reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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“it matters not.” [merely-a-thought monday]

we all fruit

i never let it stop me.  it didn’t matter to me the title someone held or the notoriety they had.  i always reminded myself that this person i needed to call or meet with or contact was human.  “this person breathes in and out, just like i do,” i would think.  i felt this person – whoever it was – must have some human quality in common with me, regardless of a possible overly-amplified ego or the protected life bubble they might live within.  “it matters not,” my momma, a lover of language, would say.  in the end, nothing really separated me from this person, him or her, human-wise.

and so, my slightly-dialed-back-new-york chutzpah would dial the phone and expect nothing less than speaking with the person i was calling, no matter what rung on the ladder that person clung to, no matter how high the ladder, no matter the pecking order or the person’s perception of self.

because:  people.  we are all people.

now there’s a starting point.

but you wouldn’t know that looking at this country these days.

my sweet momma would be 99 today as i write this.  99.  even in her time on this planet – which devastatingly ended five years ago now – she had seen a lot of change.  “it matters not,” she would say.  we are where we are.  she read, she researched, she asked questions.  and she always arrived at the same place:  people are people and should be – in the crux of all things – equally treated as such.  period.

empty words ticked momma off and she warned me of people who would talk the talk but not walk it.  her sixth sense of intuition was often caution enough in friendships and relationships where people would get all virtuous and principled and, yet, be the same people who could clearly not see the irony in their supposed loftiness, the empty in their words, the do-as-i-say-not-as-i-do-ness, the falsity in their stance.

my momma, our beaky, subscribed to kindness.  it would be to her horror to see the hateful rhetoric nowadays.  she would have no patience for it.  she would point to the horrors that hatred had produced in years past.  she would state in simple terms:  “it matters not,” she’d say, “be kind to each other.  in all things, be kind.”

if momma were here today, she’d wear a mask.  not because she would be in a high-risk category, but because it is the kind thing to do.  a lover of math and science, she would point to the words of scientists, researchers, epidemiologists, medical professionals and she would insist on listening to them.  “it matters not what you think,” she’d point out.  “what matters is what they know.”

if momma were here today, she might protest.  she’d point to inequity and ask what we could do about it.  she’d not draw lines of color or race or gender or sexual orientation or economic status.  “it matters not.  people are people,” she’d insist.  she’d wonder at a country, with so many smart people, continuing to head down such a dark road.  she’d question, she’d challenge, she’d debate, she’d be stalwart and she would hold steadfast to being kind.  period.

it may be oversimplification, but gus had it right in my big fat greek wedding.  “apple and orange…we all different, but, in the end, we all fruit.”  he and my momma would have been grand friends.

because in the end, we are all human.  we breathe in, we breathe out.  we can reject hate; we can choose to love.  nothin’ wrong with a little oversimplification.

BE KIND MASKS – in honor of the wisdom of my sweet momma ❤️

FACE MASKS

BE KIND small print face mask

BE KIND large print face mask

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

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“tired.” [merely-a-thought monday]

tired

bone-weary.

we just read/watched the new york times interactive article from may 24 called ‘an incalculable loss’.  tiny people on the screen of our laptop, nearly 100,000 lives were represented – deaths from march 8.  the visual is mind-boggling, staggering really.

100,000

bone-weary.

we paused at every descriptor on the screen for people who had died.  a man who loved to wear suspenders.  a woman who always smiled.  a composer.  a mother of six boys.  every one of them with lives and circles – concentric circles reaching out and out and out.

one hundred thousand

bone-weary.

of the excuses, the justifications.  the inadequacy.  the gross miscalculations.  the ignorance.  the comparisons to the flu, car accidents, natural attrition.  the opening-up push-for-the-purposes-of-an-election despite the fact that whole-cities-numbers of people (PEOPLE) are dying in short order.

a city of 100,000

bone-weary.  of the division, the based-on-nothing arguments, the dangerous political game-playing, the i-don’t-wanna-wear-a-mask-so-i-won’t whining, the inability of those “in charge” to focus, the heinous lack of regard for truth, the gross name-calling, disrespect and distraction from the president’s mouth, the dogged inaction of that same office to quell the spread, to actually even the playing ground for all and address the real issues, the zealousness of those who have his nationalistic vision in their rose-colored glasses of divisiveness, of inequity, of apathy.

goodmornings and goodnights

bone-weary.

these are lives.  people who never expected in march to not be here on memorial day to recognize and honor the fallen, those who actually have protected us.  oh, you say from-the-‘other-side’, that’s everyone – no one has any guarantees on life, you argue.  ahh.  but we can expect that we live in a place that has our best interests at heart.  that we live in a country that will do all that it can, with all of its armor of knowledge and research and its vast fortunes, to protect us all – every one of us – from something like this – a mere global pandemic.

i write to both My Girl and My Boy every night to say good night.  i have since the day they left for college.  that’s about 4,380 times for my daughter and 3,285 times for my son. i’m quite certain that they have rolled their eyes multiple times along the way.  but the idea that these 100,000 people no longer have the option of loving their child – or anyone they care about – with a nightly goodnight wish stuns and breaks my heart.  this could have been different.

100,000

bone-weary.

we passed the park down by the beach yesterday.  we passed by the marina.  we passed the irish pub.  we passed by the bar with wide open doors, people spilling out onto sidewalk seating.  we counted four masks.  in all those people, all those crowds, all that bustling humanity – up-close-and-personal-no-social-distancing – only four masks.  this is one of the very towns – kenosha, wisconsin – used as an example of a whole city wiped out to illustrate the number 100,000.  it makes me tired.

bone-weary.

“you keep thinking people are going to wake up, but they never do,” said a friend yesterday.

bone-weary.

tired and disheartened.  alive, wide-awake and pissed.

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

read NY Times article AN INCALCULABLE LOSS

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the people who love you into being. [k.s. friday]

grateful songbox 1

“all of us have special ones who have loved us into being. would you just take, along with me, ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are….ten seconds of silence.”  (mr. fred rogers)

he brought it up on the trail.  the movie we had recently seen.  not an action thriller or a mystery.  just a movie about a man who changed the world.  mr. fred rogers.

quietly hiking on the trail, he broke the walking-arm-in-arm silence, “i’ve been thinking about all those people.  those people who loved me into existence.”

what could you possibly be more grateful for?  that trail of thought found us yesterday morning and wove its way into all day, skirting along the edges as we cooked, back into the center on facetime, at the table with wine glasses, in a late night text out of the blue.

the people who love you into being.

mr. rogers got more specific, ” from the time you were very little, you’ve had people who have smiled you into smiling, people who have talked you into talking, sung you into singing, loved you into loving.” what kind of legacy do you have to be known for this kind of wisdom?  it changes everything.

the people who love you into being.

we spoke of these people on and off all day and late into the night.  there was a moment i could feel shadows that were cast by any of those we talked about falling off, light covering the shadow.  reasons.  seasons.

the people who love you into being.

too many to list.  too many to remember.  we backtracked and stood still in our memories, telling stories and finding wonder as names – and the dear picture of that person in our mind’s eye – spilled out of us.  a wealth of being-makers.  every one of them a builder in the construction of some piece of us, like a giant box of tinkertoys or lincoln logs or even crayons.  so much  potential.  a wildly wide spectrum of color and characteristic, texture and depth. profoundly moving.  a tiny bit of shake-up.  both.

the people who love you into being.

ten seconds.  nowhere near long enough.

download GRATEFUL on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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GRATEFUL from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

 

 


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the thunder of the silence. [merely-a-thought monday]

TPAC empty seats

“…a silence like thunder…”

“no distinction is made between the sacred and the everyday.”

“our attitude toward the world resonates in the objects around us.  they reveal our intention.”

(from plain and simple, sue bender)

the first day i walked into the tiny lobby at TPAC i wondered why the table holding brochures was light blue.  it matched nothing there and was a statement of a kind of thoughtless we-need-a-small-table-does-anyone-have-one thoughtfulness.  all season long i kept thinking that it should be painted black.  the very last day in the theatre, outside in the chill air, surrounded by golden and crimson leaves, i painted it.  it dried fast and we placed it back in the lobby.  still the same little table doing its job, but its new distinction mattered and it fit in the space.  it did my heart good.

with multiple bags of old mayonnaise and mustard, an old container of kale and a moldy loaf of some kind of unidentifiable home-baked bread, i finished cleaning out the fridge, an appliance i had never opened for an entire season.  clearly, others had, and the accumulation of old-ness was ripe.  i scrubbed it out and stood back to look at how neat and tidy it was.  the whole kitchen area looked neat and tidy, a new keurig replacing an old coffeemaker and broken carafe.  shelves cleaned, toothpicks that had poured out swept up, a welcoming backstage entrance for staff and artists.  moving that space up to sacred-everyday from messy-everyday did my heart good.

the last couple weeks have been nesting weeks at TPAC, moments when d and i have had the space to ourselves.   having now passed through the shoulder season, it’s empty and it’s quiet.  the 250 seats wait for the next event, the off-the-shoulders season, the next new high season.  i can feel its curiosity, its expectation.

we sat in various seats around the theatre, talking about the dreams we had when we first saw it.  getting mired in the muck of being the you-aren’t-from-here-newbies had slowed things down.  it had paused our ownership of the actual space.  eh, who am i kidding?  it brought most of that to a screeching halt.  drama, three board presidents and a reticence to consider change from people hired as change agents (us) brought the gate down before we could even start.

we discovered the word ‘glacial’ and applied it generously to the direction we were going.  we didn’t try to change a space that didn’t feel like ours yet.  we didn’t try to change too many processes.  we stopped trying to change mindsets.

instead, we embraced people.  we listened; we learned.  we set out to weave relationships where they had eroded, where tattered feelings were wrung out, where we were told no relationship could work.  we befriended those we were told would never like us.  we struggled to understand allies who weren’t so much allies.  with deep roots of experience, we led with intention, with the questions of what would be best for this space, what would be best for the artistry on this little island, what would be long-lasting and truly make the making of art – whatever the genre – foremost?

and so, it was in the last days, when it was quiet and empty that we were able to take the time to really listen to the thunder of the silence of that really beautiful space.  we strove to honor the sanctity of this art-making place.  and we intended, with every move of cleaning and straightening and re-arranging and planning and yes, dreaming, all the best things we could.  it did my heart good.

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

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pax. [d.r. thursday]

pax morsel sharpened copy

a morsel of the painting PAX

pax: the kiss of peace (latin); peace (ecclesiastical latin)

“pax,” he wrote to me.  years ago, in a chaotic, somewhat scary time of my life, the word “pax” was an end-goal, security in an insecure world, the warmest blanket on a bitter cold day.  it doesn’t just happen.  there are people around us, some epicentered and some peripherally, who create a place where we can find this peace, even momentarily.  their stalwart stance, their steadiness brings us back off the brink of angst.  the smallest iota of peace, like a mustard seed, grows until we can balance back on our own feet, strong enough to walk on…with leaps or even baby steps.

this painting makes me think of one of those people in my own life.  a dear deeply-valued friend, his help and his accessibility helped me deal with someone else’s craziness unfortunately directed at me.   he was the lighthouse in that storm for me.  he helped me feel safer so that i could find peace in the chaos.

for various reasons, we don’t always realize when we are someone else’s rock.  we don’t feel central, we don’t feel involved, we don’t feel informed.  but there are times we don’t know – times we plant ourselves into someone’s life and nurture them, even in the tiniest of ways – times we may never know how much what we said or what we did counted.  times of giving peace to someone else, one of life’s most essential elements.

“pax,” he wrote to me.  thank you.

PAXunframed copy 2

PAX mixed media  24″ x 24″

to view PAX in david’s gallery, please click here or on the painting above

read DAVID’S thoughts on this D.R. THURSDAY

birdy feet website box

PAX ©️ 2015 david robinson, kerri sherwood

 

 

 


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in your right mind. [merely-a-thought monday]

in your right mind copy

i remember thinking that this would be easy to write about when i jotted it down.  in your right mind.  ptom and i had discussion about being in your right mind; michael gerson had written part of a column about being in right mind….surely i would have something of depth to say.

now that this is sitting right in front of me, i find that it’s not so easy to articulate.  or maybe it’s territory that feels too revealing, too human.

the moments when calm finally comes after the storm of anger and you are -again- in your right mind. the moments of blind dire panic of imagined-worst-case-scenario when your right mind eludes you and something else takes over until the adrenalin rush eases up and you can see again.  the moments when absolute white-knuckled-fear precedes the back-to-your-right-mindedness. the moments of really bad choices and the post-choice-angst you feel, the remorse for a period of time you weren’t in your right mind.

and then there are the times when you know…you can feel everything align and you, in your right mind, are able to make a decision, to be rational, to be measured in good intention.  your right mind is calm, cool, collected, more at peace with the reality around you.  your right mind is accepting, forgiving, altruistic in empathy and goodness, benevolent and generous.  your right mind is reasonable.

i have known, at least after-the-fact, the times i wasn’t in my right mind.  they are times for which i, impossibly, wish a do-over, a chance to make all well.  times that range the spectrum from angry words spoken to life decisions made without, well, my right mind.

i suppose ptom is right.  you recognize the moments you leave your right mind.  you ask for forgiveness.  from others, from yourself.  and you move on, a little wiser and maybe more capable of steeling yourself against being somehow out of your right mind.  and michael gerson is also right.  he said, “…in our right minds, we know that life is not a farce but a pilgimage…” “..in our right minds, we know that hope can grow within us…”  “…in our right minds, we know that love is at the heart of all things….”

we are in our right mind; we are not in our right mind.  we live life on the roller coaster of right-mindedness, for we are human and we sometimes are, in the complexities of the moments we live, incapable of mindedness.  so we make mistakes.  we learn.  we grow.  and we try again.

for “…we learn that we are neither devils nor divines.” (maya angelou)

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

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ks friday

jacketrfthjpeg copywith the advent of ancestry kits and accessible dna testing, we are a society of people with more desire to learn about our individual heritage.  for christmas, The Girl and The Boy each got a dna testing kit from their father.  i’m excited to hear the results of these.  it’s fascinating to me to find out what our roots are; despite some specificity flaws and rounding up (or down) of genetic heredity in the testing and reporting kits i have read about, it is still interesting to know just a little bit more about where we come from.

my sweet momma and poppo traveled to salt lake city to work on the genealogy of our family.  they spent hours in the library there, researching.  they would have loved the idea of simply submitting dna to find out a broad spectrum of heredity, of lineage, but i suspect they still would have traveled to work on this the old-fashioned way, looking for names of family and how the branches of the tree spread out.

without doubt you have seen the commercials for these tests.  my favorites are the ones where people find that they were either mistaken about their ethnic heritage or they found that there were some surprises.  the best part is that – and i know it’s a commercial, but hey, i’m gullible – they embrace learning about this new part of their identity they had no idea existed.  they embrace something different.   they want to celebrate ethnicities they knew nothing about.  why not celebrate these whether or not it is a part of our heritage?  maybe we can make the legacy we pass down one of inclusion and acceptance and a curiosity to learn and welcome others, whether or not their dna matches ours.

 

to download LEGACY from RELEASED FROM THE HEART track 12 – on iTunes

to download LEGACY from RELEASED FROM THE HEART track 12 – on CDBaby.com

to purchase the physical CD RELEASED FROM THE HEART

and if you’d like to browse KS DESIGNS on SOCIETY6.com:

LEGGINGS

THROW PILLOWS

WALL ART

TOTE BAGS, CARDS, HOME DECOR

 

KS FRIDAY (KERRI SHERWOOD FRIDAY) – ON OUR SITE

to read DAVID’S thoughts on this KS FRIDAY

LEGACY from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood

 

 


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chicken marsala monday

MASTER trytoseewhattheysee WITH EYES jpeg copy 2try to see what they see.  i glanced back over what i’ve written the last week:  about trying to see eye to eye, about assuming awe, about being relentless in a life that isn’t simply black and white, about being brave.  is it possible to write too many words about the importance of empathy?  the importance of trying to walk in another’s shoes to really understand their circumstance, their joy, their plight, their challenge?  because it’s easy to forget, i never feel like i can be reminded enough; it’s always hard to remember my perspective is different than any-other-person’s-on-earth.  sometimes it’s laden with stuff.  it’s all so complicated.

when dogdog was little we were astounded by his exuberant joy.  he was always bounding, seemingly ever hopeful.  he still is.  i’ve written about what his take on the world looks like to us; i’ve written about what babycat’s take on the world looks like to us.  they look forward and see possibility, without the capacity to mull all the looking-backwards-stuff over in their brains.

we surround ourselves with wonderful pets who unconditionally love us.  all of us who have dogs or cats -or any pet- we adore know this; people who dedicate time or their lives to keeping animals safe – like aly, a veterinarian, or jen, who has spent lots of time volunteering at humane societies and sanctuaries, or my sister, who just adopted a puppy-she-wasn’t-expecting…we all know this.  they see us like no one else.  and they are part of us in ways not easy to express in words.  they aren’t looking at us with prejudice or judgement, emotional baggage or elitist measurements of value.  they simply expect the best and somehow they find it in the very next moment.  they find it in each moment.  they clearly know something we don’t know.  they don’t need to walk in another’s shoes.  they just look forward and trust.  it’s simple for them.

for us?  we can stand to be in those other shoes AND to look forward.  we can try to see what they see.

TRY TO SEE WHAT THEY SEE – A LINK TO PERUSE CARDS, WALL ART, THROW PILLOWS & LEGGINGS ……

 

society 6 info jpeg copy

 

try to see what they see FRAMED ART PRINT copy

 

try to see what they see METAL WALL ART copy

 

try to see what they see LEGGINGS copy

 

try to see what they see MUG copy

 

try to see what they see TOTE BAG copy

 

try to see IPHONE CASE copy

 

CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY – ON OUR SITE

 

read DAVID’S thoughts on this CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY

try to see what they see ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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who needs you?

downloadthe forecast said ‘heavy rain’ so we all gathered in the living room. now, remember, this is an old house – so there is no central air conditioning and this is a summer evening with rain expected. people who are really zealous about the dew point could explain why it felt so ridiculously hot and humid, but we didn’t worry about the details of it. we just all sweated together, our ukuleles in hand, the dogdog running from one person to another getting ample dogdog attention in his nervousness about the thunder. this community of people meets weekly. during the ‘school year’ we meet at the church; during the summer we meet on our patio (ok, for you detail-oriented folks, sometimes it is inside our house, weather-dependent.) playing the ukulele in this band unites us…we strum through songs, singing and laughing, rehearsing for performances. today daena has a huge blister on her thumb. (the hazards of ukulele!) but that isn’t all. we catch up on news with each other. there are conversations about chords, strum patterns, aging parents, children living away, recipes, probiotics, new medical procedures, new pets, houses, chip and jojo and hgtv, life below zero and alaska, vacations, romances, reminiscenses, grandchildren. this community is part of who we are. i look at them in wonder. they are all so important to us. the gift of community.

we sat outside to eat at the pizza place. under the shade of a big umbrella we talked about weddings and health, diets and children, camping and career questions. these two people have been a rock for us in the last years. before it was ‘the four of us’, they used to include me on their ‘date nights’, sitting me in the middle of the movie with them, pouring a glass of wine for me, including me in dinner, helping me surf through the challenges i was facing. their community is part of who we are. i look at them in wonder. they are so important to us. the gift of community.

20 comes to our house most every sunday. we make dinner, drink wine, talk our hearts out and maybe watch a movie or sit out back. we share stories of life, stories of worry, stories with tears, stories of great joy, hilarious stories. we share so many years of memories and times gone by, some very happy, some we speak of with much sadness in our voices. the years have flown by. and now we plan – so many adventures to come. he and 14 are ridiculous middle-schoolers together. they make me laugh. i look at him in wonder. he is so important to us. the gift of community.

the girl wrote about her group of snowboard coaches and instructors one day. she referred to them as ‘family’. she has a fantastic group of people upon whom she can rely who live right there near her. they support her, challenge her, inspire her. i am grateful for her gift of community.

the boy writes about his group of friends – a tight-knit, widespread group of people upon whom he can rely, some of whom live in the city near him, some of whom live in other cities he travels to. they are ‘family’ to each other. i am quite sure that they support him, challenge him, inspire him. i am grateful for his gift of community.

our community is all around us. our community is far away. we have family and friends we’d love to see more, be with more, who live away from us. we have ‘family’ right here. they support us, challenge us, inspire us. i am grateful for our gift of community. i am grateful for you.

you know you are all family – bloodlines or not – when you can sweat all over ukuleles together, create joy and recognize you need each other. a band isn’t a band without all of us.download-1

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