2014: A Year of Grounding – Deep and Simple

We live in shallow and complex times.

Worried about e-mails, about texts, Twitter, Facebook.

Often interacting more with people even that we know in shallow ways. Always feeling like we need to check into our media and devices. A society full of advertising of buy, buy, buy of you need this, you need that.

You don’t. No really, you don’t.

You really don’t need a smartphone although it is very shiny. You don’t need an iPad, again very shiny. You don’t need those new clothes, you don’t need to see every movie, you probably don’t need more stuff.

You need to connect. To people, to the earth, to yourself.

I am dedicating 2014 to be the Year of Grounding for me. I need it.

The last two years have been very ungrounding. Losing my father in law Walter Maheux in March 2012, losing my beloved father Henry Edmunds Davis on April 1, 2013. I am still grieving. I still do not have all of my psychic and spiritual energy and might not for some time. I am trying to ground again and get back into myself. I need it.

I find writing helpful. I love conversations especially one on one although they can be hard to do. Why did it become weird to call someone? Seriously. I love to connect with people. In 2012 I started having lunches with one person and just talking. It was cool. It’s good to spend an hour with just one person and not be in the cacophony of noise and information of the internet and smartphones. I want to get back to it again and having lunch with someone tomorrow.

I am really happy to be in therapy. I had an unbelivably tough year that included a major manic episode in April, 2013. It was one heck of a month. Although I did write some good poems and posts including a memorial for my dad. I also ended up in jail for 36-48 hours of Patriot’s Day last year while fully manic and became extraordinarily manic. Basically doing a 24 hour performance in a cell to the NSA who I was sure was watching. Then was held down and drugged after getting loud at the Maine Medical Center ER and forgot 24 hours completely. April was unbelievably ungrounding. Losing the rock of my life, as I said in a poem at my dad’s memorial service. Losing my sanity.

Recovering slowly. Spring Harbor helped. Lithium helped a lot, dulling my mind when I needed it, found it dulling after my crisis as well and slowly going off of it. My wife helped, my mom helped, my therapist really helped. I am very thankful for therapy. More of us need to be in it. Seeing her tomorrow and happy to go over goals and talk about the last 3 weeks that includes that big holiday of Christmas and all the energy you put in an use for it.

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I feel the need to ground. To slow myself down. In the words that Fred Rogers used from the documentary “Mister Rogers and Me ***” Make your life deep and simple not shallow and complex.

Take a walk. Look up. See the stars. See the clouds. Feel the wind. Hear the water. Rest your mind. Listen. Breathe. Breathe. Slow down. Touch the Earth if you need do, do some Earthing. Literally ground yourself.

Make it a practice. Meditate. Prayer with your heart. Bring the worries of the brain down to the heart. Practice the mediations I learn from Whispering Deer. Your heart can take a lot in, the brain wants to analyze everything. Breathe. Breathe.

One thing I do to ground that make me feel joy is walking with my headphones at work. There is great landscaping there. Statues, trees, birds, a creek, a marsh. Listening to something like Bob Dylan’s “Blowin in the Wind” yesterday, watching the trees in the twilight in a sea of clouds. Transported. Just looking. Appreciating.

Your technology can wait. Texts can wait. You can turn your cellphone off. Sometimes it’s good to not be available. People do not need you all the time. You can not answer a text. You can leave your phone in your pocket while driving. Pay attention.

Right now, I am looking out my window. Seeing rain on the panes. Seeing a gray sky with some blue just after sunset with plenty of dark gray clouds after a rainy, and warm day that reached the upper 40s and had plenty of snowmelt. Can see some red of the sunset in the distance. Lights over the parking lot for the Dancing Elephant and the Frog and Turtle. Light in the parking lot by me. A wet American flag. Trees in fornt of the sunset. A wide Presumpsoct River that is harder to notice through the raindrops. The Disability RMS sign hiding through the trees. A car driving through. Listening, looking.

Billy Collins said all a poet needs is a window, paper and a pencil. Simple. Beautiful. Calming. Noticing. Not overthinking. Which we all do too mcuh. Looking up seeing the day change, watching the birds. Seeing the scampering of creatures. Hoping the insects don’t bite.

Think when you were happiest. Was it a tweet? A Facebook message?

Was it time with a friend, with a loved one, a lover and partner? With family? Eating, drinking. Maybe on vacation in the woods, in the desert? Listening, content at peace. Breathe.

We all need more peace. Less worry.

A life deep and simple where you appreciate things. My cats Lenny and Squiggy. My wife Lanna. The simple sound of the cat fountain. The silence. Sleep, dreams. My family. My sister Mindy, brother in law, Robert. Brother in law Bill, mother in law Dottie. And the ones who have passed, my dad Henry, father in law Walter. Grandparents Avis Neal, Charles Neal, Mary Davis and Donald Davis. My Aunt Louise. My mother’s best friend Dottie Mithee, Cousin Benny.

And heroes who have passed and enriched my life like Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain, Carl Sandburg, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Miles Davis. And of course teachers past, present and futures. Those who listen. Those who let us listen.

The water. The sky. The birds. The animals. Our pets. Cats, dogs. The mice we can’t see. The bees who pollenate. The pollen that makes us sneeze.

Breathe. Ground. Let life be easy. Let life be quiet. Read. Turn the screen off. Just listen to music. Drift. Dream.

Work to live a deep and simple life in complex and shallow times. Love one another. Hug. Kiss. Be thankful. Breathe. Mediate. Be Present. Appreciate the silence. Learn to love the noise and watch. See the sky change and darken, as the blue almost disappears and the red of sunset is almost gone.

Rest. Breathe. Ground and be Peaceful.

Blessed be.

A Cold Week in May

Just got back from a festival in the woods.

First 2 days were warm, then came a ton of hail and a tornado warning. The weather from Tuesday evening until Sunday afternoon was cold and miserable. It only really got nice on Monday as I was leaving. Hearing the music from harps on a beautiful mountain in the Berkshires.

This was an internal Rites of Spring for me. One where I napped a lot, went to bed early and did some deep meditation. I came out of my week in the woods softer. Appreciating that both me and Lanna are still in mourning. That losing a parent takes a lot out of you. That you can be part of a festival even if you lay down during the rites and just listen.

I feel my softer self coming back. But, realize my patience can still be easily tested. And that McDonald’s is not the right lunch coming out of the woods, you need more time and space.

I also realized today and this week how much poetry can be appreciated. I sold some books, but much more heard how much people enjoy my work. It means a lot.

I plan to blog more again now that I’m off the mountain. I am feeling my balance returning. I know though that it’s not going to be fast, and that’s okay. I think I will still need more rest. I will still need to be internal. Sadness and mourning comes in waves. I had a huge wave crest in mid-April that is still settling now.

We are all a little mad. Especially those of us that are interesting. Embrace your journey, love yourself and become who you were meant to be. Sometimes life disappoints us. From the small journeys of a week in the cold woods down to the 30s overnight, to the massive journey of mourning. Life is never what we expect.

But, we need to be open to the joys. Little things like hearing and sensing a cat entering the room like my beloved Squigman/Squiggy. A sunset cresting in the horizon. The green of Spring. Seeing a dear friend. A hug. A ear that listens. Hearing someone else’s story. A child’s laughter. Even a child’s tears can be beautiful. Learn to be present. Learn to be aware, there is so much beauty in this world.

Sometimes though we need to rest.

Blessed be.

Waiting….

It’s still soon.

Dad’s time on this Earth is still short.

With this life.

He keeps saying “goodbye” to mom when he goes to bed.

Still happy to be in Maine. And I do wish I was closer. So much.

It’s been a weird year.

A year that for me started in late August 2012 when dad got his new tumor. He really hasn’t been out of bed much since. Especially since the operation.

Some times are better than others.

I do feel like there is something new for me soon. Maybe more writing. Maybe some tutoring. Maybe some teaching.

I am glad to have the blog. I love my two kitties, Lenny and Squiggy. And of course I love my wife, the fabulous Lanna Lee Mahuex.

So we wait. It’s weird. I’m ready, but not ready.

It’s going to hit me hard. It already has.

Edmund

Dominion Online and Podcasts Perfect Together

So have been tired this week.

Slept a lot yesterday.

Needed to do 3 things today. Drive to storage to drop some things off. Do the laundry. And get Frontline for the cats.

I got the Frontline but was totally exhausted and punted the laundry until Sunday and delayed doing the storage stuff. And per ounce, Frontline has to be one of the most expensive consumer products ever made.

So I slept a lot, watched a Friday Night Lights, and 2 Arrested Developments on the Amazon Prime.

But, the highlight of my day was Dominion, two games with Lanna Lee, both just the new set Dominion: Dark Ages. A lot of fun on both.

And I played quite a few games of Dominion Online on the computer. I really enjoy it, although it is awfully addicting, as I mentioned in yesterday’s blogpost. And really enjoyed listening to all sorts of different podcasts today.

The podcast that made me smile most today that I heard was the new Lounging with LannaLee at the celebration of the first night of gay marriage being legal in Portland, Maine. It’s just joyous, and one of her best shows. Lanna is an excellent podcaster and deserved the title of my best podcast of 2012.

So if you are curious give Dominion online a try. And most definitely hear Lanna’s new podcast.

edmund

Happy Thanksgiving

Full belly. Excellent food.  Thankful.
Nice to have a feast.

Missing 5 from the table this year.  My mom and dad who are in Pennsylvania with dad in skilled nursing, and Cousin Benny, Dot Mithee and Lanna’s dad Walter Maheux who have passed away this year.

It’s been a tough year.  It’s still great to feast and laugh.  Even if it is just me, my wife Lanna, my Brother in law Bill and my mother in law Dottie.  I even worked today for the first Thanksgiving I can remember.

Happy Thanksgiving, be thankful and remember those no longer here.

Blessings.

Edmund

Thankful

There is a lot of people on Facebook in November posting every day of the month what they are thankful for.

I have a few things, even in this difficult time.

An amazing wife, the fantastic and unimitable Lanna Lee Maheux.

An apartment.

Heat.

A job. Benefits. Great co-workers.

Clothes to stay warm in the Maine winter.

A car.

A great mother in law nearby to watch the cats, and give us excellent food and that we can help each other. I definitely miss my father in law too, seems amazing that it was March, he still seems here. I miss him and will definitely miss him next week with Thanksgiving.

A wonderful and very giving family. My mom is extremely generous both in spirit and financially. It breaks my heart that she can’t travel around the country and the world, or even just the Lehigh Valley listening to jazz.

A very smart sister and brother in law, even if they sometimes drive me nuts.

The always adorable and amazing Lenny and Squiggy, easily the best cats I have ever had. I went from liking cats to being a cat dude thanks to those two.

That my dad is still alive. It’s 4 1/2 years since his brain cancer started, and 2 brain tumors and surgeries later he is still here. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, and that it’s taking time to accept the changes in his life, brain and ability to move.

That Barack Obama was reelected President and a completely corporate Mitt Romney didn’t become president.

That gay marriage passed in Maine, Maryland and Washington and gay, straight and lesbian people are able to celebrate love.

For slam poetry which has been so great to me especially the last 2 years.

For public libraries are the wealth of information they have.

For the Minerva system in Maine which gives me the chance to check out books from all over the state, for a voracious reader it’s such a gift.

For wonderful friends.

For beer, and how it gets better all the time.

For growing up Unitarian Universalist, and having an open spiritual mind and heart to people of all faiths and beliefs.

For music and it’s amazing beauty, jazz has been a big thing since dad’s last tumor.

I am thankful even in these tough times. Be grateful and be thankful.

And thank you for reading this and your support.

Edmund

Brain Injuries/Disorders

My wife had a beautiful post today on her blog “Heart Break“.

I had a haiku I thought of at work today that I tweeted.

Missing my dad
Even when right next to me
Especially then

There are times when my dad just doesn’t seem himself now.

He has better and worse times. He is tired a lot, and often rambles about similar stories. Aging isn’t easy.

And whether it’s by strokes, brain cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s … There isn’t much that is harder for families and caretakers than brain disorders and injuries.

I do hope my dad improves.

I do hope that he can go home and be with mom again.

I am not neccessarily hopeful, at this time it’s easier to have lower expectations and be surprised. And acceptance for where he is at.

I do love that I gave him the gift of music and jazz with iPod shuffles. I know that means a lot to him.

All blessings to all of you, especially those touched by brain injuries with friends and family.

Edmund

Today is a Good Day

Today was a good day.

I slept in.

Got some time with the kitties, had leftover steak for dinner.

Am back in Maine.

Dad is back in inpatient rehab at Good Shepard.

Let my mother in law’s kitty Loki out, and able to find him in the dark.

And the big thing for my spirits is I got 14 holes of golf in at Gorham Country Club.

My finances are such that the $22 I paid for the twilight rate (after 3pm (included 3 used balls for $2)) was still a sacrifice with my bank account.

It was great to be concerned with terrible drives, putts and chips instead of actually important things. And the family at Gorham Country Club runs it really well. Would highly recommend the course and I am sure to go back. Although it priced much better for walking then carts. And I have to learn to stop topping the ball.

Tomorrow I am back to work, hopefully I can get through a work week without being drawn back to Pennsylvania. That will be good for my bank account. Not working for 3+ weeks this month has not.

And should feel good to get back to my routine again. I know it felt good to play golf today. Feels good for Squiggy to be adorable and Lenny to be a nudge.

And it’s awesome that my wife Lanna is doing a digital salon with 6 guests tonight. Thank you to Candace Karu for hosting.

Today is a good day.

And the moon even looks beautiful. Could use some more good days.

Missing Maine

Been away for a couple weeks now. Seems like longer.

I am used to having Lanna with me these days.

Used to knowing my way around.

Used to the Maine attitude of getting by, and letting things go.

Missing the Portland poetry scene.

Missing the rhythm of days working and days off.

Missing my wife.

Scared about my dad. He survived a 2nd brain surgery, that’s good. He’s in recovery, the neurosurgeon Dr. Laroix at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, said it’s normal to see a lag from days 3-5.

I want to see my dad move more on the left. I worry about it. Looks like he will always be missing some vision on the left side so will not drive again.

I miss Lenny and Squiggy, the two adorable cats always giving smiles.

I hate car drama.

I have enjoyed the food in Philly but Portland, Maine is an amazing food town too.

I am enjoying the beers in Philly (wish I had more money) but Portland is an amazing town for beer too. Saw Allagash White a few places (including Monk’s Cafe) and saw Maine Beer Peeper on tap at a wonderful place called Tria (12th and Spruce).

Mainly I miss my wife. Secondarily I miss the cats. And of course I miss kisses, hugs and someone else in bed.

And I definitely miss getting paid and my friends.

I will get through this. Life takes you where you don’t expect it.

And thank you for your support.

Edmund

State of Now – Kansas

So Lanna applied for the State of Now small towns event to be held in Hutchinson, Kansas even though we are 1700 miles away.

She got accepted.

Now we are thinking of taking Amtrak all the way cross country. Is this crazy? Are we nuts?

Although it does seem amazing to see the backyards of America and the beginnings of towns. Most 19th Century towns went around the train, around depots. I expect to see tons of corn, lots of wheat, lots of backyards, lot of town, lots of America.

Wondering if a sleeper car is a good idea or the seats will be fine on the 36 hour journey.

Longest train trip I took was from Chicago to Trenton, NJ which is still wicked far. Although the horseshoe curve is just awesome.

And I realized that Lanna hasn’t seen the corn belt at all, which should be obvious and massive on a trip from Chicago to central Kansas. There is nothing like a train to make you realize how truly massive America is.

To crazy ideas!