Peace in Pieces

I must say my word for 2022 took interesting twists and turns. “Peace” did not come easily this year while war, social turmoil, health issues and brutal weather events attempted to disrupt any gains I made in my inner and outer work. In overcoming the challenges and setbacks during these past months, I found occasional moments of serenity more precious than gold. Life’s chaos taught me that achieving peace is a state of mind first, and then the rest will follow.

Looking back, I feel like the first half of the year was spent under pressure, hurrying from project to project as we began to venture out of our quarantines. After two years of staying put with good excuses not to make any real plans, the starting gate was flung open and suddenly there were deadlines and invitations and expectations. Although I told myself that life had changed, I fell back into the old patterns and mindset all too quickly, thinking that we were guaranteed good health after taking all the prescribed steps. But vaccinations and wishful thinking don’t prevent infection, and the wily virus knocked my legs out from under me and sent me to bed, for months.

During the long, sleepless nights, I had plenty of time for review. It seems like the Universe is determined to give me a chance to see the error of my ways, namely that I am always ignoring chronic health issues that won’t just go away on their own. I had to make some conscious decisions to find healthcare that worked for me instead of settling for systems chosen by my insurance company. Going off of the conventional path to discover lifestyle alternatives seemed scary at first, but I followed my intuition and knew in my heart that my healing couldn’t just come from a pill. I had to educate myself first and then pay attention to how my body reacts to remedies.

Ultimately the greatest healer was time. And in a period of gestation that couldn’t be rushed, I found peace. Regardless of what was going on around me, when I needed to rest I would rest. When I needed to eat then a snack was in order no matter the hour. I began to chart my body’s functions like a mother does with a newborn, and I needed to establish a routine that would accommodate my medicine, supplements, exercise, nutrition and sleep patterns. I discovered that audio books were a marvelous way to fall asleep and that certain voices lulled me off to dreamland like a little child.

In childlike surrender I found the peace of taking one day at a time. Each day would be unique, with different symptoms and patterns. It was a bit like a big puzzle, and I found that when I stopped thinking about the causes so much, the simple solutions would come to me. I had to let go of the anger and blame I held toward the conventional healthcare system and providers who didn’t care or were too rushed to listen. And finally, when I stopped depending on others to fix me and took the reigns for my own life decisions, I found peace of mind. Like Dorothy in Oz I’d had the ability to reach this place all along; I just needed to try.

So I say goodbye to 2022 a little older, wiser, stronger and at peace. And I wish you peace as well as we enter a New Year.

Holding the Light

This dark ending of the year is full of paradox. The mind naturally summons up a highlight reel of the last 365 days, and I don’t know about you, but the angry, humiliating, sad and frustrating episodes always run on a constant loop in my head. The lovely, serene and successful moments are apparently kept prisoner in aging 2018’s memory closet, waiting for rescue and release into the light of hope and future plans. A fresh start is always appealing, but why is the human spirit so drawn back into cinematic replays of the past year’s smoking wreckage in flops and failures?

I choose a new word every year. Whether self-fulfilling prophesy or wishful thinking, the theme is usually noticeable throughout the months. 2018’s word was “magic” and I think that was pretty accurate on the whole. What came out of a garden beset with heavy clay soil, limitless weeds, ravenous insects and extreme weather conditions certainly seemed like magic. I learned that despite all obstacles, life loves to grow given any kind of encouragement.

Perhaps that same support needs to be applied to myself and other fellow humans in 2019 including the nation and the world, even if and when we don’t deserve it. Choosing to focus on the light while acknowledging the shadow is not without merit in these chaotic times. I would love to switch my brain’s channel to the happy highlights reel or at least last year’s funniest home memories. Since when does watching those bad reruns over and over until you can act them out in your sleep ever teach you anything?

So my word for 2019 is “light,” the kind you can hold. How do you hold onto light you ask? You can when you hold a purring kitten or a thriving seedling. You embrace it with your eyes on a frosty morning at the edge of a fallen leaf lying in the frozen shadows. You cradle it in the truth of words that ring true to you and light a fire within your soul. It is there when you look for it.

It is my wish that at the end of 2019, we are all seated in the deep womb of the year’s theater, sharing popcorn and watching a victorious highlight reel of shining moments in what will be seen as historically dark times by future light beings.

May the light be with you, always.


I could say that 2016 was a strange year, but then most of them have been strange lately in this modern mixed-up world we live in. I could declare that it’s been challenging, but so is life in general. I could lament that it’s flown by too quickly, but this is the price of growing older. I want to say that 2016 has been happy, and I did find many bright spots among the dark days.

But what I will say is that 2016 gave me permission to let go, to start over, and to find my joy through intentional living, my reason to exist. May 2017 be a continuation of this journey. And to all of you, dear readers, may the new year bring you fulfillment in whatever way you wish to take.

Happy New Year!

The Art in Earth

Day 31: My Word For 2016
Day 31: My Word For 2016

My word for 2016 is ART; the art of living well, the art of compassionate coexistence, the art of intuitive creation, the art of health and healing, of joy and humor as well as grief and letting go. One of our greatest gifts is to see the art in life, since after all, there would be no Earth without Art. Happy New Year of photographic and literary art to all who read here. May there be plenty of art in your future.

Thanks so much to Susannah Conway for her December Reflections  photo prompts again this year. During this hectic and stressful season, she has prompted the art of mindful reflection from life’s photographic window seats with contemplative comments that helped me process the world with hope and love for all.

2012 or Bust

You have no idea how many shots it took to catch this.

I got nothing. No top 10 lists, no best of show, no majestic summations, and most of all, no desperate resolutions.

It could be that we’re all waiting for the big show, a grand finale, some final word. Perhaps we’re hoping for an apocalypse of reason that will transform us into sane beings who push compassion rather than punishment.

Maybe we will come to our senses about the state of our house, and trade the cloak of conquest for humble coveralls of care. There are rumblings all over this world for change. Are we listening?

When the end times knock, will we be caught in the eternal exchange lines, still unhappy with the fit of our lot in life? Or found napping in the complicated coffers of the conglomerate dragons, seduced by sweet promises of greed beyond all hope.

But this is no fairytale, for even in the land of suburbia unsettling winds are winding along the manicured driveways and multi-level decks of our complacency.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a wild ride. But one that I signed up for.

I’ll see you in a new time, my friend.

2010 in Minimalist Moments

Yes, this is one of those end-of-the-year reviews with ten posts I managed to wrangle from the pile of debris that was my 50th year. The year could have been better. But it could have been much worse, and so I am grateful for the opportunity to ponder stuff I truly care about, however tongue-in-cheek at times. That’s life, right?

If there is a “theme” to be found in these ten minimalist moments, I’ll be darned if I can find one other than the art and practice of less. The Minimalist Movement has taken off so well, that I fear anything I write will be a cliche — or the name of someone else’s blog.

I’ve been on this journey longer than the shiny up-and-coming minimalists have been alive. From the dewy-eyed grad student heading into an unknown future with all her worldly possessions fitting into the back of a VW diesel Rabbit, to the ailing middle-aged recluse struggling in a country home filled with too many projects and dreams planted but not harvested, my wheel of life turns from less to more to less in a never-ending cycle.

I could be wrong, but judging by a shift in the wind, the times are a-changin’. I read the words of fresh and seasoned minimalists alike, encouraged by the wealth of ideas spinning out there. What was old is new again. And what is new can take us into a bright future that just might be worth living, for us and our children.

In 2011, I’ll be trying some of those innovative minimalist projects and approaches on for size.

Until then, a list of this year’s Minimalist Moments, more or less:

The Mail Monster (where I mail myself down)

Houseplant Hoarding (can anyone say “little shop of horrors”)

Out of the Closet (and into the car for Goodwill)

Hobbling the Hobbies (although macrame is making a comeback)

Organization–Do You Need It? (I know I do . . . around tax time)

Traveling Light (now I let the squirrels housesit for me while away)

Taking on the “100 Thing Challenge” (Dave’s book just came out)

What Do You Give a Minimalist? (my mom still tries, bless her heart)

What’s In YOUR Garage? (not a snowblower, that’s for sure)

The Tannenbaum Tango (still learning the steps, but it’s hopeful)

Thanks so much for reading along this year. And here’s to a bright and shiny New Year!