Great minds speak of ideas average minds, of events small minds, of people and things But me? I speak of the idea of us two people and what we did and what we had Blatantly ignoring the signs I assumed it was me and I was wrong But on the drive home that February afternoon you asked for forgiveness that wasn't mine to give I gave it anyway Trending always away from what I thought we meant of what it meant to be us But I was confused there was no us how could there be? there was only me there was only you We played at 'us' as best we could never breaking character always saving face But when it was time to leave there was always someone else waiting for you waiting on me And looking back now on it it shouldn't surprise me although it always does But if I had it to do all over I know in my soul that my heart would be yours to break again forever and ever You will always come first you will always be the one yes, that surprises me, too But the past does not lie nor does it tell the truth it just is and continues to be never changing Trending always towards what I thought we meant which was nothing But I am confused and to tell the truth you never chose me it was always someone else it was always somewhere else So I should pour another drink cheers to us and what we never were But the bottle is empty and it's far too late for me to brave the cold of this Autumn night for another drink.
A good friend of mine, Debbie Vandenberg, shared with me this beautiful poem she wrote this morning as she was enjoying the sunrise from her porch, and has given me her permission to share it with you...
Another Day Sunset gently waking me Kissing away the night before Wiping sadness out of my eyes Then teasing me To play some more I take a sip hot strong creamy I can taste the opportunity In the warmth Cup to my mouth Toying with me As I hold it in my hands To make the best of this day That is all it knows And this, too, I understand
My clothes hit the floor I need to be ready in an hour So the shower takes me in Washed away Every ounce of sorrow Then like a mad man I let the water go cold As the shower Boldly reminds me It is up to me to decide Hold on, or let go My chair wants to be one with me It is the softest Space I have So I bring my legs up from the floor And relax every muscle that I have My breath I begin to watch Breathing in, then I release A sweet sense of joy surrounds me My chair shows me how to find peace It is time now for the mirror Without the above I could not face In there I see lines of wisdom And eyes that have seen What it is to find grace Now I am walking out the door The world is mine to Explore I thank the sun shower chair mirror For waking me, Cleaning me, Holding me, And letting me see the truth Now I have the power To face another day. -Debbie Vandenberg, October 2021
©2021 Debbie Vandenberg
and I've battened down all of the hatches and I'm sailing too close to the wind and at times I've been dead in the water and at times I've held fast on the right tack at times I've feel her shot across my bow as it screamed and it tore through my decks and at times I've trimmed my sails eastward in pursuit of the leeway lost to the west a loose cannon that meters deep waters given a wide berth to pummel the shoals three sheets to the wind, maybe four, maybe five in dead water it is always sink or swim and from atop the lofty crow's nest yet again I hear the cry of land-ho! and I trim to the aft just to find the mirage of the sea once again and so by the board all at sea and sailing toward that distant horizon the shimmering sea that beckons the brave and equally the cowards like me the salt air and a sail steady is all I can ask as I search for the source of this call a siren in red who gestures from close quarters as the crow flies it is unimaginably far as the storms whips my sails thunder clamps down and the wind is brutally, caustically fierce but I dare not set sail for the safety of home there is nothing for me in that lonely port better to batten down all of the hatches better to sail too close to the wind and ignore what it is that I am becoming ignoring what I might have been
It’s been a super busy month so far – between ridding myself of useless material clutter and watching two of my kids go back to college for another year, it’s been non-stop action!
The band has added a number of new songs, so I’ve had my work cut out for me there as well.
I’m preparing to get my COVID vaccine booster in the next week, and very excited about that!
I also passed my PCEP certification, and am now a Certified Entry-level Python Programmer – so, one test down, two to go!
The road trip to Providence the last two days has been especially fun! As we raced down I-44 and the local NPR affiliate, KWGS, faded from range, I told Ian about an idea I had for writing a golf game in Python, and he immediately grabbed his laptop from the back seat of the rental car and began coding it, with occasional input from me.
When the battery on his laptop died just outside of Rolla, MO, he put it away, then downloaded a moblie Python IDE to his phone and continued working!
The next morning, as we were leaving Columbus, OH, he explained to me the differences between Cartesian coordinates and the polar coordinate system, and how to convert from one to the other using “simple” (his word, not mine) trigonometry functions. He then went on to talk about vector addition – it was a very educational and entertaining morning!
Once we were checked into our room in Providence, he combined what was on his phone and what was on his laptop into one .py file and let me take a swing at it…pun intended
I must say, I think Ian’s golf game has much potential!
Got a lot going on, but not much of interest. You know how it goes – work, dealing with the dog days of summer, worrying about the surge in COVID cases. It’s time-consuming, both physically and mentally.
One thing I have started doing is Joshua Fields Millburn’s and Ryan Nicodemus’ 30-Day Challenge. The idea behind this particular game is that, starting on the first of the month, you rid yourself of one material possession. On the 2nd, you get rid of two things. On the 3rd, three. And so on.
Today is August 10th, and so far I’ve gotten rid of:
1st – donated one bag of men’s clothes to Goodwill.
2nd – threw out two old boxes of X-mas decorations.
3rd – donated three books to the library.
4th – donated four pair of gently used shoes to Goodwil.
5th – threw out five boxes of miscellaneous crap from the garage.
6th – donated six books to two different Little Libraries in my neighborhood.
7th – seven old computer cables that I’ve been hoarding for no reason.
8th – eight old phone cases for phones that will never be used again.
9th – nine old phone and laptop boxes that I could never bear to part with previously.
10th – ten ball caps that I will never wear again.
All of this has made a very small dent in the sheer volume of stuff that I have, but every step is a step forward.
Learn more about the 30-Day Challenge/Game by clicking here.
And as always, thanks for reading.
Modern literature and pop culture is rife with references to broken hearts. From Whitney Houston to Shinedown, from Nora Ephron to Rupi Kaur, from New Girl to Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, you can’t turn around without bumping into someone who has survived a broken heart, is surviving one now, or is about to suffer through the debilitation of having their heart ripped out of their chest and stomped on.
And yet, this imagery has never rung true with me. The most glaringly silly example that I can think of is Padme dying of a “broken heart” at the end of Revenge of the Sith, and I’m not the only one who thought this was silly, albeit for different reasons.
The imagery of a broken heart carries with it the idea that something inside of you is broken and in need of fixing, when the opposite is actually true. When someone betrays you or acts in such a way that is contrary to what you were expecting, it is not an indication of some short-coming within yourself. It is in indicator of something missing within them.
Setting aside the fact that your (emotional) heart is located in your head and not your chest, I prefer to think of the heart – that part of you that feels and cares and loves – as an ever-evolving entity that is constantly changing and growing. It is not stagnant; it learns new things, forgets old pains, overcomes previous prejudices, perseveres onward.
When I was young, my mother and step-father tended to punish my sloppy ways by yelling at me or threatening me with a beating with one of my orange Hot Wheels tracks, but occasionally they’d get fed up with trying to correct my behavior, so they’d gather up all of the comic books I’d left lying around and throw them in the burn barrel. My ten-year-old self was traumatized by this betrayal, but it didn’t break my heart. It was an experience I internalized.
When my first marriage ended, I truly felt broken. Not in the “oh-how-will-I-go-on?” sense, but more in the “what’s-wrong-with-me?” sense. I felt I had failed in one of the most basic tasks in life, making a home with a partner. How could I possibly be successful in any other endeavor if I couldn’t do this one simple thing properly? However, I was still able to fully function on a day-to-day basis, so obviously I wasn’t that broken.
Over time, I have come to realize that the heart doesn’t truly break. It takes on more experience, letting old situations go in favor of new ones. My heart is not the same today as it was when I was ten, or thirty. And yet, it’s the exact same heart I’ve always had. How is that even possible?
When something is broken, it doesn’t work any longer. Well, that’s not entirely true – even a broken clock is correct twice a day. But for all intents and purposes, a broken clock is useless for anything more than decorating the wall in the guest bathroom.
The heart, I’ve found, is more resilient than that. With apologies to both John Mayer and Celine Dion, rather than being broken and in need of repair, the heart goes on, continuing to feel and care and love despite all indications to the opposite. And with each new joyous experience, an older, more painful experience is expunged, until one day you feel whole again, and capable of once again giving your heart to someone. Your same old heart, though experience and attrition, has become something new.
That’s been my experience, anyway.
I remain a prisoner my own jailer trapped in a tapestry of my own tastes and my own desires and my own self a self that doesn't exist I have freedom, to be sure free to act how I wish free from constraints free to think to act to believe but I am still a prisoner and left to my own devices my own preconceived view of right and wrong of good and bad of black and white of shades of gray I remain imprisoned victim of my own thoughts my own fears my own dreams prisoner to my own view absent of clarity absent of context chained to my day while freedom is just a breath away I reject the notion that I can just let go as hard as I try, my attempts end in vain and move forward for even in the letting go there is expectation that does not dissipate it eats at the fringes of my restful mind questioning all doubting everything never reaching that blissful, settled state that promises relief from doubt fear anger angst busy, monkey-mind won't release its grip on the banana whirling around in circles on to the next stop when this one is incomplete always starting never finishing.
awaken to the sound the gentle swell and release of the ocean just outside my window of the ocean just inside my phone smell the coffee brewing thank god for timers the scent of vanilla wafting up the stairs the scent of cinnamon filling the house log in and grimace so much to do take a deep breath but the stress remains shut the laptop drink the coffee randomly chosen mug I watch the words resolve to a sentence and I think me too, mug, me too - I'm definitely going back to bed after this.
as I begin the long, slow slog towards fifty-eight (and beyond, hopefully) with a mind that is clear and a heart that is full (or at least more clear than a year ago and at least more full than yesterday) I have learned to not look back in anger or resentment or fear or melancholia or wistfulness what happened yesterday or last week or month or year is set in stone unchanging and I can gain nothing from it but to learn from it I have learned to not worry about the future adopting a fluid view of what can be and what cannot and so as I start day two thousand eight hundred and twenty I breathe in and note it and focus on the now that is foremost in my mind (at least more so than a year ago at least more so than yesterday) and let go of the anger and worry that they lied to us, for they promised us jetpacks and yet I remain grounded here on earth.
one more book one more drink one more song not so much to ask one more guitar one more practice one more gig not too much to ask one less argument one less headache one less heartache not so much to ask one more day one more walk one more kiss not too much to ask one more trip around the sun with you.
hey, good evening glad you could make it can I get you a drink? let me take your coat and introduce you around this is my best friend Anxiety she's a bit of a mess but she means well usually this couple over here Intention and Distraction are constantly fighting endless arguments always at odds I don't even know why I invite them to these things this is my co-worker Motivation he's a bit of a talker so steer clear unless you have an hour or a day to waste I'm not sure where she is, Peace I know I invited her at least I think I did ah, it doesn't matter she rarely shows anyway oh! you'll like these guys Clarity and Concentration they spend most of their time in the kitchen they like to keep to themselves but when they pop in to say 'hi' you'll remember it man, this guy, though Sarcasm (he thinks he's much cooler than he actually is) watch your step around him he'll piss you off then wonder why you can't take a joke and finally, my new friend Mindfulness we're just getting acquainted and we may hate each other or we may be in love really, it is too early to tell anyway, welcome to the party, the party of my direct experience.
a blank page is not the goal it never was and it never should have been what good would that do? why was that even a thing? concentrating on the rise and the fall, hoping for the clarity that will sweep me away in its beauty and surprise but its really not like that, is it? do I count? do I note? equanimity escapes me as it always does, so with a tone of self-compassion I begin again striving to do what I love, but why is it simultaneously so easy and so hard? so difficult such a simple task, it can never end but there is joy in the enjoyment, in the attempt, in the breathing, in the practice the recognition is the attention, the failure is the success.