Ohh…ouch…life.

I went for a drive one summer evening in New Mexico.  As I drove, I killed a million mice in the attic of my mind.  Yet, the same thoughts kept me captive.  I revisited memories of a few good friends, but no one in particular.  Just this mental collage of  “thems” and “theys.”

They push and pull through life.  They painfully grind through the silky fabric of their existence.  As I drove along, I felt an overwhelming urge to tell them…be…just be.

I understood this to mean:

There is no need to make life fit into your skewed little box, with all the rules that box you in and keep contentment out.  It’s OK to just let go of the control…and let it be.

For me, just the thought of such action created such a euphoric feeling…so free…so limitless…so happy.

What was interesting was in that moment of non-judgement of myself, I realized that that very lesson was actually…for me.

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Of youth

I was like most youngster in high school.  I listened to all the latests music.  Watched the matching videos on MTV (back when they played videos).  I also was a pretty good dancer.  Most importantly, I was “cool.”  I came to college and carried on in the same “cool” fashion.  I remember once being asked by an admirer, “where’d you learn to dance like that?”  I just shrugged as I broke into a another fit of rythm.  I took it as a compliment.

But, something happened when I had kids…I stopped dancing.  My inner Material Girl, gave way to Barney, Kidz Bop and Blacklodge Kids’ Pow Wow Jams.  I had stopped feeding the “me” that knew what cool was.  There was point at which I remember thinking “who are you and what did you do to that dance diva named Lori?!”  Yeah, it was bad.

My kids were in middle school when a friend invited me to go dancing with her at a local latin club.  That night, I danced and danced….so good!  It felt wonderful to find “me” again.  I didn’t stop.   I was there twirling and swaying on the dance floor as often as I could…and I looked and felt amazing!

There were times after that re-awakening that I used to try to teach my girls to dance.  Or, I’d tell them about how I used to dance like a maniac in high school.  They’d just giggle.  They didn’t believe me.   I don’t blame them…they hadn’t ever seen me “do” such things.   And they could hardly even imagine it either.

I saw a post card once that had a quote by William Purkey, ““You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching, Love like you’ll never be hurt, Sing like there’s nobody listening, And live like it’s heaven on earth.”   There is only one part missing….make sure your kids see you doing it all….as proof!  haha

I wrote this poem back then about conflicting perceptions:  theirs and mine.  Today, they still giggle when I try to” bust a move”….if they only knew!

——————————————————————————

I guess I always thought I’d be cool
down with the latest dances
up with fashion
know the music scene
speak the speak
Apparently, I’ve been slipping a bit…
I step on toes
my wardrobe suffers from time warp
isn’t “Bow Wow” what a dog does?
…and COOL just isn’t cool for me to say anymore!

According to two young hip chicks on the verge of life…
I’m old…I’m outdated…I’m over!

But, little do they know…
when the night matures
I unbutton to please
and slip on my shiny, slick black heels
that move with ease
to the hot latin beat
that melts the years from
my mind…my body…my soul.

ROF…minus the L, until now….

My kiddo and her friend were talking about fainting earlier this evening. They asked me if I had ever fainted. I said, “Yup, but only once.”

When I was 12 or so, we lived in the north valley in Albuquerque. It was an awesome little New Mexican style house with arched doorways, built-in bookshelves and no air conditioning! During the summer, me and my little sisters used to sleep in the living room with the front door open. We had a “retro” screen door that was half screen mesh and half tin…at least it sounded tin when we kicked it. It let the cool desert air in and the kept all the wild things contained, like me, my sisters and our cats.

One night, we were sleeping on the floor on a little pallet of blankets and sheets. In the middle of my blissful REM sleep, I heard the screams of our cat outside. Being the instinctual animal caretaker I am, I jumped out of my bed and in one swift move, began running to the door. But, as I ran the world began to spin sideways. I remember the sounds going away and grey speckles taking over my vision….and then….black.

I had fainted.

I had also fainted amidst full momentum towards the tin screen door. Meaning that my body continued to travel at the same “momentous” speed until I slammed into the door!

I awoke in a jumbled mess at the corner of the screen tin and our wooden front door. The horrid sound I made when I landed woke the whole house! My dad found me and kept asking if I was ok.

I had no idea what had happened. I wasn’t hurt. I couldn’t even explain what I was doing on the floor! What makes it even more hilarious is that I don’t even think my cat was outside.

A little dazed and confused, I simply crawled back to my bed and went back to sleep.

For the history buffs….

So, by history I mean Lori’s history.  I live in Lawrence, KS right now.  I’ve been here for more than half of my life (gulp).  I am often torn between home (New Mexico) and home (Kansas).  I have an especially hard time leaving “home” to go “home.”  You still with me?  I still have friends that ask me all the time, WHY (in a derogetory way)???  I also have other friends that still ask, HOW (in an inquisitive, not derogetory way lol)???

So, I guess the question is, “how did this Navajo, high-desert deweller end up at sea-level in middle of America where grass grows in the cracks in the street?”

When I was asked a while ago to write something that could express what my journey to Kansas has been like, it came out a little like this:

—————————————————–

At 17, I imagined myself on top of an open mesa
The world at the tip of my toes
The wind begging to help me take flight
Promising to hold me high and carry me far…

Far          far            far away…I went…

I came to rest in the lush green rolling hills of the Midwest
A place that yearned to be called my “home”
A place that swathed me in warm wet air
A place anxious to help mold me into something magnificent
A place that held me captive by the roots that took quickly to the fertile soil

A new home…far from the ancestors that raced the prairies to visit me each morning

A new life…a fresh beginning…so, so long ago

Today, I stand at the peak of my mountain
Facing into my future
Hands on hips
Feet firmly planted
Not swaying one bit

From time to time, I turn and peer down through squinted eyes
I see my path…the journey so far…
It’s twisted, crooked
Backtracking and looping
And so narrow…and thin that sometimes it disappears
…and I smile.

Sometimes I chuckle remembering where I’ve been
Yet, always thankful
for the people I’ve met
for the experiences that have shaped me.
But…always most thankful to my ancestors who traveled so far from home
To journey with me, side-by-side
Making sure I wouldn’t forget…
My history, my creation, my destiny.

baby, baby

This week I have the priviledge of basking in the company of my niece.  She commands googly attention.  She demands ooohs and aaahs.  She insists on kisses and belly razzies.

and I humbly oblige.

As I sit and stare at her in amazement…with a somewhat silly smirk on my face…I am reminded of just how magical babies are.  Magic in the sense that she is full of wonder…and magic in the sense that they seem to enjoy an invisible world of their own…and magic in the sense that they have the power to stop, even the toughest of chaps, in their tracks and reduce them i

A while back I wrote a short piece about the wonder we call babies…..

———————————————

First, a gasp, and then a cry-

We slip into this world cold and scared;

Searching for the familiar.

We listen in trembling awe to the crystal clear voices of

our mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings.

We emerge prepared for the long journey ahead.

Armed with an incomprehensible knowledge;

we are able to see beyond the veil to what was, what is and what is to come.

And for a short time, sleepy giggles and baby dreams are proof

that we have a lifeline to that familiar preexistence.

Ever gently, we are weaned from our angelic comforters as we slowly come into our own.

We are great souls tucked inside tiny, delicate bodies.

Strong, determined minds lost amid unruly limbs.

Our bodies labor to catch up to our ever emergent minds;

desperately seeking to comprehend a new world with an unsullied curiosity and fascination.

We sanguinely search for the keys to unlock our precious pre-seeded knowledge-

like an enigma that will hold us captive for the remainder of our earthly days.

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