Saturday, May 21, 2011
So, today, beginning at 7 am in the UK, the world is supposed to end and those worth saving will shoot off into the sky like people rockets toward heaven… while the rest of us will watch in horror and die a slow torturous death… and then spend the rest of eternity in hell…being tormented. This is according to Harold Camping the head of a US Christian broadcaster.
Hmmm…what to do with my last day? I could spend it praying, but I think God would know that I was sucking up, kind of like the husband bringing home roses because of his guilty conscience. Nah…we’re good, besides if the world ends today He’s going to be pretty busy.
I could gather up all my expired pain pills and wash them down with a fifth of rum. This way I won’t feel anything when I die. But that would be the Cowardly Lion’s way out. I always envisioned myself being more like Bruce Willis in Armageddon…going out with a big bang….and dignity.
I used to think that I was somehow defective because of my emotional sloshings. That was until some clever somebody invented the internet… Thanks Al. So, now I go online and read articles, and blogs, and I can see that every-fricken-body feels the same way I do. Anxious.
Like living on a large spinning ball in the middle of space, with violent weather episodes, earthquakes, starvation, war, sickness, death…and a rotten economy, wasn’t enough to make us anxious, now we have Mr. Camping threatening us will hell and destruction. Hell? Mr. Camping, please read the first sentence of this paragraph for the perfect definition of hell.
Harold, I know that you’re 89, and you probably mean well, but I have more important things to do than to listen to your asinine predictions. When I die, (and I will die) I am confident that my soul will find its home with a very personal and loving God, and that your delusional elixir of fear will have evaporated into the white light of nothingness for eternity. Good day sir.
Gotta go…I’m craving a burger…and then I think I’ll scour the mall for just the right tone of lipstick to go with my new dress! Priorities!
Posted by Leah Griffith at 7:34 AM
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Years ago I wrote an elaborate description of the perfect writing room. I decided that I needed an antique oak writing desk placed strategically in front of a large naked window with a scenic view. I also had to have an over-stuffed chair so I could relax while conjuring breathtaking prose. I envisioned rich mahogany bookshelves bulging with volumes from all of my favorite authors. And of course I could only use a state of the art laptop (with the best music apps) to write with.
I really believed that I needed all of the above mentioned props…and that I couldn’t possibly write without them. What I didn’t realize was that this was just a clever way for my subconscious to trick me into putting my writing off. I’m assuming the reason for such self-deception was to divert my fragile ego from the real issue…which was that I lacked confidence in my ability to actually write an amazing novel and I was terrified of failure.
Procrastination distracted me from facing my fears with his reassuring stories about how I not only deserved a wonderful writing space, but I NEEDED one in order to make contact with my muse. Procrastination is clever. He knows how to pitch a story… and provide an alibi. I’m guessing he used to be a politician or a lawyer.
I put off writing anything serious for years; carrying my novel within me, like the fertile seeds of motherhood, waiting in crimson silence for conception.
Then one day, while cruising some yard sales, I purchased a book entitled Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg. She spoke about writing in an authentic way by ignoring the rules; thus allowing the uniqueness of the writer’s voice to reveal itself. Reading this little paperback literally changed my life…and it only cost me twenty five cents!
Soon my desire to write shadowed my desire for my imaginary room and I began jotting down thoughts. I wrote while waiting in the doctor’s office, and at red lights; scribbling on used McDonald’s napkins. I wrote at the grocery store using the back of my shopping list, and on bumpy paper towels at the dinner table; pushing aside my food in order to satisfy an even deeper hunger. I was driven… and I loved every electrical thought provoking minute of it.
With Natalie’s help, my muse had wrestled procrastination to the ground. A year later I completed my very first novel. It’s a beautiful work of fiction entitled Cosette’s Tribe, and I’m as proud of it as a new mother is of her first child.
If you’re procrastinating about a dream, chances are it’s the flimsy efforts of an overly sensitive ego trying to save face. Stop waiting for unnecessary props and do what you love now. Don’t save for dancing lessons before stepping onto the dance floor, for it’s in doing that we learn and in living that we live… get out there and do something!
Posted by Leah Griffith at 6:13 AM
Thursday, May 12, 2011
I have what I need. What I don’t have I don’t need…right now. Easy peasy and that’s the end of my blog.
I wish it were so easy. It’s not so peasy either. Contentment…it’s a big pill to swallow; a big girl pill, and not one of those orange flavored chewables.
Contentment is often compared with happiness, but being content has more to do with surrender and resting peacefully in whatever situation you may find yourself in, while happiness, being contentment’s sun shiny sister, is more dependent on good things happening and is easily extinguished. However happiness should never be confused with euphoria. Euphoria is pure rapturous bliss and you need a rocket launcher to reach it.
Euphoria is so rare that it should be banned from normal dictionaries and only recorded in celestial books along with the last names of the residents of Cloud Nine and the addresses of the Archangels.
Euphoria. Who invented this word anyway? It had to have been a man because women, by virtue of their subservient history…and monthly visitor, are automatically excluded from ever being able to imagine such a word. Euphoria…rapturous bliss…really?
I can just see the guy who drummed this one up. He’s sitting drunk and bitter, straining to read by the dim light of his stubby candle. It’s Friday night and he just got through with a long week of trimming the decaying fat from rancid sows at the open aired butchery. His wife hates him because of their poverty and refuses to sleep with him. His wine flask is empty and he’s contemplating suicide. Cursing like a madman his beady eyes suddenly brighten with inspiration. “I’ll invent a word that will make everyone in the world feel cheated and as miserable as me. EUPHORIA!!” he shouts, as his hacking laughter fills the filthy air of his stuffy hut. His wife mumbles in her sleep, swatting at bedbugs, while his skinny offspring scratch at their festering sores.
Cynic? Perhaps. But really…Euphoria?! I was going to pitch you a patch of sunshine on being content no matter how deep a mud hole you're stuck in, but the bottom line really is…you have what you need for this moment and if you suck it up long enough things will get better...and I ain't just making this crap up ;)
Posted by Leah Griffith at 6:20 AM
Sunday, May 8, 2011
When I was a very young child I remember following my mother around…clinging to her as though I were an appendage; a shoot from the same tree, happy to be growing up in the shadowy shelter of her nurturing presence. Her unbendable strength seemed iconic to me... a mix of God and Mary Poppins. She could straighten out any crisis life brought to my tiny door with a wave of her dishpan hands.
Ma was a creative cook, talented seamstress, and a persuasive orator. I repeated her home spun wisdom to the world like a self-righteous evangelist; pitying the kids who weren’t lucky enough to have her for a mom. Her words were like seeds quietly taking root in the fertile soil of my heart and bearing the eclectic fruit of my mother’s soul.
It seemed as I grew my mother shrank. I became more observant and self-assured, questioning everything, while she made mistake after mistake. I cringed with embarrassment at her humanity as though I had walked in on God in his underwear. It was at this point that I realized that my mother didn’t have all of the answers, and although she loved me, she wasn’t able to save me…or herself. This made me ferociously protective of her… and extremely frustrated and angry.
When I finally became a mother I realized that I was still just me…Leah. All of my hang-ups and fears where present, causing me to fumble with motherhood like a football player on a buttered field. This instantly disqualified me from ever being a perfect mother. Desperate for guidance, I found myself phoning my imperfect mother for help on a daily basis.
If Ma had done some things differently she could have saved her children a lot of pain. But her life was impossibly complicated which caused her to lose her way. And like unwitting accomplices to a crime her children bore the punishment for her mistakes even though she meant us no harm.
I understand this now, and although she failed as a perfect mother, she was magnificent as an imperfect mother. The love, kindness, and honesty, that she managed to instill in her children in the midst of life’s ravaging storms is her legacy. It’s an amazing legacy and one that is still bearing good fruit today. Thank you Ma.
So, this is to all of you imperfect mothers out there who struggle to raise happy children in the midst of your own unhappiness. I salute you! Motherhood definitely isn’t easy… or for cowards, and it ISN’T about perfection! It’s all about doing your best with what you have and loving yourself, so that in turn, you can love your children. And remember…we are a perfectly imperfect species.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Posted by Leah Griffith at 7:29 AM
Thursday, May 5, 2011
The morning nudges me awake like a dutiful parent; tugging softly, yet with purpose. I dress and head outside, squinting into the tropically brilliant morning, and even though I have a long work day ahead of me, I feel lucky to be living in such an alluring place. Watching the palm trees sway like hula girls and the playful Gulf of Mexico swish her foamy skirts at me...drives me to giddiness!
Sometimes, when life turns dark and moody, it’s as though a bucketful of mud has been splattered onto this scenic canvas, and I become blinded to the showy charm of my little town; overlooking the natural blessings which surround me.
It’s easy to get discouraged when troubles stack up like storm clouds, and the future blurs like a windshield in a relentless downpour, and even though my wipers are slapping triple time; it’s still hard to see the road. I guess there are times when I don’t need to see the road per se…I just need to stay on the right side of that skinny yellow line and creep along until I get wherever the road leads me.
I am persuaded that it’s the small joys in life that carry me through these drenching squalls; reading a great book on the beach, visiting a waterfront café with my husband, making a stranger smile, phoning someone that I love. There are limitless small pleasures that make my journey seem lighter and more inspiring, and on days that seem extra dark, or bland, I pursue these simple pleasures like a miner seeks gold. It’s one of the easiest ways to offer myself comfort and balance.
So, even though things may sometimes seem messy and jumbled, with life’s moods changing faster than a chameleon sliding down a rainbow, I want to be thrilled with my journey and gratefully indulge in all of life’s benevolent handouts. Gratitude is the heart’s way of offering something back…extending a “please” and “thank you” to the divine. It’s also a great tour guide for this complex and wondrous journey through life.
Posted by Leah Griffith at 7:26 AM
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
By Kris English
Friday dawned a beautiful day defying a forecast of rain and for one famous couple it was due to be a special day. Prince William and Kate Middleton got married Friday to a worldwide audience of a few billion people. For British citizens it was a proud moment. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge emerged onto the balcony in a picture that was hauntingly reminiscent of Dianna’s marriage to Prince Charles.
Kate Middleton looked beautiful in her dress and Prince William looked every bit a prince in his stately uniform. I felt proud to be British; our monarchy has been a symbol of the British people around the world. As a monarchist I am a firm fan of our royalty however their role is little more than a tourist attraction in modern society.
Looking back one will see that our Royals, much like our people, come from all over the world. This is very similar to the American people; though much of our migration took place many years ago. The original people to occupy the British Isles were the Celts and then the Romans, and the Vikings, clearing the way for other European people to occupy our small island nation. Rapidly Great Britain became one of the greatest Empires in the world and one of the largest of its time.
Now I hope you’ve enjoyed a little history lesson and found time to watch the Royal Wedding.
Thanks for reading, if you want to ask me a question simply post it below or you can email me at KJ_Kris84@hotmail.com Just add “Ask the Brit” in the subject line.
Visit Kris’s blog: viewingthroughalens.blogspot.com
Posted by Leah Griffith at 5:45 AM
Sunday, May 1, 2011
I have a confident friend with perceptive eyes and a welcoming smile. A woman who is lovely in both heart and flesh. She dresses in exotic fabrics perfumed with romantic scents that smell so delicious they may have been imported from heaven. Her movements are naturally rhythmic like window sheers dancing on a summer’s breeze. Whimsical, she loves wearing tinkling bangles, and luminous moonstone, always adding enchantment to the ordinary. She is a palpable palate of color captivating eyes long bored with beige skirts and sensible shoes. Her artful ways inspire creativity…and jealousy.
This unique friend works in a respectable office with a group of careful women; women with tight lips, and cutting eyes, whose ambiguous smiles express cryptic thoughts. My friend thought that she could win this group over by being herself…sharing her mirthful ways with them. In chilled silence they resisted her offerings, lending my friend warmth only when she conformed to their sterile traditions. Little by little my friend abandoned herself; shedding her bangles, bunning her long hair, and dressing in itchy, wrinkle resistant polyesters, while her friendly silks hung forgotten in the darkness of her closet.
One day, as my friend was getting ready to leave for work, her husband gently questioned her. “Honey,” he said, in a hesitant voice, “what are you wearing?” You see her husband loved her whimsical ways and missed the charm of her expressiveness and the seductive poise which carried her, like a magic carpet, throughout her day. She looked down at her drab wardrobe, as if seeing it for the very first time, and simply answered, “I don’t know.”
I am happy to report that my friend has resumed her relationship with herself and is still working at the same office. She has made some friends…the right ones, and learned a very valuable lesson from her experience.
We were created to be different. The only true gift that we have to offer the world is our authentic selves. Once compromised, we become impotent clones numbered among the lost, living a life without purpose, and dying alone with our regrets. Being yourself often requires great bravery, but it is better to be alone, and content with yourself, than to be in a crowded room where nobody recognizes you…including yourself.
Posted by Leah Griffith at 9:11 AM