Pray to the moon 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/21/opinion/brooks-the-art-of-presence.html?_r=0

I read this really amazing article (above)  about being there for people after they have had a trauma. It is called “The Art of Presence.”  There was mention about unwarranted optimism and the dangers of using religion to explain everything.   You know the lines.

 “God has a plan!” 

“Everything happens for a reason!”

 “there is a purpose to this!”  

*shutters* 

I have always despised those clichés, especially when going through a rough spot they have a tendency to make me fighting mad. When I had my miscarriage in November my friend said “that it was probably for the best and that it was just a part of God’s plan.” People tell me that I need to just trust Gods plan when it comes to my depression and anxiety or my fibromyalgia. 

Nope. Nope. Nope. What a cruel god you believe in if you feel he tortures his people to have them prove faith or strength. The world is random. Sometimes biological mechanisms fail and we have miscarriages and we grow tumors or our immune systems turn against us. Viruses and bacteria invade and tear us down. These things are not acts of God, these things are acts of living on this earth, with these bodies, with these fellow occupants. These are billions of years in the making. It unfortunately makes them hurt no less…not really.

“Theology is a grounding in ultimate hope, not a formula book to explain away each individual event.” 

I don’t believe in God but I can’t deny that kind of beauty. That is what theology  is all about. 

Ultimate Hope

It’s just stunning to me. Let it comfort you, but not blind you. We so often want someone or something to blame. For it to make sense. I think sometimes our greatest fear would be that it is very simple, and random and there is no greater “sense” to it.  

This all being said, I find myself in an incredibly spiritual place mentally at the moment. It is probably because I am in need of some ‘ultimate hope’ and connection and some forgiveness. When I feel this way I pray to the moon and paint the stars. It sounds weird and it’s not because I think the moon is a god or anything. It’s just….like Van Gogh said,

 “It does me good to do difficult things. It does not prevent me from having a terrible need of, shall I say the word – of religion – then I go outside in the night to paint the stars and I dream ever of a picture like this with a group of lively figures of our pals.”

Just make it to the next second.

9:30 am

I am so tired.

Was my first thought this morning. 

Anders my oldest puked last night and then promptly fell asleep. My husband takes him to school and so deemed this morning he was still too sick to go to school. My 2 year old woke me up at 9:30. I was sicker than yesterday and instantly felt it. I got us all orange dreamsicles for breakfast and told Anders he needed to go to school because he seemed to feel better. We are already getting letters about truancy because he has been so sick this year. So I ate my dreamsicle and packed us up. 

That makes it sound easy. 

It wasn’t. 

There was dressing and redressing and I only got the two year old to leave the house by threatening to leave him alone, so he finally  came running after us. 

I got to school and took Anders in. The secretary asked why he was late and I said he had been sick last night but seemed okay now. She asked if I wanted him to see the nurse. “Yeah, that would be great. I would feel better about it.” And I would. I hate not knowing whether to send them to school or not. The nurse saw him quickly and said he had a very red throat and flushed cheeks and could have strep. She recommended him staying home if I was able to let him. I wanted to cry in that moment, I suddenly felt so tired and wanted to say “I could have just stayed home! But you people are threatening to put me in jail because he is sick!” But I didn’t. 

She must have seen my anguish, or just that I, too, felt like falling over, because she said “He is so sweet. You just want to squeeze him, you just can’t help but love him.” 

I smiled and touched his hair. “Yeah I’m always squeezing you aren’t I? ” 

He smiled his sweet silly grin and nodded. She said “you are so lucky.” 

I don’t know if she says that to everybody, but a lot of adults say that about Anders. He has a sweet heart, he is a lover, and it’s nice to hear. 

Deep breathe. I am so lucky. Deep breathe. 

We went back to the car, I called my husband on the way to the grocery store to tell him about Anders and apologize for being mean about letting him stay home. It was a short trip, the shortest I could make it. 

{Bread, ice cream,broccoli, edamame, cat food. }

But I still felt like I was going to fall over by the end of it. 

I thought about driving through to get food but I just wanted my bed. 

At home I quickly made peanut butter sandwiches and bananas for the boys. I turned on Netflix and took my own bowl of cereal into my room. 

I texted my husband and apologized for the house being a mess and that I wasn’t going to be able to clean it. It wasn’t really an apology for him, he doesn’t care. It was an apology to myself and to the kids for having to watch tv all day and our dogs that aren’t gonna be walked for awhile. I know he will say it’s okay and to rest. I turn over and pull my comforter up. I see a Popsicle stick and a huge wet, orange spot in my comforter. I instantly realize that my 2 year olds dreamsicle had disappeared rather quickly earlier. He had sat it down on my bed and it had melted. I moved the comforter so the wet part wouldn’t be touching me and tried to rest until the Animal Mechanicals episode is over. 

11:57 am

Mountain Lady

When I was a teenager I used to have this idea that I would one day, probably in my 50s or 60s,move to a small house on a mountain. I’d have dogs and maybe a horse or two. I’d go into town every week to buy what I needed. I would be mysterious, and infamous in that way that old people living alone, that keep to themselves are. The towns people would speculate at my life, telling made up stories and guesses over coffee and pie. I would drop hints here and there in small conversation, enough to get them wondering. 

My house would be filled with books, bookshelves–floor to ceiling. I’d have my Tibetan prayer flags around the porch, along with the wind chimes and stained glass lanterns. I imagine my house wouldn’t be much different than it is now. Probably just cleaner without the kids. In this story I never had kids. I had great loves and a career but after one too many heartbreaks from the world I had bid ado to its cruelties and built my peace in a small house filled with books and dogs and love on the side of a mountain. I’d live out my days there among my poetry and stories and I would be happy. 

It’s a beautiful story that reveals a truth about me. That I have always felt alone and that I knew I would eventually tire of dealing with the world and trying to connect with people that were never going to understand me, so my house on the mountain would be my resting place. I’d have to be able to say I tried though so I couldn’t run off right away. I’d have to make love and have sex and make money and lose it and make it back or not…..but look for peace in the world And when I didn’t find it, like I knew I wouldn’t, I would head home.  

But now I have children and a husband. My story is already much different. I still feel lonely, I still get overwhelmed by the world, but these relationships have taught me the peace in laughter and a kiss or a hug. 

I figure I will still end up on the side of a mountain somewhere eventually. Perhaps I just will have grandchildren to read my stories to and I won’t always go into town alone, but with my husband.  

Hope so at Least. 

Love love love 

God’s Oldest and Truest Friend 

I read a book once called The Life of God (as told by himself) by Franco Ferrucci. I never finished it but I liked it. It was a God I could get behind, the kind of story perhaps I could believe…but I knew it was just a story.

 I’m not a religious person, I don’t really think that there is an almighty being, but I believe in universal right and wrongs, kindness, being genuine and that we all have our own energy. I don’t think religion is all bad, I think it helps people on the long walk home and in the end, As Ram Dass says, that is all we are really doing….just walking each other home. In the book God says that his first friend was the jellyfish. He floated beside him in the vast oceans on an earth that would be hardly recognizable as the one we know now. 

700 million years is at least how old they are…

and it seems everything has changed, but them. 

This birth date also gives them the title of oldest multi-organ animal on the planet. If there were an animal up for God’s first friend I would say it’s definitely the jellyfish…..Gods oldest and truest friend. 

It’s silly, but ever since I read that page in the book my heart has softened to jellyfish. I, too, see them as old friends. Some part of me knew some part of them somewhere among the primordial ooze and then later, sometime before my ancient, evolutionary ancestors ever went on land, we swam together. My ancestors went on land and theirs stayed in the rolling seas. I imagine we made silent goodbyes when we realized what was happening or maybe we just drifted apart (so very typical of jellyfish I imagine.)

Anyways, that’s why I want a jellyfish tattoo, because when I look down at my arm I can remember that we are all just walking each other home. We are just all very, very, old friends. 

Love. Love. Love. 

Ciera Haynes-Brodowski  

**If you want to learn more about Jellyfish read this cool article:**

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/07/science/07jellyfish.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

**And the drawings of Ernst Haeckel: **