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Sporadic photos and notes from a Psyche-midwife, cheerleader, anthropologist--aka clinical social worker in therapy practice. Photos are usually mine except for those of historical events/famous people. Music relevant to the daily topic is often included in a web video embedded below the blog. Click on highlighted links in the copy to get to source or supplemental material. For contact information, see my website @ janasvoboda.com or click on the button to the right below. Join in the conversation.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

January 16th Challenge: Prevent a Regret

the hiding moon
You know I write most of these to myself, right?
Although I'm glad to hear some of you benefit as well.  And I try to write in a way that is pretty universal.  But I'm also preaching to and encouraging myself, and in doing so hoping to set a positive example of being human, vulnerable, brave and growing.  For you, and for myself.
rosie, the moon:  both there, both hidden tonight
On Wednesday, in the wee hours, dreamer and artist Rosie Saraga's spirit left her broken down body and headed for her next adventure.  Rosie was a delightful weirdo, bright and rascally and with an insatiable curiosity for just about everything, but especially for the beauty in the teeny details.  Trained as an archival photographer at that apex of weird/curious/sciencey museums for like minded obsessives, she learned to laser in on the patterns of fallen silks, decaying bones and leaves, grains of broken sand. Long after leaving the museum she continued her own archival assemblies of leaves, ferns, fried parts of critters, old scraps of linen and velvet which she lovingly catalogues in her mysterious algorithm for latter photoshoots. She had nothing to add when you looked a her mostly abstract details of details that could be animal, mineral, vegetable, shot as found or artfully positioned-- most presented so out of context there were at best a sort of a Rorschach. She didn't care what she thought she wanted them to be, and wouldn't tell you her analysis either. She wanted there to be room for all to project a story into her abstracts.  She was deeply interested in knowing others and their responses to her art and world.

Rosie was a story-teller and collector, and she liked to ask surprising questions out of the blue, which kept visitors unbalanced and then led through hobbit holes to surreal conversations on philosophical exploration interspersed with her trademark wise-cracks and guffaws.  Despite being basically bed-bound the last year of her life, she was a big presence in her shrinking world.

We loved her; you couldn't get to far from her dozens of piles of boxes of archived treasures "props for a latter photo shoot",  There were mysterious bits of her life in every nook and cranny of that apartment, including a box of jeans from 1986 labeled as such with end note "someday these may fit again--- stranger things have happened."  There were photos everywhere-- of her art, of her family, of her with her spiritual teacher.  Tiny alters around them of small pretty rocks she'd found, or a glowing chestnut, a dried fern, a piece of driftwood.  There were dog hairs, abundant, decorating the bed where she spent 97 % of her time since even laughing would send her into fits of coughing and grasping for another breath.  She was bossy often, because she knew her time was short she would ask for what she wanted without pretense.  But she was kind, so kind and wise.  She really loved everyone.  She knew the personal stories of the man that brought her oxygen bottles, the people who helped clear a path through her collections so she could navigate to her toilet.  She had an entourage, a man who loved her and saw she had fresh distilled water available and friends who brought her alternating health foods and comfort foods and dogs to visit.  No matter how sick she was, she was always asking about YOU, how YOU were doing and what was new in your life.  She came to all my sermons, which is akin to you asking me to do a triathlon to see you.  Rosie SHOWED UP, sick as she was.

Rosie let me use her pride and joy camera to shoot these beauties on her wildowsill
I am grateful I had time to spend with her asking about her family life, her love of books, her time with the Ranjeese, her spiritual practices, and her work at the Mutter (my icon museum of medical oddities in Philly).  And she pulled out a lot of my stories, even when I thought I wasn't going to share them.  She was so very very interested in people and in connection.
  regret I hadn't seen her in the weeks before her passing.  I consciously chose to pull back because we were close in the way that soul-sisters can be but our history was limited.  I explained my reluctance to her and she responded in typical Rosie equanimity, all about love and expansiveness and other ways of being in relationship.  We connected over the moon; I'd send her pictures and she'd ooh and ahh, and she'd find some on the Internet she thought I'd love and we have short little virtual lovefests in the net.  But.


My way to carry the Rosie torch is to bring her mindfulness and wild, sassy curious heart into my walks in the world.  To pay attention and borrow her eyes if she's willing to look at things with the amazing degree of delight of which she was so capable.  To take in the love she threw at me like a full laundry basket and find some way to fold it in and then make use of it in the world.

So:  Today's challenge is to take a lesson from this and see where you can prevent a regret, at least one, maybe a little one.  Maybe that means you'll connect with someone you love, and tell them thanks and why.  Maybe it means you'll visit a shut-in, or mail those presents, or write that letter, or sneak over a love token.  You're clever, you'll think of something.

I am am going to make a little Rosie alter and meditate on all she offered and taught and remember how she lives in me in these new ways she showed me to love others and the world.   And I'm going to call a couple of people I love to make sure they remember that.

So get out there-- identify a future regret and nip its little bud, with deep tenderness and respect.  Call an old friend, tell someone what they mean to you, visit someone you miss, send a present to someone far away.

Notice what you feel/think.  And look for signs (internally and in the world) that your message is received.

Quote of the day 
 I got this from my wise niece Hattie, but not sure if she's who to attribute it to.  Very applicable:
 "According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of her is gone; she is just less orderly. Amen" 
Song of the Day

1 comment:

Shelly S. said...

Thank you for that wonderful portrait of Rosie. I met her exactly once. And it was pretty obvious that she was a spectacular person. And that she loved you. Now, I have to go do some things