Doing the Time Warp at 2 a.m.

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It’s astounding.
Time is fleeting.
Madness takes its toll.

Oh, look. I’ve gone from a pleasant dream to mid-thought in a second. I’m suddenly wide awake, Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show running through my head.

I remember doing the Time Warp,
Drinking those moments when
The blackness would hit me
And the void would be calling
Let’s do the Time Warp again…

It happened the night before, too. If the pattern holds, my mind will start racing through random thoughts mixed with snatches of songs until I land on some unfinished work and feel anxious, head spinning, heart pounding.

Head over heart, heart over pelvis.

Pay attention to the way you stand. Stack the bones for a firm foundation.

Why am I cycling through Yoga with Adriene now? I’d agreed to try daily yoga exercises for the month of January with a group of women more motivated than I. I didn’t get very far; I think I did two days, spread over a week. The dogs were distressed, and my daughter was afraid I’d fallen and couldn’t get up. I wasn’t terribly stable. I was scaring those around me.

 

Take your time. Pay attention to the way you breathe. When you inhale, feel your abdomen and your rib cage expand in all four directions. Take up space…

Time. Space. This all reminds me that I was supposed to spend the month making art, for fun. But I haven’t really, unless you count some photos I took of moss, or the marzipan flowers I made with my daughter for the cupcakes to help take her mind off looming events, or the conversations with various friends about music.

Those probably don’t count.

Hey, there’s that unfinished work.

God, I need to sleep.

Hey, God. Hey. I need to sleep.

I reach into my bedside drawer to fish around quietly for a rosary. My grandma taught me long ago, when she would visit and we’d have to share a bed and she smelled pleasantly of talcum powder and yarn, that the best way to bore yourself to sleep is by starting a rosary. My hand finds some cool, smooth beads, and I slide it out.

It’s broken.

I wonder how that works. The rosary leads you around in a predictable circle, reciting rote prayers while reflecting (or attempting to) on a portion of Christ’s life. Christ’s life, written in the stones of the Stations of the Cross, on cathedral walls, in museums. It’s the same. It’s a circle. Birth, death, birth. Repeat. But what if it’s broken? What if the end doesn’t come back to the beginning in a stable, but is able to spiral through time, Kairos time instead of Chronos? What if it reached…all the way here?

Let’s do the Time Warp again….

Hey there, random song snatches.

 

 It’s just a jump to the left

I remember the summer I learned to do the Time Warp. I was maybe 5 or 6, and tagged along on a marching band field trip. The high schoolers thought I was so cute,

And then a step to the riiiiiight

particularly since I obviously didn’t know what I was doing, but was so enthusiastic anyway.

With your hands on your hips,
You bring your knees in tight.
But it’s the pelvic thrust that really drives you insa-a-aaaaane

I had no idea what I was doing.

Head over heart, heart over pelvis.

Thanks, Adriene.

I wonder if my grandmother felt like she knew what she was doing. She looked like she knew what she was doing—and she was most definitely an artist. I am actively trying to sleep under one of her most beautiful works, an afghan of blue, light blue, purple, and brown. She made it for me when I found the watch she thought she’d lost forever—the last gift my grandfather had given her before he died.

Let’s do the time warp again

I wonder if she cried while she crocheted it,

Stack the bones

I wonder if she stitched him back together in her memory, with the watch and the yarn and her shaking arthritic hands and her tears.

Breathe

Isn’t that what we do, much of the time, with art? What we seek? We hook into the time slip, latch onto a thread of truth, pull it into our here and now, and interpret it through our lens. And when others (or maybe just one other, maybe the One who created us to begin with) can look at it and see it and recognize both something of themselves and something of us in it—that’s a unique connection. That’s a rush. To release that back into time, to leave a marker of this place, this time, this truth, this meeting, and the juxtaposition of them, like dropping a pin on a map–that’s a legacy. That’s taking the ghost of a thought, stacking the bones inside it, and giving it flesh.

Feel yourself expand in all directions

It can happen with an afghan, or a song, or when your four-year-old draws a picture of Heaven complete with grandparents they’ve never met.

Head over heart

I might scare those around me.

Heart over pelvis

I won’t know what I’m doing.

Jump to the left

It will take time, and space, and breath, and truth.

Stack the bones

Tomorrow I will put some flesh on some bones.

Let’s do the Time Warp again.

 (Note: The quotes from Yoga with Adriene are the way my brain remembered them at 2 a.m. They may not be accurate.)

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Moss. It’s art. Photo: Mary Bishop

Think About Such Things

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Philippians 4:8 New International Version (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

 

I am all shouted out. Social media, television news, even sports radio, for Pete’s sake, is filled with angry people ranting about politics, religion, the economy, and even football.  I am not even going to rehash any of the issues, you all know what they are, and I am out of bandwidth for all this vitriol. (Although, for the record, the Saints got robbed, man. I sure would have loved to see them up against my beloved Patriots.)

I feel battered.  Just from casual conversations, I know that I am not alone. It has been like getting caught into a rip current that is sweeping us out over our heads.

A preacher I once heard taught that if it made it into the Bible, then it is something that the Good Lord knew that all future generations would need to read.

Clearly, this is not the first time humans have all gotten under each other’s skins. Back in the day, the folks in Philippi found themselves at the point where they Could Not Even. Paul hit them with a truth bomb. What you think about matters. What you think about changes you. If you want to change for the better, think about better stuff.  

Preach, Brother.

You cannot swim across a rip current, it will just pull you farther out to sea, and exhaust you in the process. You have to swim along it, then angle yourself to ride the tide back into shore.  So, I know that I cannot keep arguing with strangers on FaceBook or screaming at the evening news.  It is exhausting me and turning me into the very thing I am fighting against.

That does not mean I am quitting the good fight. I will not stick my head in the sand and forget about the very real, very important issues of our day. We all still need to advocate for the poor and the oppressed. We still need to fight abuse in our churches, government, and community. We still need to be a voice for the voiceless.

It’s just that I need a lens angle shift. How about you?

The scripture admonishes us to think about the things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Make a list. Count your blessings. As the psalmist says, “meditate on them day and night.”

So, in all of the bluster, I need to find the truth in the stories, align myself with the folks in the fights that are noble and admirable, call out the lovely, beautiful things people are doing. Think about such things.

 

Furlough Reprieve: Catching Our Collective Breath

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After a record-setting 35-day furlough, the 800,000 federal employees affected by the partial government shutdown were able to officially return to work on Monday. The stopgap measure only lasts until February 15, when we could see the whole debacle begin again. (Here are some suggestions and resources for managing finances through and after a furlough.) The devastation to our environment while parks were shut down has also been tremendous.

But through the 5-week national breath-holding and hand-wringing and finger-pointing, we saw so many heroic measures. We saw neighbors looking out for each other. We saw people stepping up.

To the employees who went to work without pay to keep us safe, thank you.

To the employees who weren’t allowed to go to work and stayed home wanting nothing more than to do their jobs, thank you.

To the employees who had to take out loans, or take temporary work to make ends meet, thank you.

To the companies and individuals who stepped up to feed, to pay, to shelter, to encourage, thank you.

To the kids who pitched in to help their parents who were furloughed, thank you.

Rest, people. This reprieve may be temporary. Let’s keep taking care of each other.

 

Hope Doesn’t Go on Furlough: Breakfast

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The government shutdown has caused so many issues (here is a running list of some of the real-world consequences), that discouragement is natural. For the remainder of the shutdown we will be sharing the ways people are stepping up to help each other, proving that humans can show empathy and not behave like ninnies. Feel free to share any that you see on our Facebook page, and please join in to help when you can.

As our government remains shut down, we continue to have the opportunity to feed each other, and to be fed. Baltimore-Washington area IKEA stores are offering free breakfasts on weekday mornings with a valid government ID. Neighbors, reach out to each other.

 

 

Hope Doesn’t Go On Furlough: Teachers Helping Teachers Help Families

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The government shutdown has caused so many issues (here is a running list of some of the real-world consequences), that discouragement is natural. For the remainder of the shutdown we will be sharing the ways people are stepping up to help each other, proving that humans can show empathy and not behave like ninnies. Feel free to share any that you see on our Facebook page, and please join in to help when you can.

You may or may not know that besides writing this blog with Mary, I am a long-time early childhood educator. For more than thirty years, I have worked with young children, parents, and some of the most dedicated professionals on the planet. Today’s story of people stepping up to help neighbors who are furloughed from their federal jobs hits close to home.

A dear friend and colleague, Cheryl Hovey, from EzEd2Go, will provide two hours of free professional development training on Brain Development to the staff of any licensed child care provider within 20 miles of Warwick, Rhode Island who will give a family furloughed from their federal job a free week of tuition.

“I’m hoping other providers will follow in my footsteps,” Cheryl told me yesterday while we were chatting about this.

To that end, I am not only sharing her offer here on the blog, but I, too, will also take her challenge. For any licensed child care provider within a 25 mile radius of Waltham, MA  who offers furloughed families a week of free tuition, I will offer two hours of free professional development training on Trauma-Informed Care or Behavior Management.

If you are a teacher-trainer who wishes to join our challenge, or you are a licensed child care director or family child care provider who is willing to provide tuition breaks to furloughed families, you can reach out to our Facebook page . We will help you spread the word and connect you to each other.

 

 

 

 

Hope Doesn’t Go on Furlough:Making Art & Music Free

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The government shutdown has caused so many issues (here is a running list of some of the real-world consequences), that discouragement is natural. For the remainder of the shutdown we will be sharing the ways people are stepping up to help each other, proving that humans can show empathy and not behave like ninnies. Feel free to share any that you see on our Facebook page, and please join in to help when you can.

Musuems and symphonies across the country are offering free admission to furloughed federal workers. May an afternoon of beauty bring some joy and peace in these troubled days.

 

 

Hope Doesn’t Go on Furlough: #ChefsForFeds

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The government shutdown has caused so many issues (here is a running list of some of the real-world consequences), that discouragement is natural. For the remainder of the shutdown we will be sharing the ways people are stepping up to help each other, proving that humans can show empathy and not behave like ninnies. Feel free to share any that you see on our Facebook page, and please join in to help when you can.

Today’s hope comes from #ChefsForFeds Café in DC, feeding furloughed federal employees. While putting food in the belly is certainly a priority, efforts to reach out go beyond hunger, as Department of Interior employee Anita Gonzales-Evans notes:

“Today’s the first day for me to pull out my federal ID. And today is my first day to put makeup on. And today is my first day to just feel like a damn person again. I had to get out of my house. My house is clean. There’s nothing left to clean.”

Read more about #ChefsForFeds, World Central Kitchen, and the meal effort here.

Thank you to our friend Jennifer Reek for sharing this sign of hope with us!