Baby, take a bow

Yesterday was an unimaginable red-letter day.   Who knew when Saturday dawned that Sunday would be utterly WOW?   Then Opportunity stepped in.

Background:  It was my pleasure to plan & prep & prep for yesterday’s Bryn Athyn Community (B-Act) late afternoon cast party, but a delightful spanner was thrown into the works when a special friend extended an invitation for Sunday lunch.

On 10/15/17, my reality was that things were organized enough that by I could drop by all the paper goods & stock the Green Room fridge at the Mitchell Performing Arts Center (the play AND party site) with sodas, barbequed meat balls, baby potatoes dolloped with sour cream/bacon/chives, dozens of deviled eggs, chili, guacamole, salsa, veggie dip, cheese balls (blue -and- cheddar), sliced veggies with ranch dip for dunking, cream cheese with cocktail sauce & mini shrimp, pumpkin dip with apple slices, apple pie spread, grapes dipped in melted butterscotch bits & rolled in crushed pecans, cookies & cream puffs.  All DONE by 10:30 a.m., leaving John & I free to get to Tom Rose’s 11:00 a.m. investiture service, stop at York Diner for a nibble, arrive at Trish’s out in the far western reaches of Montgomery County for what both of us agree was the MOST fun lunch & extended gab & gaggle of new friends EVER.

I am as proud of yesterday as any accomplishment in my life.  Things were well organized & work was advanced enough that, when opportunity knocked we could answer YES without leaving anyone in the lurch. The party foods were packaged in service-ready containers, labeled with the contents, if it contained nuts, & a recommended cracker or dipper.  If there hadn’t been room in the fridge – which, praise be, there was – the foods that required refrigeration until the 4:00 p.m. party would have been fine, packed in our big ice chest, chilled with the well-sealed bags of ice atop the stacked containers.

That would have been unthinkable four years ago.  It was the culmination of a grand plan – getting to yesterday took years of  intention, determination, focus & follow through.

For three years, I volunteered to put on every B-Act cast party.  Doing a long line of parties let me figure out what worked best, plan & execute menus that provide maximum satisfaction for minimum effort & minimal expenses, are easy to set up & clean up.

Everything completed & stored by 10:30 a.m. for the late afternoon party,  without a  suggestion of stress.  Even the pick up of left-overs et al was as easy peasy as it gets – picked up around 9:00 p.m. (we were at Trish’s until 8:00!) at the B-Act president’s home, all chilled in our trusty Igloo ice chest.

That might not seem like a major accomplishment, but it is epic.  Its planning involved years of preparation, of learning & applying the lessons, REMEMBERING what worked & doing more of that -and- eliminated the sub par & gosh awful, doing things at the best time & in the most effective manner, at the most effective time (instead of finally) & in effective ways.

All of which went against an upbringing that drummed into me the opposite of everything that went into yesterday’s triumph, lifelong messages extolling creativity as springing from spontaneity (“stodgy planning is so bourgeois”), celebrating winging it as the mark of true genius, putting personal gratification above others’,  painting last-minute dramatics as conducive to great final results, & presenting stress strain unhappiness as conducive to the creative process.

Yesterday, being ABLE to accept a last minute invitation because I’d already overridden really dumb ancient messaging, turned out to be a personal performance worth several curtain calls.

Baby, take a bow!



Even Hitler

Marianne Williamson introduced me to the reality that when we take down our masks, we discover how alike we are.  That seems to tally with my believe that the grand end of life is 5, or 5th – when we fulfill the 5th Commandment, when we see our parents as what they truly are, as fallible humans with stories we don’t really know because they don’t, then we embrace the flawed humanity within which is the Divine.  Getting to see, to accept in our heart & express in our lives that core-est of core truths is what our time in this place, at this moment is all about.  Coming back to where we began – reflecting resonating reverberating Divine Love.

This is true for EVERYONE – we don’t get to pick & choose.  It’s either true for all or for none.  On that point, many of our nation’s evangelicals sound to me far more like pharisees than disciples of Christ.  The Divine doesn’t run an exclusive, excluding club.

My mother used to tell us that we could not judge anyone, no matter what they did.  We could – and should – have judgement around what they do, never around their intent.

“Even HITLER?” we asked, thinking we got her with that one.

“Even Hitler,” she answered, to our shock.

When I set aside my mask, it’s easier to see my spirit kinship with EVERYONE.  Everyone’s heart touching, in this time & place, around the world, transcending place & time.  Even Hitler’s.

Innovation & all that lies ahead

An advantage of growing older is racking up enough experiences to spot the same old issues, whether the usual suspects pop out in the usual way OR get sneaky & attack under different guises.

Although it was a jaw-dropper when this was first brought home to me five years ago, I am an innovator, a problem solver.  Never saw myself that way – the first manager of our local farm market mentioned it, as if it was obvious.  To her – yes.  To me – nope.

Oh, I knew about being a problem solver.  That was my unacknowledged but essential family role.  But the innovator part caught me unawares, although looking back over 60 years shouted out the truth of her comment.

For 41 years, my #1 problem-solving energies were directed at getting a better sense of mental emotional spiritual balance in a life that had been & continued to be…  I can’t describe the indescribable.  Trying to make sense of whackadoodle dynamics that seemed to make sense to everyone BUT me.

Which is where Susie’s “innovator” description comes in – for 41 years, I’ve reached for different perceptions of “reality,” different spins on events, different WHYs behind what this person or that did.  I upended entrenched views of myself, my family, my teachers friends colleagues, disrupting assumptions with “what ifs.”

Although it didn’t hit me until today, that’s innovation at its core – seeking different views, fresh understandings.

I am always seeking a new take on old problems.  I am willing to jettison what is messing me up, even if it is something I’ve held onto for decades.  (Our resistance to do that is a blog posting all on its own!)  I hold my image of what HAPPENED in any given moment with light reins – 65 years have shown how many times what I was SURE happened turned out to either be off-kilter.

Being an innovator got me to this flat-out terrific now.  It zooms me, even at a glacial pace, to all that lies ahead.

And it drives a lot of people nuts.

TONCHE – Mindwalker1910 10/30/00

Mom’s participation in the Tonche Women’s Weekend was a high point of her closing years & a high-water mark for showing her at her most KRL-ish.  By the next October – 2001 – she was gone, reunited with her O! Best Beloved.

Subj: Tonche
Date: Mon Oct 30 08:32:43 EST 2000

Almost a month without a posting from me. All is well. In fact, all is beyond the beyond. I think that the reason I haven’t written is because words are inadequate to describe what I have experienced this month.

Miracles do happen.

Earlier this month, I attended the Women’s Weekend at Tonche (outside of Woodstock, NY. I wanted to go last year, had planned on going, but could not make it because I was still recuperating from my “episode.”

This year, I got there.

It is awful, the way that words fail me when I am most deeply, deeply moved. My vocabulary does not include the words to describe what I saw and felt over that remarkable weekend. I felt totally wrapped up in love.

It was a weekend filled with old and new friends, renewed energies, and an unexpected chance to get in a good visit with my older daughter, Mim. I do not know which of us was more surprised to see the other person there! My age made it almost unthinkable that I would actually get there and keep going under my own steam for the whole time; Mim’s lack of transportation and own physical challenges make it equally challenging for her. What a blessing that we both overcame any obstacles to be there, in the heart of caring women.

Elsa was informed right off the bat by Deanna Nelson Odhner that she and the others would take care of me over the weekend. I felt like a mountain woman version of the Queen of Sheba, with my every wish and want taken care of. So much love, wonderful homemade food AND a view of the Catskills that would knock your socks off.

The one thing that I am going to share is a realization that came during ”sharing” time with the small circle of women I met with in the morning and evening. I had, over the two days, discussed bits and pieces of my life. I think it was on the second evening – or maybe it was on the last morning – that I mentioned that life had been easy on me. One of the young woman looked at me in disbelief and blurted out, “Mrs. Lockhart, from what you’ve described, your life has been anything but easy!” That got me thinking – it feels like the right word to describe my life is “easy,” but I can see what she meant. Perhaps “fortunate” is better.

One of the key blessings to come out of the weekend has been the gift of seeing things in a new light, with a richer awareness and a deeper appreciation. For 2 ½ days, I basked in the happiness of being there with both of my daughters. I developed new friendships, especially with Julie Conaron, and increased the depth of old ones, particularly with Deanna.

I was up every morning bright and early and down to Danna’s house in plenty of time for breakfast, and I stayed up until the end of each program/discussion group. I felt strong mentally, spiritually and physically.

I said I was going to go and I went!

If only I could share all that was in my heart, all the images in my mind – what a glorious posting this would be!

Love to one and all, especially to my fellow mountain women – The Queen of Sheba (aka Grammie)


In which I freely confess to being an IDIOT

In 2 1/2 months since the close of the IAGG, John & I have seen amazing shifts in our lives.  For the first time, we regularly attend a church service where we both feel completely at rest.

As often as we can ease the money out of our on-life-support budget, we do weekly yoga with delightful young woman at Pura Vida; if we can free the $$, we head almost next door to  Be Well (Pura Vida occupies the sacred space that was Be Well’s first home, before they leap frogged the dry cleaner to double their space) for refreshing, cleansing Bee Stings.

We attend a Mutual Support Group (MSG) with a wondrous circle of others, sitting in a small round stone building that seems to cradle us.

We do Full Moon drumming – which opened up unexpected worlds for John – and are part of a 5-week “small group” considering forgiveness, a program offered by the church where I was baptized & confirmed, where we were betrothed & married.

We walk every night before I head off to bed & have started walking the Pennypack Trail close to every day.

All new in the past 10 weeks.

There has been just one downer in all these amazing evolutions.  The reason for MSG, the small group discussions & even Full Moon drumming is to have a spiritual experience, to gain a deeper understanding about something.  Yet whenever it’s John’s turn to share something that manifests itself as abundance in his life (Harvest Moon) or something he is seeking (which was also the Hunter Moon) or to share his sense of forgiving, all he ever gives is a variation of “This is a wonderful group & I am happy to be part of it.

Last night, I snapped.  Where everyone else shared something related to Len’s questions or opted to pass, my Keet spoke – enthusiastically – every time about being happy to be there.  While it racked & raked my soul, everyone else seemed charmed at this totally-off-topic comments.

The story I was telling myself was that he’s having problems with memory, not able to process what Len or Solomon or Tirah are asking.  My mind went to doctor visits, to cognitive testing.  Because my O! Best Beloved seemed unable to process a simple request & tag it with a proper response.

Praise be for taking our pre-slumbers perambulation, which was when the blazing light hit that I was a mega idiot ~ ~  I go to MSG, to the Forgiveness group, to Full Moon drumming for the opportunity to ponder & reflect; John goes for the same reason he loves Fire Pit Fridays with friends & loves our playfulness work with older friends – he is a people person who had been going DAYS on end with just me & the cats for connection.  He loves the socializing.

Introspection, reflection, new-found awareness – those are not John.  He is basically comfortable in his skin, with good reason – he is a tender-hearted being with a predisposition for kindness paired with a fair-minded nature.

Okay, so this is actually a confession about having BEEN an idiot, because I am now wise to what’s up & blissfully blessed to have such a remarkable man as my hubster.

And I understand the looks I saw on the fire-lit faces last night around the drumming circle – they felt his wonder, his appreciation & his delight in being part of their greater whole.

My John knows himself & is okay with what is.  Which brings me to this idiot’s delight at being his Budge-a-Mate.  “He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and just let me watch him do it.”  A true life mentor who happens to be my own true love.

quote is from Clarence Budington Kelland  

Two conversations – TED talk

Interesting experience yesterday down at Miss Philly Grill.  Unintentionally eavesdropped on a man sitting at the counter talking about the aunt of a friend of his, a woman in an advanced state of Alzheimer’s, unable to recognize any of her loved ones.

The man had internalized the situation to the point where he clearly SAW himself, years from now, in a similar situation.  He knew one person, not even his own relative, with Alzheimer’s, yet in his mind the one turned into one hundred.  Now THAT’s demented!

Being as bold as brass, I went over & mentioned overhearing the discussion, letting him know that while it can feel like every older person we know has some form of dementia, they actually don’t.  It hit me that he was talking about the aunt of a friend – not his – & was forgetting all the older people he knows who DON’T have dementia.  Or the ones who do & he doesn’t know about because they aren’t presenting themselves as anything other than somewhat forgetful.   Alas, could not convince him that the majority of the elderly do NOT have a form of dementia;  facts didn’t matter because his emotions were fully engaged.

People of all ages are terrified developing dementia, seem to have the fear etched into their brains, worrying about something, giving it a form of BEING even when it is considerably more likely they will be just fine.  What a waste of energies.  And if people who are diagnosed & live with the many forms of dementia weren’t TOLD it was a fate worse than death, things would be so much better for them & for their loved ones.

Tamara Taggart , a Vancouver television personality, shares two conversations ~ the first almost broke her heart;  the second broke it open.

When you listen to the first conversation, ponder how dementia’s depiction as depressing, dark, dire – and about Tamara’s actual experience; hearing the second, reflect on her experience with what has followed.  Which will you think of if someone you love is faced with neurological challenges?  

May these two conversations change your life!