a crossroad of sorts.

Perhaps those times that I felt dismissed by someone, they too believed their silence was the lesser of two evils. It is something to ponder, for sure.

And now this person has asked to meet and "clear the air". Oh my..........I don't know if this air can be cleared. Again, if I say what I know and tell why I have pulled back, first I don't believe my words will be understood or heard as valid and second I believe the information will be "spun" away from my intent and meaning to satisfy the other person's agenda. I can't even begin to imagine that my view of a good outcome is possible. And that is because it is not. So, what do I do? Meet with this person and just listen - maintain my silence and defend nothing? Don't meet and prolong the asking to meet. Quite the dilemma. And I know all about that poem about how people come in to our lives for a reason, a season, a life time, blah-blah-blah- I get it!!! :-)

Still, right now, as I come to terms with which one this person is, - it is a conflict, a reason? a season? a life time? The poem doesn't make it all hurt any less - it merely gives a language to put on my tears......

Love Gail

Saturday, July 4, 2009


"Assume the position..........." Now get your minds out of the gutter or at some shake down- strip search at the road side after a high speed police chase!!. :-) How many times and in how many places do we "get in - and/or assume the position? For example - folks must sit at their desk at work, people lay in bed or curl up in bed to go to sleep, we each have positions in which we relax, people fold their arms when guarded and defiant, a person lowers their head when ashamed or awkward, or turns away when the view is too much, or closes their eyes sometimes to imagine - sometimes to escape, or puts their head in their hands in despair, and raises their hands in celebration, or glares in a valiant effort to hold steady, and drops to their knees in prayers of anguish or relief, - so as humans we 'assume positions that ally with our determinations and intentions and feelings. Body language is 96% of communication. It is critical to how we are perceived in communication. That is why this forum leaves so much to chance, to assumptions and perceptions that are quite subjective and have little to do with the writer and much to do with the reader. Over time I think we come to 'know' the writer but much is lost.
So what positions can we, should we, assume in blog land? I think open-mindedness for one, honesty, non-judgmental, kindness in our comments, avoid 'knee-jerk' reactions, be respectful, maintain integrity, challenge or question gently, and if a blog style is not to our liking then don't visit it.

I think just about all the blogs I frequent and those that frequent mine are of like thinking about how to visit and comment. I/they "assume similar positions" of respect and courtesy and enjoy the content offered.

To all my readers I want to say "thank you" 'for assuming a position' of integrity when you visit my blog and I will continue to 'assume the same position' when I visit yours.

Love and respect