Author: Sheri Stewart

30 years ago today

 

in 48 hours
from today
as i sit writing this,
30 years ago
july 20th
my mother took
her last breath
and i have never
fully recovered
from the loss,
nor do i plan on it.
sure, i could take
down the photos of her
grab her blue suitcase
filled with her
wedding gown
and small pieces of her,
take the quilt she knit
as a girl scout
that is falling apart
i could even take her
jewelry box
that sits in my
home studio
and the letters
she wrote me
buy a Tupperware bin
box it up
put in in storage
and walk away,
letting pieces of her
sit
in
silence,
live
in
darkness,
hoping
they fade from memory
believing forgetting
is the best thing
sheri can do
to heal her self…


BULLSHIT!
i was her daughter.
she was my mother.
we were both
blessed
to have each other
as safe refuges
to cry, talk, dream
and just be,
and
i
miss her.
i have no-one to share
this loss with.
my three brothers
and father
never talk about her…
i used to text them
all on the 20th
but their
lack of response
taught me
i was crossing
a line
they could not…
each one has their own reason,
i suppose
and if i asked d
he may say,
‘that’s just how men are…’
maybe so,
but being the little sister
the baby of the family
and the only girl
i hoped just once
they would call me
cry with me
tell me
they miss her…
maybe
they
DON’T.
sure,
my dad remarried
three years after
my mother
lost her life to cancer,
but he married her good friend
who had lost her husband
and i thought,
‘what a perfect match…
we can all still talk about
mom because there
were 40 years of shared
friendship and memories…’
but
NO.
even
my aunt,
her sister
does not talk
about
dory,
at least to me
on the rare chance
i get to see her…
i tried several times to call her
just to hear her voice
which sounds like my moms
and ask her to tell me stories
of mom,
but
NO.
my adult children
all know about
grandma angels,
they have heard my pain
they know my
yearly rituals
of this sad day
as does my love…


but how nice it would be
for someone
anyone
who knew
dory,
loving
kind
giving
sweet
beautiful
dory
to watch the sun rise
with me
as i pray
to God
on the beach
my mother loved,
or ring up my phone
ask me how i am
or share a story
about her…
loss
is
never-ending.
no matter how much
you say you have
moved on,
healed,
locked it away…
if that person
you loved and lost
could come back
and see you
stand face to face
what would they think?
could they see
the memory of them
in your home
your heart
hear them in your words?
we are supposed
to accept loss
as part of life
and reattaching
to another spouse
is healthy
normal
ok…
but how do you
just forget
the years you spent
with them?
i do not idolize my mother
nor do i put her
up on a pedestal
i accepted her as a flawed woman
years ago
but it cannot erase
the fact
that i am her daughter
and i love
and miss her…
we had that
magic connection
loved hanging out
running errands
sipping wine…
she was the only person
in my life
thus far
that i have
ever had it with…
so,
today,
for those of you
who actually read me
i have a favor to ask…
whomever that person
is for you
that you love so much
trust
and are heart to heart
close to
no matter who it is
call them up
tell them you l love them
and share a memory
to make them giggle…
laughter
is good for the soul
and love
never ends…

Read More 30 years ago today

slogans at nautilus teachings

some slogans are like labels-
full of lies…

No one actually believes
what they read.
is this really the
‘friendliest town in the country?’
People pick up food filled with preservatives
unable to actually decipher 99%
of the ingredients
because they are all some
type of chemical
added to flavor it,
make it last
give it color…
they go to cities
not knowing it is ridden with crime
because the local government
doesn’t want the truth
out there, for fear
it will scare
away precious tourist dollars…
Food expires,
so we throw it away.
Cities change
so we move
or we adapt.
Do you know how many calories
each bite of that really has?
do you care?
Do you know how many people live
in your city?
should you?

 

Slogans are like bumper stickers
If you blink you may not catch it all
So,
“the city to watch”
Slips through the eyes quickly as
“the city who what?”
Or,
“it’s happening here”
May be like playing telephone and be seen
As
“let’s have a beer”
Finally
“the city in the suburbs”
If not read correctly could actually
Say
“the city in the turds”
we rush by, driving
faster than the allowed speed
our cell phone glued to our side
gps telling us which way to turn…
without technology,
would be all be lost?
floating around
as if we are bobbing at sea
with no wind for our sail?

Slogans are for the politicians
businesses, corporations
even colleges…
For those who need their ego
to be stroked
For the ones who are in charge everywhere
To say, “I was chosen”
my food is the best
our football team is number one
i will make your city, state, life easier
if you just elect me…
slogans are the words politicians feel convey
The Heart of their city or themselves…
But,
What city isn’t one to watch
Don’t they all deserve support and protection
Does not each city think
It’s the place to be because it’s happening there, too?
Finally, c’mon the city in the suburbs
Aren’t most cities in the burbs or they would be called towns?

Slogans I do not carry with me
labels i do not use
yet for some people
their lips never stop,
‘oh, she’s dumber than a doorknob’
‘he is clueless…’
‘can you believe how judgmental
they are?’
i don’t believe in calling
people stupid, ugly, fat
or telling them to shut up…’
i do however endorse
the occasional
and only if well deserved
and earned
‘fuck off!’

Each person born
Sees their birthplace
Through the eyes
Of those they love
Through colors,
scents
and seasons…
Hurts, joys,
loves, beginnings…
Each person
Thinks where they came from
To be a place
No one else recognizes
For no one shares
The same
Dreams,
The same sensations
Or the same
Denials..
And this says to me
The only reason we have
Slogans

Is not for the dreamers
The artists
The writers
Or the givers

Slogans

Are for the takers
The do-gooders
The wanna be’s
Who walk through life with blinders on

do we all really wanna
‘just do it?’
are we all
‘worth it?’
have you
‘got milk?’
do we believe BMW is
‘the ultimate driving machine?’
we know without being told
that m&m’s
will ‘melt in our mouth’
but i beg to differ with the rest
of their slogan,
‘but not in your hands…’
of course they will
if you don’t eat them fast enough…
why do we need slogans
are we that dimwitted
that uneducated
unable to make up
our own minds
that we have to be led
by every company
like a horse to water?

my tiny town
of Elgin is known as
the watch city
do to the famous elgin watch company
illinois is known
as the land of lincoln
the prairie state
and don’t forget the
’s’ is silent…
does any of this information
matter to me
at all?
NOPE
when i think of my
birthplace
i think of lords park
where i escaped to
every day…
growing up
i thought
‘wow…this is the place
the lord lives
so i am safe…’
for me
it held magic
and for me
it still does
today…
in a few months
the holiday season will
be upon us
the commercials
will begin
and we will all smile
shed a tear
as coca-cola serenades us with
‘I’d like to buy the world a home
And furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees
And snow white turtle doves

I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I’d like to buy the world a Coke
And keep it company
That’s the real thing…’
and when super bowl rolls around
and budweiser
once more reveals
their always beautiful
heart felt
clydesdale commercials
i dare you not
to shed a tear…
we
as humans
like slogans
because
they are like
a familiar tune
a daily routine
they are an expectation
we never have to
second guess…
as we get older
and have grandchildren
we fall into old habits
we buy them frosted flakes
and say,
“They’re G-r-r-r-eat!”
we buy them a treat
singing happily,
“Gimme a Break, Gimme a Break
break me off a piece of that
kit kat bar”
as for the rest of them
floating around this big universe,
and they are everywhere
we look,
all i have to say is,
‘nothing outlasts the energizer bunny!’

 

Read More slogans at nautilus teachings

home towns at nautilus teachings

in order to connect
with our inner self
we need to go back
to not just our family
but our surroundings
the town we
were raised up in,
mine was Elgin, Il…
Elgin national watch company
Opened late 19th century
Closed mid 20th century
Torn down 1965
Largest producer of watches in the USA
Elgin clocks still hang at union station chicago
Sears Catalogue Homes built here 1908-1940
Gail Borden est. Condensed milk here 1900’s
Earned fame for butter and dairy
And sold all over Chicago
Chicago Union RailRoad built upon the banks of the Fox River
Connecting Elgin with Chicago and other major cities
Victorian Era- Queen Anne Style Homes-built late 1900”s
Around Lords Park
1898 George and Mary Carpenter Lord
Present to the city of Elgin 108 Acres
With the agreement it will remain a park forever
Fox river
Busiest waterway in the midwest starting
In mid 1800’s
Whew!!!
What does all this mean to me?
Memories
Lots
And
Lots
Of
Memories…
Lords park
Green, lush hills
With wildflowers that
Tasted like honey…
An upper and lower lagoon
To catch ugly catfish out of in summer
And ice skate upon in the winter…
Elgin Zoo
With roaming animals that smelled like
Fresh straw and burning leaves
Still alive and now has a FB page!
Elgin Museum opened in 1920
I can still see the cobwebs
And smell the old books
And so can my grandson!
Elgin pool
Where I became a mermaid
Or sea turtle or
Colorful fish
Now has water slides,
An aquatic center
And lap lanes
Some even indoor-
Lords Park Pavilion
I would run up and down the steps
Watch weddings
Go to parties here
And
Dream
Of being a princess…
RENOVATED
And still
Bringing smiles to thousands each year

Whew!
Yet, what does it all mean?
It was the greatest place to be a kid
I could run free
I could hide
I could sing
My childhood palette began here
My polly pocket dolls would get married
Under the lily of the valley flowers
I would talk to mr. Caterpillar
As he crawled up the gnarly oak trees
I would gaze at the swans
Hoping one day, I too would be beautiful
I would watch the waterfall
As it changed from crystal to aqua to golden brown
I would ride my bike around the lagoons
As fast as I could hoping I would become invisible
I would lie in the summer grasses and eat
The honey tasting wild flowers
I would slide down the frozen hills in winter
And zip across the frozen lagoon on my saucer
Or ice skate to the center of the hard water
And perch upon the island eating the fresh snow
I can gaze up to the sky at this very moment
And I am there-
Huge cool snowflakes landing upon my lashes
Catching them on my tongue,
Running through the crunchy
Mandarine orange, bright yellow and umber brown leaves,
I smell the lavender lilacs as the warm summer breezes blow As they are dancing a ballet just for me
Warm,
Wonderful
Memories
Wash over me and craddle me in my mother’s arms…
And what does it mean today?
I visit every chance I get
I watch the baby raccoons cling to their mamas,
I giggle at the russet colored squirrels gathering their nuts for the long winter ahead
I listen to the voices of children who stroll the sidewalks now and hear their dreams
I can gaze through the pavilion windows and
See the beautiful fancy balls
And smell the home cooked pies and cakes
I sit on the front porch of my child hood home
And remember front porch swinging with my mom
And laughing so hard my belly hurt
I see my best friend Brigid and I playing
Games on the front porch
Or Jodi and I running from the cold summer water sprinklers and baking our shivering bodies on the
Steaming hot cement
I can feel the warmth
The burn of child hood memories
The cloud that hovers over it all stays at bay
Because there was just too much goodness
Out
Side
Of
The
House
711 linden avenue, elgin illinois
My address


The grey, white shuttered Queen Anne two story
Where my innocence was lost
My dreams shattered
My soul crush
And
My under the sea world began
The greasy charcoal black basement
Filled with cob webs and dead bugs
With its dusty walls and my mom’s
Bright burnt orange washer and dryer
With sunbeam yellow rugs in front of it
The place where I was locked in by my brothers
And left alone into the darkest hours of the night
Where somehow I would find clear vision
And start to mosaic images out of all the broken
Pieces laying upon the dingy floor
The tiny one windowed bathroom with the huge white tub
Where my mother would give me Mr. Bubble bubble baths
And bring me warm chocolate chip cookies and cool ice cream as a treat for being filthied by my brothers the two toe headed demons
Images of today reflect yesterdays truths
The truth is
I loved my childhood
Even given all the abuse
There was always a bright color to fall into
A soft light to warm me
A fresh smell to feed my soul
And a melody of life
I could take flight upon
I could escape the madness
I created a world that was whimsical
With round curves
Tons of belly giggles
And sails full of gentle winds
To carry me to new home ports
As I walk my life’s path today
I still tumble down those red wooden steps
Into the abyss of my childhood
I still ache with pains that remain unhealed
I have wounds which ooze less frequently
And the stench which I carry within
Is at times again the fragrant breeze
Of my youth
I am my own headline
I am a walking, brilliant billboard
Filled with passionate writings
I am a midwestern girl
Who was quietly saved by the
Atlantic ocean,
The healing blue waters,
Wise old mr. Hawksbill,
Fancy finns
And the multi-hued fish friends
Who all encompass my youth
This art filled soul
Who was taught
Cornered silence
By her father
Ugliness by her brothers
And great love
By her mother
Today stands before you and proudly says,
“Lords Park is my home
It is my center
It is my soul
It was a gift from God
That I should be rescued
By the amazing world
Which surrounded my home.”
And that my life
is something
no one can ever,
ever take from me…
My palette
My world
My words
My breath

 

 

Read More home towns at nautilus teachings

life is a hard lesson at nautilus teachings

 

one day
it all hit me
i literally broke open
accepting that
Life is a hard lesson…
it fell into my world
At a time in my life
When I struggled
To accept
That I am good
or worthy…
I wanted to rid my life
Of all the corners
I hide in
I wanted to heal the wounds
With super glue
So I never had to feel the pain
I wanted to plant gardens
Of beautiful lilac bushes,
Lily of the valley flowers
And soft yellow daffodils
So I woke to a fragrance
That washed away the stench
Of the filth I floated in for so long
I wanted to learn to play the piano
So I could sing myself home….
I just could seem to paint my way out
I wanted to fill my world
With the knowledge
That I am enough…
A week of reflecting
upon my life
Has reinforced in me
The fact that
I have not yet healed
I have been walking blindfolded
Deaf to my own words
My own preaching
Of inner peace
And my lack of ability
To breathe through anxiety…
I carry with me
The stains of my youth
The mistakes of my adulthood
And the regrets of my life so far.
I can easily express hurt
In my photography
In my writing
I allow pain to wash over me
And carry me down the streams
Of what I cannot undo
Outwardly I smile,
I love,
I give
I
Share…
Vibrant colors surround me
They fill up the empty canvases
With childish images of my immature self
Do I really want to grow up?
Do I really wish to heal?
Or do I feed upon my memories
And cherish them because they fuel
My creativity,
Am I looking for the easy way out?
What have I learned in the past 5 years?
do I still crave more knowledge
Of my craft, my life, my family…?
Home is a very very hard lesson for me
during my life, I wish to be able to
Smell the school bus yellow tomatoes sweetness
That sit upon my counter each day until I eat them
I want to lie in the soft grasses and smell the baby sprouts
Growing up towards the canary yellow sun that warms my world
I want to step into the ocean
One baby step at a time and begin to feel
The healing waters I write so deeply and passionately about
I want to begin to write the story of my heart
The good story
The one that cradles me at night
The one that warms me in the brisk wind
The one that sings when I look into the eyes of the man I love
Or sit and listen to our children speak of their grown up lives
I want to sit in silent awe at the amazing grace
All around me and bloom…
Not for the world to see
But for me
So when I stand in front of the mirror each day
I feel proud of who I am
I feel washed of the sins of my past
I feel thankful for all of my life
I feel the love which is so freely given to me
And most of all
That I was not a mistake…

Read More life is a hard lesson at nautilus teachings

tell your story at nautilus teachings

 

I needed no one
I had no voice
yet I had vision
I had no choice
yet I had color
I had no one
Therefore I grew up needing no one…

Small, tan, quiet, ruled, love
My mother was short and tan
She had big chocolate eyes
And smelled like cigarettes and perfume
She spent hours alone in silence baking
Wonderful cookies, cakes and pies for us to eat
My father ruled her, my brothers tortured her
But nothing seemed to stop her outpouring of love
When she spoke her words melted upon my tongue
Like a chocolate chip cookie from the oven
And when she smiled and laughed
I belly giggled right along

Cornered, driven, sad, wordless, ruler
My father taught me cornered silence
Sit in a corner and shut up
He was only visibly home on Saturday night and Sundays
Otherwise he was at work, in school or at church
I don’t remember his smile when I was young
He was always spanking my brothers or yelling at mom
Now he always smiles because he cannot hear
Few words spewed forth from his mouth that was
Not a command or punishment
My mom called him her knight in shinning armor
To me he was just a rusted tin can

Invisible, cruel, tall, baby oiled, hairy
my oldest brother was 11 years my senior
I have very few memories of him
except when he was home, he protected me from harm
The rest of the time he was my invisible brother
My mother would cry over him not coming home and say
He was cruel for not stopping in to see his mother
Why would he come here I thought?
He was tall, and skinny to the bone
He was always baby oiled up in the summer
I can remember his hair-everywhere hair
arms, legs, chest, long head hair, but he was soft

Two demons-three years apart, four letter words, pain, spit, urine, empty
they were three and five years older than me.
They spoke filthy, ugly, nasty words to me
They pushed me down the wooden steps, they tackled me
They held me down, they spit upon me, they tickled me
Til I wet my pants, they called me names,
They never loved me -They always hated me
And every night my father would spank them
And even though I looked through the key hole to see
I felt no relief from my inside pain
I would retreat to the closet under the red wooden steps an empty shell and alone

I needed no one
I had no voice
yet I had vision
I had no choice
yet I had color
I had no one
Therefore I grew up needing no one…

My world was the sun, water, textures, colors, silence, tears, fear
My friend the sun, warmed my tiny body in the summer
My soulmate the water taught me I could be free
The rugged trees made me realize I needed a shield
The soft grass, a hand to hold
The scented flowers-that I needed to find my voice
Everywhere I turned were colors for my palette in life
I locked them up with the images I drew inside my
Empty canvased head, for silence was my best friend
Tears washed away the filth I felt and healed
The open wounds which bled each day as I opened my eyes
Fear overtook my tiny soul and I became bound to it
Like a leech to slimy moss in the creek outside

Beauty, innocence, wonder, adventure, dreams
I lived across the street from Lords Park
A park the Lord made, I thought
It was there I felt safe, there I felt home
And there I felt love
I ran free with my innocence shinning brightly behind
My tiny peach smile, a child of wonder stopping to pick
Flowers, eat wild grapes, marvel at the beauty of the
White swans or sit in terror at the caged tiger, bear and snake that hissed my way
Each day a new adventure with made up friends, and a heart full of dreams
Until from behind a gnarly oak a demon would buzz out
And tackle me to the earth and begin his torture

Avocado green, burnt orange, windows, lost
The avocado green sofa sleeper in the front room overlooking Lords Park is where my parents slept
The thin blanket which covered them at night was burnt orange, white and tangerine
The windows behind the sofa were Gods eyes into the soul of this household where all the cornered secrets lay in wait to be unclothed
Yet I was the one who was stripped of my innocence
by the two toe headed demons -I was the one who was lost and set upon a journey I could not return from
A boat bobbing up and down amongst the tumultuous waves

Friend, hide, osmosis, freckles, catholic
My best friend was Brigid
She was red haired, soft, big brown eyes and giggled
We would hide me in her attic to protect me from them
She would seek out safe places for me to stay
We communicated through what everyone called “osmosis”
To us we could laugh, smile or just look at each other
And know what the other was thinking
We were inseparable for the most part
Her whole family was covered head to toe in freckles
To this day I love freckles and all my husband have
Been covered in freckles
She was Catholic and I was Protestant
She went to church on Saturday so her dad could get drunk Saturday night
I went to church on Sunday so my dad could pretend
He was a devoted and good husband and father

Hills, safe, fish fries, candy store , malts
The small town I grew up in was full of hills and long sidewalks with tall houses filled with kids, pets and cigarettes
I always felt safe in my neighborhood, I just never felt it in my own home which was painted light grey
I loved the front porch with the swing and the warm sun which shone upon it
Every Friday in the summer we would get fish fry for dinner from the local theatre and right down the block
Was a house that was converted into a candy store
Each time my grandfather came over and sat in the chair he would make sure his pockets were full of change so we could race to it and spend it all on candy
Well the demons would get it but grandpa always called me over and gave me a quarter with a wink and a smile
We did get allowance for chores and I would spend every dime at Sellers Drug Store Soda Fountain sucking down a chocolate malt or fresh cherry coke
It was a good place to grow up because there were so many colors, scents and soft places to land

I needed no one
I had no voice
yet I had vision
I had no choice
yet I had color
I had no one
Therefore I grew up needing no one…

Canvases, paints, computer, corners, water
Wherever I am I need canvases, walls, my skin-just surfaces to breathe onto them my feelings, images and release all the colors I hold within
I need my paints because I cannot exist in a black and white hard edged double sworded world
My computer has taken the place of my journals and pens which is a good thing since I can back up my files and my tears fall upon my lap instead of smearing the ink
I need corners to crawl into, to snuggle up against, to hide in, to protect my thin layered heart and patch worked self and to heal
I need to live near the water knowing that I can at any time escape upon it and sail as far away as I the winds will take me, I need to walk along the shores to feel the healing currents of life giving blues

Ideal? Local? Hometown? Inside?
Is there really such a thing as an ideal person?
Is there a person who does not hurt, who does not get angry, who does not need, who does not weep?
Are the local people any different from the hometown people I grew up with?
I see reflections of people from my past in the faces of the those in my present
Are we not all walking the same life at different times?
Are there more than one of us roaming this earth?
Do we really all have a twin?
Could they be in both places? Is this why at the age of 50 I still feel unsettled, afraid, anxious, guarded, ready to pounce at the shadows which follow me, the images which haunt me, the voices which speak to me?
We carry with us the souls of those we loved
The bandaged packages of their lives strewn amongst
The cobwebs of memories
We carry the burdens of our mother’s and father’s and try desperately to free ourselves from the chains of traditions we no longer value, from commitments we do not wish to keep and from people we no longer have anything in common with
We grow
We grow up
We grow out
We grow in
Into
Our
Self
Knowing
We CAN live alone
We CAN be in silence
We CAN exist in this crazy world
In any city, any town, any country
As long as we have
What we value the most closest to us

What is that?
For me
It is love
It is freedom
It is softness
It is silence
It is color
It is release
Of emotion
Of
Words
Of
Images
Of
feelings
It is my life
No matter where I live
I cannot escape
Where I came from
Who I came from
What I lived through
Or where I called home
Remember,

I needed no one
I had no voice
yet I had vision
I had no choice
yet I had color
I had no one
Therefore I grew up needing no one…

I survive today
Because I have love
I breathe today
Because I have great support
I smile today
Because I have found me
In a tiny, itty bitty surfer town
Surrounded by faces
Embraces
Acceptance
By so many beautiful souls
From all over the country
Each reminding me of
Some one,
Some thing
Or some
Place of
My past
And through all of this madness
It all comes down to one famous line
All you need is love…

 

 

Read More tell your story at nautilus teachings

finding a new home at nautilus teachings

 

have you
ever wished
you could just
run away,
pack a bag
change your name
sail away
just find a spot
claim it as your own
and not
let
any
one
person
inside?

for me,
staying was never an option
it was how fast could i run
how far could i go
and how much time did i have
before they found out i was gone
and as i turned around to pack
there were her sad brown eyes

everywhere i turned there she was
folded in the bed linens was her touch
turned down pages in books from her soft fingers
a multi colored blanket being knit with her love
scattered pieces of her were everywhere
i was super glued to her

i was her bandage
i was her handkerchief
i was her embrace
i was her smile
leaving home meant putting me last

i stayed.
i went to the college my dad picked
i married the man my mom chose
i lived in the town that rotted my soul
i was drowning with no savior in sight
and then came the words

you have Leukemia
you have 6 months to live
get your affairs in order
and prepare to die
my mom would leave me first

i was suffocating
she would never see my kids
she would not visit my white picket fenced home
she would not smile any more
half of me was dying
so i got pregnant
i gave her hope to live
while my dad said over and over
“your mom is not going to die…”
i had a son
my mom died 15 months later
and we never had our last conversation

the one she needed
the talk she begged me to come over for
but i was sick with fever
so i waited
2 days too long
and then she was gone

i divorced her pick
i married a beach bum bartender
i met on vacation
but i was still stuck in my hometown
because of baby daddy
how do i get out of here

i wanted to run
i planned the escape, but
my son was now my heart

i stayed
i stayed
we married
i had two more kids
and i never moved away
i lived within my paintings

and then we won lottery
we moved far south
and i took my son
life was going to be amazing?
halt right there…
reality was-
no sex, no love, no honesty
he was all
drugs, alcohol and numbness

my life spun out of control
he cross-dressed
he became an alcoholic
he became a drug addict
i became a pro at faking happiness

i went back home
to visit family
i walked the park
i remembered mom
and i ran as fast as i could back south

i bought a sailboat
opened a bookstore
raised my kids
and rehabbed him over and over
sheri was no where to be found

one more move
this time to florida
a new start
a fresh life
did i mention drugs, alcohol and cross dressing?

he was out of control
he stole my boat
he built a meth lab on my boat
i filed for divorce
i hired a bounty hunter

i kicked my son out
my daughter had sex
my baby girl attached to another family
i began to grow up
i lost the little girl and found my soul

colors surrounded me
memories engulfed me
i was prone to fits of anger
i spent hours cornered in tears
images began to flow from brush to canvas

my life unfolded in words
i found almost too hard to grasp
i found myself needing air
needing light and movement
i called upon mr. hawksbill and my fish friends

in my mind i was back home
i was swimming in Lords Park pool
with all my brilliantly colored fish friends
i was Fancy Finns the mermaid
my breathing became melodic

just like the tethered movements
of Mr. Hawksbills flippers
i was cradled in love
in warmth and my mothers arms
home – a place i never belonged

now reverberated out a feeling
that maybe,just maybe
home was my solace
home was where my colors blossomed
one phone call changed that thought

my father was on the other end
“when are you going to get a real job, Sher?”
“when are you going to do something with your life?”
“You cannot make money with a hobby.”
glub, glub, glub-i sank to the murky bottom

as my divorce progressed
my son found a job and was walking uphill now
my middle daughter did graduate H.S.
and my baby girl, was no longer attached to me
i felt tied to lies

for 45 years i did what other people wanted
they were the masters-i the puppet
how did i find my truths
where did i look
i stood at waters edge

face to the wind
tears streaming down my cheeks
“is my life over God? is this all i get?”
“how do i start over one more time?”
i walked clothed into the waves

fell into the current
and cried, “make me a fish so i can swim far far away”
instead, i washed ashore with sand in my mouth
clothes stuck to my body
and i belly giggled myself back to life

i had no home to go back to
my whole world was shattered
my kids to far from my grasp
my soon to be second ex was now in jail
my beautiful sailboat in port for me to board

or was it?
the boat was confiscated by the Key West police
Hazmat was called in to remove the meth lab
my dream of sailing the world now a million pieces
i turned back to the art of mosaic

i began to put the fragments of my life together
this time it was MY way
it was Sheri’s way or I could not survive
I pulled my kids back as much as i could
and dismembered my old life

section by section i sold off or gave away everything-
all that was left, was this marvelous blank canvas
i stepped back to view my “self”
when i turned around with a big grin
Holy Shit- there he was #three

fuck, fuck, fuck, he was cute and smart
and staring at barnacled ole’ me
he was my neighbor, he was a Dr. of Psychology
he was single, and if he was looking at me
he was certifiably crazy

was he my new home?
Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph why now, why me?
we fell into each other and made a home
two doors down from where my first 42 years ended
did i stay or did i go?

i never left home because i carried with me
the memory of my mother’s love and guidance
on the other hand i will never ever return
for the memories are too much to bare.
will i ever have a home?

i will forever flow like the tide
in and our of different homeports
always searching for who i am, where i belong
and what i am here for
always taking time for belly giggles

always painting my way out of corners
or writing my way out of the depth of sadness
for almost 42 years home was a hard lesson
today i breathe each new day in, smile
and thank God for lending me this life

this wonderful, color filled life
i have an Art Studio to teach out of,
i have lots of women who’s lives i touch every day
i have an amazing family, support and great love
am i home?
for now
the
answer
is
yes

 

Read More finding a new home at nautilus teachings

what is home at nautilus teachings

 

what comforts you
cradles you
encompasses you in peace
leading you to feel home
even if
you are not
physically there?

for me,
Home is the color blue
Whether swimming in the water
Painting with the various hues
Or just going there in my mind
Blue is my core and my center…
when i cannot sleep at night
i paint my dreams midnight blue
with turquoise bubbles…

Home are my paints and canvases
Upon this surface I create dreams
I rid myself of pain
I embark upon new journey’s
Paints and canvases still me
they heal me
they allow me to release
in words
splatters
long strokes
and vibrant colors
all i have held inside…

Home is where I can hide all my secrets
I can wrap them in journals
I can write them on walls
I can type them into my computer
But most of all I can leave them there
protected
safe
silent…
when the hurricane forced
us to leave last year
i fell to the floor in my studio
and wept
realizing
there was a chance
my whole world
could be washed away
forever…

Home is where beautiful silence exists
There is no noise, no televison, radio or words
when i am alone
There are no bodies which conflict
No schedules, no demands and no pain
In the quiet peace of home I breathe
in my faith
my strength
and the knowing
here,
i
am
safe…

Home is knowing there are no more corners
or closets i need to hide in…
only rounded soft curves of silky memories
Woven quilts with golden thread by my mothers hands
Breezes blowing through open windows
memories hung on walls
and every color tells
a healing story of my life…

Home is safe, home is open, home is free.

Me.
Only I
can explain my definitions…
each one of us sees home
as a completely different place…
Within the corners of my memories
Exist images and words to vile to survive,
yet somehow
every now and then
they blast at me from the beyond
and i find myself struggling
to not latch on to that which i
accepted as my life for so long…
i thought i was loved.
i thought love was pain.
i thought love was obedience.
i thought love left bruises
and made you cry…

I
Did
Survive.
I am my story
I am the teller
And
My words
Are my
Truth…

Defining home does not belong on magnets
T-shirts
Or
Bumper stickers
Home is defined in the heart
To reach the heart
One needs words
And one needs
An
Open soul
To listen…

I
Live
the definitions
Of home
Each
Day
In
Every
Way
In
Order
To
Breathe
To
Paint
To
Grow
To
Live…

If I were not to live my definitions of Home
I would be walking in the shadows which I let
Define me for way too many years
Home is me
Home is now

My writing
Needs home
It needs
Blue
Words
Blue chords
Blue
Tears,
The paper
Will
Be
My
Canvas
The
Words
My
paint
In releasing
My words
I
Allow
The windows
Of my home
To be
Opened
Wide
With
Trust
With
Faith
With
Strength
Quieting
My mind
Is essential
When
The world
Screams
Around me
I must
Learn
I
Am not
Alone
And
I
Can
Be
Where
There
Is
Intrusion
And
Still
Be
Safe,
So
I will
Roll
With
The
Tide
I
Will
Swim
With
The
Fishes
I
Will
Allow
Mr.
Hawksbills
Tethered
Movements
To
Sing
Me
To
Grace
And
I
Will
Become
A
Mermaid
Who
One
Day
Will
Swim
Far
Far
Away
From
The
madness
knowing no matter where i go
i am
truly
home…

Read More what is home at nautilus teachings

why are you here at nautilus teachings

 

 

where did you come from?
why do you think you were born?
5 years ago i began
a healing journey
towards an understanding
of my truths.
i know my mother wanted me.
i know i was an ‘uh, oh!’
but i never got a chance
to ask my mother any questions
since she died when i was 25
and at that time in my life
i had no questions
because i was to caught up
in her fighting to stay alive
marrying a man i should not have
having a son i prayed for
and having no clue as to who i was
or what i should do with my life…
this is how i imagined her truth…

A woman’s prayer was answered
In May of 1962 in the ‘burbs’ of Chicago.
Tears streaming down her cheeks
She begged God for solace, for relief
From the demons which inhabited her home.
“Please God, give me a daughter,
Give me someone who will love me back…”
As the lunches were served around the city
I entered with a mere coo, a soft smile and a cornered heart.
At the same time the two toe headed demons
Planned my demise while my father continued
To build a wall of steel, surrounded by poisonous words.

I was a gift to my mother.
Ruled by my father, tortured by my brothers
My mother was soft, full of color and light.
Her soul was nearly snuffed out by the three of them.
As she held me in her arms, her burdens began to lift-
If only for mere moments of time.
She would dress me in pretty coats with matching bonnets
Or brush my long silky hair.
As I grew and hung on to her apron strings
My spirit hidden behind my big brown eyes
My happiness depended upon the
words I was expected to lock inside.
i had no voice
was silenced by my brothers
and retreated to the small space
under the red wooden steps
creating my make believe world
in writing and drawings…

i think it was amusement for them
to watch me
Tumble down the red wooden steps …
being pushed and shoved by my brothers
Left my tiny soul shattered, yet I always knew
My mother would be there to hold and rescue me.
I would wake to her smile, I would follow her scent,
I would draw in her colors and i would feel her pain.
i knew my presence made her smile
and lightened her load…
she shared her life with me,
faith, prayer, baking, laundry…
no matter what, she taught me how
and included me…
when she would dress for date night every Saturday, I would lie
on the bed and gaze at her beauty. She was the rose
on the thorns, and this image flowed through my veins like a slow,
Long ride on a squishy inner tube down the lazy river
Surrounded by yellow daffodils and linen white Lily of the valley flowers.

I knew as a child I was her beating heart.
That I was given to be her red lipsticked smile.
I was hers, so she could be mine.
This may sound silly, but we drew from each other
Strength, faith, hope, love and the dream of
Living behind a white picket fence instead of being
Locked up and surrounded by the runoff of filth,
Pain, torture and words which could never be unsaid.
which is why when husband #1
found me
i married him.
my mother said,
‘sher, he can give you that white picket fence,
a good home, travels, kids…
the life i always dreamed of…’
how could i not marry him
and live my life for her?
i loved her.
she was the reason
i was here…

In my mother’s short life upon this earth
I loved her as the the seedlings are quenched by the rain.
I was born, to live, to die, to live again and while I am here
Her story I will tell, her love I will share and I WILL BLOOM….

Read More why are you here at nautilus teachings

going home at nautilus teachings

 

can you go home?
where is home?
how do you define home?
does home even exist?
my plane is landing
this fall near my
hometown
and i
am going home.
driving back
to the pathways
of my youth…
i will weave in
and out
of memories
of the
large park
i used to hide in…
i will stroll
hand in hand
with my d
as i am encompassed
with pain
wonder
shame
and love…
i will have him
take my photograph
in front of my old
house-
the one with the
red wooden steps
i hid under as a child
creating my
imaginary
colorful world
i now share
with the world on canvas…
i will gaze at the
now blue house
which once was gray
and know
this was my home…
it doesn’t look the same
the wrap around front porch
was taken off years ago
the tiny back yard
is now one big ugly cement barn…
but the winding road, leading
back to 2 small houses
and the entry to my hill
the one i used to roll down
until i landed under the
grape vines to hide,
dream or maybe even
munch on a ripe purple gift
is still there…


my lily of the valley are gone
as is my fathers big weeping willow
the lilac bushes are still there
and Lords park
will always hold my secrets…
it was the place my
mother brought me
after i was born.
the white tub
was the one
my parents
gave me ice baths in
to quickly cool
my feverish body
until i was diagnosed
with petit mal epilepsy…
it was the place
i toppled down the steps
each time my brothers
found it humorous to watch…
but there was also
a kitchen
always filled with
yummy baking breads,
cookies, muffins…
a table where i
celebrated my first 11
birthdays
and a huge window
looking out onto
my park-
Lords Park…
so, can you go home?
in many ways
the answer is yes.
i can go back to the exact
location,
turn on the flickering
reel of memories
and let it all encompass me…
is this my home?
no,
but it is where
i first met God,
where i learned
to trust my faith…
it’s also a place filled
with pain, anger
and unanswered prayers..


home,
by definition
is wherever you are
with the ones you love.
some of us shed our homes
like hermit crabs
living almost a gypsy life
in need of constant change,
while others love the routine
the repetitiveness of
knowing what each day holds…
does home exist?
home lives inside
each person.
it is the place
you can breath
feel accepted
cry
hope
dream…
for me
home is the color blue,
my paints and canvases,
it’s where i can hide all my secrets…
home is where beautiful silence exists,
home is knowing there are no more corners
needed to hide in,
home is safe, open free…
over the next few weeks
i will be sharing with you
thoughts of how i found
my home
inside
of
me…
it was only in the going back,
opening up all those closed doors
i locked
and examining thoroughly
what is my purpose
and why am i here…
in a few months,
as i ride from the airport
to my home town
as i drive down streets
i ran, skipped, biked
jump roped and played upon
as my aging eyes
take in the reality surrounding me
while my brain and heart
pump out conflicting images
of what it used to be in the 60’s
i will hold no fear.
i have not been home 10 years.
i still want to knock upon
the door of my old
711 Linden Ave. house of my youth
but i won’t
because inside is not
my home
nothing is the same
accept the walls…
the colors
scents
furniture…
all of it is wrong
and would displace
the very vivid images
i hold so dear…


i do want to see
the closet
underneath the steps
where i built my world
but i know
i should not.
can you go home?
where is home?
how do you define home?
does home even exist?
-i-
am home…
-me-
is where it lives…
and no matter how much
i think going home
visiting old haunts
will heal me
hold me
define me
i know
it cannot
will not and
does not…
there will always
be a disconnect
between memory
and reality…
if you don’t believe this
just watch a group of people-
-any age-
play telephone…
not only does the
original message get
completely messed up
but by the end
everyone always giggles…
this is what life is about
letting some of it just dissolve
and holding tight
that which brings us joy.

 

 

 

 

Read More going home at nautilus teachings

him at nautilus teachings

 

entering
the softly lit
room,
her eyes
landed upon him
and his soft smile…
quickly glancing downward
she slid
through the crowd,
grabbed a glass of wine
and settle within view
of his form.
she wanted
to fold into him.
at first sight
it appeared
her soft edges
would not conform
to his very
already formed
boxed edges…
at this moment
in her life
she was like
silly putty,
moldable,
warm,
open to
new feelings
beliefs
and ready
to set foot
upon a new path
in life…
he stood
tall,
strong,
like a
solid oak tree.
his arms
were like
willow branches
grasping at every person
passing,
hugging them
into his space.
it appeared as if
each person
held a piece
of his heart…
she took in
a long deep breath
and slowly exhaled.
she knew
never again
would one person
hold all of her secrets
or reach into
the depths of her soul
leaving her broken,
should they ever
choose to leave…
this was her fear.
life had taught her
keep the most important thing
sacred
secret
silent,
don’t tell any one person
what she saw
what she heard
what she knew,
just in case…
she learned
to let the slow
drip, drip, dripping
of memory
cascade from her
in blank moments
when she found
herself
completely alone…
she knew
just one drop
of knowledge
could leave her
abandoned
left to swim
against the tethering current
without air…


she watched
as he moved with such ease
from one person
to the next
connecting by embrace
with each one,
always appearing to
make them laugh
and in some cases
shed a tiny tear…
he was not a drinker
she could tell by the glass
of wine he’d been nursing
for over an hour,
although at every chance
he certainly loved to
graze the hors d’oeuvres table
leading her to belive
he was a foodie…
he was a helper,
fetching drinks
filling ice buckets
passing out napkins…
he was handsome
his strong frame
making the statement
i am an athlete…
she was amused
by his long narrow legs
and wondered,
“how did he stand on those?”
a slight giggle escaped her lips
as he adjusted his sight towards her
catching her big brown eyes
lit up with amusement…
he smiled.
she smiled back.
before he could break
from conversation
she disappeared
seeking a view of him
from a different angle.
‘he has long arms,
soft hands
and freckles…’
hmmm, she thought,
‘he must not work with his hands
but i would certainly like them
to take a tour of me…’
this time she threw her head back
and laughed out loud
stilling the room
as her hand quickly reached up
to cover her soft lips…
she shrugged her shoulders
and retreated to the restroom
to catch her breath
and try to clear her mind
of him..
why him?
she hadn’t noticed a wedding ring
but men rarely wore them
nowadays…
she doubted he had a girlfriend
by the random hawaiian shirt
he had on with those
skinny jeans…
‘really? did he not realize
they just accentuated his
flamingo legs?’
she washed her hands
grabbed her wine
opened the door
and
there
he
was…


‘hi’, he said.
‘msmaohdfglkdlafjldj,’ she mumbled.
he looked at her amused
and said,
‘well, you’re pretty
but you’re retarded!’
she smiled.
closed her eyes.
took a deep breath
and said,
‘hi…i’m….’
‘oh,’ he smiled and said,
‘so she can speak!’
‘do you know everyone here?’,
she asked him.
‘not everyone, why?’, he asked.
‘oh, ‘ she replied,
‘i’ve been watching you
work the room
and i think i was the
only person you missed
and now,
here you are…’, she smiled again.
he liked her.
‘you’ve been watching me, huh?
are you stalking me?’, he teasingly said…
‘wha? no! i was just…
well, kinda i guess…’ she replied.
‘oh! and why would that be?
do i need to call the police?’
he kidded her.
she smiled
reached out to him
touched his hand with hers
and replied,
‘i just wanted to see
if your skin was as soft
as it looks…’
they spent the next hour
sitting in chairs outside
sharing stories about
their lives,
sipping
A
glass of wine
and beginning
what is now
11 years of a happy marriage…
you never know
when that one person
is going to enter your space
but i can tell you this,
be an observer first
watch
listen
have patience
and surely
the right person
will find you…
it took me two failed marriages
to find my d
but boy did he steal
my heart from
my first utterances
which truly were
a long drawn out
stammer….

 

 

 

 

Read More him at nautilus teachings