Category Archives: Auth: Jamie Brazil
Black Bear came to a meeting late and said, “I’m feeling frazzled after dealing with my cubs. What if I don’t feel compassionate?”
Raven said, “Fake it.”
“That doesn’t seem honest,” said Black Bear.
“It doesn’t begin with honesty,” said Raven.
Here we are, a new year, yet again. Most of us are in familiar resolution territory: fitness, nutrition, save money, and write that book. I’ve given a lot of thought to Raven’s advice above. Fake it. For much of the past year I’ve struggled with compassion — especially relating to one person in my life.
In pursuit of compassion I’ve seen a counselor, an acupuncturist, and a yogi on a regular basis. They all help, to some extent — the balance of yoga building physical and spiritual muscles. Yet it wasn’t until October 2nd in Ann Arbor, Michigan when a stop for gas turned into one of those before and after moments. A man committed suicide, jumping off a roof of a parking garage. His lifeless body less than 100 feet from the gas pump.
I realized then my compassion was still present. Just buried under many many… MANY… layers of anger.
So here I am on the cusp of a new year. Much of the same old same old. I resolve to be healthy, slim, solvent and prolific. Less angry. More compassionate, too. Eventually. For me, compassion is still a bitch, contended with on a daily basis. My greatest challenge.
In the meantime, maybe we can all benefit from Raven’s advice and fake what we really really want until it becomes our truth.
Yesterday I threw out my January 2017 poster board of goals. In a quest to Marie-Kondo-ize that closet you see there behind me — the closet that up until yesterday held a mash up of both literary and garage sale sins — I figured out that I lost my sense of humor.
Yeah, it’s been a tough go of things this year.
My sense of humor was NOT in the closet. It is somewhere, but it was not in the closet.
In the meantime, I heaped piles in the middle of my office floor and edited. Brutally. Boxed papers for shredding. Stacked a four-foot-high tower of stuff near the front door to be re-homed. There are wicker baskets (why do I own a large collections of wicker baskets?) , hangers, clothes that don’t fit me, things I’ll never get around to selling, books (lots of books) and the ramblings of half-finished projects. Oh, and at the aforementioned garage sales, I’ve found REALLY USEFUL things like light-up animatronic flamingos.
Hmmm. The center of the floor was still a mess.
Disheartened by the chaos I bailed and went to a movie (Wonder Woman… brilliant… though the stabs of humor in the script felt forced).
Mentally restored, I returned home and tackled the last of the pile, finishing my task around 9pm. Exhausted, with an aching elbow that I don’t know how I injured, and still humorless.
What I do know is that I need a fresh start. For writing, for excavating even deeper than an office closet, and for laughter that comes from the belly.
Do April showers bring May flowers? We’ve had enough rain last month, and on a personal note, many tears too. When the Janes gathered last month at the RCRW Spring Fling I had no idea the month would end in such heartbreak: less than a week ago my two-year old Bloodhound passed away Whether it was an accident or intentional, he was poisoned
Though my “fur-baby” Angus is gone far too soon, I try to remind myself how fortunate I’ve been to have shared my home with not just one but TWO Bloodhounds. Each one magnificent in his and her own way.
So here’s hoping the rain wraps up, the sky clears, and the blossoming flowers in the coming days of May lift everyone’s spirits.
Love stories abound this month, but I know you’re busy. So on a practical, and succinct, note I’ve curated the best stories. Quoted and paraphrased for brevity. Here we go, 60 seconds of IRL love:
“Costco. Bought one tire at a time until I worked up the courage to ask him out.” (17 + years together )
“She was my student. Adult ESL.” (9 years)
“It was after the war. My best friend’s boyfriend’s buddy needed a dance partner.” (50+ years)
“1965 anti-war protest. I was studying to become a priest.” (40+ years)
“Scattering the ashes of deceased husband.” (3 years)
“Knew him from square dancing. We were doing dishes when he threw the dishtowel over his shoulder, got down on one knee and proposed.” (20+ years)
“On the job. Funeral home.” (25 years)
“On the bus, commuting to work. Saw each other every day.” (30+ years)
“Conference. Slept together before our first date.” (15+ years)
“Too broke to take a vacation, I played tourist with my best friend and an acquaintance set up a sailboat trip for us. Met the love of my life.” (50+ years)
“Overseas. Volunteer relief work. I was drawn to his compassion.” (20+ years)
“She put her paw in my hand. Everything went still in that moment.” (6.5 years)