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Just What Have You Accomplished?

Just What Have You Accomplished?

I got this email today. And I answered it. And I realized that I hadn’t written an answer, I’d written a testament to my life. So I thought I’d just post it here as good practice for speaking my truth. The email was sent in response to my latest newsletter, which referenced my 50th birthday. And it said… Dear Dixie: So just what have you accomplished in the first third of your life? Or is it a midway point…with BONUS years on the end. I hit “reply” and started typing. And when I came up for air this is what was on the screen… I have lived, I have loved, and I have learned. And I have shared my life, my love, and my learning with people who are near and dear, and with people I will never know. For someone who intended to die at 15, who tried to harden her heart against love because she associated it too often with pain, and who thought that all learning came from those more educated than herself - I think those count as accomplishments. Today, my lifetime as a separate carbon life form dates 50 years and 3 days. It might span a total of 50 years and 4 days, it might continue for another 50 years and 4 days. I don’t know. And truly I don’t consider it important. What is important is that I continue to live, love and learn. And that I do those things in my way so that others can see that their way is always open to them. So I believe that I will...
Why I Always Work on My Birthday

Why I Always Work on My Birthday

Twenty-nine years ago today I inched my way down a steep and overgrown trail, over the guard rail and under low hanging branches, to reach a little bit of secluded shore line on Clinton Lake just outside of Lawrence, Kansas. Not that Clinton Lake doesn’t boast any number of public swimming beaches, it was just that I wanted to be alone.  I had with me a small bag of edible goodies, a thermos of water (bottled water being unheard of back then,) a notebook and pen and an over-sized towel. The most important items on that list were the notebook and pen. I spent the morning swimming and writing, dozing in the sunshine and writing, walking up and down my little stretch of muddy beach and writing, and thinking.  I did a lot of thinking. I had a lot to think about. Earlier that year I had been with my father’s mother when she said goodbye to this earth. I’d sung In The Garden at her funeral service and heaped lilacs on her grave. I’d opted not to travel to Colorado for the funeral for my mother’s mother, only months later, because I’d already taken so much time away from work to care for my other grandmother. But my dreams were filled with vignettes of her and her little house with a garden wall I could walk on and a clock that chimed sweetly every half an hour. And I was just coming to grips with the knowing that my father’s cancer had returned. In the bone. It was my 21st birthday. And I felt closer to death than I...
Can You Hear Me Now?

Can You Hear Me Now?

I remember the first time truly I lost my voice. Really lost it. Could not produce a sound at all. We had a big yellow lab/husky mix named Saffron. He was a sweet, gentle soul, usually quite obedient, and he knew he was not, under any circumstances, allowed on the bed. But, when he wandered into the bedroom to check on the very sick me, put one paw on the bed, and didn’t hear the usual “NO,” he got bold. (That doesn’t mean I didn’t say “NO.” It’s just that when I said “NO” it came out sounding like a baby frog croak followed by a sigh.) A second paw followed the first. He still didn’t hear  the expected “NO,” so he inched his rather large upper body a little closer, cocking his head in puzzlement and hope. Needless to say, I was soon sharing my sick bed with the 90 pounds of muscle, bone and hair that supported his great doggie heart. Not the worst thing that could have happened, and my voice came back a couple of days later. But in truth, I’d started losing my voice years before that. From the time I could hum a tune, singing was one of my favorite ways to occupy time. I sang while riding the horses or riding my bike. I sang with my best friend, swinging our clasped hands, striding down the middle of the little street that ran between our houses, creating crazy harmonies at the top of our lungs. I sang in the shower and in any choral class the school offered.  If I was too...
Sing the Silence (Lyrics)

Sing the Silence (Lyrics)

Here are the lyrics I referenced in the post Can You Hear Me Now? I can’t remember when I first wrote them, but I’ve been holding them in trust for my later self for a lot of years. Sing the Silence Sing it right out loud Rock it roll it Give it mood Sing the silence In the silence you can Hear your heart Hear your breath Your thoughts, your soul You can hear the sun on leaves As they whisper Back the silence Sing the silence Sing it right out loud Rock it roll it Give it words Sing it right out loud Sing the silence Through the silence I can Hear your heart Where it beats Thundering drums I can hear the song you’re thinking Threading silver Through the silence Sing the silence Sing it right out loud Rock it roll it Give it life Sing it right out loud Sing the silence With the silence I am Quite at home Silent secrets Drowned in self Song around me all the while Gives me lifelines Through the nighttime Leaves me silent 7-10-13 © Dixie Gillaspie...