[Above pic from Christmas Day 2017; I was heading back out to work so we snapped a pic] And somehow in the ins and outs of synchronicity and happenstance, that day before her birthday on November 30th, 2017, I began melding with The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood”, again returning to that one refrain which bows me down until I remember that day of holding my baby, knowing (like not in my head but in my body; like a knowing stretching outside of “knowing”) that pooling around my experience was now the potential for every single bit of love and agony possible to have within one life. For I had worried I wouldn’t love her as I did Julia; that was a real thing for me. I worried I’d never be able to rise to that level; Julia was my early baby, born 7 weeks before she was ready then hooked to IVs—“she might die; be blind, deaf; have disabilities”—and even before
I listened to a choir performance my cousin shared of my Aunt Cathy—who apologized because she’d only intended to share it with choir members—and there was something there for me because I got this little tickle (of heart and brain flirting like courtship) that made me follow his lead and also offer reverent music. And my first impulse was to share something I’ve shared before–Part 1 of Chichester Psalms–because the specific Psalms the music references (108 v2 and 100) do this eruption of joy within me. Not sure why. I assume most likely because I don’t have any religion “radar blips” in my past so have been spared the disappointment of seeing that sometimes what looks like deep and lovely faith is just a nervous little man behind a curtain pulling switches. In my world, Jesus hasn’t been tainted and misused—nobody utilized him to abuse my much more sacred Source-appointed free will—so I have emotional freedom to look upon him
According to the birth certificate tucked inside my baby book, I was born October 1, 1968 at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View California and my name was “Amy Brook Palleson”. I don’t remember any of the other fluff on it—height, weight, etc.—just that the paper was black with white printing and hard to read—which even seeing it at a young age had seemed odd—and that the book itself was a mess of white out and scratch outs and corrections. We can fast forward now, through memory lane, through years, through the solidification of who I was—via Rose and Martin Palleson (grandma and grandpa), Leeroyce and Deck Hogin (gammie and gampie); through aunts and uncles and cousins; through my brother Jeff born in early ‘71, my sister Alex in ‘75, and Clancy and Cindy, my father and mother—all the way to the couch in gammies living room where I lay quietly crying at 13 (or 12? I can’t even remember)
http://themoth.org/stories/the-house-of-mourning Press the link to watch Chaplain Kate Braestrup’s video from The Moth “House of Mourning”. I really got this video, and understood it from a deep place. For there was a time–after my soiree in college studying Native American and world religions and post-my first daughters birth–when I couldn’t see another path in front of me that didn’t lead to me becoming a non-denominational pastor. So to engage as Ms. Braestrup does with her world from the caring of a larger sphere of knowing is the most comfortable place of experience for me. And often I feel like a foreign visitor to a new planet when people talk of vacations and cars and hedonistic-esque material things for those to me are
Last night my girls, Ellen, and I watched Thelma and Louise together, and because I’d forgotten how long the movie was, the event lasted into the early hours of today, at which point my youngest–who’d been hesitant to even watch it at all for the last scene she’d heard so much about–excitedly chatted to me through my bleary-eyedness, saying that along with Donnie Darko, it was now one of her two favorite movies. None of them had ever seen it, and Livy asked me in one of the first scenes when Thelma’s husband Daryl was being an asshole to Thelma, “Is that just the way it was back then?” The movie was made in 1991. No, baby; Daryl’s just a dick. In the midst of girl power and Thelma and Louise gunning it to their chosen end, Ellen held my left hand still and, as I watched the movie, drew upon my skin the pattern you see in the picture
And so it was that when I was about 13 I went to see Adelaide the psychic whose name my family had been passing around for a while and she told me two things which stuck with me all the way through until that time when I was trying to make the decision whether to break my engagement with Chris and be with James or listen to my mom and stay the course through the uncertainty and into a marriage which by now of course would have already ended. The first thing Adelaide told me was that one day I’d be writing a book, and the second thing she told me is that one day a man with blue eyes would say goodbye to me and I might never stop crying. As fortune would have it, I looked for that blue-eyed boy for many years, hoping for a love that was so deep I’d cry forever at its loss, thinking
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“Eddie Vedder admits that he changes the lyrics and meaning of the song when he performs it, but he wrote the song with one story in mind. The song was written during the first gulf war, when “Papa Bush” was President, as Eddie calls him. The story is about a young Grunger kid, all dressed up in his flannels with the long greasy hair. His brother goes off to fight in the war and gets killed. He gets a letter that comes in one of those yellow army envelopes and learns of his brother’s death. So, all upset, he decides to go out and walk it off. On his walk he passes by a neat, middle-aged or elderly couple sitting on their front porch having some tea, and he sees that they have an American flag out. He gives a wave, because he feels like he relates: “The flag, my brother, you know…” But they don’t know, of course. They don’t know what’s underneath the grunge and the long hair. All they see are the outward appearances, and they don’t wave back.”
Today I unfollowed a FB page when one of the members group-texted calling Bernie supporters ‘burnouts’.
It was all pro-Hillary and blah blah blah, look at how over-intellectualized we are followed by invented narratives and name-calling like five-year-olds.
And maybe I’m rushing too quickly to protect myself from those unlike me, but when time is short–and honestly, it’s actually short for all of us, all the time–it becomes less possible to entertain living within such an unsightly, formulaic dynamic. Because I’m more than the sum of one-word branding and finding space inside to nurture myself has been hard, and I’ve grown intolerant of a world not up to the task of helping me meet myself with a loving heart.
And interestingly, I didn’t get too upset about it, like I might have at one point in time.
It just made me think of this song. They played it at the Bernie Sanders rally last year.
I went with my younger daughter, Livy (who’s named after Mark Twain’s wife; born in the year 2000–11 months after the Y2K “disaster”, 10 months before 9/11–on the same day as Twain, and gifted too with writing ability, and cursed, as he, with too many ideas) because as we walked back to the car, the sun was going down, and I was like, why not live the big dreams?
Why not believe in the goodness of people we don’t know? Why not wave at the grunge kid in the tatty shirt?
For when you look at what we do with our thoughts–mindlessly cataloging human beings so as to protect our emotional selves–we are magic beings creating poison worlds, distancing ourselves from one another for no reason, lost inside a world in which somehow it makes more sense to create a docudrama of nefariousness out of someone waving than it is just to pick up our arm and wave it.
And driving home, we turned up Yellow Ledbetter as we sank into the sky and clouds of a magic day, and passing the golf course, I was singing along with the mournful lyrics–and yes: I was so dreamy that day–but when I looked at Livy in the passenger seat of my car, window down, hair blowing in the air of a warm day, the earth was tilting towards a star and I was like “look at that big dream.”
Look at that art project of sky and skin. The sky painted color that’s actually just air and the girl of tender-hearted benevolence imprinting the world with a more grace-filled future.
[703 words; 2 min 34 sec]
I’ve never cried so hard as that day in 2007 when James drove his moving truck down the street.
He was moving from Salt Lake to live with his office assistant/girlfriend and her son 2000 miles away, just weeks after we told the girls we were divorcing, a divorce which blindsided me, James and Sarah probably beginning their relationship that summer we
[706 words; 3 min. 31 sec; Janis Joplin, nonconformity, changing the world with your story]
Sometimes I think it happens that Time becomes a weird entity, mashing together events of totally different origins and reconvening them as if they were occurring together, right then, into a singular story, clear in connection, real and provable. Maybe it’s a Tune in,
When my mom turned 40, she had an epic meltdown in the upstairs bathroom of our geodesic dome house on Hazel Dell Road, crying and rocking herself in the bathtub while relaying how disappointed she was in her life, and the myriad things she thought she’d have accomplished by that age that she didn’t. We were having a party later that day that people would be driving from all over Northern California to attend so I remember feeling like it was important to bandaid this situation so she could get out of the bathtub, don some clothes, maybe some makeup and come down to her own party. There just seemed little sense in adding THAT disappointment to the mix, and it really felt like her meltdown/“existential crises” was just a little too much to handle from the cold water of an upstairs bathroom on party day. I don’t do epic meltdowns. I don’t do “I’m aging oh my god what