Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Talking Stick

Last night I had a very fun time in the Tu Diabetes chat room with some delightful people.

We were talking about art and my beadwork and Beth asked if I’d ever done any beading on wood. I said yes, I had made a talking stick.

Several years ago I worked at a center for troubled youth, many of which were Native Americans. We decided to adopt some traditional rituals and use them as tools for healing. One of them was the talking stick.

Any type of group of people can use a talking stick - whether you are discussing a topic, trying to come to a decision, sharing victories and defeats, offering support - the list is endless. The one rule is that the person holding the stick is the only one speaking - no interruptions. When he is finished, he passes it to the next person. It was a great tool for shy people (of which I still am). Somehow, just holding the stick gives one the courage to speak their mind. It was empowering.

I have been blogging for over a year now, and feel that both the Diabetes OC and Tu Diabetes have given me the courage to put my thoughts down on paper. I was really “stopped up” for many years - just kept stuffing things as deep as I could get them. This certainly was not healthy.

Things are different now. I have friends who understand me. I have people across the country (and the world) that I care about. We are bound by the fact that we have diabetes, but also connected in our vision to take care of our health, keep up on new developments, nurture a positive attitude, problem solve, and live a vibrant and fulfilling existence. This has had a big impact on my life, and I say “thank you”. (sniffle, sniffle).

Anyway, about the stick - I love the Mississippi. I could sit on the shore for hours and watch the clouds go by and think of how the settlers came upstream by riverboat and how Minneapolis was once called The Mill City because all the big barges of grain came up the river to be processed. Cool.

The wood for the stick was found along the river’s edge. It had been polished by the current (somewhat like driftwood). I have stopped going down to the spot where the driftwood accumulates because it is isolated and I am no longer young enough to outrun someone with harmful intentions.

But, the wood still reminds me of the grounded stability of the river and the current that keeps moving forward, as it has for centuries.

Life transports us onward, whether we are willing or not. I spent many years paddling upstream. It was exhausting and got me nowhere. By being a part of two blogging communities, I have given myself permission to flow with the bitter and the sweet, and stay upright in the process.

This is good.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A Change in Perspective

Here is my Grandmother Tree, in her summer finery, overseeing the neighborhood last week.

And, here she is this weekend. Yes, that's a mini donut stand at her base.

My neighborhood has once again been invaded by the Uptown Art Fair, a gathering right outside my window (and extending for several blocks). It takes place the first weekend of August and lasts three days. We have to have our cars moved (mine is 8 blocks away) by Thursday night and I won't retrieve mine until after work tomorrow. People sit on the lawn right outside my window and eat corndogs and yell at their kids. I feel sort of trapped and claustrophobic and can't wait for it to be over. I love to complain about it.

But, as most of you know, we had a tragic event here last week, with the bridge collapsing. I really want to express by deepest thanks to all my online friends
for their messages of concern. I was very moved by the sincerity and compassion.

Yesterday we also had a small party for my mother's 80th birthday. Her health continues to decline and it was a very poignant gathering. She and my youngest niece were looking at photo albums and I was reminded that the wheel of life keeps turning for each of us.

So, upon returning home last night, I began to think that having my tranquility disrupted every summer by the Art Fair really wasn't such a big deal. In fact, it was nothing at all but a celebraton of summer, families, talent, and community festivities. If I tried hard enough, I might even find something to like about it.

So, this morning, the last day, I headed out early and chatted with some of the artists, wish them a good show, flowed with the crowd, and sat on the grass and people-watched.................and, concluded that I would miss it if it didn't take place.

We pick our own battles. And I believe this one has been crossed off my list