Present With Love: February 14, 2016

Today is Valentine’s Day. Around the US, many people will be scrambling to buy the right card, hoping they made the right dinner reservations, gasping at the cost of long-stemmed roses, and hoping the person they love will say yes – between the covers and behind closed doors, or to a bit of crystallized carbon set in precious metal and offered on on knee, perhaps.

Not that I’m knocking any of that – but, to me, there’s something hollow in the compulsion to declare love on February 14, if you aren’t visibly living it the rest of the time.

Because love, as I tell my children, is a verb. Not just three little words that can be said without thought, meaning, or even feeling. Love is the act of acceptance, cherishing, nurturing, supporting. Of making ourselves or someone else important, not in words or gifts, but in deeds – in the setting aside of other things to give them primacy.

It’s about seeing and taking our beloveds, not as we would have them, but as they are. Embracing them, not with words or flowers, but with ourselves.

So, today, while my Accomplice the chef cooks Valentines’ dinners for other sweethearts, I’ll be here, at home, literally keeping the home fires burning on a day where windchills are expected to fall below -40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whatever today brings you, may you warmed by love!

Writing:

Plotting:

  • The IDIC Romance: Complete plot/pinch points for 25 stories. 4/25 in progress. (D).

Revisions:

  • The IDIC Romance: Reread “Slow Jazz Awakening” hard copy and notate; adapt revision plan as needed; write revised draft – 16 short scenes. Draft 2.5 rewrite of Scene 9/16 in progress.

Blogging/Social Media:

  • Revise, post, and initiate new blogging schedule; keep all posts current. All posts on time. Nearly prepared to announce new schedule.

  • Answer blog comments and make visits, at least thrice weekly. I may not get to them all; but I will get to some. 3/3 for this inaugural week.

  • ROW80: Keep visits and updates current; draft, revise, and submit Round One Sponsor Post before January 10. Back on track here.

  • Change one thing weekly in my blog layout. Made changes to which pages display; gave pages a thorough weeding.

  • Maintain email at under 99 messages; clear Archives folder. Emptied email inbox. Some progress on Archives (889 messages there; it’ll take a while to read and weed through them all, I’m doing them a few at a time).

Hometending:

  • Homeschool Administration: Complete all pending paperwork. Draft IHIPs and attend to district’s Peer Review issue;create 2015-2016 Flickr portfolios for both kids, and begin adding to them. Sciences section complete; Social Studies: Patriotism and Citizenship; U.S. History; and U.S. Government; and Economics.
  • Continue decluttering/beautification projects; in home and/or yard, five days weekly. Continue making improvements to our home and our quality of life. General maintenance; organization; decluttering. 6/5.
  • Go through all online subscriptions; cancel those we no longer need; at least one each week.

Lifetending:

  • Continue planning/ attending outings (personal and family) as desired. Write-in for me. Day out with Jeremiah. Tentative plans to visit NJ friends in April.

  • NNWM local group: Attend write-ins regularly, and check in on the Facebook group as inspired. Read and critique both projects I’ve been hanging onto; submit and critique weekly for our small crit group, which is brand-new this year! Attended write-in; submitted next installment of “Slow Jazz”for this week‘s submission. Reading critique project #1: p.97/222.
  • Complete Stained Snow beta read.

  • My beloveds: One on one time with each, doing something of value to us both, each week. Yes. Converation, play, documentaries.
  • Complete 6 pending book reviews.

Selftending:

  • Write in Abundance, Intentions, and #onegoodcup journals seven times each week. Meditate seven times weekly, including one eating meditation. Explore one new meditative practice. Journaling and meditation: 7/7. Bought a meditation coloring book and used it.

  • Tai chi practice: One class and one at-home practice each week. Actually went back to class, and LOVED it!

  • Focus on sprints of activity daily (hometending, dancing, tai chi, walking, whatever), and more strenuous activities I enjoy, like swimming and hiking twice monthly. Write twice-monthly health-centered blog posts. Good on the daily moving sprints: walks and hometending. Strenuous activity: 2/2 carrying firewood; tai chi. One health blogpost, which you can read here. 1 /2.

Leaps of Faith:

  • Fan fiction stuff: Polish “Mission: Accomplished”, and “Scavenger Hunt”, and offer at Triaxian Silk.

  • Read through The Writer’s Coloring Book by Rachel Funk Heller in preparation for using it to plot and draft my April CampNaNo Kifo Island project. Complete. New goal: Purchase all needed supplies before I finish this month’s Foul Deeds Will Rise chapters, so that I can begin planning as soon as I finish.

  • Begin exploring FanFiction.net for possible submissions there. New goal.

Kait Nolan’s ROW80  –

The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life!

See other participants’ goals updates here!

 

Only Peace: #WeWriWa #8Sunday

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors’ Eight Sentence Sunday!

It’s the weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! We’ve got a variety of genres and talented writers just waiting for you to come sample their wordy wares. Come read one, or all, or pick a few like leftover holiday memories….

And, if you’re inclined to share your own 8-10 sentence snippet, follow the link and sign up. It’s a great community to be a part of! =D

Things are falling more into place this week, although there have been a couple of surprises that are like ripples in the flow of life, in a good way. After the marathon of story creation and revision, and a deadline met, I’m delighted to be finding little glimmers of ordinariness.

One part of my ordinary life is Eight Sentence Sunday, where I‘m sharing A Splash of Red” in its entirety. This surreal fantasy story the child of my own life and dreams, with a generous dollop of imagery and a big dash of creative license…

More on the story after the eight-sentence snippet.

Context, such as it is…A woman is attempting to win the trust of a little girl in a red dress, while hawks wheel above…but just who are these two to one another? And what about those hawks?

When we left last week, the little girl had run off into the woods, and the woman is threatened by the hawks’ attacks….

Given the surrealism of the story, punctuation is a bit creative, so be warned!

Only Peace

I must find her. If I don't, and she's lost – or if she's dead – 

If she's lost, she'll never heal – and she must, before I can.

Panic closes my windpipe.  No. Flow.  Let the air flow; let my energy flow, in peace. Only peace 
can stand in the path of those cruel talons and shredding beaks.

Previous “A Splash of Red” snippets (chronologically from beginning):

Will peace be enough?

Will the woman escape the hawks?

Will she find the little girl?

Can they heal together?

Come on back next week to find out more!

Did you like what you read? “A Splash of Red” was originally published in the 2014 inaugural edition of World Unknown Review,  which is edited by L.S. Engler. Since I retain all rights beyond first publication, I intend to revise the story and use it as my own initial self-publishing experiment.

That being said, I’d love any and all input and criticism you’re inclined to offer!

Want more #8Sunday?

 

“Tired of Ghosts”: #SoCS, #JusJoJan Day 29, and #LoIsInDaBl

 

This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme -an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt: the word ‘tire’. It’s also a make-up post for Just Jot It January Day 20. The prompt was “ghost”, supplied by Barbara at teleportingweena.Come join in – there’s just a few simple rules. Check out the #SoCS hashtag, or Get more SoCS right here!

One more bit: Standard Disclaimer applies. I make no claims to own these characters. I certainly expect no monetary profit from playing with them. But, when a certain pointy-eared lady insists I tell her stories, I listen. After all, I’ve seen her fight. =)

“I’m So Damned Tired of Ghosts”

“I’m so damned tired of ghosts!”

She sat bolt upright, her sightless eyes wide and staring. She was shaking hard, but her body was rigid, her voice so high and brittle it was on the edge of shattering.

Trip went to her, but he didn’t touch her right away. Even if she couldn’t see him, and wasn’t aware, she was strong, and she didn’t need to see to know where he was. Her sense of smell was undamaged, after all.

“I’m right here, pepperpot.” He kept his voice low, a whisper so soft he almost couldn’t hear it.

But she did.

“Make the ghosts go away, Trip. Make them go – make them go -” Her pleas were choked off by the first sob. It wasn’t a soundless Vulcan sob. No, this one was raw and beyond her control.

Like the ghosts in her mind, they came from him. She couldn’t feel the bond consciously, but it kept coming back to her in odd echoes and images. Like the ghosts – his sister Lizzie, her mom, those four babies, the crewmates lost along the way.

“Ghosts aren’t logical,” she sobbed out, and reached to him.

“Oh, pepperpot. I know they aren’t. I’m so sorry -”

But she wasn’t awake, not yet, or not really. Still, the stiffness went out of her, and she let Trip gather her into his arms, settle her head against his chest, where she could hear his heartbeat.

T’Pol drifted into a more peaceful sleep, and Trip held her, rocking softly, and hoped he wouldn’t give her any more ghosts.

 

And, as if all that above isn’t enough for one blog, it’s also my entry for today’s Love Is In Da Blog. This week’s theme is spouses, significant others, and partners.

Loving someone enough to commit my life to him isn’t easy in every moment, and, today, I share this poem, originally written for OctPoWriMo. So, for today, an acknowledgment of that simple reality. As a bonus, it includes the word ‘tire’, although that’s coincidental, in this case.

Love’s Hard Place

Long

Ago

I was caught

in a whirlpool.

The water crushed me

Tight against a rock wall

Wet sharp travertine

Deadly turquoise

Relentless

Too strong

Pinned

I

struggled

for release

for my freedom

from pressing waters

abrading hard place

water pressure

far too much

constant

force

and

too tired

fading will

aching muscles

suction subsuming

greedy waters swirl

hungry turquoise

beautiful

sacred

fear

grips me

still tighter

getting weaker

yanking at my legs

which twitch and tremble

almost ready to

give in give up

surrender

drowning

death

then

Two arms

That belong

to the man who

will propose to me

in a little while

but now pulls me free

holds me so close

My safety

And I

rest

and

marry

that strong man

bear his children

two alive one not

take him within me

and bear the weight

frustrations

friction

angst

I

didn’t

know this was

the sometimes price

of that little word yes

I said so long ago

when he saved me

from the rock

and hard

place.

That

sometimes

he would be

my own whirlpool

of love and anger

desire injustice

Abraded love

helpless

tears.

That

this same

man who pulled

me free could so

easily bind me

into his worries

his furies

his own

life.

Long

ago

I was caught

In a whirlpool

love constricts me

Tight against a rock wall

Turquoise travertine

Nature and

love’s hard

place.


The Mendaciloquent Vulcan for #JusJoJan Day 27 and Write On Wednesday

This post is doing double duty. I’ve been wanting to get back into Julie Duffy’s Story a Day Write On Wednesday for some time, and this week’s prompt, to write a story about a lie, dovetailed perfectly with the next of my backlogged Just Jot It January prompts; the word ‘mendaciloquent’, offered by Coralee at Musefully Mendaciloquent.

Standard Disclaimer: I don’t own them; I don’t profit from them. They just share stories through me. Spoilers for Star Trek: Enterprise episodes: “Broken Bow”; “Strange New World”; “Shadows of P’Jem”“Carbon Creek”; and “Precious Cargo”.

The Mendaciloquent Vulcan

“You should have seen her, Trip. Pretending to be our personal judge, jury, and executioner.” Jon lifted his wine glass and saluted the woman at the other end of the table, who sat as straight and prim as she ever had, as though she wasn’t working on a second career as an actress.

As though she wasn’t jealous as hell about him and Kaitama.

Well, he could play along. Maybe he could even make peace into the bargain. He lifted his glass, too, and gave her his very best Tucker grin. “I wish I had seen that. The universe’s first mendaciloquent Vulcan at her best isn’t something a guy ought to miss.”

Trip knew she was jealous, and mad as hell into the bargain, even if he hadn’t quite worked out why, when she didn’t seem to want to go any further than verbal jousting with him. Now, though, she looked at him with that cool-eyed interest, her head tipped just a little in that way he found so adorable. “Mendaciloquent?”

The effect of her uncertainty was spoiled a bit by Jon saying the same thing at the same time. “Where did you get that word, Trip? And what the hell does it mean, anyway?”

Damn. If he had to tell Jon, he’d never know whether she knew this one, too.

“’Mendaciloquent’, in this case, is a misnomer. I told no lies, Commander Tucker. The Captain gave the aliens an impression. I simply walked into the room, and asked several questions.”

“She’s not telling you that she did it with tremendous flair. I almost believed it myself. But I still don’t exactly know what that word means.”

“It means to tell a lie in a masterful way. However, I didn’t lie.”

Trip was still trying to figure out how she did that – was she reading the entire English language from the database, and committing it to memory? Just so he couldn’t stump her? No, that couldn’t be it, because that wasn’t logical.

But whatever it was, he wasn’t just going to let her win. “Maybe not this time. But way back with those rock people – I know things got a little crazy back there, but you were pretty damned convincing talking to them.”

“And you told the Coridians that you were the Captain, and I was the ship’s steward,” Jon added.

“Did you now?” Trip stared right back at her, as though he had no idea that she had a bee in her Vulcan bonnet about whom he slept with – okay, not that they’d done much in the way of sleeping. “I never heard about that one.”

“As First Officer, and a commissioned officer with the Vulcan High Command, it was my duty to protect my Captain, as well as those in the landing party on Archer’s World. I logically used the tools necessary to fulfill that duty.”

“Won’t give a millimeter, will you?” Jon shook his head, and T’Pol sipped delicately at her tea. Obviously, giving any indication that she’d won wouldn’t be logical or in good taste.

But she hadn’t won yet. “Now hang on a minute here. I can see where the rock people and Coridan and that kidnapper were all in the line of duty. But none of those explain the biggest whopper you’ve ever told, T’Pol – and that was right here, about a little place called Carbon Creek.”

Her eyes came up and fixed on him, and something Trip couldn’t read flashed in them. “I haven’t said that the events I recounted didn’t happen.”

“And you conveniently can’t prove that they did, either.”

“Trip -”

“I’m not disturbed by Commander Tucker’s accusations, Captain. I could easily prove the facts – ”

“That your great grandmother crash-landed on Earth two hundred years ago, and lived there, with two other crewmembers, for three months before returning home without one of them?”

“Yes. If you read Vulcan, I could prove it through the reports T’Mir made upon her return. She wrote and spoke rather extensively on the experience, although her views on humanity were largely discounted.”

“And that, Cap’n, is mendaciloquence at its finest. Conveniently, we don’t read Vulcan. So she never has to back up that yarn of hers with truth.”

T’Pol rose. “I’m very tired. I believe I will benefit from passing the remainder of my evening in meditation and sleep.” She slipped out while they were still saying their goodnights. Trip got the idea that there was another lie, right there. He’d seen her tired; this wasn’t it.

“Do you have to antagonize her, Trip?”

“I’m not antagonizing her – well, not exactly.” Trip realized that he’d never tried to put it into words before, even to himself. “It’s – well, more like a game, I guess. Way back when we needed to get Klaang home, and you got hurt – well, you know we weren’t exactly getting along very well. But, somehow, all that arguing gave us a way to work together. I don’t know why, but it did, and it still does. I’m an engineer, Cap’n. When something works, I stick with it.” He got up too. “And speaking of engines, I think I’ll go take one more look at mine before I go to bed.”

It was three hours later when his computer monitor signaled an incoming message from T’Pol. When he opened it, there were readouts from her scanner, and, beside them, the English equivalents – rock core samples that showed traces of Vulcan metals and fuel residue that dated back two centuries. The location, with specific coordinates, was Carbon Creek, Pennsylvania.

“I’ll be damned,” he said, to himself. “She was telling the truth.”

Presently Present: February 10, 2016

Ahh, Wednesday. Known to many as “Hump Day”, the middle of the working week. For us, it means my chef husband returns to work. It’s his last work week before his vacation time, so there is another ruffling of my typical flow upcoming. I’m OK with that. Unlike last year, when we traveled from upstate New York to Oregon’s Willamette Valley, this year, we’re staying close to home. We haven’t made any concrete plans for the time; we just intend to enjoy (and I’m hoping to have the opportunity to make significant progress on my goals, while also indulging in lots of family time).

But, today, I’m working in sprints, and getting ready to help a friend pick up her new car. So blog posts will happen in between life. Fortunately, I set things up, for the most part, last night, so there isn’t nearly as much to be done as there might be. What I don’t finish before we leave can be wrapped up once I’m home again.

And then I hope to be able to settle in for the next few days, as the weather gets colder, then subzero, for the first time in this interesting non-winter that suddenly seems to remember what season it is. It’s a perfect time for drafting, revising, planning, plotting, reading, dreaming, hometending, listening to Welcome to Night Vale, and all those other bits and pieces that have been awaiting their turn while other, bigger projects took precedence…

But, for now, I have an update to post.

Writing:

Plotting:

  • Decide on, plan, and plot April CampNaNo novel. First step; I know I’ll be playing in my Kifo Island Chronicles series this spring.

Revision:

  • The IDIC Romance: Reread “Slow Jazz Awakening” hard copy and notate; adapt revision plan as needed; write revised draft – 16 short scenes. Draft 2.5 rewrite of Scene 8/16 complete. Yup, halfway to the goal!

Blogging/Social Media:

  • Revise, post, and initiate new blogging schedule; keep all posts current. Beginning Wednesday, all posts on time. Experimenting with new schedule prior to announcing it.

  • Keep up with all current blog comments and visits, at least twice weekly.. Goal change pending. Answered some on two occasions; still considering the nature of the goal change.

  • ROW80: Keep visits and updates current; draft, revise, and submit Round One Sponsor Post before January 10. Back on track here.

  • Change one thing weekly in my blog layout. Haven’t resumed yet; likely this week.

  • Maintain email at under 99 messages; clear Archives folder. Some progress on the inbox.

Hometending:

  • Homeschool Administration: Complete all pending paperwork. Draft IHIPs and attend to district’s Peer Review issue;create 2015-2016 Flickr portfolios for both kids, and begin adding to them. Sciences section complete; Social Studies: Patriotism and Citizenship; U.S. History; and U.S. Government; and Economics.
  • Continue decluttering/beautification projects; in home and/or yard, five days weekly. Continue making improvements to our home and our quality of life. General maintenance; organization; decluttering. 2/5.
  • Go through all online subscriptions; cancel those we no longer need; at least one each week.

Lifetending:

  • Continue planning/ attending outings (personal and family) as desired. Write-in for me. Day out with Jeremiah. Tentative plans to visit NJ friends in April.

  • NNWM local group: Attend write-ins regularly, and check in on the Facebook group as inspired. Read and critique both projects I’ve been hanging onto; submit and critique weekly for our small crit group, which is brand-new this year! Attended write-in; submitted next installment of “Slow Jazz”for this week‘s submission.
  • Complete Stained Snow beta read.

  • My beloveds: One on one time with each, doing something of value to us both, each week. Yes. Converation, play, documentaries.
  • Complete 6 pending book reviews.

Selftending:

  • Write in Abundance, Intentions, and #onegoodcup journals seven times each week. Meditate seven times weekly, including one eating meditation. Explore one new meditative practice. Journaling and meditation: 3/7. Bought a meditation coloring book; will explore soon.

  • Tai chi practice: One class and one at-home practice each week. Actually went back to class, and LOVED it!

  • Focus on sprints of activity daily (hometending, dancing, tai chi, walking, whatever), and more strenuous activities I enjoy, like swimming and hiking twice monthly. Write twice-monthly health-centered blog posts. Good on the daily moving sprints: walks and hometending. Strenuous activity: 2/2 carrying firewood; tai chi. One health blogpost, which you can read here. 1 /2.

Leaps of Faith:

  • Fan fiction stuff: Polish “Mission: Accomplished”, and “Scavenger Hunt”, and offer at Triaxian Silk.

Kait Nolan’s ROW80 –

The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life!

See other participants’ progress here!

 

Even More Helpless: Sea Changes (Kifo Island Chronicles Volume 1) for WIPpet Wednesday

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.We’re led by the capable fingers and nimble mind of Emily Witt.

Happy Wednesday!

Life is settling back into a more typical routine. Last week, I managed to get round to see all my fellow WIPpeteers, which was something of a minor victory for me. Despite the return to greater normalcy, there have been a couple of surprises.

My son and I went out yesterday, and our quest to obtain Mew Event Cards for himself, his sister, and a friend. That became a bit more convoluted than I’d hoped, but we had a nice lunch at The Cheesecake Factory, and I got to see again how much my fourteen-year-old has grown. These one-on-one times with him are treasures I know are going to become more rare and precious with the passing of time. He’s a lot closer to an adult than to a child, now, and I’m glad we’re friends. I also bought a meditation coloring book, just because I wanted it.

I’ll be heading out later this afternoon to help a friend pick up her new car. I feel a little invested in this process, since her previous car broke down fortuitously, and rather humorously, in the parking lot of the Denny’s where we have our weekly write-ins. I was in the passenger seat; we started car pooling a few weeks back.

So, depending upon how long it takes me to finish setting up and polishing this post, it will either be up in the next couple of hours, or later this evening. Whichever that is, we’re revisiting Karina Karanova in Sea Changes.

For those who’ve forgotten, or are new here, the premise:

In advocating for a dying girl seeking emancipation from controlling parents, can an overburdened young woman and a lonely young man find a future together?

Note:

This passage is NaNo rough. My plan is to begin creating a revision plan this month or next. That said, any input is gratefully accepted!

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is February 10, 2016.
  • I’ve added the month and the date: 10+2=12.
  • Today, you get twelve new sentences.

Context: Karina is in a pottery studio, working with clay and hating it, when an albino man sits near her, and begins a conversation. He’introduces himself as Donovan Nash, and they begin a tentative conversation as Karina’s frustration and distraction lead her to unintentionally destroy the project her mother has ordered her to make. Donovan asks if that was her intention, and their discussion brings Karina to tears, and triggers memories….

Even More Helpless

“I need you, Karina. It’s your duty. Take care of the shop; take care of your brothers and your sisters; take care of me; take care of the house and the car.” And so, she had.

But now she was sobbing, here in front of this strangest of strangers, a man with no pigment, a man she didn’t even know. Unacceptable – and unstoppable.

The fact that she couldn’t stop had Karina sobbing all the harder. Lost. She was lost –

She channeled that into rage, the same way Father always had. She had no children – where would she have found the time for more than a passing smile, these last years, let alone all the other things that would have had to happen if she was to bear a child of her own? How would she have been able to find the time or the energy, to care for one more- one even more helpless than Mother?

Will Karina find some degree of peace?

Does she want a child?

Will she ever have the opportunity to have one?

How will Donovan react to her tears?

Some of these questions may be answered – and others will certainly be posed- next week, so be sure to come back then to learn more about Karina and her story.

Previous Karina WIPpets (chronologically):

Want more WIPpets? You can find them, and even add your own date-related excerpt if you’re so inclined, by following the little blue froggy from WIPpet to WIPpet to WIPpet!

It’s All Connected: Oneness for Mindful Monday and #JusJoJan Day 26

Have you ever had an epiphany? You know, that sudden ping that opens your eyes to a new way of thinking or being? That thing Oprah refers to as an “Aha moment”? That’s what this post is about, more or less. It’s a combination Mindful Monday Healthy Living and Just Jot It January make-up post, for the January 26 prompt, “Oneness”, brought to us by Carol at WritersDream9.

Have you let that aha moment slip by, or embraced it, finding ways to make it truly your own?

One of the most paradigm-shifting realizations I’ve had in recent years has to do with the inter-connectedness of things, and how it impacts my entire life.

The Vulcans have a koan given to them by Surak, who brought logic to a passionate people.

“The spear in the other’s side is the spear in your own; you are he.” 

Yes, I know that Vulcans aren’t real. Or are they? If I believe them to be real, if others do, too, and if they’ve become a part of our culture, then, in some sense, aren’t they real?

Whether or not you believe that they are, I do, and I take that koan to heart. I’m not inclined, these days, to seek revenge or even retribution against those who wrong me. It’s not exactly “turn the other cheek” – I was abused, as a child, and so I know intimately that there are those who would happily take the opportunity to use my cheek to vent their own emotional chaos.

It’s more an awareness. If you hurt others, you hurt yourself, because we’re all part of one another; far less separate than we often tend to think we are. The emotional energy that leads to lashing out at others is toxic – not just to the person we attack, but to us. It’s better, and far healthier, to learn new ways of handling our own emotions. We can become responsive, rather than reactive.

What’s the difference? Reactivity happens instantaneously/ It’s the ifight-or-flight reflex. It’s the domain of the limbic system – the oldest part of our brains. It can lead to crimes of passion, hurtful words, and other sudden explosions. The limbic system doesn’t allow for rational thought. It’s a survival mechanism for those times when we need to react instantly, and taking the time to think things through rationally could get us killed.

Responsiveness means waiting out that limbic reaction. That takes about ninety seconds; after that we can think again. Deep breathing can help us get through that minute and a half; so can separating ourselves from the situation that triggered the response. In his excellent book Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, Thich Nhat Hahn suggests getting still and accepting our emotion rather than fighting it. We’re told anger, fear, jealousy, and other strong emotions are ‘bad’, but, in truth, they’re simply powerful.

There’s something to be learned in these emotions, he advises. Rather than trying to get rid of the feeling, it’s better to turn toward it, to quietly ask it what it’s about, and what would ease it.

When I began doing that, I learned something very valuable about my powerful emotions. Many times, I was angry because I wanted someone else to act according to my own preferences. I wanted to control what others did, and their failure to do as I wanted led to my own furies.

That’s where my wise friend Mary comes in. Once, several years ago, I was angrily recounting an argument I’d had with my Accomplice, when she looked at me and said, “The only person you can control is yourself. The question is, what are you going to do about it?”

It was another paradigm shifter. Yes, I could go on and on in what I saw as righteous fury. But I wasn’t getting anywhere that way, and I was poisoning my marriage and my own soul.

At first, the responsibility of being in control of my own actions and reactions was terrifying and confusing. Did it mean that I simply had to accept behavior from my spouse or others that I found intolerable? That he had no accountability for his own actions?

The answer to both of those questions was no. What I did do was wait for the hard feelings to ease, and then, when I felt we could talk without getting embroiled again, I told him calmly what Mary had told me, and that I wasn’t angry at him anymore, but that I needed to figure out how to deal with behavior on his part that I found personally untenable. That opened the door to a more honest, less emotionally fraught conversation, and a process of change that is ongoing. From that point on, I began to learn how to disagree, and even argue, with him in more productive ways. Eventually, he responded in kind, and things have been getting better ever since.

Just this morning, my Accomplice shared with me that I’d done something he found a bit stressful. Not wrong, just stressful. He told me that he wanted to share it, because he didn’t want it to build up and become an issue between us.

How is all this connected to health and mindfulness? Well, happier marriages offer greater support; give us a partner to help us as we navigate life’s stressors.

Taking responsibility for my own actions, and releasing others to theirs, keeps me from a great deal of angst in my life. Living in a way that accepts others and embraces peace rather than retaliation means that I live in a kinder and gentler world than I might, otherwise. It frees me up to simply live, joyfully, focusing on what makes me happy and healthy.

So, even though this post is a bit rambling, that’s OK, because all these things connect to one another in a spirit of oneness that feeds our healthy living.

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