A Stream of Conscious Grief

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I’m sitting on a plane, flying from Tel Aviv, Israel–– after visiting my daughter, son-in-law and my beautiful 17-month-old grandson. Leaving them is always brutal. While I’m there, I lose myself in a beautiful world of baby laughter, love and endless possibility. A daily reminder of the beauty in colors, trees, birds out our window, a tiny rock that fits in his perfect palm. When I leave, it’s like taking all that joy I’m feeling and having it ripped away. Stop. I know it isn’t actually ripped away. Don’t write to me and tell me that. I know. But it feels that way. For weeks I see this little boy, who has become the light of our life, and we bond and build something… and I take in all of his amazingness–– watch him take things in, and figure them out; watch him laugh at what he finds funny; it’s magic, just being with him. And then, I have to leave, and I know he will wake up from his next nap and wonder where I went. And there’s no explanation that he will understand or get. I will get on that plane and be taken further and further from him, until we can spend time again. And I know I will miss him so very much that it is a constant ache. I’ll have to be happy with Skype again. But it’s not the same. (Sorry, no pictures allowed)

This time, I was leaving in time to attend the Women’s March on Washington. I’ve been planning and waiting to do this for weeks; I have good friends, from high school, who are meeting me there. I have other dear friends, from all over the US, who are heading there too. I knew I’d have to leave my beautiful boy, and his parents to do this; I knew it would be hard. But I believe in this. I have felt so shaken, so shocked, so incredibly horrified, for many, many months, but it was clinched on Election Day, when the brief hope I felt was crushed. Crushed is not an over-statement. I haven’t cleared my head since. I haven’t really slept well, and each day, when I wake up and hear something about the state of things, I am dragged right back into that dark reality.

It’s not just that I think Donald Trump is a horrible person–– I do, with no hesitation or doubt, but far more troubling is the realization that there are so many people in our country who don’t care about the horrible things he has said or done, and who add fuel to that bonfire. They roast marshmallows ‘round the pain and humiliation of others. Each time Trump said something that I thought had crossed some line, that would require an accounting for: suggesting all Mexicans are criminals, and more incredibly that a wall should be build to divide us (can you even imagine if Canada said the same of us? I wouldn’t blame them); that women can be judged as fat, or ugly, or there for the taking– grabbed for that matter; that all of the brilliant scientists who have committed their lives to studying our fragile planet, but this arrogant man knows better than them–– each time, I thought “well that will wake people up,” things were back to usual, but with another piece of my faith shaken… Man, I am just repeating myself. I am just saying what everyone who feels like this is saying. But these are the things that make sleep hard.

And because this is a stream of conscious grief, I want to clarify: it’s not about whether I think Donald Trump will be as destructive as I’ve imagined, or as so many more intelligent people than me have speculated; I’ve seen other scary things come and go. I know we are a nation that has overcome, and that continues to overcome–– racism, prejudice, inequality, destruction of our Earth–– not always fast enough, not always the right way, but I hold onto the belief that we are capable. If Donald Trump is as destructive as I believe he is, then Americans will call him out. But for now, it feels bleak, and scary, and… hopeless, some days. On a very deep level, there have been moments when I’ve felt broken, by what feels like so much insanity.

So I was inspired when I heard about the March. I felt like there were others, and there was a place for my passion, shock, and angst. That word, angst, seems silly, but if you look it up, it’s exactly what I’ve felt. I was inspired and excited; I’ve been waiting and planning for this March. I wrote about it; I shared it with others; I’ve channeled my passion in that direction, to stave off hopelessness. I left that beautiful boy early, so that I could go to Washington, DC and stand beside so many other disillusioned and shaken people, who want to stand up and express these things. I wanted to be part of something bigger than my angst. I want to feel the light and love of those people who are willing to stand and say: NO, this is not acceptable. This is not what we are.

I got to the airport, sad to be leaving the lights of my life, energized to do something bigger, and my flight was delayed by 90 minutes. Ninety critical minutes, thrown in my face, after weeks of waiting. The airlines, in their concern for my ability to make the connection, rescheduled me on a flight tomorrow; they assured me that I’ll arrive in Washington, DC by 9:30 the day of the March. The March starts at 10am. And as I finally departed Israel, watching the city below me move off–– knowing that my joy is temporarily ripped from me, and my passion is now delayed, that I am thwarted, I feel such grief. I feel so alone, on this plane full of people, knowing that in a time zone that I’m moving toward, a man who represents everything I’ve spent my life believing was wrong, will represent the country I love.

I have my headphones on. I’m listening to music that means something to me, played in a random order. But right now, This Must Be The Place by the Talking Heads, a song that always brings my children’s faces to me and feels like… home–– right now, it crushes me. I’m surrounded by hundreds of strangers, wondering how many of them hate Mexicans; and don’t trust Blacks; and think that as a woman, I am less; and believe that our Earth is a limited source of whatever makes them rich; and that all Muslims are terrorists; and that Donald Trump will really make us Great Again. And I’m horrified at what that Great might look like, if it means all of these other things. One of my very favorite songs, Peter, Paul & Mary’s The Kid comes on. None of the music feels random today. Of the several hundred songs in my library, why these ones? The Kid has always seemed written for me, but in these moments of grief, it only makes me feel naïve and foolish, even as the beautiful vocals remind me of all that I believe in: I’m the kid who has this habit of dreaming. Sometimes gets me in trouble too. But the truth is, I cold no more stop dreaming, than I could make them all come true.

More music mocking me: Eddie Vedder, Society; Aimee Mann, One; Beethoven; Sia, Breathe Me; Joan Baez, Diamonds and Rust (the original, really!?), and Peter Gabriel, In Your Eyes and I Grieve, back to back. I have tons of dance songs, and happy tunes in my library. Really, I do. Stupid “random” setting.

For these hours and hours, where all that is waiting when I land is suspended, the grief washes over me. I can’t shut it out. When I arrive in Toronto, I’ll run through the airport. My 53-year-old, out of shape legs will burn. I’ll hope that my original flight to DC is still there–– that the weather that has thwarted me today, will have held up that flight too. I’ll run to the Canada Airlines desk and fight to get back on the original flight. If it’s gone, I’ll make my way to a hotel near the airport, and not sleep well, because jet lag and restlessness will thwart me further. For these hours, flying high above the dark Atlantic, this is my conscious stream of grief.

But if I don’t make my connection, then tomorrow I’ll be at the airport by 5am, and I’ll make my way to the March when I land in DC… at whatever point it’s marching. I will try to find my friends, who are also coming from all over, for this. I’ll play music that fires me up. I’ll remember what is important to me. I will March, and I’ll re-channel all of this grief into a mighty NO, THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO ME. THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE! THIS IS MY AMERICA TOO.

Stay tuned…

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GIPYKAPOW!  I didn’t meet the 2016 goal for Likes on the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page; missed it by 14! So this year, I’m not setting a goal. I’m grateful for each Like I get. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does (yes, for real)! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. Honest, constructive feedback is always appreciated. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email,  no spam.

©2017  All content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, I’m grateful, but please give proper credit and Link back to my work; plagiarism sucks!

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Friday Fictioneers: Make Us Great Again

I am writing this and posting, but know that I’ll have little chance to read and comment on other stories this week. Thursday is my final day with my gorgeous grandson, before I leave Tel Aviv (Friday) and head for Washington, DC for the March on Washington, on January 21st. Something tells me I’ll be a wee bit distracted. I totally understand if you others don’t read my story this week. Thanks to those who do. If you want to read about why I’m headed to DC, this is currently featured in Huffington Post.

I’m grateful each week to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, for her boundless energy and commitment to Friday Fictioneers. If you’d like to learn more or join in, check out her blog Addicted to Purple. Thanks to Dale Rogerson for this week’s photo. As always I welcome honest, constructive feedback; please leave a comment.

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© Dale Rogerson

 

Make Us Great Again

From loss we came together. Through passion, we created and found cause and purpose.

Curled in the darkness you took root and grew. We felt hopeful again.

Waiting and counting, we loved you and grew strong again–– knowing that you would change everything and make us whole once more.

Then you came. Out from the darkness, unfurled and precious, you slipped.

And we were there to greet you, with hearts full and grateful.

Hope, passion, and truth, you are.

Defiance and strength, we shall call you.

So we came together, and Marched in your name, and we were whole again.

(Exactly 100 words)

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GIPYKAPOW!  I didn’t meet the 2016 goal for Likes on the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page; missed it by 14! So this year, I’m not setting a goal. I’m grateful for each Like I get. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does (yes, for real)! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. Honest, constructive feedback is always appreciated. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email,  no spam.

©2017  All content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, I’m grateful, but please give proper credit and Link back to my work; plagiarism sucks!

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You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down (We’re Coming for You, Trump!)

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Also Featured on The Blog at Huffington Post (vs “Fifty” I’m with the youngins for a change!). If you have a moment, please stop by and show some love; they notice what gets looks/comments/Likes. Thanks!

As we speed toward January 20th, and the inevitable inauguration of Donald Trump, I find myself increasingly numb. Somehow, I imagined that the disgust and shock I felt on Election night would soften with time. While I felt certain that I would never feel good about the outcome of this election, I somehow believed that things would simmer down and perhaps Mr. Trump would make an effort to act… well, more presidential. In my mind, that would include not reacting to every thing he doesn’t like; or not tweeting ridiculous things day in and all night, and it would mean working on reaching out to all Americans, as he promised to do. None of that has happened. In fact, since the election, Donald Trump seems determined to shock, incite, and agitate, more than anything else. And the more he does this, the more I feel committed to stand up.

For a man who promised to “drain the swamp,” he seems determined to make the waters even murkier. Though I never agreed with his tactics, I understood why some Americans were disillusioned and feeling hopeless. If nothing else, this election brought so many issues to the forefront of our nation’s awareness, as demonstrated by the Bernie Sander’s movement, Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and Donald Trump’s rise and win. The drain the swamp slogan was brilliant, in that it galvanized so many people. It’s a term that people could run with, and they did. But how do Trump’s supporters feel now that he’s about to take office. How do they feel about about all of the super wealthy (billionaires!) cabinet members Trump has named? Is there any concern that he pursued Hillary Clinton relentlessly for ties he claimed she had to Goldman Sachs, and now Trump has nominated Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs top partner, as head of the US Treasury?  Do Americans who voted for Trump really really believe that the close friends and financial supporters he’s chosen are better, or less self-serving than the people they wanted out? The hypocrisy is staggering!  Witnessing these things, I can’t sit quietly or just complain to friends.

The issue of the Russians, and their potential role in our national election, and ties to Trump, is beyond disturbing and should be to anyone who believes in American freedom. As a 53-year old woman, who grew up during the final years of the Cold War era, I am utterly gobsmacked that all Americans are not demanding answers. While Trump initially, and repeatedly, stated that he didn’t believe our country’s national Intelligence Agencies’ findings, last week he turned around and threw the Russians under a swamp boat, after accusations surfaced regarding very unsavory behavior by Mr. Trump in Russia. It’s dizzying and disgusting on every level, to keep track of the accusations against the president elect, and the excuses he throws out there. But where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire, and clearly no one ever taught him that the more you protest, the guiltier you look.

Each time disturbing accusations about Trump are revealed, he uses the same whiny responses: “It didn’t happen,” “not fair,” and “fake news.” He is entirely incapable of showing the most basic levels of integrity or self-control. There are no apologies; there is no humility. It’s like watching a toddler… who has not had their nap… and is hungry… and has dirty-pants… without the cuteness factor. It’s disgusting; it’s deeply disturbing, and it’s about as far from Presidential as anyone can defend. This, from the same man who has leveled countless attacks and accusations at others! The fact that so many Americans and the Republicans are willing to dismiss audio tapes of Trump, talking about “grabbing pussy” and having sex with a married woman is shocking enough, but that the Russians are talking about “golden showers,” and hookers, in terms of our incoming president, is just stunning. Again, his response is one of complete denial, but if a portion of our country was so up in arms about the “birther” accusations that Donald Trump lodged against President Obama, how can all of this filth be ignored? I can’t ignore it the ramifications; can you?

image7I’m stunned over and over again, that so many Americans are willing to pretend that Trump didn’t openly and unflinchingly taunt a reporter with physical disabilities, on tape and with no apologies. It troubles me; I can’t un-see that recording. It’s hard to condemn hate crimes or express concerns about teens committing suicide, from cyber bullying, when our next President and the Republican party who nominated him, let this kind of thing slide? It’s unbelievable that voters were willing to ignore that Trump taunted John McCain, a former Vietnam POW and political icon, and the Kahn family, who lost their son in service to this country. Now he’s attacked John Lewis, highly respected Representative and Civil Right’s icon– ironically, just in time for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr holiday. Trump supporters chose to ignore the fact that the man they hoped would drain the swamp has talked about their daughters and wives in the most disgusting terms– and I firmly believe that when he talks about any woman the way he has, time and time again (calling them fat, or sex objects and conquests), every American woman is assaulted. How do those voters look at their own daughters and dismiss this behavior as a joke? How do they teach their sons that this is wrong on every level, when their future president laughs at and dismisses this garbage as “locker room talk?” Is the “great again” voters want? Each of these events make us all look ridiculous, given that we’ve chosen him to lead our country. I am not ridiculous, and I can’t sit quietly and pretend these things are harmless.

It doesn’t matter that Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 2.5 MILLION votes; he won the election in Electoral votes. He will be our 45th president– an office I have always respected, regardless of my political differences. However, Donald Trump stands for everything I find reprehensible. He does not represent my idea of America, and while he will legally be our nation’s president, I will not use his name or that title together, for the next four years. It’s a small and simple protest, but one I can do to acknowledge all of the things that outrage me, as an American. His indifference to the state of our planet and environment, and denial of global warming is horrifying. His intention to ignore promises made to the world, as a nation, at the Paris Climate agreement, makes all Americans look untrustworthy and small. His lack of concern for Americans who are struggling to access health care and make a living wage, and for anyone who isn’t as wealthy as him– short of empty promises, that will not be very hard to fill, is sobering. I believe that the spike in Tweets this week, from Trump voters who are just realizing that they will lose critical health coverage, is a sign of much darker things to come. These Americans struggling to meet health costs deserve better, and I believe Trump is completely cut off from any reality outside his gold-gilded home. His arrogant disregard for our Constitution, as demonstrated by his endless conflicts of interest in business, and his position as president, is something that will no doubt be as source of endless analysis over the weeks and months to come. I can’t help but think that while so much damage is already done, it will only escalate, and we as a country will face humiliating laser focus from around the world.

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When I heard that women were organizing a Million Woman March in Washington, DC, for January 21st, the day after Trump’s inauguration– to stand against all of these things, and protest the election of Trump, I was instantly intrigued. It was empowering, in those shocking hours just after the election, to know that others felt the same concerns, and were already organizing. I had already purchased airline tickets to visit my daughter, son-in-law and grandson overseas, and would not be returning until after that date, and I wasn’t willing to change my tickets until I was sure it would happen. As soon as the March was confirmed, that’s what I did. I won’t sit quietly; I will not accept what I find unacceptable; or simply boycott an inauguration. Instead, I’m flying home on January 20th to attend the March on Washington. I’ve traveled enough to know that my middle-aged self will be bone-tired and jet lagged, but I’ll be wearing my pussy hat and marching along side men and women from all over the country who feel these same things. I’m marching to show my opposition to all of the hateful things that Trump has said and done, and for all of the behaviors that I believe diminish us as Americans. I know that our country is better than the things Trump paints us as. I believe there’s a middle, where those who wanted change, and those who are disgusted by the messenger, can meet. I embrace every incredible word that the great Meryl Streep uttered, at the Golden Globes last week, and I will March to stand for those principles, on January 21st.

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I’ll be marching to stand in support and solidarity of women, Muslims, Blacks, Native Americans, and other minorities that have been impacted or targeted by Trump’s ignorance and hateful rhetoric. I’m marching for immigrants– who have always been an integral part of the American fabric and who are especially vulnerable right now, having been attacked and threatened by Trump, over and over. I’ll be marching in support of the Press, in the hopes that they will hold this man accountable, and stand firm and in witness of behavior that attacks or defiles American freedoms and rights. I am marching for my self and my commitment to be a person of integrity and conviction. I’m owning the title feminist and embracing my role as a woman- who is a daughter, sister, mother, and wife, and who has felt assaulted and traumatized by Trump’s abhorrent behavior and remarks to and about all women. I’m marching because this is something I can and must do.

I know that I’m fortunate to be able to make this trip; not everyone can. While there will be marches in many US cities, in support of these same things, I’m excited to do it in our nation’s capital. I want Donald Trump to hear us, and see us in that important center of American history, and know that we are watching him, and that we are not backing down. I’m excited, anxious, scared, energized and empowered by the decision. It will be electrifying to join arms with hundreds of thousands of other Americans, who stand for these same values. I’ve joked with friends and family that I planned my return ticket for three days after the march to: A) get out of jail; B) get out of the hospital, or C) to visit museums. I hope it’s the latter, but either way: Mr. Trump, we will not sit back and be silent. To borrow some advice from the divine Betty Davis: buckle up; you’re in for a bumpy ride.

Are you marching on January 21st? Where do you stand on these issues, and the new president? Share your thoughts in the comment section; I’m listening!

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GIPYKAPOW!  I didn’t meet the 2016 goal for Likes on the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page; missed it by 14! So this year, I’m not setting a goal. I’m grateful for each Like I get. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does (yes, for real)! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. Honest, constructive feedback is always appreciated. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email,  no spam.

©2017  All content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, I’m grateful, but please give proper credit and Link back to my work; plagiarism sucks!

 

 

 

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Friday Fictioneers: You Can’t Keep Good Women Down

This week, there is no fiction here; my brain can’t find refuge in photos, though I appreciate C.E. Ayr’s muse. I’ve only got a few more days in Israel, soaking up my 16 month old grandson’s yumminess, and then I fly home–– stopping in Washington, DC for the March on Washington, the day after inauguration. Life feels a bit surreal right now, but I’m inspired.

Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for the weekly inspiration; check out her blog for more details. As always I welcome honest, constructive feedback. Please leave a comment.

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© C.E. Ayr

 

You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down

As the clock ticks on, and the countdown to change marches forward, the knot in my stomach tightens–– a dull, constant anxiety pervades.

“Great again, great again!” The crowds yell, as they stomp their feet, and spray mace in the face of a young girl, who doesn’t buy their greatness.

But I know a bully when I see one. I can’t be railroaded by ugly, empty promises and a cocky grin.

Let the bands play on Friday.

You can’t keep a good woman down.

Come Saturday we’ll rise up, and March arm in arm, for a different kind of great.

(100 Words)

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GIPYKAPOW!  I didn’t meet the 2016 goal for Likes on the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page; missed it by 14! So this year, I’m not setting a goal. I’m grateful for each Like I get. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does (yes, for real)! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. Honest, constructive feedback is always appreciated. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email,  no spam.

©2017  All content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, I’m grateful, but please give proper credit and Link back to my work; plagiarism sucks!

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Friday Fictioneers: The Cost of Bread

Happy New Year, to all of my compadres at Friday Fictioneers. I truly look forward to this every week and appreciate the time and care you all take to read and give feedback on my stories; thank you! I’m currently traveling and not sure how much I’ll get done between today (stuck in Newark) and when I can finally get on line and read again. Please forgive me if I’m slow getting around. Also, due a post-holiday uptick in contributions to the #BloggersUnite for #50HappyThings blog hop, I’ve extended the deadline until January 10th. So happy to see Rochelle, Siobhan, Louise, Dale, and Lish join in!  All posts are linked at the bottom of my post. What are you grateful for? What makes you happy? If you’d like to contribute, please check out the details and join us!

An exciting aside: Waiting in Denver for my flight to Newark, which was delayed, I found myself sitting across from Peter Yarrow of Peter, of Paul and Mary fame. I can’t write a meaningful enough story to fully say how much PP&M meant to me as a child, living a traumatic life, or how I’ve carried their music with me all these years. I was totally awe-struck and emotional, and  reached across to introduced myself. We talked until boarding and when he walked away, I was very tearful. On the plane, he came and found me and we talked for about 40 of the most amazing minutes ever. One of the most humble, gentle, and caring people I’ve met, he is every bit the amazing human being I always thought he was. While I missed my flight to Israel by less than 5 minutes (the plane was still at the gate, but doors closed), my time with Peter Yarrow, made 2017 special forever!

Please visit Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog for more details about Friday Fictioneers, and thanks to Sandra Crook for this week’s photo. As always I welcome your honest and constructive feedback. Please leave a comment.

 

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© Sandra Crook

 

The Cost of Bread

When we were lil,’ Pappy ground corn and wheat for everyone around. Folks lined up to get flour… sit’n t’share news from all over th’county–– sometimes further. Pappy’s mill was where just ‘bout evr’one got news. Weren’t always the official news, but ‘twas news we cared ‘bout most.

When I was twelve, Pap got his shirt caught in the giant wheel and lost his arm––nearly died. He was hurt mighty bad.

All those folks came ‘round with food and help, ‘til Mama and me could find work. Weren’t never the same again, but that mill saved us more’n once.

(100 words)

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GIPYKAPOW!  I didn’t meet the 2016 goal for Likes on the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page; missed it by 14! So this year, I’m not setting a goal. I’m grateful for each Like I get. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does (yes, for real)! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. Honest, constructive feedback is always appreciated. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email,  no spam.

©2017  All content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, I’m grateful, but please give proper credit and Link back to my work; plagiarism sucks!

 

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New Year: Living With Intention, Not Resolution

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A playful picture I took for a friend in 2013, French for Happy New Year!

 

Another New Year, another chance to change bad habits, or change things we don’t like. That’s been the focus of each New Year for as long as I can remember. I used to buy into the idea of resolutions, and each year I’d search my life and commit to changing something that I thought needed changing: lose weight, study harder, volunteer, stop swearing (a losing battle every fucking year), etc, were all things I vowed to do. Right after the holidays, losing weight was a recurring resolution– a reflection of my own insecurities. And that right there is what stopped me cold, a couple of years ago. My New Year resolutions inevitably became New Year’s failures, before spring, and the resolutions themselves were often a reflection of my own insecurities or issues with self.

My mother died five years ago, on New Years Eve morning. I had spent all but two days sitting with her in Hospice for three months, as she willed herself to die, having suffered with Huntington’s Disease for many years. She let us all know that she didn’t want to live, and I understood her wishes. Her life had become a constant series of falls, injuries, and a dissolving autonomy. So when she broke her elbow, I helped her get into hospice, and I spent every day for three months helping her reflect on her life, and let go. What was most striking was how she let so many insecurities and vanities slip away, as she grew smaller and more reflective. She no longer cared if her long, elegant nails were polished, or if her hair looked perfect. She most wanted to know, who loved her, who was there.

At the time, I didn’t really see any connection to myself, other than this was my mother– our relationship long, complicated, and challenging, and I was facing her imminent death. I was keenly aware that I had things to resolve; I also knew that I might never see some things worked out and tied up neatly. I had no illusions that some things would be left unfinished. I simply wanted to find grace; I wanted to help my mother feel peace, after a hard life. I crawled into bed with her most days. We watched shows from my childhood, that Mom found comfort in: Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons took me back in time, and allowed me to work on old feelings. They brought a sense of peace to Mom, and while she didn’t say it, I imagine they reminded her of a time when we were little and things seemed less… long, complicated and challenging. 

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Watching someone you love die is not easy, but it can be very cathartic. Both Mom and I were able to say things we might not have said otherwise. We both let our guard down. She was grateful that I was there to advocate for her wishes, and reassure her about things; I was grateful for the many quiet moments we spent. It was autumn when she entered Hospice. I had two foreign exchange students, in addition to my own teen son to consider. The holidays then brought the usual crush of planning, and I felt torn between being with Mom and being home each day. But it all so brought life into keen focus. When Mom died before sunrise on New Year’s Eve, the last thing on my mind was making resolutions.

And that’s where resolutions faded away. In the months after my mother’s death, so directly tied to New Years, I found myself really thinking about resolutions and all the times I’d made these annual promises, only to fall short, and consequently feel worse about my inability to change. Vowing to lose weight is a tall order for most of us; it’s not so easy as simply wanting to change. When faced with health challenges, insecurities, or desires to be better people, many people see the New Year as a time to focus on those changes. Weight loss programs target the New Year, in ads that promise to help you be thinner, prettier and better overall. There’s a universal focus on New Year’s resolutions, and while I get the timing and concept, I no longer buy into it.

Perhaps it was my Mom’s death– which shook me out of my normal routines and forced me to look at a lot of things. I can’t say that New Year’s resolutions were a central focus, but I remember clearly thinking that I wasn’t ready to commit to something, knowing that so many of those resolutions had fallen by the wayside. I had worked so hard for those three months: to be strong, clear and committed; I didn’t feel motivated to do more. But there were still things I wanted to change. It was the approach I chose to change.

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As friends began to talk about New Year’s resolutions, as I read them online and all around me, that year, I realized that rather than make resolutions, I wanted to focus on intention. What intentions did I have, that I could put my energies toward? Could I simply notice the things I wanted to change, and gently put my intentions toward that change– no deadlines or consequences? Could I be kind to myself, and not place unnecessary pressures on myself? That was the direction I focused on, and I found myself much more successful in bringing about change. Rather than make a resolution to work out daily, I set an intention to walk more, and be more active. It was for my overall health and my desire to change this area. I was gentle with myself; I kept my intention on change, but didn’t chastise myself when my efforts weren’t consistent. If I felt tired on a given day and didn’t take a walk, or feed my 10,000 step Fitbit goal, I allowed myself to be ok with that. In gradually letting go of the pressure and deadlines, the intentions became things I could just surrender to. And I did better at following through.

Some people need the clear expectations of a New Year’s resolution, to jumpstart change, and a New Year is a logical time to think about new things and goals. Making a promise helps a lot of people feel more committed to change. However, I’ve found that the endless cycle of promising change and then feeling disappointed in myself, only makes change harder and hasn’t worked. They say that with age comes wisdom; I’m finding that my older self is less interested in being hard on myself. An intention allows me to focus on change, in a less punitive way. Intention is important. If you say you’re going to quit smoking, lose weight, stop swearing, or whatever it is you want to change, simply because the calendar has rolled over to a new year, I believe you may set yourself up for failure. There’s always a New Year to fall back on; there’s always the joke of broken New Year’s resolutions. Instead, think about why you want the change– why does it have meaning to you, in a broader picture? Do you want to live a healthier life? Are you tired of not feeling good? Then focus on that intention, without judgment or anxiety. Focus on change for the sake of caring for yourself. Live with intention, and change is bound to happen.

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This year, I made myself into an emoji, thus driving my kids nuts– forever!

 

My intentions for 2017 are to write more; to meet my Fitbit goals each day that I can, to be kinder and more connected; to stand firm against the things I take issue with… and so, you can look for me at The March on Washington, January 21, 2017. And check out my note next to Tinker Bell, below… no more goals there either!

Wishing each of you a happy, healthy and successful New Year, whatever your focus.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do they work? Share your thoughts in the comments; inquiring minds want to know! 

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GIPYKAPOW!  I did not meet the 2016 goal for likes on the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page; missed it by 14! So this year, I’m not setting a goal. I’m grateful for each Like I get. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does (yes, for real)! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. Honest, constructive feedback is always appreciated. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email,  no spam.

©2017  All content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, I’m grateful, but please give proper credit and Link back to my work; plagiarism sucks!

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Friday Fictioneers: Trumped

A very Happy New Year to all of my kindred spirits at Friday Fictioneers! I’m grateful to each of you who takes the time to read my work, and share your feedback. I’m grateful for your kindness, your consideration and your willingness to support and be supported. I love what we do here! A giant thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, who inspires us each week. Clearly, we would not be here without her! Check out her blog for more details, and this week’s provocative photo is from Shaktiki Sharma. All the best in 2017, to each of you and those you love!

If any of you are interested in joining my 3rd annual #BloggersUnite for #50HappyThings, I’d love to see you contribute. It’s inspiring to see each list from the bloggers who participate. Find the details here and let me know if you have any trouble with the link up!

This week: less fiction than fact. As always your constructive feedback is much appreciated. Please leave a comment. Have a safe & happy New Year!

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© Shaktiki Sharma

Trumped

The hum of the crowd grew, as the lights got brighter and the music blared.
We held hands and shivered. The cold was bitter, but it was excitement that pulsed through my body, as we all watched the clock count down, and waited. Would the world stop? Would it all crash? I assured my young children that we would all be fine, but wondered.

10, 9, 8… Happy New Year! As we all shouted, a palpable pause struck the crowd. The year 2000 arrived with only fireworks and hope.

Counting down to 2017, I feel more apprehensive than ever.

(100 words)

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GIPYHelp Me Reach My Goals!   KAPOW!  The Tales From the Motherland Facebook page recently hit the 2015 goal of 800 likes (which I set after hitting the 700 mark)! I’m going big for the next year and aiming for 1,000!! Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does (yes, for real)! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. Honest, constructive feedback is always appreciated.

Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email,  no spam.  ©2015  All content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, I’m grateful, but please give proper credit and Link back to my work; plagiarism sucks!

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