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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Winging it

I always sensed that something vital was missing from my life. Was it a person? A situation? God? I wasn’t sure, but I automatically looked outside of myself for answers, which, if I were to write a book on how to give your power away, would be titled, ‘Looking Outside of Yourself for Answers.'

I’ve spent my entire life dodging the shadows and measurers, those who delight in defining others. I’ve feared God, myself, and the future—flinching each time life made a quick move.

I’ve wrestled with the meaning of life, invested myself in the study of death, and tried using crazy glue to reconstruct the ashes of 10,000 yesterdays.

As a child I had a fascination with birds, always wishing I could fly high above the stained sidewalks of my gritty life, so high that the stains blurred into bunnies and well kept gardens, seeing the entire scope of existence all at once and finally “getting” it.

Well, after wearing down countless pair of shoes I’ve discovered that I do indeed have wings, and the joy that this discovery has brought into my life is unmatchable.

My wings are the knowledge that everything that I’ve ever needed to live a full, and authentic, life already resides within me, and that the best way to express this life is through bold creativity. Creativity is the voice of my soul, where inspiration becomes conception and concentration flows into timeless meditation.

Actually, I was about 51-years-old when I first discovered my wings, and began writing my first novel, Cosette’s Tribe, and I was 56 before I put brush to canvas, expressing joy through color, so it is never too late to begin.

But oh how tragic it would have been if I had never discovered my wings, and had spent my days anchored to my own limited stories, or even worse, bowing to someone else’s image of me in order to win their love and approval, never becoming brave enough to fly.

Genuine love coaxes us to open our wings. It challenges us to try new things, hushing shame and judgment, while inspiring us to leave our fearful little nests and launch our hearts into the endless blue.

Flying is a practice, and it requires lots of room, so give your wings the space they need to fully open. Breathe. Embrace your magic, and remember my dear one…you were formed from stardust and love; believe the rumors of your greatness.

Wing it!

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Kid Got to Me

I met a girl, 17 and lean—her feet pointing inward, causing knees to bump foreheads as she spoke of her future plans—describing dreams as distant as the milky spills of new galaxies, pale against the pitch black uncertainty of the universe.

I found myself bowing to her naiveté, discovering a bit of my younger self in her newly set eyes. To be so eager and unafraid, like a rocket launching for the first time, piercing the conditioned “you cant’s", and the "don’t you dares” rocking life like a bubble-wrapped renegade from mom and dad’s front porch.

When she told me that she wanted to write books I knew that she had suffered. Only the scarred would dare to write, to make sense of, or at least to look at, the entrails of life. I wanted to pry, to find out why this perfect little prom princess would want to write books. What had happened to make her look inwardly, away from the rockets and the blistering pink of youth? But of course I’ll have to wait and see. Perhaps she’ll be a literary star, or pen cookbooks featuring a thousand ways to use cranberries. I don’t know.

I only know that the kid got to me.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Run Like Hell!

Humans can be porcupinish in nature. You get too close and their adrenaline kicks in, triggering a panicky spray of barbed quills, homing in on your most vulnerable places, usually the face and eyes.

And why would one place their face so close to a human? Because of love and friendship of course. Because someone has to take the risk, step in deep, show their soul, and because one is willing to believe the best, for the conflict exists only within the mind of the porcupine, who cautiously welcomes you in, keeping the quills slicked-back, until you request some authenticity in return, which is perceived as a massive threat, thus triggering the impulsive attack.

And there it is lying on top. It’s always on top. The oily stain of “that should teach you”. But it rarely does, for the heart is both predatory and pollyanna, risking all for the hunt and the soul softening hug of answered friendship.

Sometimes I want to hide from people, and at other times I want to spray them with some of my own quills, but mostly I just want to love them.

How do you hug a porcupine? Bravely and wholeheartedly, expecting nothing in return, while being prepared to run like hell.

Love bears the scars of trying.

Leah Griffith

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I Left a Hot Pot of Coffee for This?

It's early, and eerie, and I’m getting goose flesh as my morning walk leads me into some really dense fog. I have to push myself across the threshold of hesitation, for who knows what lurks in this heavy haze? And to think, I left a hot pot of coffee for this.

Each day is a gamble, but most days, I’m bright blue with optimism—the sky is mine, as is the sun and the moon. But on foggy mornings, when my faithful witnesses have vanished, and the familiar markers of life have morphed into storybook giants, angry she-bears, and spiky plants with mean points waiting to poke out my eyes, how do I motivate myself to keep moving? Do I continue on only because walking backwards is impossible?

I’m amazed at the amount of faith I have in the moment—this flash of now that calls itself life and holds everything with such casual tension, often disarming me by droning on and on like a monotone math teacher, and then shifting my world with sudden brilliance like so many stars kaleidoscoping from heaven.

I move forward, trusting that the odds are indeed allies.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Cupid Must Think I'm Stupid!

Valentine’s schmalentine’s, who gives a crap? Is this day just for daters and maters or for the general population? I’ve been married 35 years and I’ve yet to get a valentine gift. Of course I’m not the type to make a fuss. I like to silently seethe.

Actually, I come from Worcester County, which happens to be the home of the first Valentine. I think I should be demanding preferential Valentine treatment. And I would, if I thought it would do any good.

In grade school we used to exchange cute little cartoon Valentines. Do they still do that or is it considered sexual harassment? I used to be in love with a kid named Stephen Sweet, and man was he sweet! Of course he loved Phyllis what’s her name, and not me. But each year I would savor the fleeting intimacy between Stephen and I as he placed a tiny white envelope on my desk….” I was always hoping for this:

But I got this instead:

So you see, my Valentine expectations were lowered long ago, and since then I've learned to lower them even more still.

I no longer hope for roses, perfume, romantic dinners, and expensive chocolates, but make due with, yard trimmings, deoderant, Marie Calendar’s in-home menu, and thanks to my new cardiac diet, red Jello.

I’ve come to believe that Cupid has a nasty side, sparking inappropriate relationships for hundreds of years, getting our sappy little hopes up, only to have love blow up in our faces or go as flat as a couch potato’s ass.

Cupid doesn’t mention that love has stinky feet, hogs the blankets, burps louder than a marching band, and thinks that a night out is putting on a clean shirt and eating dinner in front of the TV.

So, I finally get it. If this girl wants a memorable Valentine’s Day she’s got to create it for herself. No more waiting for hubby to sweep me off my feet (or to sweep the front porch for that matter). I’m taking this holiday into my own capable hands!

Ha! Cupid must think I’m stupid!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Soft Surrender

I was taking my usual walk
when I noticed a fallen leaf on the grassy path ahead.
I couldn't help but feel a pinch of pity
wondering if this leaf knew that it was dying.

I paused
waiting for the rise and fall
a faint pulse
but the leaf remained motionless
staring into the dappled underbelly of a former life.

Could it see the flitting birds above
whose cares blended well with green?

And what of the greedy squirrels
dropping acorns as they ran
the soft thuds of a midwinter snack
was it jealous of them?

I remained still
pondering this gentle slip of gold
wishing it would somehow rage against the inevitable
maybe catch a swift breeze
ride it higher than blue.

While wondering about all these things
I respectfully snapped a photo.

Upon viewing the simple image...

I realized
that I knew this leaf very well.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014, Come as You Are.

I thought the year 2012 would kill me, but I made it through, entering 2013 with steady eyes and heightened expectations—silly silly girl. Turns out 2013 had its own plans for Leah, taking the opportunity to teach me some real stunners. I’m not talking cliché quips, or token phrases, but cut out my heart and run over it truths.

The greatest lessons I learned were that I create my own suffering by resisting “what is”, because neither life, nor loved ones, are required to behave the way that I expect them to, and that by trying to change them into something they are not, I am in essence rejecting them.

I’ve learned that without acceptance it is impossible to offer unconditional love, leaving me with nothing left to give but the tawdry offerings of love’s counterfeit—the affections of my demanding and judgmental ego.

It was time for me to drop the belief that I was separate from everything and that in order to live a happy life; I had to protect, promote, and preserve “me”. This belief only perpetuated my self-induced sufferings.

These are epic lessons—ones I’ve yet to master, but I will (for the most part;) do my best to practice them each moment that I’m alive.

Thank you 2013. You were relentless in your lessons, but I know that I needed a good ass whooping to help me get unstuck. I am seriously grateful that you loved me enough to teach me…now get the hell out of here!

2014, I humbly invite you to come as you are.