reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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crazy. [merely-a-thought monday]

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we were walking in the middle of the street and the sun was going down.  it was two days before we were to move off island.  i was suddenly struck by the comparison between two days after we arrived on island and two days before we were to leave.  three months have passed.  the whole summer.  it felt like way longer.  looking back, it went by fast.  it felt like way longer.  looking back, it went by slow.  crazy.

i wondered aloud about three months from now.  i did the math on my fingers and said aloud, “what will two days before the end of december be like?  what will have happened?  what will we have accomplished?  where will we be that day?  how will we feel?”

this period of time has been pretty fraught.  with more than i can, or wish to, list in this post.  in the multiple simultaneously ever-spinning plates of life, there has been more than one wobble, more than one plate off-balance.  it has made me wonder, “what, pray tell, is going on?”  it all has seemed a bit crazy.

as a person who just wants to bring idea, passion, joy to jobs, i’ve been diving to avoid spinning plates as they seemingly veer off course, as they spin outside the gravity of what actually feels important, as they go haywire, as they head to strike the floor.

“you don’t have to be crazy to work here.  we’ll train you.”  a familiar hyperbole or idiom of sorts.  maybe that means this:  we’ll try to waylay you so you never get to the real work.  we’ll ask you to make change but will rail against it.  we’ll try to undermine or undervalue you.  we’ll try to withhold information and still expect you to function.  we’ll try to put boxy definition and constraints on the art you are attempting to create.  we’ll try to grab the stick under the spinning plate and wreak crazy.

or

maybe it means that you will endure all these things.  you will encounter havoc-wreaking and you will encounter messes.  you will find others in the ‘here’ who will stand by you and spot you as you plate-spin.  you will find your sisu and you will stand in the integrity of the work you are doing.  you will survive, outlasting the crazy.   and, you will, in the end, do some good work. crazy good.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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holding steadfast. [k.s. friday]

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it is against the odds that this tree clings to rock and doesn’t topple into the lake with a great splash and float away.  instead it stubbornly holds on, a steadfast intention.  the rock, the basso ostinato.

at a time when holding steadfast seems mightily important, i wonder about the questions we have been asked.  will you stay?  will you leave?  will you love it here?  in the midst of all the infighting, are you going to give up? will you hold on?

the answers may not be directly related to the actual intent of those questions.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  we will hold steadfast to our integrity.  we will hold steadfast to the reasons we came here in the first place.  to make a difference, to bring ideas and change, to apply that which we have learned, studied, experienced over at least 80 combined years of work, higher education and profession.  to be honest and transparent and collaborative.  to try and instill a sense of working together into a community divided by narratives too numerous to list.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  we will hold steadfast to our belief that people should be kind to each other, that people should not work around others nor should they undermine others, that people should instead lift each other up, not drive stakes into another.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  steadfastly.  to honoring art, the driving force behind this initiative.  to honoring creativity and the blossoming of beauty and wisdom, staunch tenets of artistry.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  steadfastly.  to believing all is possible.

but, in answer to the real intent of the question asked us….will we hold on?

we will not hold on if others cannot join us in what is real, what is truth, what is most important.  we will not hold on in the fire of pettiness or shameful self-serving underhandedness.  we will not hold on, holding still while others take turns throwing rocks at us, at the real goals of this place, if those are indeed about art.

the answer to the question is not up to us.  we can either cling to the rock, holding steadfast or we can topple, with a refreshing splash, into the lake and float away.

download HOLDING STEADFAST from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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HOLDING STEADFAST from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL ©️ 1996 kerri sherwood

 


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act well your part. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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“act well your part.  there all the honor lies.” (alexander pope)

this feels like a life mantra.  a reminder that no matter what you do, where you find yourself, who you are…to do the best you can, to be the best you can.  no spoke is uncounted.

the moment i heard this line i took out a scrap of paper and a sharpie and wrote it down.  it so resonated with me that i could feel my heart beating in my chest.  i thought of all the times i tried to do the best i could, to be the best i could, in every role….partner, daughter, mother, sister, friend, artist, colleague, sharer-of-the-planet.  and i thought of all the times i didn’t do the best i could, i wasn’t the best i could be, in every role….partner, daughter, mother, sister, friend, artist, colleague, sharer-of-the-planet.

i wish, at every turn, someone had repeated this to me.  good turns.  poor turns.  turns that i can account for, that have intention and educated thoughtfulness.  turns that i shrink away from thinking about, that are spontaneous, ill-conceived moments, that have no grounding. turns that were reactionary, that stole safety, stole time to patiently stand in the fire and think.  turns that i did not make, that felt too scary, too risky, too alone.  and turns that i should have made, that would have tied me to the earth’s gravity and kept me steadfastly feet on dirt.

i wish, often now, as i look back over last week, last month, last year, the last decade, my whole life, that someone had repeated this to all human beings.  as we stand in the turns we make, the decisions we decide on, the actions we choose…were we to judiciously filter them through “act well your part.  there all the honor lies” we would be reminded that it all counts.  the ripples spread.  the pebble we throw will, indeed, touch others.

just as others will count on us to act well our part, regardless of any part’s so-called import, so too, do we count on others to act well their parts.  standing together.  thinking. recognizing.  choosing.  moving with wisdom.  every spoke counts.  there is honor in each one.  for a wheel without spokes…..

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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pssssst. [merely-a-thought monday]

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pssssst.  wanna play telephone??  i remember this as a little girl.  you would whisper something in your best friend’s ear who would whisper in the next littlegirlear who would whisper in the next littlegirlear until you went all the way around the circle.  that last littlegirl would announce what she was told and all the littlegirls would giggle at how silly it was that what had started as one whispered thing quickly became another.

columbus tells stories of growing up in a little town in iowa.  he delights in the stories of everyone-knowing-everyone and everyone’sbusiness being everyone’sbusiness.  whether thebusiness is true or not.  pssssst.  now living in a suburb of denver, he still yearns for monticello, iowa and his littletown.  he has not recollected stories of thetelephonegame type silliness to us, but i am certain they exist.

this island…well, wow.  mike said to us, “if you sneeze on one side of the island, by the time the news reaches the other side you will have pneumonia.” this is ridiculously true.  even if you didn’t sneeze.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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leave a mark. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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years ago when i turned 30 we celebrated by going to the zoo.  we spent the day, along with my parents and my niece, traipsing around admiring animals, learning factoids, taking pictures, eating ice cream.  i’m not really a zoo person.  i prefer to think of animals living happily in the wild, supported by a world that is thoughtful, careful and ecologically minded.  but i do recognize the need to conserve endangered species, study wildlife and inspire education and preservation of species and their natural environments.

it just so happened that the day we visited this zoo, this day that i turned the big 3-0, they were pouring cement sidewalks.  there is a wee letter ‘k’ in that sidewalk.  a mark.

we all want to leave a mark.  is it an invention?  is it a passing-down of a precious heirloom?  is it a name on a bench in a personal, special place?  is it a work of fine art, a painting, a piece of music?  is it a story?  is it a world record?  is it a mindset?  is it a way of being on this good earth?

i’m not sure when they last poured the surface on townline road.  but on that day, a certain seagull decided to leave a mark.  it walked across the freshly poured street – pad, pad, pad – and, until they pour again, its mark will remain.  we smile every time we walk past this set of prints, wondering aloud how long they have been there.

as we continue our time here, we are aware both of the mark we are leaving and the mark people are leaving on us.  in many years from now, when the road is paved over and we are no longer, i would hope that most of us led with the mark my sweet momma left, “be kind to each other.”

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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so much tupperware. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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the most important tupperware – the pieces that i will likely save forever and ever – are the sippy cups with lids and the brightly colored small everything-in-a-bowl-bowls that The Girl and The Boy used when they were little.  years into college, The Girl came home, went directly to the cabinet, took out a sippy cup, went to a drawer below, pulled out a lid, poured some juice into the cup, attached the lid and announced, laughing, “i don’t want to adult anymore.”  if it were that easy to avoid, i suspect all of us would be using sippy cups fairly often.  but oh…those sippy cups and those bowls.  a trove of little-kid-memories, a rainbow of cups and bowls waiting for maybe the next generation.

my sister sold tupperware.  well, at least that’s what i remember.  she also sold mary kay products, so i wonder if i am getting confused.  nevertheless, she has more tupperware than anyone i know, so i suspect i am right about her long-ago-sales-effort.  as a result, i have tupperware that spans the years…clearish-white picnic-size salt and pepper shakers, an iceberg lettuce keeper, orange canisters in the closet, tools that zip the peel off oranges, section and core an apple, cut around the pith of a grapefruit, make gravy-making easier, things with lids that store other things.   my hands can still feel working the push-button on the top of the decanter my sweet momma always used for iced tea.

this room – at the school days antique mall – appealed to both of us.  all the tupperware was organized by color.  it made it interesting and easy to be around.  it felt less haphazard and more intentional.  it made us want to look at it.  there is another booth that we both cannot even think about entering; it is a chaos of piled articles, none of which stand out from the mess.  the organization was something that, i’m quite sure, took some time, but it paid off.  the investment in effort to make it appealing, the deliberate intention to be ordered made this booth more worthy of time spent.  i appreciated that.  it wasn’t lost on me that this organizing philosophy of tupperware could apply to most anything.  taking one’s time, baby step by baby step, clean and organized and with a well-intentioned end goal in mind leads to an outcome far better than what any chaos could yield.  hmmm. where else could that apply…..

i’m thinking that anyone who has ever wanted vintage tupperware or needs to replace a piece of their own collection will find it in this place.  and, because of the neat, clean orderliness, they will purchase it, trusting the integrity of the piece in the sale.  it’s much harder to think about purchasing a piece from the piled mess in a far corner of another room in the building.  were i to want something specific to actually be able to use, i would not look for it there.

regardless, i have enough tupperware.  all i really need is those sippy cups and those plastic bowls.

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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