Archives for posts with tag: Virginia Slims

I’m doing that thing that I do. The thing that from the day I discovered my ability to make a list I’ve anticipated, longed for and agonized over. After 2010’s novel-writing debacle it’s the one thing I pinky swore with myself I’d never, ever do ever again. But here I sit, craving it the way a former four-pack-a-day woman of a certain age might crave a Virginia Slims.

It’s the last week of December. I want to write my resolutions. That’s right. ResolutionS. Because I’m never satisfied with one.

A symbol of Jainism consisting of a hand and a...

A symbol of Jainism consisting of a hand and a wheel reading “ahimsa”, the Jain vow of non-violence.

(Yet as I do this I’m thinking about ahimsa. Ahimsa is non-violence. Kindness and non-violence towards all living things. Wait a minute. I’m a living thing. It means me, too. Kindness and non-violence towards Mimm. Huh.)

So there you have it. With a flash of unanticipated insight complete with the cartoon lightbulb shining brightly above my head: as an act of kindness toward myself, I am not writing ANY resolutions this year. And I am definitely not going to drop any hints – that is, if I was going to write a list of resolutions – of what they might be. Nope. Not gonna do it.

Because when I write resolutions – which I’m not doing this year, by the way – I usually begin by breaking down the categories. What changes would I like to be a witness to in my life? What will I do to improve my health and fitness? My finances? My love life?

The categories are then broken down into sub-categories. There’s physical health, mental health and spiritual growth. There are bills to pay down and savings to build up. And the love life? Weeelllll…there are on-line sites to explore, real life avenues for meeting people, dates to arrange and not cancel at the last minute. Don’t forget about my intellectual life. There are books to read and graduate school papers to submit…ahead of schedule, of course.

After the categories and sub-categories are established, we begin creating a time line.

  • How soon do I want to lose fifteen pounds? In time for the opening of Samyama Yoga Studio at the end of the month? No problem. Two pounds a week. Any ninny could do that.
  • Oh? You’d like to run a 10-K in March? Easy-peasy. Haven’t run ten feet in ten months? Pishaw. No worries.
  • Meditating for an hour each day beginning January 1st? Consider it done.
  • Car paid off and retirement secured by April? Piece of cake. While you’re at it, have that down payment on a house saved by July.
  • Subscriptions to the dating sites Flirty at Fifty, Is it Hot in Here or am I Just Happy to See You and Trading Up established in time for Valentine’s Day…ok…that’s never going to happen.

In fact, it’s safe to wager that none of this will happen. Would I prefer that my life move in this direction? Of course. And I’d like all my classes overflowing with students, a beautifully furnished Craftsman home to call my own, an agent, a publishing contract – oh, and a recording contract while were at it (dream big I always say) – a swept-off-my-feet romance and a dog. Preferably a dog named Roscoe. Oh, and I’d like to sail through graduate school. And have financial security.

But isn’t setting a dozen bars impossibly out of reach an act of violence committed by me, towards me? Though perhaps it’s an act of kindness to choose the one bar that supports all the other hopes and dreams. And then to set that one, lone bar within reach.

Because, at the end of the day, despite all the whines and complaints and wishful thoughts I write about on this public forum – the truth is I’m a very happy woman. I live a simple life in a simple apartment. I have everything I need and very few things that I don’t need. I’m healthy and whole. There are friends who love me and friends I love. It’s a good life.

And yet…and yet….I’m human. I’m a human who does not write New Year’s Resolutions. Except maybe. Maybe this year I’ve the one resolution that will be the true catalyst for change. Maybe this year I’ve discovered the one idea, one habit, one way of walking on this path that has the potential to change the way I experience the entire journey? Do I have the strength and will power to see it through?

Of course I do. It’s just one resolution. And I’m not even going to wait for the New Year.

Beginning now, this moment, I resolve to be kind. I resolve to be kind to all living things. I resolve to be kind to me.

787 words in about an hour with a bit of revision.  My intention was to take twenty minutes each morning charge up my writing batteries with two-hundred words or so.  Ever the overachiever, this personal challenge is now eating up an hour.  Yes – I’ve written eleven posts in ten days.  But I have a real deadline for a real writing assignment and this is morphing from fun challenge to agent of procrastination.  Typical. To that end, I resolve to consider an end to this challenge.

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A shock like thunder and thick silence of a still heart

Perspective shifts and what we reached for yesterday has this morning lost all meaning

Our white fisted grip holding tight to urgent matters loosens and spills slips square letter tiles between the fingers

What ever it was that meant so much tore so hard ripped apart is now forgotten

Too late.

Life breathes through us in the falling leaves and rolling waves

Through the stillness of a silenced heart.

This past July, a few days after her 57th birthday, my sister suffered a heart attack and died. She was diabetic and had pseudotumor cerebri, a condition that placed pressure on her optic nerve. She was legally blind. Maggie lived alone with her beloved dog in a small apartment on the east coast. She was a strong, independent and cantankerous woman who did not have time for individuals who held opinions different to her own. Married and divorced three times and estranged from her mother and sister (I last spoke to her in 2007), Margaret died alone. She left a note on her refrigerator that said, “If anything happens to me leave my body to science.” Her dog was re-homed. There was no funeral or memorial service.

When I arrived at her apartment I was stunned to discover a life packed away in cardboard boxes. A box of old bedroom slippers. A box of wigs. A box of Beanie Babies kept for too long. I found lists of men’s names in her beautiful Palmer penmanship. Clothes wrapped in disintegrating black bags that I remember from high school. Earrings that I longed for when I was twelve.

There is one framed photograph thrown in the back of the closet. A photograph of my mother, my sister and me the last time we were together at Christmas in 1980. We’re in my mom’s trailer, the same one she lives in now. And I’ve set the timer on my old Pentax. Mom’s sitting down, her hair still dyed brassy red. My sister stands behind her in fake fur with a freshly lit Virginia Slims in her right hand. I’m in jeans, baggy sweater and big glasses that make me look like Velma from Scooby Doo.

I have a copy of that same photograph in my family album.