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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sleepless - or- AKA Out of the Mouths of Babes 2

 
"Hi! There"
 
Tonight has been one of those sleepless nights.
So, I've given up and come out to write about it.

Sometimes these nights are filled with
"Things to Do" lists in my head.
This is fairly easily solved by actually making a list...
on the paper = off my mind
Or maybe by just doing one or two of the seemingly pressing tasks.

Sometimes these nights are filled with hyperly-enthusastic creative ideas.
This also can be fairly easily solved by making a few notes or starting something, so the idea feels more firmly planted.

Sometimes these nights are worry-filled.
This is not easily solved.
I am a worrier by nature.
I think I come to it honestly, through my genes!
I know I am not the only worrier in my family.
Nature or Nurture?
And I wonder if it has anything to with my highly sensitive tendencies.
I remind myself of THE quote.
The one I shared with my mom in her last year, when she was worrying a lot.

"Worry is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do, 
but doesn't get you anywhere".

I've worn two deep fine ruts in many a floorboard in my mind over the years.


Tonight, it's a little of all three.
So, I can make a list or notes.
And I'm here expressing myself through writing, as I love to do.

So, this is good.


And I think of all of the recent photos I've taken on my lunch walks.
The photos of local children's sidewalk games.

Their words appear as many metaphors to me over the days.
Their words making me wish for an instruction manual for life.
Not the kind that have become coined in book form as an expression of 
quotes and life cliches that we all nod our heads in realizing their truths,
and then promptly forget.

But, more like the assembly instructions that come with cheap furniture.
Maybe not too clear and seemingly impossible to follow.
But, filled with diagrams and labels 
and particular steps presented in an appropriate order.
And many languages.
So, at least some of the time, 
most of us can figure out how to put tab A into slot B, 
or whatever.

Well, enough words for now.
Let's look at those photos.
* Note: The following set of photos are presented in the order I received 
their messages while walking down the sidewalk.


Right away, we know which direction to go and what to do!


And if you're not clear on what is being asked of you...
Why then, just turn around and start again!





Simple.  You may ask: how high?
But I ask of you:
What would you JUMP over?  Into?
Are you JUMPing forwards or backwards?
Are you jumping with both feet, 
or does it look more like a skipping hop?

"Look for something that rhymes with 'yellow'".
Got it.

"What color does Rudolf the RED nose reindeer have on him..."
I like it when the answers are as plain as the nose on your face, don't you?

"It's on stick" (arrow included)
Why yes THERE it is.
Just what I was looking for, right where I was told it would be!

"Scream"



Enough said.
Scream in pain, joy, confusion, frustration, glee.
When you need to, want to, have to...
follow those desires.
Maybe toddlers have this one right, yes?

"Scream, Jump, Stop"
Yep, simple enough.
Take care of your needs and then stop.
Stop and reassess or relax or pause, 
before deciding how to begin again.
Or just stop and do something completely different.
 
Of course, if you're reading this as you move forward, 
then you would be stopping first.
That's not a bad idea!
How many times have we done or said something we wish we hadn't?
Maybe Stopping first is a pretty good habit.

"All the way back to Ringo's"
Substitute "Ringo" for whatever you need to return to.
Maybe it's the beginning.
Maybe it's a loved one lost in the busy hustle of daily life.
Maybe it your own authentic self, your own heart.
What does Ringo mean to you?
What would you like to go back to?

"Out"
I bet there are moments we'd all like a clear sign to the way out!
What would you like to move out of?
What would you like to see on the other side of "out"?

"No Go Back"

I bet there are also moments when we'd like to know for sure that "back" 
was the correct direction of travel!
The circled X speaks of danger, a warning.
What do you wish you'd been warned about?
On your life's game board, how many spaces would you "go back"?

"That way"
OK...now were on a better path.
See how some clarity along the way helps?!

"Cheer here"
Along the way...don't forget to cheer yourself and your fellow travelers on!
Even directions, hints and path corrections will do no good without some celebrating.
Embracing these moments will give you the strength to journey on.

"Look up - Again - Hard to see"
It's so easy to loose sight, isn't it?
Look up, look in...look around.
But, just LOOK.
Sometimes what were looking for takes a bit of searching.

"Look all around the driveway"
A little support in getting where we're going sure helps.

"Now go back you rat"
Sometimes the hardest lessons come from those that have entered our path
in a challenging or unfriendly way.
It's in those moments that we need to be brave and realize that,
while kind support is the best...
those who shower us with disequilibrium will also help us along our journey.
If we look hard enough, we may be able to see gifts from the bullies.
 
"Grace follow the arrows"
  It will be in the lessons we learn from our experiences, 
that will allow us to find grace...find peace, 
which will enable us to be supportive to others.

"Grace follow the arrows"
It will be all of it together that will allow us to make connections 
that are deep, rich and filling.

In blue: "Grace follow the arrows"

If in the days to come, the layers become tangled...
woven into one another and 
seemingly unclear...

In red: "Scream-Jump-Stop" (or Vice Versa)
...Know that you are among friends and
together we will find our ways.

*End of chronological photos
 
If you've read this far...
Thank You!
I wasn't sure where this post would end, 
when I wrote the beginning in my head while sleepless in bed.
But it seems that many life lessons fell out on the page here.
Maybe due to my thoughts tonight, or on the days I've read these messages.
 

When I spy chalk still on the ground...
I add a message of my own!
I hope they receive it with the excitement in which
I've received their messages!

"Smile"

I would like to meet these children and know of them more.
Know of their game.
Know of their ideas.

I wonder how these messages look in a child's eye.
Most likely not as profound as I see them.

I wonder what these messages would look like to a 12 year old 
sleeping in the hospital tonight after a triple dose of chemo.



Blessing for us all as we continue going.
 
Photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2014
*Note: These photos have been enhanced to allow them to be more easily read.  
This is a rare exception to my usual practice of unaltered photographs.

12 comments:

Marti said...

My wise old beloved Spanish Dad used to tell me when I was filled with angst that it was ok to sing and dance, (he would say this in Spanish, it was his phrase for going back and forth with worry) but he would add, soon you will stop, quiet yourself and the answers will come. I think we have to put it out there sometimes, see it in words, or hear it out loud before the quiet knowing comes...

deanna7trees said...

wishing you moments of joy. enjoy each moment as it comes. i gave up worries and regrets years ago...they take too much energy and the only results are further worries and regrets...a vicious cycle.

saskia said...

hi Nancy, wow what a lovely post! How great is it that you come across a walk like this?! thx for sharing it with us
Funny I had a sleepless night as well, i.e. I woke around 3:30, was fully awake and decided to start reading; usually I fall asleep soon enough, but not so this time: I continued to read for three hours! fell asleep and woke remarkably refreshed at 9:15, sometimes this extra time works out in a good way and I can enjoy reading in the quiet house.

Debbie said...

Sleepless nights are very familiar to me as well, but I'm usually too tired to do anything constructive, great post.1

Nancy said...

Marti~ I would surely love to hear this spoken in his words/voice! My dear friend, we used to work together, would share these kinds of verbal treasures with me in her native language, Spanish (from Mexico)...I loved every moment of that sharing.
And even if the answers don't come, it is important to "live the questions" as Rilke so beautifully said.

Deanna~ Yep it is a vicious cycle for sure. I continue to work towards giving them up!

Saskia~ Thank you. I look forward to going out to walk at lunch to see what additions/changes have been made to the game! Reading usually does it for me too.

Debbie~ Sometimes I'm to tired to actually DO what I'm thinking on...and then sometimes, I just have to or I will not settles into sleep.

Lynda said...

Nancy, a beautiful post for sure. And so validating to know that others lie sleepless some nights, working the lists, solving the problems, wearing tracks in the floor.

What a gift that you spotted these sidewalk chalk instructions and that you could wrap so much meaning around them.

~Lynda

Peggy said...

Hi Nancy! What a find! It looks like it was a little scavenger hunt, only different. It took you, and all of us then, too, on an inner journey. Wow. xoxo to you and Christopher.

Nancy said...

Lynda~ Thank you and yes, we are all in good company I think! There is meaning everywhere for me :)

Peggy~ Ha! A scavenger hunt! I never get to see them as I walk when they are most likely in school. Thanks for kindness for Christopher. He's resting at home now.

deemallon said...

what a find, this trail of words! love how you took us with you. It really, really would be nice to have directions as clear as 'look up' and 'stop', wouldn't it?! ESP. when dealing with those great teachers, people who 'shower us with disequilibrium' - so well said! And, one more thing - having one anxious kid and one not-so-much, I really do think we come in with a certain amount of anxiety and just have to learn how to deal with it.

Nancy said...

Dee~ Thank you. I'm glad you came along. I could sure use some clear directions now and then! And those 'great teachers' I've had way more than I'd like to count (or remember). I agree, there is much you are born with and then learn to deal with. My "Highly Sensitive Person" and introvert traits, combine with my life experiences really kick in!

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

i'm off to look for an arrow

Nancy said...

Grace~ Good luck with your search :) I've sure been thinking about you when I see these sidewalk games!