With a smile in my heart…

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What does it feel to be abandoned?
Alright, not so dramatic.
I am merely learning to let go
And with a smile in my heart;
Never the “she’s my baby” thing
Never the “but she needs her mama” either
Never the “the world’s a dangerous place” fear,
Except to trust
– That I have done my job sufficiently well
So her beautiful mind has taken notice
Of necessary caution and vigilance
To make up for her not-so-vast experience,
– That I have given enough warnings
And posed relevant questions
Not so much as to scare her into timidity
Instead to give her the courage that comes with knowledge
And the wherewithal to handle emergencies;
As she hangs with her friends in an unfamiliar city
I am close enough, but not too close
For the world can be dangerous, but
It is foremost an exciting and welcoming place
In which she must fully establish herself one day;
And thus she takes small steps towards a future
From which I cannot protect her
Nor is there a desire to
For I will have done my best to equip her
To take the risks she must to thrive
To live nobly and audaciously
To love valiantly
To laugh boldly, in the face of all that will come.
~ FlorenceT

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

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Future #Haiku Challenge 165 @RonovanWrites

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RonovanWrites Haiku Challenge 165 with prompt words – Late, Holiday

 

 

 

oh, do not come late
frivolity sand sunshine
holiday, it waits.
~ FlorenceT

 

 

 

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

 

Contemplating cooking…

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I have been doing quite a bit of cooking lately. Not much of a revelation unless you know me well.

You will know my self-value is not tied to how well I keep house involving cleaning or cooking – I was brought up to place significance and priority on my intellect and academics. Perhaps I am merely not sufficiently interested to do anything intricate or complex beyond the usual day-to-day meals and annual celebratory fare. You may also deduce that circumstances have favoured me not needing to do much house-keeping.

Lately, I have taken to cooking, experimenting and “catering” to my children’s taste buds (when I can). There is joy seeing them enjoying their meals, prepared by moi. And this has left me wondering why.

Am I cooking to fill time? As I don’t have a lot of time on my hands, I can answer this in the negative.

Am I cooking to fill time to avoid something else? A possibility, though I couldn’t think what. There is a certain mindfulness required when I am cooking, where I am “forced” to not think of anything else but the task at hand. Not exactly avoidance, is it? Cooking, and its creative process, is a mindful act and can be satisfying.

So, am I cooking to…?

Sitting here on a Saturday morning making up a shopping list after deciding on a menu for the coming week (yes, it is a creative project 😉 ), a possible answer or answers occurred to me.

I am preparing for my future. Not as a cook, but an empty-nester. It was not o much a plan but on reflection, a response to my life journey.

As my children mature, their taste buds too. So my experimentation serves to expand their world of foods. Most importantly, food inspires conversations of different cuisines, cultures and travels. We discover ourselves and each other in the process. And with aging parents, perhaps it is time for me to pick up this mantle?

Cooking is all about people. Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people get together to eat. ~ Guy Fieri

My selfish hope is that when my children leave home, they will continue to be tied to their home of origin and me, so cooking and foods will bring memories filled with nostalgic aromas, of connection and belonging. The soon-to-be adult boy has expressed a desire to explore the world, and said he would take two things with him, his family and his faith. Sweet, isn’t it? 🙂

Food brings people together on many different levels. It’s nourishment of the soul and body; it’s truly love. ~ Giada De Laurentiis

Cooking is also a skill which I have been inspired to master, after hours of conversations on the intimacy of cooking together and the sensual experience of savouring foods. Perhaps a future of quiet company and adventurous samplings.

I think careful cooking is love, don’t you? The loveliest thing you can cook for someone who’s close to you is about as nice a valentine as you can give. ~ Julia Child

Yes, I may have hit upon the reasons for my desire to cook at this juncture of my life. Or are they mere intellectual reasoning?!

Why do you cook?

~ FlorenceT

It is done.

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It is done. I opened them.

I found two boxes in my garage a few weeks ago, brought them into my bedroom and there they sat. Gut instinct said “this is important”. Yet I could not open them. Until I was compelled to on the eve of the review date.

The review date for an application which if it went as planned, I would be on the final step to officially ending a 20-year marriage. After months of waiting, the court would finally get round to reviewing the joint application and hopefully the paperwork would be in order (I am a lawyer after all?). With this, the final countdown of “a month and a day” would begin, culminating in a decree being issued dissolving the marriage.

So… the boxes. They contain years of letters and cards between my ex-husband and I. Now some may think I am a masochist for even venturing to open them. It had been suggested that I should merely…erm…burn them. That wouldn’t be so difficult except it would also mean eradicating a past, a history of 20 years. That I could not do.

He and I did not leave the marriage on bad terms, albeit sad. There were disagreements and mismatched values and priorities. I wouldn’t be who I am today if not for the lessons learned, the overcoming and the achievement. Now, this could be a good thing or a bad one 🙂 though I am not making judgments now.

Opening the boxes and reading through some of the correspondence was enlightening in its own way. Girding my loins, so to speak, to be an observer of the past – of who or what each of us used to be, how we felt and did… and the interactions and navigation of our lives with each other. A reminder that despite that which plagued the marriage, there were indeed good times worthy of remembering and passing on to our children.

The alone time going through the memories served as a ritual.

This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don’t have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn’t have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet.

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, “Eat, Pray, Love”

I grew up in a culture with many rituals and symbols. Rituals for the coming of age, in preparation of a marriage, in celebration of birth, to mourn the passing of life. Most cultures do. And with these rituals are the symbols used – from mandarins to rice buns in the shape of flowers, the colours of white, red and black… I am not aware of a ritual to see the ending of a marital relationship, at least not through positive lens. I do not engage with nor wish to perpetuate the narrative of necessary anger and hurt, prolonged bitterness and blame. I do not wear victimhood well, as my culture (or dare I say, most normative cultures) would wish to foist upon a woman post-divorce.

The opening of these two boxes was my ritual of re-membering into this body the parts which I still wish to be attached to, and of removing the parts which no longer serve me; a psychological and emotional letting go, if you like. It was a ritual to mark a significant event in my life, to not let it pass unnoticed.

Ritual is necessary for us to know anything. ~ Ken Kesey

For as I now realise, there were still lessons to be learned. As I explored paper and ink, I saw a Me which I had forgotten; I marvelled at the transformation and of what is maintained despite the passing of time with its many celebrations and challenges.

My intuition or gut instinct spoke true. This needed doing, and it was good. As has been said of musical rituals, [r]itual instructs not only at the level of intellect…but also at the level of the soul.

I believe the same is true for any type of ritual, as a rite of passage between worlds and arriving firm in one’s own self-identity and prepared for a new role.

And so it is done.

A poem from one of my favourite poets…

FINISTERRE

The road in the end taking the path the sun had taken,
into the western sea, and the moon rising behind you
as you stood where ground turned to ocean: no way
to your future now but the way your shadow could take,
walking before you across water, going where shadows go,
no way to make sense of a world that wouldn’t let you pass
except to call an end to the way you had come,
to take out each frayed letter you had brought
and light their illumined corners; and to read
them as they drifted on the late western light;
to empty your bags; to sort this and to leave that;
to promise what you needed to promise all along,
and to abandon the shoes that brought you here
right at the water’s edge, not because you had given up
but because now, you would find a different way to tread,
and because, through it all, part of you would still walk on,
no matter how, over the waves.

– David Whyte

 

What rituals do you have in your life? To what purpose do they serve? What is your arriving?

 

~ FlorenceT

 

 

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Her journey begins…

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She is bright… in fact, this is an understatement. Her IQ aside, she has developed a maturity and self-efficacy way beyond her tender years.

So when she spoke of writing songs and making music at 10 years old, I was happy to indulge her. She did not jump up and down with the excitement that usually accompanies little people when they discovered something new to do. I did not think she was ‘that’ passionate, that it could perhaps be a fad. She’d always enjoyed listening to music, and her musical taste was, and still is, eclectic.

Then about a year ago, she asked for (additional) lessons on music composition and vocal lessons, after years of traditional piano and guitar lessons. That was when I discovered (through conversations with her and her teachers) that she hears music in her head, not just a melody rather she is hearing complete compositions. She wanted lessons to equip herself to document, record and produce what she hears in her head. In a year and the half, she has developed into something of a music aficionado. And this time, I have been paying attention.

To cut a long story short, fast forward to now. She has an amateur bedroom studio, and hints 😊 have been dropped for a proper soundproofed studio with the correct acoustic for recording.

While I have always been adamant that we are to meet people, especially children, where they are; not where we believe they ought to be, I did not do so with her. Social narratives are not easy to identify and dispel. For example, “she is only 9 or 10, even if she was an exceptionally intelligent child”. “A child is too young to know what she really wants.” “It is too soon to spend such money on a child, she’s bound to change her mind.” And with every delay, lack of interest, placating and condescension, we bear the risk of discouraging a genuine passion, or worse of reinforcing a message of unworthiness of her ideas, invalidity of her desires and interests, and perhaps even her as a human being. A sense of “you are not enough” to know, to want, to dream, to aspire…

I am fortunate that she didn’t give up on me, and in her own sweet way, pestered me for what she wanted. Over a tumultuous period in our family, I did finally listen.

What is more amazing, at least to me, is how with the tools now at her fingertips she begins to emerge from her “shell”, to experiment, to have the necessary conversations with like-minded people.

And very recently, I was privileged to be told that she is publishing on SoundCloud, growing a following on Twitter and Instagram… oh wow!

Here’s a track – an acoustic cover:

It is far from perfect; it is a journey … of self-discovery… of taking each necessary step to achieve a dream. She is passionate enough to take risks. She has set a goal and working towards it. For these, I am the proudest parent.

I can’t wait for her original material! And no, I don’t get a private preview!

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Hope remains #Haiku Challenge 162 @RonovanWrites

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RonovanWrites Haiku Challenge 162 with prompt words – Hope, Stay

 

 

 what remains this day
storm battered and rain assailed
hope still unsurpassed.
~ FlorenceT

 

 

 

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.