CLICK the PIC to Hear them sing “Dona nobis pacem”
CLICK the PIC to Hear them sing “Dona nobis pacem”
As she got older and more introspective, my mother would spontaneously start talking about random things from her faraway childhood. On this day, she began to weave invisible spinning yarn in the air in front of her. “There are these threads….you see….threads….” as her hands moved in and around them, making sense of mysteries in her mind, weaving and talking as she spun, connecting branch to branch to branch. Except she wasn’t really sitting there with me. She was somewhere back in time playing dodgeball with the curse.
“I can see them going back generations.”“What kind of threads?” I asked. “Poverty. Brokenness. Abuse. Depression. Alcoholism. Divorce. Conflict. Addiction. Bad threads….don’t you see them, Mimi?”Yes, mama, I’ve always seen them.
Like shadows on trees in a cemetery, cast long from eons of time and generation, I had always seen them.
If you want to go mad, cover them up.
If you want to break the curse,
stand in the Light.
Generational threads can tie together what desperately needs to be broken. They are inherently binding and strong.
Made of flax. Faith. Fiber. Custom. Tradition. Tribe. Toxicity. Untruth.
Even and especially love.
Whether they remain tied and woven into the next generation depends not on the strength of the cotton, but on the spinning of the pattern. Twisted legacies take whole life spans to unspin. It requires laser-sharp discernment and a willingness to plant a new field. To begin a better story. Harvesting new tribes is not for the faint-of-heart. My mother was anything but faint.
And that’s when I began to remember…
warm water washing down my back.
I felt the heaviness of long tangled hair.
And her hands in my hair.
Scrubbing and soothing at the same time. Bare feet on a dark linoleum speckled floor, bent over the kitchen sink in the middle of a fifties wood frame in the heat of summer and the only running water in the house. Daddy hadn’t finished the bathroom yet.My mother stood untangling the mane that was always tangled and drying me off with a ragged towel.
And then I started to cry
Uncontrollably. Sobs from an eight-year-old that should never be heard by a mother. She knew. I could see it in her eyes. She knew. From the covering of shame I felt underneath the thinness of fabric that could not cover could not cover could not cover the confusion and tremble of a skinny little girl who had just been reminded of more than innocent suds running down the back of a dark-haired freckle-faced me with grownup questions swirling in her mangled head.She looked straight into the dripping freckles and raised her eyes to meet mine.
It was my mother’s greatest gift to me.
Unwavering trust. Unquestioning acceptance. She believed what I was about to tell her before I said it. I can still taste the shampoo on my lips and see the horror in her eyes, the quiver in my voice. I remember the way my eyes wanted to only stare at the linoleum while she gathered herself. Standing there dripping in a torn towel while she called someone to tell them what she’d seen in her daughter’s eyes.I never had to see him again.She saw to it.
She sacrificed family and relationships to protect me. Had she chosen to look the other way, I am sure without a shadow of an oak tree doubt, I would have crumpled into a broken twig on the sudsy floor and never recovered.Instead, it was the moment that defined me.
I finally learned to accept all our twisted roads and fallen places. How she tried to exhume the genesis of those invisible threads in her hands, never quite finding where the first broken piece began and the last continued. You see them, don’t you Mimi?
She died before she could unravel all the threadsBut she deposited in me just enough spitfire to keep my end of the peace treaty intact:To leave the untelling on the kitchen floor To live without hiding behind trees
To forgive those who want to see me brokenTo be open and brave when your words need wordingand to be loud in the most vulnerable of places
and that’s why I need treesHad you told me a year ago that people can feel energy from trees, I would have silently patted you on the head and sent you on your way. And yet, since her death six months ago, I find myself running to the forest on my mountain, sitting for hours in the sanctuary of their branches. Breathing in oxygen. Absorbing life into the cells of my stress-laden body. Finding the Mother trees. They shelter the young saplings and strategically branch out in directions that give them the most nourishment from the sun.Did you know there are mother trees?
We are made stronger when we understand where we came fromwhen we uncover what is hurting usWe discover which branches are strong and which need pruning.I am learning to be thankful for the miles of memories that created meall of them
Safety sometimes lies in being unseenbut never in being unheard.
Photo credit: Mimi Lenox
Welcome to the 2018 launch of Blog4Peace. We are an international group of bloggers and social media gurus who promote the cause of peace on our blogs, websites and pages. Click one of the links above to get your own peace globe and join us. It’s an amazing day on the Internet! Our theme this year is the power of words. Here’s my peace post. I’ll be by soon to read yours!
Words in Blue Kyanite
If there are stories to be told in heaven, let them be these.
Let them be told as these have been told. Let verse and lyric rhyme as old saints do on the eve of great awakenings. Lean your ear toward what matters most and listen as spirits mutter sacred texts and beautiful songs. Stretched across the throne of the world from the top of heaven’s doorstep, words can still reach earth. Stretched across the world’s doorstep in many homes and hovels today, words can still reach heaven. And you will say them again. And again. And again. That’s what storytellers do. That’s what peace bloggers do.
For you see, words are not only powerful for the content and wisdom they bring to bear; they are powerful for the reason they came to bear. There is no great catharsis, no sudden shift in the universe, no real progressive change in the world without storytellers. And you thought your chapter was over? Let me tell you something…it doesn’t end until you tell it to end. He had this twinkle you see….A spark of something that resided deep inside the brilliance of his mind. Something that glowed with kindness, documenting years on earth like centimeter markings on a ruler. My Papa. He is the one who inspired me to write in the first place. He is the one who left me with an earth marble full of continents and rivers and mountains. He left me the whole world.
And his hammer.Words are not the only tools we have. He needed it to make things. I need it to smash my fingers. He understood hammers. I do not.
I’ve been asking him lately, in my dreams and in my mind, what story he wants to tell today on November 4th, because he always give me a nudge. And all I am hearing from him is that he wants me – and you – to tell our stories. Now. Not his. Ours.
It is the most basic of human needs – the power and joy of connection. Of being heard. Of being heard!!! Not because someone is shouting, anyone can start a movement if they’re loud enough, but because purposeful intent behind mightily built well-chosen words is strong enough to make a whisper ripple across seven continents and twenty-five rivers and still be understood on the highest mountain peak a thousand miles away.That’s what Papa’s marble did for me. That’s what your words do for the world each and every year.
And while there was serendipity and more than a few God winks to get the ball rolling (so to speak), the discovery of the marble only served to help me understand that in this life there are no coincidences. Every person you meet brings their energy, their intent, right smack-dab into your personal space…sometimes so close you want to (and should) run away and hide from it when things don’t feel right. That is discernment. Others bring the healing you need when you didn’t even know you needed to call a healer.
That is grace.
Which brings me to my friend. It happened at the beginning of a new school year. I bent over in agony when I heard the news, so unexpected it was, so cutting. It was a physical pain in the caverns of my body. I could hear the bones break in my brain. I didn’t expect to feel her loss so viscerally. Peacefully housed in pine she lay weeping and exhausted no more. She was free. I was not.
I was afraid.And angryLet’s be real. My life was full of complaining. And whining. And posturing. And planning. And pondering. And procrastinating. And even whining to myself that complaining would do me in. I was even tired of my own complaining! I’ve been tired and exhausted this year. Not.peaceful.at.all.
And there she was. Asleep forever in a cold pine box full of peace. Not even fifty years old. My heart broke for the losses and pain she endured on planet earth.
I was at the crossroads between terror and panic. Would I be next? Would my body betray me as well? Can I live up to the example of courage she set? Could I maintain this pace and keep my health intact? After all, she was the strongest person I knew. Heart-stopping, constricting air-depleting suffocation. Did I mention the fear? Even so, I felt guilty for focusing on myself when it wasn’t about me at all.
What was her story? She spoke loudly from the pine box. The silence was maddening. Knock it off, Mimi, and listen up! I can’t remember one single meeting, one single instance, one day or second or smile that was wasted on her. She made me better and sometimes made me mad doing it. Oh, but she didn’t know it. And she had no patience for my histrionic nature. She didn’t waste time worrying about how other people perceived her, whether or not she hurt your feelings, or how you arrived at any conclusion without her. She was too busy living strongly while she was dying slowly.
You knew you were in the presence of someone who knew what it meant to inhale and exhale with intent every single day. You knew, somehow you knew, that time spent with her were masterclasses in how to live fully.
Could there be a better time to shake up the world than on the day you decide to die? She shook up my world! Yes, I said decide. I know that I know that I know (as my grandmother would say) that some people decide it is their day to die. Ascended gurus manage to mark the hour quite regularly. When it’s time for the body to give up its usefulness, it’s time to give up the ghost and take up a new identity somewhere else.
And so my friend became my catalyst for change in a year that began in fear. That happens when you see someone you just talked to reposing in a pine box too soon.
**Excuse me, Miss Pencil Skirt, said the doctor…but I don’t think you’re breathing quite right**
Fear is a simply a jumping off place. “What you do in this moment will determine everything,” whispered the Voice of reason.
I decided to change my words. Starting with my thinking
I wrote pages of self-talk: I will not tolerate pity. I will not tolerate blame. I will not tolerate complaining. I will not abide negativity. I will not entertain anger. I will not surrender to bitterness. I can breathe I can breathe I can breathe I can breathe….
“Gather your strength,” whispered Spirit. “Gather strength for yourself.” I wanted to live well. I needed to love myself well enough to gather my strength and heal. Those who live well, by default love well.
I mean the kind of love that makes you sweat, requires your blood, makes you live in it, slog through it, talk about it, wade in it, fall down under the weight of it until you can’t even breathe because that devastating love is so full of itself. Have you ever come to a pivotal moment in your life when days were so dreary you’d rather feel something than nothing at all? Your lungs are tight from holding back the light that so desperately wants to get in…but you can’t exhale well enough to inhale? Stress will do that to a person. At least that’s what the doctor told me. What? What?? I can’t breeeaaatheee??
“No, Miss Pencil Skirt, something seems to be affecting your lung capacity.”
This is not what you want to hear the day before you go to a funeral.
**raises hand**I think I need to call a healer.
I didn’t understand the world until I was sixty-years-old.It was then that understanding became too soft a word for the depth of knowing residing in the bones of six decades on earth.It was more like burning lava cooled by the flames of tea leaves.
|I love leaves|
When my Papa was in his early sixties, he fell on the kitchen floor and took his last breath. Just like that. Suddenly. Without premeditation or fanfare. His lungs collapsed and the poison inside caused a massive crumble of tissue and structure. He was gone before his head hit the floor.
|Kyanite blue in pyrophyllite stone|
I never knew he couldn’t breathe. There was a ticking time bomb inside the man whose heart was overshadowed by a pair of lungs full of pyrophyllite dust. He never told me he couldn’t breathe! I always thought he’d die of arthritis. Or working too hard. Or loving too much. I never dreamt he’d fall in a heap of poisoned air and give up the ghost on the kitchen floor.
He was too busy living to die of sensible causes.
All he did was love me. In large loud bouts of contagious love. His love was all I heard. It. Was. All. He. Said.
Papa worked in a pyrophyllite plant (think talc) back in the day before it was safe to mine or breathe dust particles from the clay or work with the intensely heated kilns which were to used to mold particles for commodities like furniture. It caused fibrosis in some and unknown lung ailments in many. I didn’t know Papa couldn’t breathe. Apparently, neither did he. He just kept living. And loving everyone around him. Until he decided to fall on the kitchen floor.
That one blue marble in the center of the bowl – yes, that one – is Kyanite, infused with and altered by pyrophyllite. It is a metamorphic mineral found in sedimentary rocks within soapstone mines in the southern United States, Brazil, New South Wales, Australia, India and Kenya. It contains aluminum silicate (hence the silent poison).
Kyanite gets its name from the Greek words for fire and leaf. Tonight I have discovered that this same blue stone has crystal healing properties especially in the throat area near the bronchial tubes. I know little to nothing about the realm of gemstone metaphysics, but I do respect the power of Earth and the ancient wisdom of chakra healing.
**You can’t breathe said the doctor You can’t breathe said the doctor*I never knew I couldn’t breathe until they told me I couldn’t breathe!! Has this ever happened to you?
And what other silent gift did he pass on to us?Pyrophyllite is also known as “Pencil Stone” (said The Pencil Skirt) and has been used to enhance writing abilities, helps to speak one’s truth with clarity and brings balance to all the Chakras. So you see, that wonderful blue marble we’ve gazed at since 2006 might well be one of the reasons that peace bloggers feel compelled to write. On some deep spiritual level we feel it.
It’s alright if you don’t believe that. I’ve just unearthed this myself (so to speak). But doesn’t it make sense? That blue stone became something beautifully rare and healing to all of us. Papa’s intent was good.Papa’s intent became our words.Papa’s destiny is still evolving.
I want mine to do the same. Don’t you?
It wasn’t so much what he said throughout the years to his curly-headed, hardheaded granddaughter that made the cataclysmic shift in my DNA; it was the unspoken life of a simple man too busy living a simple life he loved to die conveniently proper. I want to die inconveniently improper too.
|I think I just found my healer|
While Papa harvested dust and clay, he fashioned a symbol of the world for a granddaughter he couldn’t have known would ever even exist. Harvesting and working in the dust of those stones eventually led to his death. For him to pass this treasure on to me – to us – is surely more than coincidence. It illustrates how every single act we do on planet earth has a consequence, often far-reaching and seismic in nature.
All I remember was that he loved meand that was enough
He didn’t have to say a wordThat is the powerof words laid carefully round in blue Kyanite
|Jamie White ~ Washington|
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Welcome to Blog4Peace 2018
Please visit each other and feel the power of this amazing day.
She writes, “My Peace Globe… I am Salome Janashia age 15 from Republic of Georgia. I know what is peace and I know how great the feeling is when you feel safe but there was a time in my life when I did not feel safe. In 2008 in August my country had war with Russia.
Grapes are symbol of my country because we have very old culture of making wine.
This is my flag with five crosses representing Jesus and the four evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”
Her marvelous “Peace Treaties” – Cookies made each year with her granddaughter and given out at work and in her community! They were delivered on Election Day in the United States.
Cathy writes, “All lives matter. Your life matters and should be treated with respect regardless of where you live, how you worship, the color of your skin and who you chose to love. Gramma taught TW that there are good and bad in every nationality and the good people far outweigh the bad.”