Posted by: codecalla | November 15, 2017

Courage

What does courage mean?  Does it mean facing our deepest fears and coming out unscathed?  Does it mean running away, and then turning back again?  Courage happens in the smallest acts.  For a writer, it means braving the loneliness of writing, listening to the characters’ voices, and making decisions or following their lead.

For now, my courage means moving forward, listening to the Muse, and trusting that my words, like arrows, will find their niche.

So I will string my bow, lift my arm, and try not to thwapp my forearm or cheek with the string as I release “my word hoard”–thank you, Beowulf.

Posted by: codecalla | November 10, 2017

Waste no Time

I’ve made decisions to do the things I want to do and not wait for the “perfect moment”.  So, I’ve been having more adventures and shake ups to my everyday routine.  One such shake up is learning to paint.  I’ve taken two painting sessions with a paint and sip event [no sipping for me, just painting], and plan for a few more.  I’ve also started movements on other things that a brilliant procrastinator like myself thinks of doing, but doesn’t.  Slowly, step by step, I’ll get to the important stuff.  Perhaps it was Longfellow’s poem Psalm of Life, or perhaps it’s the realization that sometimes you have to act to make things happen.

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Posted by: codecalla | October 28, 2017

October

October is usually a sad time of year for me.  I’ve lost many loved ones during October.  Now is the time when the veil between the living and dead is lifted, when we are more aware of the finite limitations of the living world and the unlimited beyond.

If we followed the old festivals, which followed the patterns of the seasons, harvest, and natural living, we’d feel a closer connection to life.

Instead, we are encased in technological boxes, hardened by plastics, fuses, welds…if you can, take a moment and disconnect from the wired limits and view the boundless around you.  It can be terrifying, beautiful, sad, and breathtaking all at once.IMG_0876

Posted by: codecalla | October 20, 2017

Reflection

How much more difficult is it to face the shadows within ourselves?  How much more difficult is it to accept that those negative feelings exist?  How much more freeing is it to recognize it and accept it?  Then, after accepting that those feelings exist, figuring out how to deal with them?  Instead of hating the self that feels negative emotions, love the self that feels.  Then ask why do I feel that particular way?  Is there anything I can do?

Acceptance and love are much more freeing than hatred and shame.  It’s like nature.  It just is.IMG_0883

Posted by: codecalla | February 25, 2017

Law does not Equal Justice

There is always a danger, when viewing laws or order as more important than people, for injustice to occur.  Arbitrarily making a decision without considering how it affects people will likely have negative outcomes.  Not always, but it is important to consider the consequences of decisions.

Justice is not necessarily legislation or the enforcement of laws.

What kind of country are we?  Voices rise up against the hatred, doubt, fear, and rage spewing forth from those who would be dictator-kings.  There are many more people embracing love and action.

Do not despair, for there are innumerable ways to help weather the tumultuous waves.

  1. Jewish cemeteries were desecrated and vandalized–within a day, money was raised for repair by concerned citizens [also a large part of the Muslim community] and many others offered their assistance
  2. National monuments were vandalized with graffiti–the National Park preservation service is repairing them and cleaning the monuments; police are investigating the graffiti, which they think is the work of one person.
  3. We are inundated with negative news stories 24/7.   Look for the promise of our humanity.  There are many things that we can get upset about, but we also have a great capacity for helping others.  Look for the small things, good things that you can accomplish in your area.  Look for organizations that may help in issues you care about and donate time, money, service, etc.
  4. There are people doing some bad things, but there are more people trying to help.  Don’t let the a**holes have a louder voice.  Hatred and anger do not change hearts, other than your own, by increasing your bitterness.  Focus on the good and try to do good.

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Posted by: codecalla | December 20, 2016

Spontaneous

The worry about this country and whether or not it’s falling apart and that people are divided is a false dichotomy.  People behave very differently in real life apart from online behaviors.  It’s only when people believe fervently what they read without question and then carry out their inclinations that we run into trouble.

America is filled with good people of all faiths, genders, ages, races, and political persuasions.  None of the hatred and vitriol that appear online, have I personally witnessed or experienced.  That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, or that there are not people who have been attacked after a particularly unpleasant election.  These things should be addressed and people should not inflict pain on others, nor gaslight them into believing they are not suffering an injustice.

America is bigger than an election.  It has a big heart.  This heart is what hurts when we see people in pain and try to help them.  This heart is what asks Americans to do what they can for their country without asking what can be done for them.  Is this a fantasy?  Is this the real life?  Is this a Queen song?

I think that the rhapsody of the American people will have different voices, hurts, troubles, and conflicts, but that we can still work together.  Get out of your head, your computer, your phone and look around you.  There is work that can be done close to you.  There are people who need help and things that can be changed, injustices that can be fought for everyone.  We can be kind, empathetic, and understanding.  We can choose strength over weakness–strength of character that chooses to forgive, rather than hold grudges.  Let this holiday season be one of warmth, love, kindness, and happiness, even if our year was tumultuous and painful.

Love and Blessings during this Holiday Season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.img_0520

Posted by: codecalla | October 29, 2016

16 years

For about 16 years I had the privilege of having Dickens as a companion.  I’m filled with grief, wandering around my apartment that feels empty because he is not here.  I have two girl kitties that need attention and love.  I’m trying to provide that, but apprehensive.  One of my cats, Lina, is a “senior” kitty, although younger than Boo and Dickens were.  Loss is difficult to face.

I’ve been fortunate to have kind friends, students, and family who have reached out.

For the last 9 years or so, I have paid close attention to Dickens and his health.  He had surgery, which was traumatic for both of us.  Now that that part of my attention is no longer required, I feel at a loss.  “I don’t know what to do.”

Crying has helped to a degree, but Dickens was my sweet boy.  It’s difficult to face the loss and loneliness his passing has left.  I’m thankful that he is no longer in pain and hopefully he’s being looked after by my loved ones who have also passed.

It’s not even been a week, and I have had to force myself through daily functions, work, and grading.  My heart is not in it, but I am thankful to have had the privilege of knowing him.

The loss of my sweet boy hurts, but he made my life much richer by being in it.

Dickens, my Shah, beautiful boy…I love you.

Posted by: codecalla | October 25, 2016

Dickens

My beautiful boy, Dickens, a 15/16 year old Maine Coon/Tabby mix passed away into the great beyond tonight.  I’ve had him since he was a kitten/rescue/stray.  I named him after Charles Dickens and because he was a bit of a trouble-maker.  He demonstrated why one needs to kitty-proof a house.

One time his tail caught on fire when his tail passed through the flame of a candle on a coffee stand.  Thankfully, I was right there and snuffed it out with my hand before he even realized anything was wrong.

He had a habit of getting in my lap whenever I sat at the desk to work on something.

On his first car trip to meet me, he pooped in the cat carrier for the two hour ride.  My parents were nearly gagging for the entire journey.

He taught my little girl kitty, Lina, how to cat.  Often they would stare out the window, almost perfect silhouettes of each other.

He would pal around with Boo, my late Siamese kitty, and spend hours playing/grooming.

My new kitty, Thirteen, doted on Dickens, and kissed him on the forehead with a lick when he was trying to pass away.

Dickens loved the squishy soccer balls and was quite a star when playing with them.  He absolutely loved those balls and would cry to play.  He would also fetch the balls back to me, so that I could throw it again.

Dickens and Boo were quite adventurous when I lived in a house.  Once they snuck out of the basement window screens and hunkered down, terrified in the back yard until I rescued them.

Dickens loved to have his picture taken.  He would pose while you would take his picture, unlike Lina, who is constantly moving and difficult to capture.

At a dinner with a friend, he sat in the chair, waiting for his portion.  My friend was pretty amused.

Dickens loved watching birds out the window and would chirp at them.

I called him my “Trumpeteer” because he could make sounds in similar fashion.

He was not above playing sick or injured to get some extra TLC.

He had gall stone surgery when he was 7.

I called him my gold-plated kitty, because that surgery cost over $3000.

I had to feed him through a feed tube, with the help of my former roommate, who often threatened to steal him from me.

He’s the descendant of a kitty, Smokey, that I fed in my aunt and uncle’s back yard, who they decided to keep as an outdoor-pet.

He and Boo consoled Bevin, a late friend’s cat after her loss.  They all slept together in a pile.

He purred when getting his head or cheeks rubbed.

He was the best kitty ever.

Posted by: codecalla | October 23, 2016

2016 a Great Year?

I thought that the year 2016 would be great.  Aesthetically pleasing to the eye and even.  Reality is more balanced.  My eldest kitty, Boo, a voiciferous Chocolate Point Siamese, passed away at the beginning of the year.  He was 16/17 years old.  I received sad news about kidney disease on my other, now eldest, kitty, Dickens, a tabby/Maine Coon mix, and he now is starting a slow decline of health at the age of 15/16.  We’ve lost notable musicians, actors, athletes throughout the year.  Now, four years after my closest cousin passed away, her father has also passed in the same month of October.  My uncle was a second father to me, and I’m still processing the loss.

It’s fall, a season of losing the green to make way for winter’s hibernation.  Life is an endless parade of seasons–each one marking a new loss.

What has been gained?  Ephemeral moments that are difficult to recollect because the grind of life continues through work, bills, travel.  New friends, old friends, acquaintances, students, and colleagues.  Life changes as each person finds a new course for their direction.  A series of meetings and partings.  Loss and moments of connection.

My closest aunt was seriously ill and hospitalized, and she’s a second mother to me.  Although her illness was frightening, it allowed us to reconnect.  Not that I thought the connection frayed.  Connections persist long after words fade and meetings end.  At least for me.

How can I connect my words to the void of emotion or sadness?  Words cannot be enough.  Words have power to illustrate devastation and loneliness, to injure and to heal.  But sometimes…sometimes…silence is a gift.  Listening and contemplating.  Connecting to the Muse, clinging to hope, because politics, death, and religion seem to drive people apart, when they should do the opposite.

Why do the deaths of celebrities, artists, musicians, actors, writers matter?   Because they reach out to connect and remind us that we are human.

Posted by: codecalla | January 5, 2016

The Moon

Reading the Tarot is a hobby of mine, but more than that, an exercise of mind and spirit.  The many sets of Tarot cards that I have gathered have beautiful artwork and stories to tell.  Sometimes they can soothe, at others they can force one to take a close look at their lives.  For a mindful life, how can we live in such a way that each day creates meaning?

Is it too exhausting to continue to seek meaning and live fully each day?  Perhaps if we don’t allow ourselves to recharge and find balance.

Reach into the wellspring and find the source.  The source is around and within and it will sustain you throughout the travails you may encounter.

Be thankful for the opportunity and the time you have.

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