Thursday, April 06, 2017

Letter to a Friend

I am SO HAPPY and HONORED to offer what insights I have and continue to practice on myself. Being conscious is hard and exhausting work and an ongoing challenge but 'the only game in town'. As people discover quickly I am never interested in judging, head games, competition, gossip but I love stories. We all live by story. We are all made of story. The stories we tell ourselves, and each other, and the ones we hear. Sincerity keeps my seat clean and my heart open and the view excellent. It's a river I step into every day, a colorful kaleidoscope of mood changes, joys, fears, and physical challenges. All of the spiritual traditions of the world are about the joys and pains of waking up which is why help is everywhere. The library and the sidewalk and the swimming pool are my main mosques, temples and churches. Although I tell everyone Lily is my GURU, she has been the best teacher on how to deal with other people and other dogs. Be kind and gentle and keep wagging! What helps me MAY help you but you WILL find what works as you are smart and willing student and you already have developed many tools as a survivor of your life thus far. (laugh) Shakespeare said "If it be not now, yet it will come—the readiness is all. " It's an ongoing dialogue with oneself. What helps me the most more than decades of therapy is morning FREE SPITTOON notebook writing and reading a poem a day on Writer's Almanac. How I start my day is crucial to how I live my day. The habit of taking good care of my body is important it is my main INTUITIVE ANTENNAE. We call the INTUITIVE and CREATIVE FLOW the OPEN ZITI. So the best advice is "Keep your noodle open!" A 23 year old dancer friend on my walk said "this is true for everyone" I don't think so, some people are HEAD first body trailing, but she is cute.

I just baked two trays of bran muffins and shape matters. If they are not in traditional muffin tins they come out dry. I use Marion Cunningham's recipe from the BREAKFAST BOOK. And since I've made them so many times I adapt and expand the recipe to include mashed bananas and an extra egg and rolled oats and therefore more buttermilk. I love her recipes. I make her coleslaw every week when the hot weather arrives. Her meatloaf is stellar. She rewrote Fanny Farmer Cookbook and took her first cooking class with James Beard when she was in her late 40's or early 50's. She had never been on a plane, never had left the state, and was agoraphobic, ex alcoholic. It was her letters to James Beard after the class that sparked her career. He showed them to his editor Judith Jones and a star was born. The rest is history.

I write because the lives of all of us are stories. If enough of those stories are told, then perhaps we will begin to see that our lives are the same story. The differences are merely in the details.
- Julius Lester

“History is not just facts and events. History is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another's pain in the heart our own.”
― Julius Lester

“Being a failure at living your own life as best as you can is better than being a success living the life somebody else says you should live.”
― Julius Lester, Guardian

“Some wounds go so deep that you don't even feel them until months, maybe years, later.”
― Julius Lester, When Dad Killed Mom

For the past forty-seven years I have devoted most of my time and energy to writing. It has been a vocation in the original sense of the word, that is a religious calling, one I was helpless to deny. For me writing has never been about self-expression. Writing has been about tending the spirit and making real the soul.
- Julius Lester

But there are times when a tree can no longer withstand the pain inflicted on it, and the wind will take pity on that tree and topple it over in a mighty storm. All the other trees who witnessed the evil look down upon the fallen tree with envy. They pray for the day when a wind will end their suffering. I pray for the day when God will end mine.
- Julius Lester, Guardian

Dying ain't important. Everyone does that. What's important is how well you do your living.
- Julius Lester

To write and not tell the truth? That would be death for any writer. But more, it would be death to the imagination. And if the imagination dies, what would happen to the souls of children?
- Julius Lester