What You May Have Accidentally Done When You Voted For Trump

Zachary Helton

Dear Trump Voter,

I can’t say that I know why you voted for Trump, but I have a pretty good idea, and I get it. I’m not saying I voted for him, but I see that there are plenty of legitimate reasons to vote for Trump. Sure, he’s not the best role model, but you’re not really voting for him, you’re voting for the party. You’re voting for a conservative, Republican administration. You’re concerned about economics, foreign affairs, and the direction of the Supreme Court, and you think a Republican administration can do a better job. That is completely legitimate. That is democracy.

Now that the election is over, you kind of wish everyone could move on. I mean, we can all agree it’s been a particularly stressful election cycle. The Democratic candidate lost and you think everyone needs to move forward. You might even think your Democrat friends on…

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It’s Not Just a Dream

Don’t like where this country is headed? GET INVOLVED!

I don’t care how you vote. If you care about the good of our country – which is really the good of the people in it – that’s something we share, common ground on which we can begin all kinds of beautiful initiatives. So let’s get out and do something about it. Find a cause you feel passionate about, and pursue it.

I so appreciate the meme that has been floating around Facebook recently – something to the extent of, regardless of what happens on the national level today, WE are the ones who can chose to take charge of shaping the heart and soul (and economic sustainability) of our local neighborhoods and communities. Like it or not, we ARE the government – there is no THEY. There is only We the People – and we are a mighty power, when we have a mind to be.

If all we do is vote every few years, then shut ourselves into our little 4-walled prisons surround-sound high-distraction-factor homes and worlds of social media, which we begin to mistake AS the world – nothing is going to change. Well, it will, but most likely not in a helpful direction. It’s like standing on a treadmill – you may think you’re standing still, but just give it a minute.

Care about the national level? Then get involved HERE. NOW. At the community level. In your own home, your own mind if that’s where the healing needs to begin. In your street. Your neighborhood. Your place of work or worship.

Life is not about pointing fingers and placing blame on those around us. Life is about taking ownership of everything that is ours to do – in all aspects of our lives, from the personal to the progressively larger circles in which we exist – our communities, our nation, the world at large. Taking charge. Accepting responsibility. Practicing accountability. Not just saying “I don’t like this, but I do like this,” then retreating to a wi-fi-fed cocoon. But hey – even that’s a start. It all begins somewhere.

Please – whatever you believe, whatever you prefer – life is happening out there. Right here. Right now. Get involved. Don’t sit this one out. If you’re not sure where to begin, start with a discussion. Or start with some digging – do some research (and check out their sources and funding, while you’re at it). And then – take that next step. And the next. And the next.

Together, WE create that village. ALL of us. Together. Let’s get to know our neighbors, and make our worlds ones we can be proud to pass on to the next generation. Let’s show them how grown-ups really can be – how we can learn to get along and work together, in spite of, who knows, perhaps because of, our differences. How that diversity is exactly what we need to keep a system alive and well and breathing and healthy. How we learned and recognized and accepted that we ALL can bring some good ideas to the table, where we can hash them out, as we focus on highest good for all involved, and that common ground we’ve finally realized we share.

It’s not just a dream. Today, let’s make it our reality.

(C) 2016 Mary Batson, FrontPorchRambles.com
All rights reserved – especially the one we gained in 1920.

Take the Love and Let the Rest Go

This morning’s dream work (and today’s memoir writing seminar :)) came with a challenge: How vulnerable can I allow myself to be? So here goes, with the trust that this will relate to more than a few others as well:

In the dream I was in my “childhood home” (although it wasn’t), which was almost completely emptied. We were moving out, having almost a goodbye ceremony, and a couple of family members were there alongside. I was making a big display from things we couldn’t take with us, using passed-down pieces of ancestral furniture, and we were putting up photos of the family in good times, in nice frames, a true memorial. We knew we couldn’t take any of those items with us – not even the photographs – only in our minds, our hearts, perhaps a snapshot – but even the frames and pictures had to stay, a memorial to those who once lived and loved inside those walls. We were building it slowly, working with great love.

As we worked, I was also digging through the house’s nooks and crannies to find the last little things to be cleared out. This was a good chance to notice all the work we’d done to the place, trying to fix it up and make it nice. All the generations of curtain racks and shades we had hung, their mountings, thinking of how much work that had been. All done so diligently and excitedly at the time – it was a big deal when we could afford something new. When we first put up the little twist blinds, instead of the pull down shades. Putting up new sets of curtains – how much work that had been – and now all the blinds were down, there was nothing there anymore, and no one but us to appreciate all the work we had done, trying to make that farmhouse pretty.

All that was left was reality. Just like my childhood poem.

One reality was that we had to move on.

Another reality was that my childhood wasn’t very pretty, in some ways. I never knew how poor we were growing up. I didn’t understand why Mom didn’t want company. We worked hard to keep things spotlessly clean in the middle of fifty miles of dirt fields. I and my brother were constantly starting projects to fix things up, make a pretty mailbox, a flower garden, a new fruit tree, another layer of paint. It wasn’t until I grew older that I realized how poor we had been, how shabby our surroundings. And I learned to be ashamed of it. How I hated those old cars we drove – so humiliating. Why couldn’t we have a normal car? Why couldn’t we *be normal?

But the thought that comes this morning – “Take the love and let the rest go.” Even down to that dream – take the love in those photographs – because we did love, as much as we were capable – and let the rest go. Little Mary loved those people with all her heart, and that was a very, very big heart. She didn’t care about the money. She didn’t care about the abuse. She didn’t care about all the things that shouldn’t have been. She didn’t know any better, so she couldn’t compare. She couldn’t define dysfunctional. She didn’t know about boundaries. But she did know how to love. And she didn’t even have to try. It just happened naturally – because that’s what love does. Love doesn’t ask permission. Love just happens. Love doesn’t stop to check directions or the wind or “is this really a good idea?” Love just happens. It flows with a mind of its own, and takes over when it has the will. As my character Gran put it in Going Home, “Love looks for open hearts like water looks for lowest ground, and Gran said if we’d just open our hearts, love would find its own way in.”

We discover that as we go through life. Love still has a mind of its own. We can’t force it, we can’t fake it. We can try – but that won’t last long. But when the heart is there, love just happens.

And as we work with these aspects as we grow older, clearing our baggage from lives and chapters past, we have an option – we can hang on, keep trying to drag all that along with us. Or we can choose the words that came this morning – “Take the love and let the rest go.” Love in whatever shape it was capable of appearing.

Whatever you do today – “Take the love and let the rest go.” And I’ll do my best to do the same.


(C) 2016 Mary Batson, FrontPorchRambles.com
All rights reserved, especially the one to let that love flow.

Clarion Call: Bring Forth the Leaders, and Bid Them Lead

img_8870Where do we go from here? And by that I mean, for those of us who have chosen to stand, now what? We’ve signed a petition or two. We’ve posted articles. We’ve marched. We’ve demonstrated. We’ve prayed. We’ve donated, money or goods or time.

But now what? A thought I can’t quite block out while reading yet another article from the hidden away safety of my four walls – I’m pretty dang sure that those determined to move forward with the Dakota Access Pipeline are not focusing their efforts, time, attention, and primary campaign on Facebook.

Yes, the Internet is a great tool to raise awareness, to spread the word, and we can see the groundswell of support thanks to all that publicity. That’s fantastic. But at what point does focusing our efforts on social media become a distraction in the process of social change – A tool, not THE tool? Any good project manager will tell you, the media plan is only one small part of what has to happen. Are we striking out against the leaves, instead of the roots? If that’s all we’re doing, we may be tilting at very real dragons with toothpicks of tinfoil and swords of no substance. How do we step beyond preaching to an ever-growing yet screen-shackled choir?

Where is the money coming from? Who are the supporters, the influencers, the wo(men) behind the mask? Where are the voters? Where is the power, and how and by whom is it being leveraged? What is happening on the ground? What is happening below the surface? Who is making the decisions? And how can knowing all of that inform our next steps?

Now that we’re aware, now that we’re stirred up and have rallied support from people around the globe, we can’t let this wave of enthusiasm die away due to lack of concerted direction. How can we build on what has developed? If We the People want to take back our country, our environment, our economy, our planet, our politics, our own personal power – if we are ready to step up and say Victim No More, I will STAND – this ill-conceived travesty is a great place to start.

The process has already begun, if we can keep up the momentum. We cannot let


What does it take to move a mountain?

discouragement or temporary failures stop us. As those who have stood throughout history have long known, standing up doesn’t always mean you win. But it DOES mean you can take back your pride, your self-esteem, your sense of self-worth – knowing that you did all you could, regardless of outcome. And perhaps, just perhaps, we may find this place of nonattached, nonviolent strength may be the most powerful position of all.

Who are the organizers among us? Who have walked these steps? Where has nonviolent protest and resistance successfully made inroads in our world? Who walked with King? Who has learned the ways of Gandhi? Where is the Harriet Tubman of today, the Elizabeth Cady Stanton? Women, rise up! Elders, rise up! Warriors of the Beauty Way, rise. We NEED you – now is the time. Come forward, come forth.

Change CAN happen from the ground up. We know that. What lessons have been learned from previous successes and failures? What has been proven Best Practice? Our lives may have been a little too easy of late, and we have grown soft – but we carry this knowledge, this know-how, deep within the bones, deep within our histories, deep within our minds, deep within our hearts.

Where are those who know, and those who can lead? You are among us, already. We can feel you. We need you now. We need your knowledge, your wisdom, your strength, your courage. Come forth!!! Lead the way!!!!!

So many are ready to follow.

In the words of a special teacher: “Do not fear the fire, or your strength, or the hands of our ancestors. Wear it. Pick it up. Carry it. It isn’t always gentle.”

Who will take up the fallen flags of our mothers, our fathers? Who will step forward? Who will lead?



Let the hills and the rocks call them forth. ~

(C) 2016 Mary Batson, FrontPorchRambles.com
All rights reserved, especially the one to protect our mother and her sacred spaces.

No Man is an Island (Still)

do not unplugMorning rambling over coffee and aftershocks, pulling together the thoughts and lines that have been surfacing over the week: What are you plugged into? In other words, what’s your source? Where do you draw your energy?

Whether or not we like to consider (or admit) it, the reality is that we are all plugged in, all the time – to something. Or someone. We are constantly drawing energy from somewhere, just as we are simultaneously exchanging and sharing energy. Energy flows – we are simply conduits. And, if and when we’re inclined, we can focus on what energy we are inhaling or absorbing, and what we are passing along.

Another way to think about this, in more human terms – where do you get your strength? Where do you draw your power? From approval or accolades? Acceptance or admiration? From a person? A position? A title? A memory? A dream? A vision? Health? Youth and firm skin? Access to Botox? By playing a victim? By absorbing the energetic sympathies of anyone willing to pass such along? Or perhaps the opposite – playing the all-mighty, all-knowing? Playing the leader, whether or not the shoe fits? Hmmm… how about the number of likes or friends on your Facebook page? The number of people on your mailing list? (Not that there’s anything wrong with mailing lists, whatsoever – but if your subscriptions suddenly dropped to zero – how would that feel?)

Often we draw our strength from what we identify with. Sometimes we draw it from that which we say is NOT us – the things we don’t identify with. From our labels. Or from our non-labels. Either way, it is a drawing. We may pride ourselves on being our own (wo)men, un-owned, no strings, no labels, no emotions, above the fray, Pinocchio and his “no strings to hold [him] down, to make [him] smile, to make [him] frown” – but is that really true? In the web of life, we ALL have strings. The question is – what are they attached to?

(And if you’ll pardon me for going there – I can’t resist – in today’s terminology, Pinocchio’s quest to be a no-stringed real boy might qualify him as a free radical. You know, those molecules that have been discovered to cause things like aging and cancer. After all, most free radicals are stable only in a vacuum state.)

Don’t think any of this applies to you? Think again. Your very existence depends on this dynamic exchange, down to the basic (not to mention vital) act of breathing. As much as our tenderized psyches might like to be islands, it simply isn’t possible. We are part and parcel of the ecosystems around us. I cannot exist without breathing. Breathing requires an ongoing, steady supply and production of oxygen. Where does that come from? Start by thanking the trees in your front yard. And what do they need? They need YOUR exhale.

Allow me to circle back for a moment: If we have taken pride in our non-labeled status, our ability to “resist” – do we realize that that can also be a temporary status? What if life were to throw you a sudden curve ball and all of a sudden you were in a position in which you HAD to take on a label, perhaps one which you had previous despised or denigrated? In which No-Labels (itself a label) was no longer an option, no longer on the table of choices? Where would you draw your strength from then? What if, all of a sudden, heaven forbid, you found yourself in a situation in which you actually (**shudder**) NEEDED someone?

Returning to breathing: This idea brings up a second aspect – everything we depend on. Everything we take for granted, perhaps without even considering that our very existence depends on this, that, or the other. Again, look to the body. How many autonomic processes do we rely on, do we *depend* on, on a daily basis? I can’t even swallow my food on my own accord. I may start the process, gaily chomping along on my breakfast, but once that food passes my throat, the smooth muscles of my esophagus have to take over the process, to convey that tasty morsel along its way. I don’t consciously control that. I can’t control that. And I do DEPEND on it in order to survive.

These are the kinds of things we don’t think about until they feel at risk. Whether it’s our body, our health, our water, our relationships, our mental or emotional well-being. These are the kinds of things we often take for granted, and may intentionally or unintentionally end up harming those around us by this taking-of-grantedness, or by, in all frankness, using those around us to get our energetic fix.

The truth is, as 3D humans we will always have needs. At our present evolutionary stage, it is impossible not to. To think we can bypass this in our current forms, allow me to refer back to the process of breathing and the necessity of oxygen. As one friend commented recently, “I am not above being human.” (Painful as that may be to admit. J)

Like it or not, every minute of every day, in some form or another, we are doing a dance of energetic exchange. There is no such thing as “not needing,” although of course how that takes shape can vary. As long as you and I are in physical form on this planet, every cell of our bodies will be constantly giving, receiving, exchanging, dare I say perhaps even stealing, energy from all that is around us. In the terminology of astrophysics, “In the quantum world, this energy boost is often thought of as taking a step up an ‘energy ladder’.”

That being the case, the question remains: Now what? How and where do we fulfill our needs? Long ago, Gran had an opinion about this. She said she’d been taught it herself, found it worthy, and passed it along to any who cared to ask. The idea of laying up our treasures within – something she highly recommended to me. And while we were in there, to make sure we were plugged in on that level, drawing deeply from a life-giving stream of such vastness we cannot begin to comprehend it. Plugged in to the ultimate Source or field of energy, as we understand it, whatever that may be for you, for me – rather than plugging into the temporal, short-lived expressions of energy around us, in which case, we may end up doing more harm than good in the long and short run. And for those needs that must be met externally – like that good ol’ oxygen – do we seek to give as much as we receive, contributing to or taking from a state of balance?

Certainly we can seek a state of healthy interdependence with all around us – the people, the places, the settings, the situations. Beyond that, we may want to consider what we’re plugged into, and why. What are we getting out of a situation? What are the intentions behind our every action? Are we aware of them, or trying to ignore them? What is life reflecting back to show us those things we may prefer not to see about ourselves, whether helpful or unhelpful?

So here’s a thought: What would you do, where would you be, if tomorrow, everything and everyone you identified yourself as, for or against, was gone? What if everything you drew your strength from, or at least had in the past, was gone? Where would you be? Where would you find yourself? Because let’s face it – life has a way of doing that, especially when we reach a point of extreme hubris, convincing ourselves and anyone who will listen that we are above it all. That’s when life will remind us that we DO need these things. That we ARE dependent on certain things – all the time, every second of every day. Period.

But what we are dependent on is not necessarily what we currently think. All these temporary things around us – we aren’t really dependent on them. Not to say it wouldn’t be painful to lose them. But you know what? Life goes on regardless.

These are the kinds of situations in which we learn our true strengths, we learn the true nature of the things from which we have been drawing, and we also are faced with the stark reality that we WERE drawing strength from these people/places/things/beliefs/practices/behaviors, whether or not we wanted to see this.

And while we’re considering that, we can remember this: Just as we are receiving, we are giving. Constantly. So the second part of this question, beyond what you’re plugged in to, is, to what are you GIVING your energy? To whom? Where? How? In what condition? And perhaps most importantly to consider – why? And as always, the question – are we doing this consciously or unconsciously? Reactively or with intention? If I am giving you power, in any way, shape or form, for the positive or the negative, perhaps through love, perhaps through blame, what am I getting from this exchange? Power over? Power under? Perhaps a sense of security? So many possibilities exist, and it behooves us to look at each interchange in our lives, to see what is really happening, and whether or not that is something we want to continue in its current form.

Whatever we are exchanging, each interaction carries one gift for certain: the gift of change, in whatever way that takes shape. This constant giving and receiving. Gran said it, as well as many other grandmothers – and many other teachers. We are not islands. And every time I start to think I might be able to swing that concept, life steps in to remind me otherwise. Just like every time I start to plug in to a temporal source of power – life steps in to remind me, “Hold it right there. You know better!”

The way we make these choices, whether intentionally or “by accident” (which really isn’t), and the way we live with the consequences of those choices, will shape our existence, the days of our lives. It’s simply part and parcel of being a member of our local ecosystem, and this is just the way life works. Don’t like what we’re receiving? Don’t like where our energy is going? Maybe we need to check both ends of our little section of the pipeline. What are we plugged into, and where are we flowing?

Just a few thoughts for a Saturday morning. Only you can answer these questions for yourself. And yes, I’ll be doing my best to keep answering them for myself, as well, living into the answers, and sometimes, simply living into the questions.

Namaste. _/\_

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
– John Donne (1572-1631)

(C) 2016 Mary Batson, FrontPorchRambles.com
All rights reserved, including the ones I take for granted.

I’m in the One and the One’s in Me

Reposted from God of Many Faces, August 27, 2016


Photo: iloveconeflowers.blogspot.com

You know, it’s all well and good and easy to say “We are One” when I’m thinking about a childhood hero. Or mountains. Or the Buddha. Or a pretty purple-tipped coneflower dappled in dew drops. I like that Oneness. It tastes sweeter than cotton candy and I can wrap myself up in it like the snuggest winter blanket, warm and cozy, safe by the fireside.

But let’s face it. Oneness doesn’t mean just being one with all the pretty things. It also means coming to terms, coming to acceptance, perhaps even coming to love, all those things we’d rather not see, rather not allow into our minds, rather not even consider the possibility of their existence. If not exactly celebrating, at least accepting that these aspects are all part of me: I’m in the _____ and the _____’s in me.

Early one recent morning this realization came home stronger than ever. In the midst of morning coffee and front porch sittin’, I was reminded of a movie scene from the evening before. Correction: I was haunted. I didn’t want to remember those three minutes. Titles can be misleading, and while this film had sounded promising, the opening scenes were so repulsive that at first I couldn’t look away – and then, I turned it off and physically walked away.

That’s not typical. Maybe I have a strong stomach due to a wide variety of life experiences. Or maybe I’ve been desensitized by too many years of modern media. Either way, while there are many things I may not care for, neither do they repel me so drastically that I have to pretend they don’t exist. For one thing, I’ve learned not to turn my back on the shadows. Left in the darkness, they loom larger, but brought into the light of consciousness, they burn away in the heat of the sun, like fog on a cool autumn morning.

But this scene I didn’t want to allow. And yes, it occurs to me as I write, my extreme reaction is a good sign of something deep being triggered, whether personal or societal. Yet when the scene presented itself again in the midst of my morning meditation, my first impulse was to block it out. No. Not me. Not me.

But wait – is that true? Do I really believe in Oneness? Or just the fun parts? Because if I truly believe in Oneness, on some level that means I Am that scene. I am the perpetrators. I am the victims. I am the wounded, the sick, the deeply disturbed that good ol’ MCB in her current form finds so repugnant.

Deep tears rising, struggling to accept and allow and integrate this concept in the core of my being. Today as I write, the butterfly that flutters to a standstill beside me reminds me, “Very good, Grasshopper. You are learning.”

I think I’m beginning to understand this better as I come to terms with the auto-immune diseases that have claimed my body in recent years. As within, so without. Unable to tell friend from foe, the body’s cells turn on each other, and it begins to destroy itself.

We see this dis-ease surfacing all around us these days, faction turned on faction, red on blue, blue on red, my flag-your flag, my love-your love, wherever you like but definitely not in MY backyard. And yet what is the truth? There is no “away” into which to cast these less desirable aspects of ourselves – that in itself being a judgment. Who decides what is desirable? What is relative? What is Truth?

I am reminded of the long-ago words of a great teacher of Oneness.He looked at the individuals around him and he saw all – the love, the hate, the cracks about the seams, the light, the dark, and he spoke words that still echo after all these years: “Love your enemies. Do good to them that hurt you.”

Not just the ones on the outside. The ones on the inside, too. For in so doing we honor our connection with all, as he honored his with his father. As another beautiful teacher worded it – our inter-being. (Thank you, Thay. <3)

More words come, those of another man, wise in his own way, who seemed to understand the deeper implications as he penned these words:

“That I feed the hungry, forgive an insult, and love my enemy – these are great virtues… But what if I should discover that the poorest of the beggars and the most impudent of offenders are all within me, and that I stand the need of all the alms of my kindness; that I myself am the enemy who must be loved – what then?” – C.G. Jung

Let’s face it. We cannot share something with another that we don’t have for ourselves – Next Breathwhether that be finances, time, space, or even love, compassion, or a sense of forgiveness. Today, as I practice, please let me remember the full picture, the all-encompassing. Let me not turn my soul on any other, or even on myself, as I sink more deeply into total integration and full acceptance.

And so it is. The beauty, the brutal, the darkness, the light. May I not forget the reminder that dangles near my side: God is as close as your next breath. Wherever it finds you. Wherever it finds me. For that I am grateful.


(C) 2016 Mary Batson, FrontPorchRambles.com
All rights reserved, especially the one to breathe easy.

Calling My Heart Home

Summer 2611 008 - Copy.JPGAnd here you thought all the stories about Gran were over, didn’t you? Tsk tsk tsk…

I could spend my whole life writing about that woman and only scratch the surface of all her layers. Some stories are longer, some shorter, some soft and sweet, some deep and melancholy, but each with a lesson, each with some learning. And most, sooner or later, involve a little too much processed sugar to be called “healthy.” We all have our vices.

Years ago on that big old front porch, I can remember Gran talking about calling one’s heart home. We’d practice yodeling, whistling, clapping our hands – any good ideas we could come up with that we thought might work. Granted, at the time, I really didn’t have a clue what she was talking about, but the seed was planted. It wasn’t until many years later, as I sorted through the boxes that held the last of her earthly memories, that I realized just how significant this story was for Gran – what all that yodeling was really about.

There, wrapped in a delicately embroidered cotton handkerchief in the bottom of a dusty old cardboard box, was an envelope. Sealed with a splash of maroon wax and an intricately flourished “M”, the address was barely legible – ink faded, lost in the colorings of age and a tea stain or two. “To My Heart” the front read, and my own heart skipped a beat at those words. I’d found enough of those envelopes by now to know that whatever was coming was no small thing, and would most likely wind up on yet another page – this one.

Taking a deep breath for whatever lesson was on its way, I slit the top, careful not to disturb the seal, and drew the single sheet from its resting place. Gran’s beautiful old-fashioned script always took my breath away, but the words I read did much more than that.

Dear Heart,

I want to start this out like every other letter I’ve ever written: ‘Hi. How are you? I am fine.’ But I can’t do that. I’m not going to cheapen this moment by filling it with empty words that only hide the truth – the convenient lies we often tell each other to maintain the little agreements we’ve shaped our lives around. So I’ll begin again:

Dear Heart,

You may not remember me. We haven’t spoken in a very long time. We used to know each other well, but that was long ago. Today we’re more like strangers, and even though part of me realizes how very much I’ve missed you, wants to grab you and wrap you in a huge familiar hug, another part of me feels peculiar, talking to you like this. It feels rather presumptuous, after the way I’ve treated you.

Yes, I know how badly I’ve treated you. I know how badly I’ve allowed you to be treated, standing by idly, like a mother watching her own child being abused. Part of me wants to strike out at those abusers, to throw a spotlight on their behaviors, Summer 2611 042 - Copyshame shame. And yet, deep down, I know that, more often than not, I allowed those behaviors – me, your sole protector and guardian. No, not in the very beginning, and I won’t accept that weight, even if you’d like me to. But in the end, it was mostly me.

And so I’m writing this letter to ask your forgiveness, and to ask you to come home. Wherever you are, please come home, each bit and piece and part of you that’s been left behind where it fell, like forgotten wounded soldiers on what felt, at the time, like a battlefield.

I don’t blame you for not wanting to come back. For not trusting me anymore. I didn’t trust myself for a long time either. But I’ve made a lot of changes in my life, some outside, and even more inside, and I’m slowly learning to trust myself again, to know who I am, to trust what I know. To trust that my heart was right all along, even with all those wounds. And I want you back. Please. For me. For us, for whatever good we ever had together, that can be even more beautiful than we ever imagined.

I can’t make up for wasted years, but I can make you the promise that if you’ll come Summer 2611 025 - Copyback, I will do my very best to take care of you the way you deserve, the way neither one of us knew was even possible. No, I’m not perfect now, but can we grow and learn together? I love you. I need you. You made me brave, and strong, and loving, and open. I’m tired of being half tin man, half cowardly lion, half love and no guts. I need you now more than ever, for your courage to show TRUE love – to others, yes, but also to myself. Please give me another chance. Please come home.

My door is always open, and the Light is always on. And if you’re stuck somewhere, and you can’t get away, try to send out a little flicker if you can, or just hunker down if you can’t, and I’ll come and find you, wherever you are. I promise.

With all the love I can offer – the little bit you left behind…

There the letter ended, in a straggling line of ink blotches that looked suspiciously like teardrops. No date this time, not even a signature, as if drawing this letter to a close was more than she could handle.

My own tears fell among those stains, because I knew what Gran was talking about. In all these years, I’d learned a bit about hearts myself, how pieces of them get lost, stuck, torn apart, embedded with scars and shrapnel and so many things that make it hard for us to remember what our hearts – inside – really look like. How they feel, and where they can lead us.

I don’t know about you – I’m probably only speaking for myself – but I know that many Summer 2611 029 - Copy.JPGyears ago, when I discovered that a good part of my own heart had disappeared somewhere along the way, I made the decision to spray what was left with a no-stick coating, like a modern day knight of the round table. You see, I learned to cook in the age of Teflon. No cast iron skillets for me.

And in those early years I found out that when I started cooking with gas, metaphorically speaking, more often than not, things got burned, layers got stuck, and whatever I was “preparing” often fell apart when I tried to slide it onto my plate. And so I applied the latest cure-all convenience: No-stick spray.

Nothing could stick to me: Not joy, not pain, not love, not sorrow. Sure, they got thrown my way, and they’d glom on for a second, but then they’d slide right off and I’d go on my way, safe behind my preservative-loaded shield. What I didn’t realize was that all that spray was actually not very good for me. In fact, it was poisoning my system from the outside in. Don’t believe me? Google the ingredients and see for yourself.

So now, years down the road, when I read Gran’s letter, I knew what she meant. I’ve been working on scrapping off all those toxic layers for quite a while now. Drawing those poisons out, I’m finally down to what was left behind. Kinda soggy, and a little smelly, trapped in there with no room to breathe, you know – nothing goes in or out. Not a very romantic sight, I can tell ya that. But we’re there: Me and that hole. And now it’s time to call my own heart home.

Lucky for me, I’ve had plenty of yodeling practice. So if you’ll excuse me – and maybe even if you won’t – I’ve got a call to make. See ya.

Patchwork Heart Number One Summer 11 029
From Gran’s Big Book of Short Stories, (C)2011 Mary Batson, FrontPorchRambles. All rights reserved, especially the one to keep on singing.

Photos courtesy of The Patchwork Heart, an extra special FrontPorchRambles workshop & 21-day transformational process.