Martin Luther King Day 1/20/2020

Over the Holidays, I started binge-watching West Wing on Netflix…well, to be honest, I should say RE-binge watching. I actually own the fancy boxed set so have seen every episode many, many times…just not for a while. (We currently don’t have a single DVD player in the whole house.)

I started it again in early December as a distraction from some personal drama, but I quickly realized how much I have needed this kind of political antithesis for quite a while now.

Trump Escapades Inundation should be a category in the DSM-5 under the PTSD diagnosis heading…

My only real connection to POTUS is that I truly empathize with his hair issues, my own having thinned dramatically enough that I have to experiment with all manner of the “comb-over”.

Watching the brilliant portrayal of how life in the West Wing, and in our country, could and should be has been just as inspirational this time through as all the others.

I am a die-hard Aaron Sorkin fan and have absolutely loved everything he’s done; all the movies, and TV shows, especially Sports Night, the Newsroom, and the way too short Studio 60. We need a ton of sentimentality and idealism these days just to counteract some of the other stuff that’s happening. And Sorkin is the master!

The last episode I watched had the following quote in it.

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral. Returning violence with violence only multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of start.”  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

And then I remembered a couple of days ago I saw the episode where Aimee Mann singing James Taylor’s wonderful song, “Shed a Little Light”.

So in honor of MLK day, and to do my part, for just a few moments, to distract from all the…well, you know, I found 3 versions of this beautiful song.

The first, just the song so you can concentrate on the lyrics (printed right below).

Next, a really moving cover by The Maccabeats and Naturally 7  that James Taylor himself really liked!

And last, another wonderful, uplifting version by James and friends.

If you can sit through all three versions, you’ll be singing right along by the end, and maybe even a little inspired to Keep on Trucking no matter what unbelievable thing you-know-who does tomorrow.

1st version…

“Shed A Little Light”

Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King
and recognize that there are ties between us, all men and women living on the Earth.
Ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood, that we are bound together
in our desire to see the world become a place in which our children can grow free and strong.
We are bound together by the task that stands before us and the road that lies ahead.
We are bound and we are bound.

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

Shed a little light, oh Lord, so that we can see, just a little light, oh Lord.
Wanna stand it on up, stand it on up, oh Lord,
wanna walk it on down, shed a little light, oh Lord.

Can’t get no light from the dollar bill, don’t give me no light from a TV screen.
When I open my eyes I wanna drink my fill from the well on the hill,
do you know what I mean?

Shed a little light, oh Lord, so that we can see, just a little light, oh Lord.
Wanna stand it on up, stand it on up, oh Lord,
wanna walk it on down, shed a little light, oh Lord.

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist, there is a hunger in the center of the chest.
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
and though the body sleeps the heart will never rest.

Oh, Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King
and recognize that there are ties between us.

All men and women living on the Earth, ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood.
2nd version, James’s favorite cover…

 

 

3rd version, sing along. I dare you!

 

Thank you Dr. King, for being one of my most important teachers…

 

NEWS FLASH! Bad, bad Blog-ist loses followers due to serious neglect!

December 24, 2019

No excuses. Just a priorities thing.

Life, and all its distractions, wonderful and horrific, has simply taken over first place on the list.

But I’ll be back, I promise.

Happy Winter, and whatever holidays you happen to celebrate.

Back to regularly scheduled life now.

With Love,

ChosenPerspectives

 

20191221_181503

Weekly Prompts-ClocktheTime 11/23/19

Fair warning (as I have stated before about my blog…I share happy stories AND painful stories), as of this writing, this post has no happy ending.

 

Clock the Time

Perfect for me this week. And I hate it!!

I’m in the middle of the longest, most frightening period of time I have experienced in my 71 years of life. In reality, it’s only been about 7 days so far, but for most of the last week, time has “stood still”, you know, the way it can sometimes when it loses all meaning! But in the moments when relevance has slipped back in…hmm, it’s been 13 hours since I’ve eaten anything…the time passing has seemed like an eternity.

I’m having one hell of a time Choosing My Perspective!

It’s been a little like attending a childbirth…where the only important clocking of time is tracking the number of minutes between contractions, or the more important clocking the time issue, the number of hours of labor so far. I’ve attended so many births and in the latter example, I would be vaguely aware of crossing that somewhat subjective line, mostly determined by the Doc or Midwife. It happens when a labor goes from what will later make a good story-I was in labor for 16 and 1/2 hours to the…Uh-oh, this is taking way too long moment. I know that look, that Uh-Oh facial expression on the face of the person there to “catch” that baby…

All the waiting this week has also triggered some deep, internal philosophical debates about the passing of time and the theory about feelings/emotions I have always taught my clients.

My basic premise has always been what I learned early in my training and education as a Psychotherapist.

-Emotions are basically biological…a physiological response to some perceived trigger, real or not.

-Feelings are not right or wrong. They just ARE!

-We can’t control a feeling response…only what we do with it…what we conclude from it and how we express it.

-Ignoring feelings completely is not good for us. They are going to need expression eventually…and the longer we wait, the more messy, and out of proportion they can become.

So this week, I have been trying to practice what I preach. But I’ve gone completely blank.

I had an experience of this kind of Clocking Time a few years ago. It challenged my beliefs about if, how, or when to express feelings. In a routine physical, an enthusiastic young Doctor decided that I had what looked like a life-threatening disease. Melanoma. She concluded that it had probably already metastasized. The biopsies to confirm this would take 48 hours.

A long couple of days, huh? I did not want to give myself over to the looming panic, but I also did not want to ignore the waves of feelings that were coming up, threatening to wash over me tsunami-style. What a balancing act that was! Luckily, I also knew to trust my gut, and the hard-earned knowledge I had of my own body.

My gut didn’t believe it, so I “waited” as that clock ticked fairly calmly. And it turned out to be, of all things, just an “age spot”!

During that eternity, on the clock just 48 hours, time had very little meaning. But a lot of other stuff sure did. Moral, ethical, philosophical debates raged in my head and heart.

Should I tell my family? Don’t they deserve to know?

Hell NO! There’s nothing to tell yet?

Yes but I always do scary things like this alone and never ask for support. Shouldn’t I reach out?

For what? You don’t know anything yet. Just wait!

Ya but I KNOW how PTSD works. The sooner someone who has been through a trauma can feel the resulting emotions, the better.

Yes but, has there actually been a trauma? You don’t know yet.

I think I was able to survive that two days of time standing still because of that little internal voice that was whispering to me that I was fine. When my gut reaction was confirmed, I could feel a huge relief and then use that to turn the whole thing into just an anecdote. Thank goodness, I also knew to get some “there, there” from my closest people. Turned out it was not a death sentence after all, but I still needed empathy for what was a rather a grueling stretch of stopped time!

I know why this current period of Clocking the Time has me in such a state. Fifty some years ago my mother went missing. I knew she was in serious emotional trouble. She had attempted suicide just two years before and this time, I recognized that same dark, dark resignation and resolve the last time I saw her. But because I was only a teenager, no one in authority would listen to me. For three eternal days, I looked for her, more and more frantically as each hour passed.

My gut was right. And I was too late. When they finally found her, she’d been dead for 3 days.

 

Right now, we are 7 days into hoping to hear from (or about) my teenage grandson, who “ran away” in a very dangerous state of mind.

My gut is failing me. Strangely and frustratingly silent.

And it’s been the longest week of my life….

juju-not-feeling-well

 

 

Photo Challenge Clock the Time

A Photo a Week Challenge: Open Topic 10/26/19

So the whole Time Marches On thing is in my face right now…well, the face of my whole neighborhood, actually.

My chosen theme for this Open Topic Challenge from Nancy Merrill is Experimenting with Telephoto Photography. I’m hoping it can help me see more clearly into the distance (and the future)… and maybe understand it better.

When I bought my home in 1976, there were only 4 other houses, all with horse acreage,  on my long dead end street. Now there are 25 homes…and although, we still have a few chickens, there are certainly no horses. I’ve seen a lot of changes in the 40 plus years I’ve lived here but the trend now seems to be for a builder to come in and tear down anything from the 1980’s and before, and build these whopper new giant homes. I’m only partially complaining. We’ve gained a wonderful new group of neighbors, and luckily, all of our lots are still over-sized enough to accommodate a 3,000 to 4,000 foot home fairly well.

But sometimes heartbreaking things happen in the process….especially to the old growth trees! I have addressed this before and here is an example: Tree

https://chosenperspectives.com/2016/10/05/tree-daily-prompt-from-chosenperspectives-10-5-16/

Right now there is a wonderful little red and white farm house, barn, and matching well on the lot behind me facing the next street over. It’s been there since the late 1940’s. They are about to tear it all down (of course) and are building an 8,900 square foot house with a huge wall (not a fence…a WALL) around it. (None of the older homes in our neighborhood have fences. It’s wonderfully wide open.)

I should also say we live on a fairly tall hillside, and many of our homes have western views (if only partial) of the Olympic Peninsula and mountain range…beautiful!

 

Back to my complaining about so-called Progress…

So this McMansion builder, who is going to level the cute red farm house, first came in and took down 6 or 8 HUGE, beautiful trees along the western border of the property…assuming for the VIEW, right?? But I had to go over there and see just exactly what view would be worth murdering all those trees!

What follows is my telephoto experiment.

IMG_2201
If you look very closely, just beyond the treetops, you can see our “downtown” area.

IMG_2177IMG_2181IMG_2178

IMG_2182
a blend of Bellevue and Seattle’s high rises….

Here’s what’s most interesting to me. Remember, I am experimenting with telephoto photography, using the feature on a relatively inexpensive Canon point and shoot.

The whole time I am taking these pictures, I think I am shooting the Bellevue Skyline.

IMG_2200
closest shot of Bellevue I could get that day…

But I am actually capturing a blend of downtown Bellevue and the Seattle Skyline some eleven miles west of us.

IMG_2179
I loved watching this sunrise reflection get bigger and bigger

IMG_2180

 

And when I got TOO close, I accidentally got this shot! (which I kind of like!)

IMG_2183

It was hazy that day, so all I could see clearly, in my clearly biased view, was that this builder guy had killed all those trees so his buyer had a view of our famous, rapidly growing, “tech-centered” city. All I could see was the combination of two city’s massive, view-blocking high-rises!

Then, later that day at Sunset, I got this shot…Bellevue, Seattle AND the Olympic mountains, which are 65 miles away (as the crow flies).

IMG_6558 (1)

Oh……OK, at least from another person’s perspective, maybe I get it…….

IMG_8561

 

 

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2019/10/26/a-photo-a-week-challenge-open-topic/

Pull up a Seat Challenge 10/25/19

I’ve been saving photos for this challenge for a while so here goes:

One of my favorite places to Pull up a Seat (if I can’t be right next to the Pacific Ocean) is on my sister’s porch….especially at, but not limited to, sunrise. Nothing like having your morning coffee on this porch in the early summer.

IMG_5088

Deck Garden 3

But then there are benches all over their property for sitting and becoming one with Nature…

Or you can be like Ola, the Wonder Dog, and plant yourself on one of the bridges over the pond between the house and the gardens and green house. (Although this might be better titled “Pull up a BED“.)

Ola, still on duty

 

Ah, but the memories of me with my grandsons pretend-fishing off these bridges…Maybe that’s my favorite.

Pull up a seat

 

I love seeing where other species choose to Pull up a Seat.

IMG_1942DSC_0597IMG_9062

 

Then there’s our friend Mark who has a very boring selection of where to Pull up a Seat

20180923_144006

 

At our Mountain Retreat, someone has chosen to Pull up a Precarious Seat, but for very good reason!

IMG_9377

They were putting in a new glass roof over our other favorite place to Pull up a Seat…our Porch Swing!

IMG_9485

It looks out over a beautiful valley.

IMG_7518

 

I always hate when this time comes each year when the porch seat gets tied up to make room for firewood…

IMG_0096

 

Then I just remember all the different butts that have planted themselves here.

20150524_122415
Father/son moment

20160910_093610

Three Brothers

IMG_7519

Then there were two…

IMG_7517

20150706_185926

And I know James is not looking forward to being just one…

But he’ll have so many memories to savor…pulling up this particular seat!

porch swing

 

 

Pull up a Seat Photo Challenge 2019-Week 42

A Photo a Week Challenge: Sun & Water

OK, OK, so the feature photo above is NOT of sun and WATER…but when I took the photo, I thought it was!! We were on a fast moving train and I snapped several before I realized it was not water, but some sort of agricultural stuff.

Then I remembered another picture I took while also moving fast, late for the San Juan Ferry, so no time to pull the car over for a better shot. But it was a stunning sunrise for a few miles!!

20190912_064352
The wetland north of Everett, WA.

 

Still wracking my brain for a Sun and Water photo, I found these next three, but they were kind of standard and I wanted something different.

20151007_18250120131207_134623_Android20151002_183135

 

OK stretch, I thought…water, sun, sun and water, two of my favorite things to photograph. Surely I had something!

Oh YES! This summer we went to The Wheel, our Church of the Blue Dome…which is a group (2 to 50 people) who meet on a mountain top, every Wednesday evening, and have for more than 20 years…rain or shine…sometimes to share food and music, sometimes to play Frisbee golf, sometimes to Walk the Medicine Wheel, and sometimes to drum. But always open to something miraculous.

These were taken at this year’s Solstice Wheel.

20190619_20163820190619_20103120190619_20203220190619_202547

I have been there when coyotes come right up close, when Owls join us to serenade, and when it has snowed or rained or hailed in a big circle all around without touching us at all. So this gorgeous rainbow, doubling itself and then showing us two Pots of Gold locations at once, was miraculous but not a surprise. Sun and Water. What a beautiful combo!

 

All of this got me thinking about Sun and Water in it’s different forms. That’s when my very favorite popped into mind.

A few years ago, when driving my grandsons along the north side of Hood Canal out of Belfair, WA., the sun rise was at the perfect point for spotting THIS on the side of the road!

 

 

20131208_110937_Android20131208_110618_Android20131208_11085320131208_111002_Android

It only lasted a few minutes so our timing was fortunate! (I do wish camera phones were what they are today, but I love this memory!!)

 

OK, last thing, if you’ve a mind to…

I wrote a short story (true) a long time ago. I posted it on my blog when I was still new, so I did not properly credit one of the photos to National Geographic (although their name appears in the lower left corner, so I hope that’s enough).

It’s one of my best stories, and although Sun and Water figure prominently in the tale, it is not all sunshine and rainbows. It is the telling of one of the more profound experiences of my life. Please read if you like. When I first posted it, I had only a handful of “followers” and not much response. So please comment. (Less an ego thing than a bare, naked soul that needs recognition.)

https://chosenperspectives.com/2016/02/12/calling-the-dolphins/

 

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2019/10/10/a-photo-a-week-challenge-sun-water/