The Ingredients for a Family Visit

15 03 2014

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“We are responsible not for the outcomes, but only for the ingredients.”

from Plan B:  Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott

After hosting several family members for the past week in our small apartment, the above quote seemed particularly apt.  We added the best ingredients we could to each day;  a welcoming atmosphere, good food, fun activities, and lots of laughter, then hoped it all mixed together into a happy week.  And it did.  Of course there were a few mishaps, as is bound to happen when a group of people live in close proximity for a week.  Lost phones, misplaced, clothing, and plans that did not work out, but the recipe came together, and the overall experience felt like a holiday feast, all of us replete with fun and time together.

We have the usual accoutrements for hosting overnight guests in a small apartment;  an air mattress, and, well, that’s about it really.  If we push the sofas back a bit, the mattress can be squeezed into the living room space, and we can all take turns in one bathroom.  There are a few floor spaces where suitcases can be opened for clothing deployment, and a couple of extra mirrors that can be used for make-up applications and hair styling when the bathroom is in use.  Our washer and dryer sees frequent operation keeping up with the towels used at the beach and pool, and the porch railing serves as a clothes line for drying bathing suits and life jackets, while kayak paddles drip-dry in the corner next to sandy flip-flops.

Conversation, laughter, comfort, relaxation, nature, good food, and times together;  the ingredients for a family feast!

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Dogs

4 02 2014

One of the best!

  One of the best!

“Having a good dog is the closest some of us will ever come to knowing the direct love…of God”
Ann Lamott
Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith





Vulnerability and the Authentic Self

12 10 2013

It’s a scary feeling, the sensation of opening your inner self .  The feeling  of letting people see your true spirit; the you who loves sappy romantic comedies, or who would rather eat cheese and crackers at home than to dine on a gourmet meal in a five-star restaurant.  Or even scarier, the self who follows a different spiritual path or holds to a different political belief than the one friends and family adhere to .

Exploring those differences takes courage and the willingness to be vulnerable.  Vulnerability is a feeling, a state of mind that we are all born with.  As children we float along on the surface of vulnerability, unaware of any other way, not knowing that it is possible to hide our sensitive underbellies in the depths, to disguise our true selves from the judgments of others.

Through growth and life experience, through moments of hurt or humiliation, we begin forming a shell, a mask to hide behind.  Our mask camouflages  us.  It make us fit into our place in life, fit in with the people around us;   it paints a picture of how we want to be seen by others.  Over time, years or months, or sometimes most of a lifetime, our mask starts to feel stifling.  The true self begins to chip away from the inside, until cracks form.  We reach a stage where we are willing to risk vulnerability in order to restore our authentic, real and vulnerable self.  Our mask crumbles away.

There comes a time in each of our lives when being real, when experiencing and sharing the truth of our existence, transcends  the fear of being vulnerable.  It is when we realize that experiencing a true and real existence is only possible when we are fully open to love, to ideas, to beliefs;  it is only then that we have the courage to be vulnerable. It is only then, when we fully believe, that we know a spirit unmasked is the true measure of human life.