Inspire. Empower. Connect. Motivate. Encourage. Uplift. Provoke. Heart-felt writing. That's what you'll find here from me, MAry anne radMAcher. Occasionally I provide something worth laughing about. RSS in lower right hand corner - delivers it to your inbox.
|Posted on February 25, 2019 at 3:45 PM|
Some weeks ago I got the following message from a (now) former reader who continued to express her anger and disappointment in my subtle criticism of our current President. She wrote,
"If I wanted another political page- no matter how vague the dig- I would not have support this page and your work. I feel let down but I’m sure my opinion doesn’t register. If your work was as important as you make it out to be - please stay away from political. If you feel that politics is the way to go I wish you luck."
I have asserted for a few decades now that the concept of balance does not occur in the small and specific. Balance occurs in the aggregate. As a citizen who lives in a country that proclaims democratic processes, "Politics" is as much a part of my life experience as poetry. Political actions impact citizens, even when they think they are doing a great job of shielding themselves from them. That hike in per gallon of gas you just noticed? Politics. That tax on the soda pop you purchased with your lunch to go? Politics.
I live my life in the aggregate. At a personal level that means my friend who saw me at my crankiest self yesterday is able to recall the 98 other times I have been cheerful, optimistic and civil. Our friendship, in the aggregate, absorbs crankiness in the specific.
I work for clarity. I inspire myself AND others. I offer writing that lifts and challenges. And, in a period of time of great peril, a period of time when our country is stumbling and seems to have lost its footing as a global leader, I speak up. And out. Poetry and politics. Challenge, crankiness and courtesy. They are all occasionally served on the buffet table which is my work in the world. Work which is, at the very least, important to me. And perhaps it has been or is important to you.
If this view of balance in the aggregate offends you, please, walk on by. I'm not for you.
|Posted on September 25, 2017 at 10:35 AM|
I have supposed for some time that the internet and its various access to social media equate to the Wild West of old.Rather than the familiar phrase from Westerns, "There's a new Sheriff in town," it is more true that there is NO Sheriff in town.
The world wide web has transformed my capacity as an author and artist to connect to readers. Here. RIGHT HERE. It's happening now as you read this. I wanted to engage in a viable exchange on this blog with the opportunity for comments. However, the Wild West metaphor is relevant in a practical and disappointing way. Because of the hackers, spammers and people who just plain have too much time on their hands, the capacity to leave comments here is no longer available. I've decided the amount of time required to delete all of the inappropriate, unrelated promotional material and random spam is out of line with the number of readers who choose to comment here.
I draw a larger lesson from this single action. It serves me well to periodically evaluate all of the systems of my modern life. Not just the mechanical ones. Systems, or at a more personal level, habits, are put in place to serve a purpose. It's a good review practice to occasionally ask of these practices if they are still serving the ideal or purpose for which they were put in place.
Change can be hard and change is good.
Is it time for you to evaluate some of the long standing systems and habits that are supposed to serve the effectivenss of you in your world? If the answer is yes! then we can both call ourselves SHERIFF! and put a metaphorical badge on our vest.
|Posted on September 4, 2017 at 7:00 PM|
It's good to have a plan.
And then, life happens.
And then, it's good to have a new plan.
I anticipated that I would grow old with a particular curmudgeon to whom I had been married ten years. (And, of note, curmudgeon is the nicest manner in which he described himself. I'm not being unkind, just accurate). Then. He introduced dramtically different ideas.
Now that I look to the sunny trajectory in front of me and recognize I have no children and am likely to spend the remainder of my fabulous days by myself, I have turned toward being responsible to those who will be left behind me when I exit the planet. When ever that might be. Since such a return ticket never has a date stamp until it's time for the flight...I established a new plan.
I intend to move into a tiny house. Somewhere. in 30 - 36 months. And I intend to downsize my entire household appropriately. I will sell, thrift and give 80 % of what I own. One tiny bit at a time. A friend just asked me how I planned on doing that. Here are my four questions. A thing, in order to continue the adventure with me, has to deliver a YES on all four counts.
1 - Is it useful?
2 - Have I used it in the last year (I was going to say six months. But. Christmas)?
3 - Is it beautiful or does it bring you joy?
4 - Will it fit in your tiny house?
I put a system in place over a year ago to get started on this process and only just kicked it into gear last week. Some systems take a while to warm up to! These belongings of mine have already made "the cut" through several moves. So I am not applying these questions to a bunch of random stuff that I do not care about. Most everything I'll be passing forward has a story, a sweet memory or a bittersweet memory. And here's what I tell myself and believe most of the time...I don't need the thing to have the memory.
I intend to LIVE LARGE WITH LITTLE.!
|Posted on June 23, 2016 at 12:15 AM|
Courage doesn't always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, (whispering), "I will try again tomorrow."
This is the last portion of a poem I wrote in 1985. It has evolved over time. It has been coopted by folks from product manufacturers to the President of the Morman Church. It has been lawfully and respectfully licensed and presented on cards, posters, plaques, cups and any number of other products. In its life of over thirty years I have seen this poem be pressed into service at significant moments in our collective lives.
After 9/11 there were police stations and fire houses on the east coast who put it on banners and hung it above their vehicle bays. When Senator Cory Booker faces another steep climb with the mountain of work he does in the world, he will often use this piece to indiciate he absolutely plans to keep on trying.
I am grateful when I hear the many ways these words have been used to inspire and heal. I think it's a rare opportunity for an author to be alive while their words travel so far and get to "come home" to tell the story of the work they have done. I am blessed. And, please, let me know if you have a story about this poem and its place in your life....you can write me here.
|Posted on March 26, 2016 at 4:40 PM|
It was a spur of the moment decision. I had a rare uncommitted 30 minutes on the mainland and I decided to pop into a salon that specializes in quick cuts and have my hair styled. Cut, more to the point. The stylist assigned to me was a woman, perhaps in her late 40's, and her first sentence led me to believe her first language was likely not English. That should have been a "humor alert" to me, but such things often go past me. I spent several minutes answering her question as to what I hoped for from my hair. It involved hand gestures, using my hands to reflect special angles and the word, "wedge" repeatedly. She listened, kindly and attentively and smiled, knowingly at what I thought was a humourous, throw-away line,"I'll tell you," I assessed, pointing at the salon poster featured on the wall near us, "some days, I think THAT is the way to go." Haha. And then I leaned into the comfortable chair and closed my eyes. Oops.
At first the sound of the electric clippers made sense in the context of the wedge of hair I'd hoped to have shaped around the back of my head. And when I felt those same clippers popping around the top of my right ear I decided to open my eyes. And quickly I saw I was too late with my attentions. I sighed. Gave into the the reality and relaxed, willing to just see what I'd see when all the appliances were turned off.
What I saw was a fairly accurate facsimile of the hair on the gentleman in the poster that I'd gestured to, earlier. "So cute!" She exclaimed. "So cute?" she asked. I repeated, like a mantra I wanted to believe..."so cute." I came home and wrote of my misadventure on my social media. In the midst of rancor and vitriolic jabs of the political season, I thought some hair humor might go well for some of my readers. I was stunned. Over the hours that followed almost a hundred folks weighed in. Not on racism. Not on diversity. Not on politics. Not on water quality. But, my hair. The Hair Affair generated a large resonance. Because almost EVERYONE has had a bad hair cut some time in their life. This Hair Affair taught me a lot, as an author, about Story, and about Common Experience. And Jim, wife of a long time client, Peggy, assured me that I might even like it after a few days. Ha. Such sweetness in the wish and I was skeptical. After all, I have shaved my head twice in my life for two very important reasons and in neither event did I choose to continue shaving my head for the sake of convenience. THIS hair cut was as close as I'd come to shaving my head.
The following morning I looked in the mirror with fresh perspective. I could see the whole of my face. I could see the spots where my hair is committed to the grace and gray of my decades on the planet. I could see my eyes, blink-blink, unencumbered by locks of hair any where near them. AND I LOVED IT. I thought, with irony, that what seemed like a disaster yesterday seemed like the best. Idea. Ever the next morning.
Perspective. Only time will tell if this is the cut of preference for the coming decade (and, oh, I so dearly anticipate having a coming decade or two) but I know for sure it's my cut of preference right now. And likely, again, in a few years, when it's long enough to be cut again (yes, I'm kidding). Just for reference, I've borrowed a man-cut from inspirebeautyUK.com to show you essentially the poster I jokingly pointed out. WHAT A GOOD JOB she did! So cute.
|Posted on March 23, 2016 at 5:35 PM|
I wonder if "odd" and "contradiction" might not be a redundancy.
Today I consider how closely related clarity and uncertainty are. They sit together on a bench in the school yard. Clarity and Certainty seem to barely remain friends. Certainty keeps Clarity at bay. Clarity makes Certainty very uncomfortable. Certainty has forgotten what it is like to be curious. Clarity embraces everything that she knows she cannot know. Which makes her willing to learn. So while Clarity heads to the library to check out a few more books on a current research project, Certainty stays in the yard...at the ready to convince any student willing to listen of all that she certainly knows.
These are fascinating days for me. Mostly I stand on a square of uncertainty looking at how often Certainty and Clarity get in argurments.
|Posted on March 12, 2016 at 5:05 PM|
Is it possible that Donald Trump's candidacy for President is making me a better person?
Earlier today people in Decatur Georgia eulogized and buried the mutual friend. Now a dear mother I know in South Carolina tends to the last ritual before her son is buried.
In this contentious season in our country here is the Great Unifier: loss. We will all lose people we love; we ourselves will someday be lost to those who love us. There is perspective in this as contrast to the hateful rhetoric and the cancerous divide that anger casts as a contagion upon our country. You who will willingly disparage those you do not know, you who spit upon those whose color differs from yours, who judge as incompetent a gender not your own… Call to mind each of those people share in common with you the inescapable truth – we all come to the same end. Regardless of our political views or the reach or rancor of our public actions, we, every one of us a mothers child, will come to the end of our life. So unique to this day I call out my own better angels and will attempt in the season before me to identify the grace, the goodness, the model that we can all admire and follow. In the spirit of understanding the preciousness of life I am attempting, In this vitriolic political season, to see first that humanity before I hear the rhetoric. I. Will. Try.
In my attempt to not sling hateful rhetoric back over the fence, I believe it IS possible that Donald Trump's invective, and tendancy to incite violence in his followers, IS going to make me a better person. I am already working on how to reframe that characterization. Try this:
Mr. Trump provides me the opportunity to respond to challenging rhetoric with a different tone. Because of his behavior, I am requiring a different behavior of myself: that's a good thing!
|Posted on February 21, 2016 at 7:55 PM|
My consulting physicist told me in advance of my lobbying trip to Washington, D.C., "There is NO away. Things transform, yes, but nothing EVER goes away." Jerome helped me put science behind my opposition to off-shore oil drilling leases being released for the Oregon and Washington coasts. Before I went to D.C. to testify, deliver 25,000 signatures in opposition to the leases, I helped put in place ON shore conservation measures (obstensibly) that would more than make up, if broadly applied, for the oil that might be recovered off our shores. I am no longer an activist on behalf of the ocean. I do still teach that Everything Continues On, that there is no "away."
In a practical way, I am beginning to apply this truth to my home and my own possessions. In the coming months I will offer practical options, narrative, story and opportunity that will clarify for you, or along with you, your relationship to the things that surround you.
Today it was my small project desk. Because I rarely involve myself in only one project...my project desk is often the perfect model of chaos in motion. Not today. Today everything that was in that top "before" picture continued on...to objects like it stored in anther area, recycle bin, project shelf, or, in very small measure, the trash. My objective in the coming weeks is to allow my project desk to learn how to accomodate only one project at a time. Not my usual practice, and I'm excited to make yet another shift in the way I work. I continue on. And, when seated at this desk, I will continue on with less clutter in my way!
|Posted on February 19, 2016 at 3:40 PM|
I traveled without knowing it was by my side and suddenly, poof, like a white rabbit pulled from the black hat of winter, there it was. It must be magic. The Ziggurat of Ur transported to this foreign place and standing like stacked wedding cakes, frosted white, atop the pinnacle.
The asphalt passed under my vehicle and became wooden wheels on a wagon, then the hooves of a strong horse as my thoughts took me back to the time before yellow lines, painted houses, stop lights and intersecting roads. In that time the mountain still surprised travelers, its presence obstructed by density of forest. Old. Older than my reach of known history, older than the stories I can imagine to tell, this mountain rises up through the land absent humans and stands with creatures wild and running. It waxes upon approach and as history increases in stories, so does the summit seem to magnify. In a car, not a camel, I am observing an edifice of no mortal making. Not a pyramid to evoke awe at the advancements of the ancients but a monolith offering silent, snowcapped tribute to a maker whose hand surpasses time, surprises understanding and eludes grasp. Tectonic geomorphology and volcanology aside, the fire of this majestic uprise is not extinguished,only waiting.
Yes, it must be a certain magic.
And then I came home and looked up Mt. Rainier. The First Nation inhabitants said the mountain was Magic. They called it Tahoma. And the tales, myths and legends of the power and reach of that mountain were jaw dropping. I loved that in the midst of my European ancestry and the rush of a modern highway, the Magic, the ancient power once known as Tahoma, still could be heard by this traveller.
You? Try taking a new road home.
mary anne radmacher
|Posted on February 17, 2016 at 5:45 PM|
My friend is dying. Inoperable-we've-done-everything-we-can-for-you cancer. This ain't her first rodeo. She's visited oncology a LOT of times. This time, out of options, they've sent her to hospice. She's known for many things, my tall soul. Epic trainer. Mad research skills. Stellar coach. Funny as hell. Well, how'd THAT phrase come out? Hell's nothing to be laughed at and yet here I am, writing for all to read that she's "Funny as Hell." Take your own meaning from that. I'm letting it stand because that's the kind of day it is.
My friend is dying. She is kind of famous for using a candle on a cupcake as an icon for transforming energy. She's been modeling transforming energy during her walk (walk? seriously? Walk? stumble, freefall, swim, mountain climb) with cancer. So now, I see a cupcake in the store and I get all verklempt. One day I burst into tears at the sight of them. At the very least, this response will be good support for my weight loss program. It's awkward, though. The bakery department just isn't used to random outbursts of unstoppable tears. She also loves herself a fine pair of shoes. And she's given to noticing outstanding footwear on others. There were days in the hospital, given position and energy, that all she really noticed about a person was their footwear. She'd manage to say, "I love your shoes." Because when you only have energy for approximately four words, what better thing to say?
Today, at the post office, I told an absolute stranger, "I LOVE your shoes." Her face lit up. She smiled really big. And she said, "Thank you. I love them, too. AND thank you for noticing." Thank you for noticing. Which, really, at the end of the matter, is the point. Perhaps she could have more accurately said, "Thank you for seeing ME." As I pressed on to the remainder of my errands I decided that, right there, is how I am going to focus on transforming energy. I LOVE your shoes.
And, while I'm at it, I might just roll somebody's socks up and down by declaring what is utterly unexpected in a public place by declaring, "I love you."
Because. I do.
I love you. In general principle. Yes, I do. And, if I saw you this day, I might also love your shoes. I won't lie to you, though. If they are worn. old Teva sandles with thick white socks, I'll pass on loving your shoes and just stick with loving you.
Mary Anne Radmacher
PS If you would like to see this woman discuss cancer, and, using a cupcake as icon, transforming energy ... look here: http://www.37days.com/strong-offer-friday-transform-terror-into-commitment-and-entitlement-into-hope/