Geez Louise. Has it really been 6 months since my last Weekly Musings? Well, here it is, a summary of the week’s highs, lows, and in betweens. This week, I muse about visiting my son, finishing a meditation series, reading some awesome non-fiction books, and starting my holiday season.
High: My Son
We went to New Orleans over Thanksgiving to visit my son, my first-born. He is a man now ( 27 in exactly 2 weeks), but it’s been so long since he needed me, since we had a familiar relationship that it seems he’s been a grown up, and grown away from me, since forever.
We ate at his house. He smoked a turkey and a lot of pork. His roommates and their parents were also there. I brought a bottle of wine and some Lamme’s Longhorns that I picked up in the airport. It was Thanksgiving Day, after all, and my options for a suitable meal contribution were limited by my carry-on luggage and TSA Guidelines.
The visit was better than I imagined. We sat the dining room table and ate and talked. Then, my son took Emmy outside to play. I think it was the most time they’ve ever spent together, which is understandable given their 18-and-a-half-year age difference and the fact that she was born after he graduated from high school.
It was a nice visit. It was normal. It was like being with family. He wasn’t a stranger; he was my son again.
High: Deepak/Oprah Meditation
I recently did another Deepak and Oprah 21 Day Meditation Experience. This one was titled Creating Peace from the Inside Out and holy moly if it wasn’t 150% relevant for speaking to the collective post-election dismay I’ve been feeling.
For Day 15, Oprah shared this
How can we begin to embrace and embody the true meaning of “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me”?
At the age of 15, Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel endured unspeakable horrors as a prisoner in the Nazi death camp Auschwitz. He told me that despite witnessing the worst of humanity, he still did not hate. He’s also come to understand that the opposite of love is not hate but indifference.
As an activist, Wiesel traveled the world helping victims of atrocities. A journalist in Cambodia once asked him, “What are you doing here? This is not a Jewish tragedy.” And he answered, “When I needed people to come, they did not. That is why I’m here.”
For the love of all that is good in this world, may we be choose love over indifference. May we sow seeds of peace, and may those seeds grow big and strong in each one of us.
High, Low, and In Between: Recent Reads
You know I’ve re-dedicated myself to some good, old-fashioned activism since the election. That entails going to meetings, listening to talks, and volunteering (I write this as I’m wearing the Planned Parenthood t-shirt I got at a volunteer meeting in which my team won Sex Jeopardy!). But, part of getting my activist on is reading about the issues and developing a real understanding of the history surrounding the issues I’m interested in.
Two books I read recently were about immigration. One was a memoir by a Mexican immigrant and the other was a scholarly book on the history of US immigration laws specifically as they’ve impacted the migration of Latinos. The Weight of Shadows: A memoir of immigration and displacement is José Orduña’s personal story about growing up as an immigrant and becoming a US citizen as an adult. Undocumented: How immigration became illegal is a research driven work written by a Latin American studies professor and immigration activist who also happens to be Noam Chomsky’s daughter.
Both books were enlightening but Undocumented was particularly useful for its presentation of the facts, of which I honestly knew little. Now, I feel compelled to stay educated, to help displaced people, and to spread correct information in the midst of untruths (like how “they’re” taking our jobs).
Somtimes Low, This Year High: The Holidays
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. It’s December already. That means Christmas is almost here. As much as I love the Americanized consumer approach to the holidays – being totally serious, I love to shop at Xmas – I’ve actually been making some things to give and thinking about giving in a different way this year.
For years, I’ve made my own vanilla. It’s easy and a great gift. I buy Madagascar vanilla beans, split them open, place them in the bottle, and pour vodka over them. I typically let the beans soak for 3-6 months before giving the vanilla as a gift, but I got started a little late this year, so they are, shall we say, a bit green. No worries. They’ll mellow out and be yummy just in time for Valentine’s baking.
I’ve just started making candles. I went a little hog wild on Amazon, buying beeswax and hemp wicks and essential oils. I’ve been scouring the 2nd hand stores, looking for pretty glass and ceramic jars to pour the wax into. I’m experimenting with ratios of beeswax:palm oil or beeswax:coconut oil. I’m seeing how the candles burn and smell.
I’m making and creating this holiday season. I think it’ll be better than shopping and buying.
These are my musings. What about you?
What did you tell yourself this week to inspire you, motivate you, or help you on your path? What words of wisdom has someone else (through reading, a podcast, a talk) shared with you? What are you grateful for in your life? What are you struggling with? Feel free to share here.