Notes of Surprise and Delight

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The Year of Meeting Lizards

Or how to slough off the past and be (more) fearless

Hint: One toe at a time. The tail will grow back.

In the past year, I have met more than a dozen lizards in different forms and phases of their lives. I have never encountered as many lizards as I have in the past 12 months. I wouldn’t have noted it if the first handful of lizard sightings were not intriguing. I am certain there are messages for me to learn from the lizards.

#1: Long, black, and semi-floating on a friend’s pool surface. High summer. Hot like today. I was on a mini-retreat to figure out what to do with my life and career post-pandemic and mid-freak out about my husband’s illness. Feet in the pool, journal in hand, sunscreen blocking the most pernicious sun rays, I leaped out when I saw what looked like a snake. Let’s say that it stopped my retreat’s calming focus and agitated me into a form of action. I still journaled my heart out and returned to the pool for a second day, but not with as much vim and vigor.

#2: One day later, I was walking with my husband around the block and noticed a small, grey dead lizard on the path leading to our home. Weird. I noted the doubling.

#3: A few days later, walking out to get the mail from our home, a short friendly lizard greets me at the door. Alive. It appeared to be speaking to me. It no longer seemed to be coincidental. There is symbolism here, attempting to bash me over the head. I did next what I love, researched lizard lore, and found that lizards represent dreams and shedding what doesn’t serve you any longer. Hmm. Food for thought.

#4-10: Lizards were everywhere, like the law of attraction; I would see them here or there by the porch, near the garage, or on my walk to the office. My family noticed them, too, and we discussed them like they were favorite pets during our dinnertime conversations. In the hustle and bustle of trying to run a middle school and get a proper diagnosis for my husband, I let the lizard messages slip away. And yet, I didn’t know what I know now; I was shedding my perceived reality for a new one.

#11: The bright orange lizard shocked me when it shimmied out of our garage almost a year later. I felt the sonic boom of a reminder. Had you shed all that you needed? Dual graduations of middle and high school sons appeared on the horizon. Daunted a bit but also excited about the move forward. The next phase holds new potential and opportunities for us– for me.

#12: One morning, almost one year after noticing the first lizard, I got out of the mini-SUV from the trip to and from college orientation and almost stepped on another dead lizard. I wondered if I had killed it when I backed into the spot. I knew I was reluctant, not wanting to loosen the next layer of skin, that of a parent giving over her child to adulthood.

#13: I give you a baker’s dozen in lizards. I am not sure it is the final lizard, but it is the one with the most meaning. In my new role as an advisor at school, two seventh graders rushed by me to save a very tiny baby lizard this week. They gently picked it up with their bare hands and carried it to a nearby flower bed to set it free. The students saved it from certain death: a new life, a new dream to be born.

I wonder, what messages or symbols have you read in the world?

random thoughts

That was the River– This is the Sea

These things you keep, you’d better throw them away.

from This is the Sea, The Waterboys (Michael Scott)

I can’t get this song out of my mind. It is a lovely, haunting melody by The Waterboys from their third album. I listened to it on repeat back in college (in the dark ages, aka the 80s). How fitting that it is running through my head as we delivered our eldest boy to college this week. I have so much to process. I was ill-prepared for the intense heartbreak when he turned to walk away from us toward his future. Left alone in the parking lot by the car, the emotional pain was physical. Holding my breath, I realized that there was no calling him back. To be sure, he will come back, but everything has changed. Mike Scott was right: This is the sea.

I returned home to an ocean of supportive friends, each having said goodbye to a child or two and survived. They shared their infinite wisdom with me and buoyed my spirit; I am grateful for their words. We are better together and built for connection.

How are you tending to your connections? Who will help you navigate the wild, blue sea of this life?


Son with Father @ Saint Mary’s Cross, Moraga, CA
10 Second Habits, random thoughts

It’s Time…Are You Ready?

And just like that, the year is here, and we are ready (almost) to go. Are you ready? Or are you, like me, not quite prepared, not sure when I will be ready, but the tumbling of time will not stop, so I must proceed.

One son began high school, and we will move our other son into his college dorm for the first time next week on my first day of school. By next Friday, my world will have completely altered. I am not sure how I feel about this. Ok, that is a lie. I have many feelings, and they are overwhelming at times.

But, I have spent many years re-writing the negative self-talk in my brain when it shuts down my feelings. And this morning, I reminded myself that I have lived through all the most challenging times and made it through every difficult emotion. It’s ok to let them have space. They will pass.

How are you getting through difficult times? What are your favorite tools to help you center yourself?

One of my big self-soothing activities is reading. And I read this and thought it worthy and relevant to share with you:

It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.” -Hugh Laurie

10 Second Habits, daily draw, random thoughts

Summer’s End: Making Way for Change

random thoughts

Immaculate

The Annunciation, Simone Martini

I spent a bit of time pondering the life of the Virgin Mary today. Looking up at the crescent moon this evening, it felt like I was looking at a desert moon, one that may have hung up in the night sky for the Mother of G_d. What does it mean to be free of sin and bear the Divine? To watch the Divine be sacrificed and ascend? What does it mean for one’s own ascension? What must it have felt like to watch your love (the heart that lives outside your body) die before your eyes?

Death and birth are both difficult and shocking. It is almost winter. Things die to make way for new life. Is that our purpose?

Poetry, random thoughts

Giving Thanks

I was raised between the kitchen and dining room table, flitting between cutting board and stove. Learning the lessons of taste over the chopping of onion and garlic. The transmutation of anchovy into love as it melts into tomato sauce. The spoken prayer after sliding cookies into the oven. I know that the magic of the kitchen is a form of sacrifice and alchemy.

I do believe the kitchen table is where everything begins and ends. I am grateful each morning and evening, and if I am lucky, some afternoons in which I can break bread and share a meal with my loved ones. For me, there is nothing more healing than a meal with conversation, questions, and laughter.

As we head towards Thanksgiving, I want to share one of my favorite poems by our indigenous poet-musician and US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo. Her words have constantly fed me. May they nourish your spirit as well.

Blessings around the table to all.

Amen.

random thoughts

What Do You Seek?

What you seek is seeking you.

I have been attracted to this quote attributed to the 13th century Persian Sufi poet Rumi since my 20s. It makes a lot of sense since I am a medievalist at heart. But I’m a lot older now and feeling impatient at the transitions I face in life.

But what is it that I seek? And what do you seek? Is it comfort, love, money, or status? The meaning of life, your purpose? All I know is that the paradox of the quote has me all tangled up in a loop because if you seek it and it seeks you- it’s like the prophecy in Harry Potter: neither one can live while the other survives. The resistance of opposites feels like an infinite loop.

I do have a mystic’s inclination, but at the end of the day, I want to feel like I can get grounded and not experience the infinity wrapped up in the spell of Rumi’s words. I would like to connect with what I seek. It’s time to create a new affirmation: I already have what I seek within me.

random thoughts, writing

I’m Back, and I am Thrilled to Share this with you…

I am back! It has been too long, but life offers us twists and turns along the way. If you know me, you know that I appreciate randomness and the magic of what appears random. If you are new here know that it is my intention to bring topics and conversation about creativity, writing, tending to joy, and random magic back to this page.

Right now, I am thrilled to share my friend Laraine Herring’s new book is out soon! It’s got ghosts and ravens! I am beyond excited to read her speculative memoir. Laraine is a graduate from Antioch University’s MFA program (like me!).

If you haven’t pre-ordered this book yet, there is still time!

If you would like a SIGNED copy use THIS LINK

From BOOKSHOP

From AMAZON

I can’t wait for my copy of the book to come! You can check out Laraine’s web presence at https://www.laraineherring.com/ From there she has connected activities related to A Constellation of Ghosts. Perhaps you might want to speak to your dead. There is #onemorechance to connect HERE.

Thank you!

random thoughts

Found this Beauty between barren apartment and concrete edifice of freeway. I’m always amazed and soothed by sights like this rose bush. Perfect reminder of the impermanence of difficulty.. 🌊. . . #lifeisbeautiful #seekbeauty #bloom #impermanence #spring

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Pulled a card. Random magic. 💙 Turns out it was White Magic. Wake. Heal. 🌊 Choose to create. * Deck: Enchanted Oracle #divination #randommagic #creativity #purpose #meaning #powerofchoice #choosekind #shelter