The Ghost in Me

The colors in my head are vibrant. I’m not quite sure how to replicate them on canvas or in words, but I want to interpret them through my soul. I find the vividness exhilarating. Brilliant hues, purple, blue and yellow. Greens are filling the skies with splashes like voices scattered through my heart; the light is shining. The inspired craving of excitement and longing but, also fulfillment. Once I find this key, this bit of time that I can perceive and project there will be a new meaning to my life. It’s like when you close your eyes and the shapes behind your lids move like a lava lamp, growing, and shrinking. Bright then gone to black to be replaced by something new. Yellow perhaps. The dance is impactful, and I hold it tightly to me knowing I will need to let it go. There is silence, and yet the music plays. There is sadness yet, I feel a growing joy. I can’t explain it at all, but I know somehow I need to share this gift, this internal maze that is the essence of who I am. The bright colors under the surface, the light pulsing in an effortless means to escape. The truth is there, within the walls of my mind, flowing down to my heart, to my stomach, to my toes. It runs like a river in and out, up and down. The blood pumping, racing yet still, with moments of contentment. Finally, I find it, slowly coursing, inviting me towards it. A ghost, reaching for me in fuchsia with purple edges gleaming. I know I cannot resist. I lie down, comforted, surrounded, and hovering within myself. I am finding love. The melody spins me. I’m dizzy with delight, calm. I am ready to grow, to break free to release the light, the colors, the gifts, to share them outwardly with the world. To know who I am and where I stand. It is in this release that I will find myself.

Today I Went Into a Church and Wept

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St. James Church, Manhattan, NY

Today I walked. My legs simply wanted to move, my face wanted to feel the cool breeze on my skin. So I walked. After 20 blocks or so I saw a church. My body stopped and I turned to see it was open. With no hesitation, I went up the steps and opened the door to a space lacking people, yet filled with a silence I needed.

Its not often I simply let my body guide me without interruption. I chose a pew about a quarter of the way down the aisle and sat, without the usual signals I see others display. Their rituals are not mine and I have accepted that. I just sat and took it in. The light, the design, the wood, the books, and the smell; slightly old and dusty with a touch of people.

I honored the sacred statuary with a deep appreciation of my past and a true gratitude for my present. I felt the open arms welcome me in my moment of solace. I do not embrace the institution of religion, I never have; instead I listen with an open heart and hear the call of many. However, I am awed by sacred houses, places to pray together or alone. Places where judgement and self flagellation are meant to be left at the door.

I was only going to sit a moment and move on, but instead I meditated. I sat alone with God, together. I opened my heart and released my mind. I felt for the first time in a long time the wholeness of my being and quieted my monkey mind to hear myself again. I acknowledged my pain and I believe now, that it will fade.

Today I went to a church and wept. I wept for my struggle, I wept for my heart and for my consciousness. I wept because I let myself be heard in my own heart. As I occupied these hallowed moments, I was consecrated, renewed.

Namastè

©NicholeDonjè

5 More Minutes

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I woke up today, did my yoga, took my shower, had my oatmeal and my luscious rich morning coffee. The air was perfect. A slight breeze wafted through the windows and the sun glared just high enough on the glass to glow but not shock my eyes. There was a healthy silence; one saturated with calming energy and a peaceful fullness.

My husband wandered in with his coffee and sat down next to me. He took a deep breath and we smiled in a silent understanding then closed our eyes for just 5 more minute before we had to start our busy days.

These are the times I acknowlege the gift of my new home, the comfort of my couch and the security I have built in my life.

Namasté

©NicholeDonjè

My Current Mind Maze

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My Current Mind Maze

 

OK. I’m writing because I feel myself on a winding path again. A bit unfocused and spacey. It is the most annoying place my brain takes me to. I feel exhausted and yet I’ve had enough sleep and it seems I cannot accomplish anything but the basics. Have you been there?

I have been busy I won’t lie, but still there are things I want to accomplish. I have been taking 2 classes and finding the time to do the work in between feels anxiety ridden and almost impossible. I get lost in the minutiae then get blocked because I’ve lost not minutes, but hours.  I just can’t tell if my expectations are too high or if I am actually being, not lazy but undisciplined.

It just seems I have backtracked again, or is it that I have so much I want to do that I am overcrowding my mind. I just don’t know. This maze is getting in the way of my freedom…so how the heck do I stop throwing up the darn obstacles and blocking my own way? I have plans people! Am I alone out here?

Hmm….thanks for listening/ reading...oh whatever!

Namastè

 

Play-dates

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Good morning! or at least that’s how I felt as I stood on the doorway snapping these pictures. Oddly this day was the day we discovered we are now the local bird sanctuary. Earlier in the day a dove that was, shall we say, not having a good day sat on that very birdbath in the above shot in what seemed to be shock. Her feathers were askew and stiff as a statue. Her eyes were wide. I again like with Mr. Blue grabbed the telephoto for a better look.

Up close I could see a cut on her side, a swollen chest and a not so symmetrical wing that seemed more to be hanging then resting. I brought my husband Scott out yet again and we discussed next steps. I called the wildlife lady again, I believe we will be getting to know one another well over the next few years, and set up a time to bring the lopsided lady over (I have no idea if it’s a girl, but since I decided Mr. Blue, our last bird story, was a Mr…why not).

The little lady made her way to the ground and wandered the yard. In the meantime the birdbath became a play-date for everyone else. I swear in the 20 minutes I stood there at least 50 birds came and went, splashing and luxuriating in the aqueous coolness while the sun obligingly danced on their feathers. It was such fun to capture them in their revelry.

The photo above reminds me of when I was about 5 and my cousin and I used to share a bath. It was fun and gratifying. I loved the water as a child. If there was a pool I was in it. A bath was like the playground, especially since in our apartment there was only a stand-up shower in the corner of the bedroom. The bath was a place to create adventures, be saved mermaids and sing to our hearts content. It was the best darn pool Barbie had. I love seeing these two little guys full of joy and satisfaction; it moves me. It reminds me.

So much for not being a bird lover…just another reminder of personal growth and learned appreciation for the world around me.

Oh, and for the little lady, she was dropped off yesterday to the rescue lady in a box. She seemed good with being caught, I think she knew we wanted to help. I did say I hope Mr. Blue would let others know they would be safe with us…maybe he heard me.

Good luck Miss Lolli!

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Namastè

 

©NicholeDonjè

We’ll Call Him Mr. Blue

One of the things, I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I would enjoy in my new home is birds. They are everywhere. Our property is as much theirs as it is ours. There was an old bird bath tucked in a corner when we bought the house. When we first discussed it, my attitude was, toss it. My husband was reluctant and decided in his yardscaping madness to place it in perfect view of our kitchen window . He cleaned and filled it up. By the end of the day the birds were in it; drinking, splashing, and bathing as intended.

To my surprise as soon as I started watching these beautiful creatures of multiple colors and features, all of a sudden it became one of my favorite things in our new home. I found myself happy and honored to share it. I even clean and fill the bath myself.

Recently a huge bluejay, we’ll call him Mr. Blue, started visiting and often. He seemed to be taking over and moving in. After a couple of weeks we were in the yard cooking out with friends. I noticed a strange protrusion at the top of and under his beak. He came so close and stayed long. My friend Pam and I felt he was trying to get our attention. He flew closer to the top of the fence and looked at us, pecked a bit, obviously annoyed or disturbed with his issue. We couldn’t help but believe he was asking for help. We talked to him and he looked at us then flew back up into the big pine.

Over the next 2 days my husband Scott and I paid special attention. Mr. Blue was staying close, not leaving the yard. He had found a branch in and cozied up in a hollow of one of the big pines by the bird bath. He’d fly down every 15 mins or so to drink.

We were worried. His behavior seemed odd. I grabbed the camera and the telephoto lens. We made our mission to get a close and clear enough shot of whatever it was affecting him. We did. It was a growth of some sort. Poor baby, he looked so tired. Through the lens we could see him closing his eyes. He was weary.

We went online to see what he might eat. I put some berries and chopped veggies hoping to help, then called a wildlife rescue. I was told unfortunately, that if he was still flying there was nothing we could do. She said as long as he can eat he will survive.

My heart broke knowing it was just be a matter of time. That there was nothing I could do but make sure he had water and pray he’d eat some nuts and berries. It’s funny how we adopt these creatures. They become part of our home and our routines. We care for them as if they know we do, well knowing it is we creatures ourselves who need to love.

Its been two days. I miss him. His trust, his rocket blue sleek feathers and his quiet moments at the birdbath where he let me get so close. I can’t help but pray he gets better and returns, but know more likely that he’s not coming back. I hope his spirit will bless that birdbath so that others know it is a safe haven and a home.

Good luck my dear Mr Blue, thank you for the time.

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Namastè

NicholeDonjè

Yes dear President…just yes

All I can say is that this man is brilliant. The future will reveal this brilliance. Not only does he have the necessary skills and knowledge needed of a president, he is also a person of integrity, to be admired as a man, a husband and a father. Whatever ones feels about his politics, they have to admit that no matter how hard they’ve tried, no one has been able to disprove that truth; it is the rare thing to say this of a president. Many presidents loved and admired by the masses proved themselves to be less than faithful outside (and at times inside) the oval office, President Obama has not.

President Barack Obama is a man to be respected, the kind of person we want the world to see that we are smart enough to choose as the leader of the free world. If you missed his speech last night, here is is.

This speech is amazing!

Namastè

So I have to!

“How we explain that when someone is cruel, or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is: When they go low, we go high.”

First Lady, Michelle Obama

Quite often I choose to not discuss anything political here, but the reality is is that something amazing has happened. We have elected Hillary Clinton, the first woman, to serve on a presidential ticket! Can you image what it will be like to have a black man then a woman consecutively in office?! What would this say about America?  I believe it would signify that we are still great, that we are still #strongertogether and the we are still the land of opportunity.

Whatever your politics the atmosphere of the DNC serves America far better than the hateful rhetoric of the RNC. I agree we are not a perfect nation, we can’t be; it is run by humans and humans are flawed. They make mistakes…all of them. However I find it outlandishly hypocritical that Hillary Clinton is dragged through the streets as a liar, while Trump stands on his podium spouting lies, hatred and hypocrisies, but somehow he is the “change” we need?! What is wrong with people.

I also very much understand that Bernie people are upset, but as he himself said in an interview after his speech, “It is easy to boo, but it’s harder to look your kids in the face who would be living under Donald Trump”. The reality is that if one chooses not to vote or to vote for a candidate that they know for a fact will not only lose, but take votes away from the best candidate…they ARE voting for Trump! This is the reality Bernie is trying to convey. He said, “You fought and you won a seat at the table. We have to act like we have that seat, and using it and using our power and stop acting like we’ve been shut out”.

So political notions aside, what I want to do is point out two absolutely amazing speeches. Michelle Obama is the quintessential woman; smart, compassionate, strong and inspiring. Her words brought tears to my eyes as I sat watching. She spoke out without insults, she made commentary without naming names. She did all this with style, class and the full on confidence of a woman who has gained the respect of a nation. If you haven’t seen the speech watch it here . Here is an except.

“And look, there were plenty of moments when Hillary could have decided the work was too hard, that the price of public service was too high, that she was tired of being picked apart for how she looks, or how she talks, or even how she laughs. But here’s the thing. What I admire most about Hillary is that she never buckles under pressure. She never takes the easy way out. And Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life. And when I think about the kind of president that I want for my girls, and all of the children, that’s what I want. I want someone with the proven strength to persevere. Someone who knows this job and takes it seriously. Someone who understands that the issues the president faces are not black and white and cannot be boiled down to 140 characters.

Look, because … because when you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and the military in your command, you can’t make snap decisions. You can’t have a thin skin or a tendency to lash out. You need to be steady and measured and well informed. I want a president with a record of public service, someone whose life work shows us and shows our children that we don’t chase fame and fortune for ourselves, we fight to give everyone a chance to succeed. And we give back, even when we’re struggling ourselves, because we know that there’s always someone worse off. And there but for the grace of God, go I.

I want a president who will teach our children that everyone in this country matters. A president who truly believes in the vision that our founders put forth all those years ago, that we are all created equal, each a beloved part of the great American story. And when a crisis hits, we don’t turn against each other. No, we listen to each other, we lean on each other. Because we are always stronger together. And I am here tonight because I know that that is the kind of president that Hillary Clinton will be. And that’s why in this election, I’m with her.”

First Lady, Michelle Obama

Second, another amazing speech to remind us what America truly is was Corey Booker. I missed the actual viewing that night so I was not susceptible to the rambunctious crowd. Instead I was able to read the transcript without disruption. His words are truly powerful.

“I respect and value the ideals of rugged individualism and self-reliance. But rugged individualism didn’t defeat the British, it didn’t get us to the moon, build our nation’s highways, or map the human genome. We did that together.

This is the high call of patriotism. Patriotism is love of country. But you can’t love your country without loving your countrymen and countrywomen. We don’t always have to agree, but we must empower each other, we must find the common ground, we must build bridges across our differences to pursue the common good.

We can’t devolve into a nation where our highest aspiration is that we just tolerate each other. We are not called to be a nation of tolerance. We are called to be a nation of love. Tolerance says I am just going to stomach your right to be different. That if you disappear from the face of the earth, I am no better or worse off.

But love – love knows that every American has worth and value, no matter what their background, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Love recognizes that we need each other, that we as a nation are better together, that when we are divided we are weak, we decline, yet when we are united we are strong – invincible!”

US Senator, Corey Booker

I cannot help but be moved when I think about how young men and women of all colors are now able to see the world. I think about Chelsea Clinton and the Obama girls growing up in the White House. The experiences they have had at such a young age. The idea that their dad, a black man, was president and now a mom and more importantly, a women. This is an age to be proud not divided. It’s #strongertogether.

Well I guess by now you can see, #imwithher !!!

Namastè

 

 

 

A Given Day

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On an amazing Saturday in Miniwaska State Park my husband, niece, 12 year old rat terrier Shyann and I went on a quiet yet complex hike up to one of our favorite points, Millbrook Mountain. The trail has some steep inclines and ragged, rooted, rocky paths. I will admit I was exhausted by the time we reached the top, we all were, but it was well worth it.

Along the way we stopped to catch our breath in a hollow. This is one of my most beloved spots in Miniwaska so far. The way the sound of the river softly mumbles as the birds serenade begets a calmness that only nature can induce. The air there is always slightly damp and cool, a retreat from the humidity that besieged us after exiting our air-conditioned Prius. We sat on the moss covered stones, searched for unique rocks (the best and cheapest souvenirs available), laughed and bathed in the muted voices of the trees.

I wandered taking photos as I often do in these woods.  This place is my creative muse. I watched as my niece retreated up along the brook alone. She sat on the rocks taking it all in so quiet in her beauty. It warms my heart to see her enjoying this special place, calm; knowing that it soothes her as it does me.

She’s was with us for the week and we had all been looking forward and excited to share this place. On the way we picked blueberries and discussed how different a “real” blueberry tasted in comparison to store bought. There is nothing like plucking the berries of the bushes and wishing we had them at home all year long. There are so many in those woods. We were actually able to continue to moisten our palates with berries on the long hike after drinking all our water.

At the top we sat and watched the eagles glide, mediated and warmed in the sun. The air was so much clearer up there, less humidity and more breezes. We sat for quite a while refueling our energy sources for the trip back. I wish we could do this with her every week; escape into the real world and renew our souls. For now we have this day, these memories of an amazing young lady full of dreams and desires, delectable blueberries, two middle aged hippie wanna be’s and a 12 year pup who now only goes one way…we had to carry her down!  

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Namastè

©NicholeDonjè

Life Poetry: 11

Southie: the protector, the defender and the neighborhood that wasn’t mine

I look out onto the street from my second floor window. I’m not quite sure what I’m looking for, but I know it’s different from what I see.

Silver Street is dirty and filled with jagged memories. There are the stairs I sit on longingly waiting for my dad to drive by. I watch the corner with an eagle eye hoping the tough girls don’t come around. The gym where the nasty boys hang out and where Atilla and Finegan (two very large and scary dogs) reign sends shivers through me. I’ve spent more time running into this house and away from the world than living in it. I’ve confronted meanness and aggression too many times, I’ve had to stand up to protect a friend only to bawl my eyes out from fear the minute I’m alone.

Yet I sit here watching – remembering the laughter, the singing, games of kickball, and the old man who comes by every day to give Rags bologna. I think about the flames breaking out from behind painted wood windows during a warehouse fire across the street that fascinated and terrified me. I’m reminded of the many special 4-leggers who have come and gone; my beautiful Vicious who wandered into our lives introducing us to love bites – gentle nibbles of gratitude on the cheek, our handsome Bruno – a stunning tramp of a Shepherd who let us adopt him for a couple of months then moved on, Medford Tom downstairs who’s wild stories of his harrowing  life scared the pants off us and his rottie Eric who stole my heart, Buffie my best friend whose belly was my pillow, and Rags – the most well lived dog I’ll ever meet- he knew more of Southie and its secrets than the many humans who live here.

I picture how beautifully Silver St. lives up to its name in a thick snowfall. The light sparkles over the uninterrupted drifts of snow covering the grittiness. There is a quiet sadness in my observations. This place is my foundation. My parents are from here, it’s in my blood. I am so different than this world. I don’t belong and I want nothing more than to leave; to run far and fast from the hardness of it. I am a stranger here and yet, it is a part of me.

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People in Their Environments 056 – South Boston 1983 by, Sage Sohier

In my search for an old photo of my hometown, I came across this picture and was immediately awed. I reached out to the photographer to tell her how much the photo moved me and reminded me of my childhood. I asked her if she knew the girls in the photo, she did not. As an artist and photographer myself, I wanted her to know she had captured something visceral for me. In the poem above I mention the “tough” girls. While this isn’t all of them, it is some of them…the actual girls! That is the corner of the street I grew up on, straight down  across from that car was my house and the fire I mention was in the warehouse the car is parked in front of. I have personally destroyed a bike and my nose on that very pole these girls are sitting behind. 

I  want to share how much a simple photo by a stranger can unexpectedly move someone even years after it is taken. I am nostalgic of the location itself, but also by the girls. These girls terrified me as a child. They were hard, mean and often cruel. Looking at them now as an adult knowing so much more about life and considering those around me,  I see their pain their longing and their dreams of escape. I see now that their anger was not at me, I just happened to be the easy target. 

I love this photo. I wish I could afford it. Its only available through a gallery for quite a hefty fee, so I will simply admire it from afar. I highly suggest looking up the artist. I am grateful to her. This photo allows me to look back at where I came from. To see the pain of my past in a new light, to see and forgive that hardness of life and to remind me of how fortunate I now am.

Namastè