Category Archives: Writings

Sunday Morning Pages

The mornings are my favorite time of the day. Usually, all is quiet with my dog Ella at my feet and calico cat, Shelby snoozing on my reader’s chair. They pay no mind to what I am doing as I sit to write. Secretly, they are waiting for their morning walk or breakfast.

This is the hour that I take a little time for myself before I give to others. My mind settles down the moment I glance out of my office window. The day is starting out just fine, in my eyes. I’d like to keep it that way

“A mind too active is no mind at all,” says Theodore Roethke, one of my favorite poets. I can’t argue this truth, but I don’t know if it’s all that easy.

And yet, here in my home on this little corner plot of land breathes a different kind of world–one that I can fully call my own filled with simplicity, stillness, order, hope, and peace. Out my window, the pumpkin on the porch rail sits quietly and offers me comfort, color and its stoic presence. The maple trees have fully dropped their leaves, given the recent winds, and stand naked before me. I witness their surrender to seasonal change, vulnerability and strength. As winter nears, I would like to follow their lead and go inward to rest, restore and write.

I don’t think I will mind growing into old age as long as there are books to read and pages to write each day. Of course, that is, as long as I have my pets at my feet and birds at the feeders. I just love having them all around as they welcome me gladly without condition. Every day, I check my finch sock to make sure its filled with seed. They come in record number to cluster around the sock, or take a drink from the bird bath.

This image reminds me of a woman artist named Alexandra Sanders. She calls herself “The Lady Who Loves Birds.” (That’s what her business card says), and I thought, I do too. I have to get to know her.

The above image is an original Batik designed for her gratitude journals. (Awww. Gratitude–how sweet the sound). She’s a water-colorist, photographer, and digital designer. She creates greeting cards, calendars, totes and so much more. I knew she was a kindred spirit when I met her, and perhaps she will be for you too? You can find her at www.ladywholovesbirds.com.

Her art is life giving. I hope my simple words to you provide the same nourishment. May life be kind and glorious to you on this Sacred Sunday.

Tapping out

I have been following Hoarded Ordinaries for years now. I wanted to share her site with my beautiful readers. I loved reading about your father. Such a beautiful story. Thank you.

Hoarded Ordinaries

This past Monday night, less than a week after my parents’ 65th anniversary, my Dad died after a long illness. The news that he had passed came as both a relief and a shock.

My Dad was a humble man. In his final months, he let us know he wanted to be cremated without fuss, funeral, or even the attention of an obituary. My Dad was a graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Columbus, Ohio, and his biggest life accomplishment was supporting a wife and four daughters on a bread-truck driver’s salary.

My Dad was raised in a large Italian-American family, and each of his siblings had at least one son who was a state champion wrestler. It was a point of ribbing among his siblings that my Dad didn’t have any sons to carry on the DiSabato family dynasty. My Dad took some solace when I…

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Sunday Morning Funnies

Dear readers,

I hope you get a “Giggle and a Grip” out of my Sunday Morning Funnies. (And if you don’t there’s always the news.) Monicas iphone photos 418

I like to pretend that Sundays are my lazy days, a time to regroup, recharge, and reboot when I’m by myself, or with my colorful family and friends (you know who you are).

The words, regroup, recharge, and reboot place an emphasis on the prefix “re-“, which means “back” or “again”; and according to Englishhints.com, ‘re’ appears in hundreds of English vocabulary words. For example: reject, regret, or revert. Hmmm…I prefer my re-words, don’t you? How about rejoice? That’s good one.

Like my dog, Ella, she knows how to do it.

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Sigh. I wish I could be more like her. She’s a master at the Art of Doing Nothing. And I mean nothing. Zippo. Zilch. She’s not even aware of her god-given gift! Talk about unfair!

Then, there’s my cat, Shelby. She doesn’t engage me much when I’m busy running around. She just looks up and yawns, as if to say. “Get a grip, will ya?” In fact, she doesn’t give a rats-ass (actually she might if it’s a rat), if I rest or not. Why would she?

She’s too busy cleaning my room, doing the laundry, and paying my bills.

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As for my Sunday Tips:

  • Make time for a power nap.
  • Don’t under-estimate the power of ignore.
  • And the next time you think you hear your pets talking to you, see a doctor!

Note: And no, I’m not a cat person, or a dog person. I’m a Muppet person.

Happy Sunday my friends!

What Needs Pruning in your Life?

Every year at this time, the vineyards call our attention. My husband, Dan and I live on an acre of land and tend to 600 vines in Sonoma. Come the break of Spring, the vineyards ask to be freed of their dead weight, scraggly wintry branches they’ve been holding up for far too long. The vines need room for the sun and time to breathe before the birth of little pink bud-babies.

After months of rain, the dormant vines received their wish yesterday. A group of hired-hands came together to alleviate the vineyards from their weighted past. With clippers, they made space for possibility, vast and beautiful as the Sonoma sky.

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Photo Credit: Deborah Parrish Photography

I soak in the beauty of scarcity that only comes at the tail end of winter. I feel lighter now, knowing the heavy work is done. As I stare out my living room window, the vineyard landscape is breathtaking: open and stark. I am reminded that I too, need to prune the things in my life that no longer serve me, so I can make room for more life-affirming, joyful acts.

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Being a lover-of-lists, here’s what I am pruning out of my cluttered life to make way for more open, life-sustaining fulfillment, like candles. Heart candles!

Here’s my list:

  1. Less Whining = More wine! More friends and more wine.
  2. Less News and Social Media = More reading, writing, listening to music.
  3. Less Talking = More Prayer, meditation, and silent retreats.
  4. Less Clutter = More sanity!
  5. Less procrastination = More ‘Be Here Now’ activity.
  6. Less seriousness = More laughter!
  7. Less planning = More trust to let the day unfold.
  8. Less pressure = Enough with the should have, could have, would have thinking!

As the old saying goes, “Less is More.” The recipe for simplicity.

What do you think needs pruning in your own life? I wonder. (Hope it’s not me. Haha).

 

 

Look to Art and Beauty

Since my father passed away, I have been looking to art and beauty in the everyday. When he was alive, there wasn’t a hummingbird, a great oak tree, a good history book, a classical piece of music, or an oil painting of the beautiful English countryside that he didn’t take close notice, appreciate, and share with me. There wasn’t a day he didn’t notice Nature’s bounty and beauty, or a brilliant work of art.

As I carry him with me, I am reminded with every death, there is rebirth. For every person who dies, a baby is born. For every inhale, there is an exhale. I, of course, have intellectualized these truths, but not until I experienced my father’s passing, did I know what rebirth felt like to die to the past and weave a new life for myself.

In the book, The Second Half Life: Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom, anthropologist and author, Angeles Arrien states, “We are all born with a great dream for our lives. A dream that may have been derailed along the way by family and career responsibilities or submerged by our own choices. In the second half of life, after your roots have gone deeply into the world, it is time to resurrect this dream.”

As a writer and insight practitioner, I look to art and beauty for inspiration. A lover of silence and creativity, the two go hand in hand, to provide the Inner Peace I value as much as the breath. Every morning, I walk my dog, then sit down to write, read and wonder about the mysteries of life all around me. Continue reading Look to Art and Beauty

Fireside Heaven

On this rainy Saturday, after taking a meditative walk with my dog, Ella, fall-2016-005I nestle into a comfy port wine chair inside my living room, what my friend calls “Fireside Heaven.” I like the sound of that, a name that aptly describes a quiet sanctuary to restore, be inspired, and dream a little dream. fall-2016-124

I am one of the fortunate few to still have a wood-burning fireplace to keep me warm and cozy, safe from the noisy and crazy world outside. Here, I look out my window at the serene side of nature, cherishing the simple things worth savoring, moment to moment.

I imagine Fireside Heaven in the same way Virginia Woolf does in, “A Room of One’s Own.” A place to center one self, gather your thoughts, to read and to write. A soulful place that no one can take away from me, from any of us.

Without leaving my chair, I read and have wings to travel to Africa in Circling the Sun by Paula McLain, afall-2016-041n inspiring story about the pioneering life of Beryl Markham, the first woman racehorse trainer and pilot to soar solo from the Atlantic, east to west, in pursuit of personal freedom. If you are a fan of Out of Africa, like I am, you’ll be intrigued with Beryl’s entanglement inside the love triangle between safari hunter, Denys Finch Hatton, and writer and Baroness, Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), only to discover that the spiritual freedom she longed for was inside herself.

For me, Fireside Heaven is a form of freedom, a state of being, a place to call your own. markham-inside-planeFor Beryl it was inside a plane flying into the horizon. Everyone has a room of their own if they just surrender to their place in this life, find the courage to soar and move willingly into it .

Living Juicy: Passion, Purpose, and the Perversity of Spirit

It’s not just peaceful and quiet in the wine country, it’s juicy and alive filled with wonder, color, change and possibility. It’s alchemy at its finest. Juicy, juicy, juicy. The grapes turn to wine with the help of Wine03human hands; the sun basks on our veggie gardens and produces food at the dinner table; the birds find food to feed their young in their twig-filled nests, and the peacock must do its mating dance and spread its blue-green feathers to show its magnificence.February 2012 043

All creatures have a passion and purpose. Every day they are busy at work to complete their mission. They simply must. This holds to true for people. Everyone has their own reason for being on this planet, if they just heed the call.

But the call does not come without its own perversity. The spirit must find its way through the obstacle course of life, and arrive if it will, dependent on its level of unbending commitment.

I learned about the perversity of spirit on Saturday when I took a writing class called, Writing as a Path to Awakening by Albert De Silva, author of the haunting memoir, Beamish Boy and Poet Laureate of Marin County, California. In the course, he shared an article by Rufi Thorpe, author of a novel, The Girls from Corona Del Mar. In the article published by The Literary Life, a young writer was asking the teacher, “Whether or not he should be a writer. Do I have what it takes?”

She answered, “that no one, no one can answer that question for you.”

On the verge of tears he went on, “But do you think I’m talented?”

She replied, “What I think is that talent is the least important thing about a writer. “What is important?” he asked.

She said dryly, maybe cruelly: “Perversity of spirit. Talent is the least important thing about a writer, compared to a love of books, which must be deep and abiding. The only thing a writer really needs is the emotional equivalent of a cartoon creature’s bouncy springiness, so that after being run over or blown up–or in the case of the writer, rejected and rejected some more–the writer is irrationally unfazed by even the most valid criticism and continues to work.”

We do what we must. Whether you’re a writer, photographer, leader, educator, curator, sculpturer, painter, etc.–it’s the perseverance and determination to see your goals and dreams come true–regardless of the Nay-sayers, the obstacles, the odds. Who cares about them and that? If you must create, you will.

I love this quote by Goethe.

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“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do. As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.  — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Whether is Goethe, the poet or Nature the creator, they show us their creations every day through sheer will. Sonoma MPK 05

The truth is, the world needs beauty in the form of story, art, photos, cooking recipes, etc. and of course always is made from two essential ingredients: perseverance and an absurd, fun and strange sense of humor.

It doesn’t matter our age, what matters is our passion to create and stay juicy. The perversity of the spirit.