preparing for death at nautilus teachings

how can you help
someone you love
prepare for death?
the day after the Holy Spirit
visited sheri
she called her doctor
and asked him permission to
see her mom.
she knew her mom was
very sick
and sheri still had a raging fever.
so two days later than planned
sher and Nicholas
took the short ride
to see her mom.
her mom had told her,
“i need to talk to you Sher,
please get here as soon
as your fever drops…”
today
was
the
day…
it was a gorgeous July day.
the humidity was low
the sun was bright
and the sky clear blue.
Nicholas was singing
in the back seat
‘you are my sunshine…’
they pulled into the driveway
she unbuckled Nicholas
picked him up
and entered her moms house.
silence
complete
silence.
“mom?
mooooommmmm?
mommy, where are you?”
still no answer
so they walked back to
her parents bedroom.
mom was still in bed.
she placed Nicholas on the bed
and said,
“give Grandma a good morning kiss…”
he did as told
but Dory did not flinch.
Nicholas sat down upon the bed
and smiled.
she gave him a few toys
and then tried to wake her mom.


“mom, it’s sheri. i am here. can you wake up?”
her mom mumbled something
she could not understand.
“mom. do you still want to go for a walk?”
Dory’s head nodded a tiny bit.
“ok mom. let’s get you up and in
your chair.”
but mom was unable to sit up alone
let alone walk.
so sher placed one chair at a time
forming a resting places between the
bedroom and the front porch
where the wheel chair was waiting for them.
little by little the two of them,
mother and daughter
with toddling Nicholas giggling
at their side the whole way
began their final journey…
when Dory was seated in her chair
sher placed Nicholas upon her lap,
“sit with grandma and be a good boy…”
Nicholas hugged his tiny arms around Dory
closed his eyes and shhhhh’d himself.
Dory placed her hand around him
and slightly opened her eyes
mumbling very slowly,
“sher…just talk to me…”
there they were.
the three of them
connected by an
unbreakable bond
baby stepping
down Dory’s beloved
Cinnamon lane
she lived on
as Sheri talked about
the day
the trees
naming every neighbors house
as they passed it
she talked about how much
she loved her mom
and how much nicholas loved
his grandmother
she
just talked
rambled
went on and on
and when they came to
the end of the street
as Sheri was turning the wheel chair
pointing it towards home
Dory’s head fell forward
yet her grasp upon her grandson
remained firm…


sheri was now crying openly
“mom, mom…you cannot die
please don’t go
i cannot live without you.
oh, mommy i need you
please please please
don’t die”
and as her tears
fell upon her mothers
soft new locks of hair
as Nicholas slept peacefully
in his grandmothers arms
as the sun shone
the wind blew
life began leaving Dory…
as Sheri approached
their driveway
she noticed her dad’s car-
must be lunchtime she thought.
turning the wheelchair into the driveway
the front door flew open
and her dad rushed out.
“sheri. what have you done? Oh dory dory…
you’ve killed your mother…”
he grabbed Nicholas
thrust him into Sheri’s arms
picked up Dory
and screamed,
“you’ve done enough now go home…”
he then raced into the house
with his beloved Dory
put her back in bed
and called the doctor.
Sheri did not leave.
she placed Nicholas in his playpen
with his toys
and went to see her mother.
her mom was slipping into an
unconscious state
so sher prepared
her to die.
gently she brushed her mothers teeth.
she brushed her few hairs
she washed her face
she put on a clean nightgown
and panties
then sat beside her mom.
she was ready.
or so she thought.
“what are you doing?
i told you to leave.
now get out of here, sheri”
her father screamed.
“dad. i was getting her ready
to go to the hospital.
i cleaned her up.
you know mom.
she would not want to go there
without her teeth brushed and
clean jammies on…”
her dad looked at her
pointed towards the door way
and sheri
obeyed.
she walked out of
her mother’s house
knowing
her mother
would never
return…

Read More preparing for death at nautilus teachings

newborn silence at nautilus teachings

silence is a rare gift
in a house with a newborn,
as is sleep.
sher and nicholas
came home on good friday
tiny bunny hat upon his head
small snowflakes flying,
but the sun felt warm
the day was gorgeous…
they arrived home
and within 15 minutes
her mom was sitting
on the sofa with her
holding her grandson.
“oh sher,
he is beautiful.
he looks like you.
he has your smile…”
she looked at her mom.
her color was off
her wig was crooked
she had on to much eye makeup
she looked exhausted
but she also knew
this was a moment
she needed to hold close
remember every detail
just soak it all in.
her dad and husband
were outside
having a beer.
mom moved with Nicholas
to the rocking chair
she bought sheri.
“time to rock my grandson.
i’d like some time alone with him, please…”
then she smiled
and sher
went outside with the boys.
the three of them
talked quietly about
their newborn son
about hopes and dreams
for his future
her dad asked her husband
how his new job was,
“Good. a lot of work. but if i put
my job first i will be able to provide
very nicely for sheri and nicholas.”
her dad smiled
“yeah, i worked too many hours
to provide for my family.
just don’t miss out.
they grow so fast…”
sher sat down
letting the march sun
and warm 67 degree weather
sooth her aching body.
she was tired.
soon she dozed off.


memories flooded her.
it was summer time.
she was 6
mom and dad were outside
drinking lemonade
taking a break from yard work
she walked up to her father
he grabbed her tight in a hug
shared his drink with her
then said,
“how about a twirl?”
she smiled
nodded yes
and soon
she was flying,
arms outstretched
as her dad held tight
hand to hand
heart to heart
spinning in circles
wind tangling her hair
giggles erupting
and then just as soon as it started
the moment was over.
she never spoke much
to anyone
a few words to her mom
now and then
for the most part
her world was silence…
she opened her eyes
and noticed the men
were now sitting at the
picnic table
munching on snacks
and drinking a new beer.
she rose
walked inside
and
stopped.
there on the sofa
was her beautiful mother
sound asleep
baby nicholas resting quietly
his tummy upon her chest
heartbeat
to heartbeat
what a pair
they made.
they were establishing
their own bond
grandmother
and grandson.
she sat down
upon the floor
letting the sunlight
warm her soul once more
she could not loose her
she had to fight harder
she didn’t know the first thing
about being a mom
she could not live this life
alone…


she would help her fight,
but how?
soon the day ended
her parents left
and the three of them
began to settle down
for the night.
“ya know sheri,
i have to continue to
put as many hours into my job
as it takes. they are grooming me
to take over the position
of director of major lending
in two years. that means we
can build our own house
go on vacations
save for Nicholas’s college…
we just won’t have to worry…”
sheri said nothing.
she just rolled over in her waterbed
said her nightly prayers
and fell into a deep sleep
until Nicholas woke her
needing food and clean diapers.
she loved nighttime feedings
with him
alone
sitting in her rocking chair
smelling his baby breath
looking into his eyes
holding his tiny hands
touching his toes
she never wanted this moment
to end
because she knew the end
meant the beginning of
life without her mother.
once he was asleep
in her arms
she lay him in his crib
crawled back under
her soft covers
and once more was dreaming
of her youth.
“sher…”
she and her mom were
sitting on the front
porch swing,
she was 11
they were getting ready to move
to a new city…
“i want you to know
that i love you.
i will always be here
for you.”
sher just nodded
smiled
squeezed her moms hand
snuggled up close
locking this memory
inside
forever.
the sun rose
Nicholas needed more food
and a clean diaper.
as she was changing him
her husband walked in
kissed her on the cheek
and said,
“i love you…”
then he left.
quiet returned
the doorbell rang
and mom, daughter and grandson
began their second day
of memory building.

Read More newborn silence at nautilus teachings

connected~C, mom and me at nautilus teachings

this is life-
the connection
between
a mother
and her daughter.
not all are blessed
with such a gift-
this they both knew
which is why their time
together
was always filled with love
laughter and a mother’s
unconditional support
and confidence
that her daughter
would be
exactly who she was
meant to be…
from a young age,
sher knew
her life would be
about art
but more importantly
she knew it would be
about giving, loving, caring
all centered
by faith.
this is what her mom
taught her,
that she could do all things
through her faith.
their bond
could be broken by no man.
not sher’s father
or brothers.
dory introduced sher
to how important
friends were
how important it
was to volunteer
be selfless
have compassion
and empathy…
dory,
was sheri’s rock.
so when the big C
entered their lives
sher knew how to
take care of
listen
hold
and cry
with her mom.
what she did not know
was that truths
were not being told her
lies were being happily stated
falsities fell off the lips
of her father
every week…
“your mom is fine.
she will get through this.
she is not going to die…”
and sheri
being so young
and believing all
she was ever told,
being the good girl,
always obeying
never questioning
believed
this was just a blip
and soon mom
would be fine!
mom was in remission
back to working full time
volunteering
running the women’s league
any day now
the baby was due-
life was good.


her husband was in his
final days of interviewing for
a big job
all the pieces seemed
to interlock perfectly…
monday arrived
with a warm sunshine
which began to melt the snow
that lay upon the ground
she got up
showered
walked in the nursery
and began to pray,
“heavenly father,
thank you for healing mom
giving me a baby
a husband who loves me,
just thank you for my life…”
the phone started ringing
startling her
so she turned
picked up the receiver
and said, 
“oh what a beautiful morning!
helloooooo…” happiness just
radiated from her voice.
all she heard was sobbing
“dad? dad what is it?”
“sher, come quick to the hospital,
moms not well…”
she slammed down the phone
threw on some clothes
and drove the 4 blocks
crying the whole way.
when she arrived on the 5th floor
oncology unit
her dad and the dr were there
to greet her-
“let’s sit, shall we?”, said the dr.
we sat down together
then the words
shot out like rapid fire,
“dory is out of remission.
this time it’s worse.
the cancer is back full force.
i don’t know if she can handle
anymore chemo. i want you to take
her home and get her affairs in order.
i think she would like to die at home…”
numb
sher had gone completely numb
her dad was looking at the floor
eyes full of tears.
“wha, wha, what are you saying?
how can this be?” her dad stuttered.
“dory’s cancer is not curable.
we thought she’d only live 6 months
and it’s already been over a year.
i’m sorry…”
he placed his hand upon my shoulder
just like he did the first day
he delivered my moms death sentence.
i stood up and asked
“which room is mom in?”
then i walked down the sterile white hallway
opened up her door
smiled and said,
“well, mom, i think it’s time to have this baby!”


she opened her eyes
feigned a tiny smile
and held out her hand.
i walked over to her
grabbed her hand
squeezed it tight
then fell right back into
the arms that healed
all my sorrows.
once more we cried
and then mom said,
“get me dressed, sher.
i want to go home…”
home we drove
mom and i,
dad in his own car, alone.
i got her settled on the sofa
made her some tea
and stayed until she fell asleep
and my father returned.
“she’s going to die dad,
you told me she was not going to die…”
“she’s not.
i will take care of her.
now go home…”
my intuition knew he was lying
but my good girl
believe everything your father tells you
refused to let go of hope.
i drove home.
two days later was maundy thursday
and Nicholas James
entered my life,
with a proud dad by our side.
i called my mom,
“mom…it’s sheri.
i had the baby…”
“who is this?”
“sheri, your daughter.
mom, mom, i had a boy
we named him Nicholas…”
“i don’t know a sheri.
i think you have the wrong number…”
i began to cry,
“mommy, it’s me….”
and then,
“oh sher…how are you?”
i repeated my story
this time she cried tears of joy
and said,
“your father and i will be up
as soon as he gets home from work…”
this was the beginning of the end.
the untethering of the
umbilical cord that attached
these two beautiful souls.
mother and daughter
now
grandmother and mom
already hearing
the sound
of
silence…

Read More connected~C, mom and me at nautilus teachings

9 months, mom & the big C at nautilus teachings

it takes 9 whole months
to grow a baby
and for sheri
it was 9 of the longest…
she fought all day sickness
the whole time.
she never told her mom.
her time with mom
was always about the baby
feeling it’s kick
together, watching
sher’s belly roll
side to side as the
baby tossed and turned
buying new clothes
getting the nursery ready…
never ever
about the big C
or her treatments.
dory would always just
play them off, saying,
“gee whiz, i can’t work this week
which means i have to change
my whole schedule around
just so i can go lay in the hospital!
i don’t have time for this!”
then she would smile
laugh
grab her daughters hand
and squeeze.
this was how they shared
moms pain.
they looked into each others eyes
and just knew
no matter what
they had one another.
dory was president of the local
business women’s league- Quota,
volunteered at church and was
executive area director
for nine counties
for the American cancer society.
she had sat by the beds of
thousands of patients
who were dying of cancer
she listened to their families stories
held them when they cried
baked cookies for all of them
regardless of how much of her spare
time it took up…
she enlisted sheri’s help
to fold flyers
paint and put up posters
answer phones
stuff envelopes
and participate in every
fund raiser they had,
from bike a thons
to frog leap a thons
to cross country skiing marathons
sheri was her girl
raising money for cancer
all year long…


dory just never gave up.
when she was in the hospital
or at home on the sofa
recovering
the phone cord was stretched
to it’s max so she could continue to work.
the big C
would not stop her
one tiny bit.
this is why her daughter
never really thought
she was dying.
her father agreed,
mom would be fine by Christmas…
well it was now March 1st
and remission was not in sight.
every week mom
was right by sheri’s side
at her OBGYNies visit
asking all the right questions
taking her daughter to lunch
and buying even more stuff
for her new grandchild.
and every week
sheri’s husband grew
farther away from her
loosing himself in his work.
he did go the birthing classes with her
and he was starting to seem excited
they had even picked out names
Lauren Lynn
or Nicholas James…
“sher,” her mom said,
“maybe he just needs this time
to prepare…being a dad adds
a lot of financial responsibility
and stress…be patient with him.
it’s new to him to…”
“i know, mom. it’s just he is so distant.
i know he didn’t really want kids
so what if he leaves me
once the baby is born?”
sheri pulled the car over to the curb
and began to cry.
“i’m sorry.
you don’t need to hear any of this.”
dory wrapped her daughter up
in a tight hug,
“now, now, my brown bear
(a nickname her mom called her
because she got so tan in the summer months!)
you can tell your ole mom anything
i love you…”
“i know. but you are going through so much
and my stuff is just stupid…”
“Hey!” her mom said,
“you are never stupid. this is life, sher.
marriage is hard work.
i won’t leave you.
i will always have your back…”
“oh, mom…i love you…”
then they both cried
and cried.
“enough of this,” said dory.
“let’s go to McDonalds and
get some quarter pounders
with cheese, large fries
and a shake! my treat…”
then they both smiled
giggled
and off they went
to mom’s favorite place
for a meal.
sher new the grease in the food
took away her moms nausea
she also knew this was
her mom’s way of telling her
if i don’t eat, i am going to be sick…
which is why whenever mom
was in the hospital
she would sneak this meal into her
when her dad was at work
unable to criticize her
or take the meal away!
mom and me
took the food home
sat at her table
munching
laughing together
when the phone rang.
“hello…”, i said.
“is doris there? this is dr. b’s office…”
“mom, it’s dr. b…”
dory took the phone
and became silent.
a few minutes later she
hung up the phone
and began to cry.
“mom, mom, what did they say?”
my heart was pounding so fast
as i turned her around.
her eyes met mine,
and then the words…
“i’m in remission!”

Read More 9 months, mom & the big C at nautilus teachings

hope for mom at nautilus teachings

giving someone hope
can fill their heart
lighten their burdens
it produces endorphins
creating blood flow
and happiness
hope
is
free…
for sheri
becoming pregnant
was the only gift
she could think of
to give her mom
she knew it would mean
a reason
to fight
overcome
to
live for…
her only daughter.
her baby.
her first child.
she
would
live…
dories first round of chemo
laid her flat
she was very sick
fatigued
lost her hair
but every time sheri
walked in
she smiled.
this is what
she will always remember
about her mom-
unending strength
to fight a demon
the dr told her
would take her life…
“oh sher! how are you feeling?
your father said you’ve been sick?!”
it was truth
she had been vomiting
all day every day for
the last three months
and she felt like
running back to the comfort
of her soft, warm
waterbed.
“nah, mom, i’m ok. a bit of morning sickness
but i keep crackers beside me
and work is going really well.


i love working for the
advertising agency and doing
voice overs…
it’s the secretary part i dislike!”
her mom smiled and said,
“ah, yes…remember,
i started as a secretary
with the American Cancer Society
and within a year was
area director of 9 counties!
by the time you have this baby
you will be heading up
the design department
making good money,
just believe in yourself
dearheart…”
her mom grabbed her
squeezed hard
and they both giggled-
hope!
she would not tell her mom
about how icky she felt
her mom was dying
of cancer
fighting for her life,
every day
poison was dripping
into her blood
to try and what?
heal her?
put her in remission?
give her false hope?
she would never share
with her mom
her silly, stupid reality
she was going through nothing
compared to her mom…
sheri smiled,
nodded
and said,
“you are so right, mom
i will work hard
to make your proud of me…”
“oh sher, i am always proud of you.”
this was life for the two of them
never really talking
about the big C
always laughing
shopping
cooking
talking
making jokes…


when her mom was down
and out from the latest
treatment
dad made it quite clear
to stay away
so as to not bring in
any germs…
sheri felt so detached,
uniformed about her moms progress
and helpless…
so she worked long hours
called her mom often
took her baby vitamins
and one day she woke up
next to a stranger…
her husband had
been acting weird lately.
he did not really want kids
seemed hardly interested
at all about the pregnancy
never went to an appointment
and only seemed concerned
with finding himself a new job.
maybe it was the financial pressure
of having a kid before he was ready?
they had a good life.
rented the bottom of a house
just 4 blocks from the hospital
her mother went to.
but it was more than that.
one day he literally said to her,
“you know sher, work must come first
you and the baby have to play second
to my job…”
this was the day.
the day she decided
she hated him
and would leave him,
but not until after her mother passed away.
until then, she would pretend
paint on différent masks
even lie if needed.
her job now was to smile
tell her mom silly stories
and fill her heart up
with the hope
that soon she would
hold her daughters first child
go to their baptism
watch their first walk
hear their first words…
her phone began to ring
she ran to the wall and
picked up the receiver


“hello…”
“hey sher…”
“hi mom, what’s up?”
well, i was thinking
you should be with someone
you loved at your dr. appointment tomorrow.
wanna swing by and pick me up?
then we could go to lunch and do a little shopping…”
dory
held
sheri’s
heart.
“sounds like a plan!
i love you mom.
see you tomorrow…”
as she placed the receiver down
another memory came to surface…
she was 11
they had just moved to a new town.
every day 2 girls rode
up on their bikes,
knocked on the door
and asked her mother,
“does a little girl live here?
tell her she can ride bikes with us
if she wants…”
and every day sher would hide
not answer her mother’s calls
but on this day her mom replied,
“hang on just a minute,
let me go get her…”
she came into sheri’s room
opened her closet door
pulled up her shaking
tear filled little girl and said,
“dear heart…friends are good for you.
it’s time for you to find your wings.
go ride with them.
their names are jill and patti
and they are your age…”
this was mom.
strength, courage, voice
all wrapped up in her deep faith.
“ok, mom. l will do it for you.”
her mom smiled,
winked at her
and said
“show them how you can ride
with no hands on the bars,
i love you…”
right then and there
so many years ago
dory gave sheri hope
and it was now her turn
to give it back to her mom…

Read More hope for mom at nautilus teachings

C, me and mom at nautilus teachings

what is the space
between
silence
and death?
diagnosis
and the last breath?
how long is the pause?
a long rest?
a short nap?
a nodding off?
for dory
her prognosis was,
“6 months…”
her daughter was young,
only 21
newly married
still in college.
the thought of leaving
her young beauty searching
drowning
lost
in an unfinished life
haunted her
broke her heart
leaving her sadness
to begin rooting itself
in strength,
her faith
the encompassing warmth,
her love
for life and her family
the nourishment…
she
would
not
give
up
or
in
to
cancer…
today,
she was home alone
gliding her hand
across the silky smooth top
of the dining table
she bought on her own
and loved so much
when the phone rang,
“doris, this is dr. b’s office
we have you scheduled
for your first round of chemo
to start tomorrow.
we need you to be
at the hospital at 7am…”
she took a deep breath
as tears began to fall
placed her hand upon her heart
closed her eyes
drew in one more breath
and spoke,
“of course! i will see you all tomorrow, thank you…”
darkness descended
she lit a candle
began to pray,
“dear Lord…”


just then the door flew open
breaking her silence
rushing life
into her veins…
“mom! mom! oh mom, guess what?!!!”
quickly she dried her tears
and was getting ready to stand
when her daughter rounded the corner
into the kitchen,
“oh, mom. what is wrong?
are you ok?”
she smiled
stood all of her 5’ 4 3/4” tall
squared her shoulders
and whispered,
“yes, dear heart
come sit and tell me your news…”
she patted the wooden chair
at her beloved table.
her daughter
began to feel tiny
wanted to run away
found it hard to catch her breath
she knew her mom was sad
she had no idea what to do for her
memories overwhelmed her
this
was
her
mom…
could she really loose her?
a reel of images began
clicking through her mind…
she was a senior in high school
she had come home that day so excited
only to find her mom in tears
sitting in darkness
hand still upon the phone
hurt by the words spoken to her
by her son…
on this particular day
she had amazing news-
“oh my gosh mom, today was
THE best day ever…”
she placed upon the
orange counter top
a letter…
“look mom, it came…
will you open it for me?”
her mom smiled
picked up the letter
tore it open,
her eyes scanning the contents,
“oh, sher…
i am so proud of you.
you got in…”
“what? i did?”
soon the two were hugging
crying
and yapping a mile a minute
about all the plans
they would need to make…
“you know your brother lives
just outside San Francisco
so that makes me feel better
about you being so far away…
WOW,
my daughter the artist!”
just then her father walked in…
“hey, what’s up? what are you two smiling about?
we share the news with him
and then
BAM!


“you cannot make money with your art, sher,
i won’t pay for this…”
she fell into her mother softly
pressed her eyelids tightly closed
holding back tears,
would this news make her happy?
could it save her life?
give her strength to fight harder?
she smiled wide and said,
“mom, i’m pregnant…”
“oh sher, oh sher, that’s wonderful
let’s go shopping!”
this was dory.
this was her mom.
always ready to say the words,
“charge it!”
putting everyone else first
the most giving person she knew…
breathing in
they held hands
smiled
and together
got in her ragtop
drove-
top down
music on
to her friends baby boutique…
dory now had something
to live for.
the question was,
would it work?

Read More C, me and mom at nautilus teachings

the big C at nautilus teachings

even in her dying
her beauty shown.
in fact,
she had a glow about her
never seen by anyone
who knew her
before she was
blindsided
struck down
challenged
with the
big C word…
why her?
why now?
could she win?
she would fight
not give in
face to the wind
she would survive…
it all started
at the age of 52
with fatigue
then a mild heart attack
she recovered well
from both,
then the testing
making sure all
arteries were still clean
and no surgery would be necessary…
as she lay in her
hospital bed
waiting for the results
daughter by her side
she noticed the
trees swaying in the breeze
outside her window
felt the warmth of the sun
shining upon her
how the floors glistened
reflecting her age…
he entered
white coat on
stethoscope around his neck
chart in hand.
the dr. sat upon the bed
next to her
took her hand
and said,
“how are you feeling today, Dory?”
she just smiled quietly
took in a deep breath
opened her lips
and whispered,
“how long do i have to live?”
he appeared stunned
put his other hand to his
own lips
closed his eyes
and began,
“how did you know?”
she replied,
“i just knew.
i felt it.
i have not been myself
for quite some time…”


he drew in a long breath
exhaled
glanced over at her daughter
patted the bed
asking her to sit also.
his eyes were big
and kind
his expression softened…
she glanced at her mother.
tears were already pouring
from her big
brown bear eyes
lips quivering,
“sher-it’s ok,
dear heart…”
the girl turned her back
looked up toward’s the ceiling
as her entire being went numb
she heard nothing the dr. said
she just stood there
paralyzed with fear.
she felt his warm hand
touch her shoulder
turned towards him
as he nodded
and left the room…
“what did he say, mom?”
her beautiful
best friend
mom
confidante
the one person
on this earth who believed in her
supported her
pursuing art and writing
who always saved her
had her back
rescued her
the beauty
who would make her pancakes
on random mornings
then allow her to skip school
to go on adventures,
top down
music crooning
scarves tied around
their hair
sunglasses on
traveling all over
slow sleepy
artsy towns
rummaging through
antique shops
lunching at small cafes…
the only person
who held her heart
was crying
eyes closed
trembling
as she spoke the words,
“he said i’m going to die, sher…”


she did not hear the words
as she fell fast
into the warm arms
that not just saved her
prayed with her
but unconditionally loved her.
together
two hearts
beating as one
for just this one moment
the room echoed
with sobbing loss
until at last
the two of them,
mother and daughter
fell into restless sleep.
a short time passed.
the door flew open
waking them
“dory, dory…what did the dr say?”
it was her father
the man she heard
tell her mother
she was a bad parent,
the man
who never listened to what
his kids passions were
did not take the time
to talk with them about
so many things
the person who said,
“it’s my way or the highway,
you go to the school i pick
you major in what i tell you
or i do not pay.”
here he was.
her dad.
she felt as connected to him
as a fish out of water.
yes,
she loved him
but,
his quiet, iron heart
never opened for her.
yes,
in an odd way he did protect her
from the demon toe heads
she named remote and control
yet, he forgot to fill up
her emptiness
neglected to lead her
with his strength…
then one day
when she was 11
she realized
he could never
give her anything
she needed,
so,
she closed her heart to him…
now,
so many years later
the ache
for a father still
called to her soul.
she rose
leaving the two of them
alone
within the space
between
life
and
death.

Read More the big C at nautilus teachings

slowing down at nautilus teachings

America seems fascinated
with speed-
how fast can
we get there?
will it be at lightning speed
shall i call you greased lightning
flash
escape artist?
how fast is your wifi?
is it almost as slow
as the old dial up?
can you stay connected
no matter where you go?
are you in constant search
of the quickest,
cleanest way to stream?
do you get frustrated
at the emptiness of
no signal
and stand there
phone in the air
waving it around
screaming,
“i need a signal?”
or are you more like
d and i?
his nickname is
‘the turtle’…
he drives
sightseeing all the way
adding comments
about cars
people
new signs
we yap about family
work
our faith
sometimes we sing
along with the crooners
but we just take life
at the speed given!
sure people are rude
honking at us
waving their middle finger
now and then
maneuvering around us
we just breathe
smile
and trot our way
to wherever we are going
always being cautious
of every tiny thing
surrounding us.
to some,


this may seem maddening
but life is short
so the small amount of time
we get to spend together in the car
is just a new adventure for us…
it is 6:15am
people all around me
are racing
to whatever their
destination is-
probably work-
but i am going the speed limit of 70
and they are leaving me in their dust!
the funny thing is though
more times than not,
these speed demons
end up only one or two cars
in front of me
when i exit 95
waiting at the light
to turn left or right…
so, these people
are not really getting there
faster than me
but they are feeding
their inner need
to hurry up and get there.
i know the feeling,
i think we all do…
our lists are long
time is short
so the ability to
put the pedal to the metal
a bit heavier
gives us the satisfaction
that maybe,
just maybe
we will get those 10 minutes
of me time
we wish for each day-
even if it is just
showering alone!
we slide through
the yellow lights
sorta pause at
the stop signs
we are always searching
for,
“how can i get ahead of that
bozo who is going so slow?”
aka-the speed limit!
we see the empty police cars
left strewn all over cocoa beach
in the hopes their presence
will urge us to
slow the fuck down,
but we don’t…


we know
they
are
empty
and as we pass
we still glance over
just to check
and breathe a sigh of relief
whew!
why the need for speed?
why do we strive to be first?
fastest?
strongest?
the leader of the pack?
do we really need to be the hare?
painting turtles is one of my passions…
i love the lazy images
floating on top of my canvases
usually an aerial view…
i want people to pause
take a breath
and look at all the colors
shapes of their flippers
how big their eyes are
if they have an eyelid and lashes
i want people to want
to be my turtles…
to feel the tethered movements
of them
rocking
cradling
lulling them
into a silent calm
a knowing
that if you forget to slow
to observe
to visit life
in every way possible
you will
without a doubt
miss
the smell of puppy breath
the first smile of a baby
the loneliness in the aging
the homeless person
who really needs a bottle of water
the scent of your spouse
returning from a long day
the smell of chicken baking…
what exactly are you missing
living life at break neck speed?
the meaning
the heart
the connection-
you are resisting the forces
of nature
throwing caution to the wind
blindly choosing
to not know
ignore
resist
the temptation
to feel your life.
slow down
for goodness sake!
smell the ocean breeze
hear the giggles of your children
the breath of your spouse
sleeping next to you…
be
the
turtle!
feel the warm waters
the ebbing and flowing
of life
watch the ceiling fan blades swirl
soak up the colors
of this world
fold your fingers together
exhale warm air
into the palms
and just
live in the knowing
you
are
always
enough…

Read More slowing down at nautilus teachings

catty women vs. kindness at nautilus teachings

“why are women so catty?”
was a question asked of me
by a young woman
i met recently…
before i could answer
she continued with,
“it seems like they are
always trying to one up me
whether it is in
what clothes they wear
how much they work out
how little they eat
how much sex they get…
i just don’t care…”
i smile
nod my head
pausing to see if
she has anything else to add
before i even begin…
“just yesterday
i was at work
minding my own business
doing exactly what i
was supposed to be doing
when out of the blue
i get an almost hate email
from a co-worker saying…
“you were supposed to……”
well i knew it was not on my to do list
but then when all her friends
banded together
in support of her
all of a sudden
i was the bad girl…
that really hurt
actually,
it
pissed
me
off…”
“so i talked to my boss
and even she took their side…
i just don’t get it.
i know i am new here
and they are all drinking buddies
but gosh
why pick on the new girl?”
by now my heart was breaking for her.
she was young
fresh from college
and hurting.
i took another breath
and waited
it appeared she was done
when she cried,
“i’m not complaining
i just don’t play their games
and i never ever lie…”
then
one
lone
tear
streamed down her cheek.
i wrapped her in a motherly hug
as she began to sob…
“why are women so mean?”


after a few moment she
composed herself and we
sat on a nearby bench.
now,
it was my turn.
“well,
i began.
i am very much like you
in the fact
i don’t cheat, lie or steal
i never gossip
or am mean.
i too learned when i was your age
women can and will hurt you.
they will try to steal
your husband
your glory
even your strength.
you cannot let them get to you.
you have got to develop
self confidence
if you have faith,
pray
and walk in the knowing
you are not wrong.
Let that hate feeling go …not good!
Try another approach –
feel bad for people that make themselves miserable.
Chalk it up to over worked & stressed women
that are obviously not having good sex !!!”
i notice her lips
curve up
into a huge smile
and she begins to belly laugh
soon we are both
giggling…
we sit side by side
for a few more minutes
then she hugs me
thanks me
and waves
as she walks back to her desk.
we really are
each others keepers
we have such healing power
when we take the time
to really listen
to process everything said
and then offer
words of encouragement.
sure,
i could have taken the typical
catty side and said,
“well, those bitches…”
and then proceeded to help
her come up with a
‘get-even’ plan,
but that is not
who sheri is.
what would you do?
in this world
of people trying
to always one up one another
i say
choose the middle
for that is where true
buoyancy exists.
find your yoga breath-
breathe in and out
slowly through your nose
3-5 times
close your eyes
or find a focal point
observe
listen
be in everything that is happening
at a calmer level
this stuff is not about you
it never is…
we have no idea why
women behave in this manner
it is also the reason why
so many women
only have one bestie…
we cannot
put our happiness
in the hands of people.
i ran into her again
a few days later
she was smiling
“hey!” she said
“hey, yourself…how goes it?”
“i took your advice
i went to the shooting range
last night
and got all my anger out.
then i got on my knees
and prayed
for the longest time.
i started crying
when all of a sudden
i felt lighter
like all my burdens were just gone…
i let that shit go!”
she giggles
throws her head back
then says,
“you reminded me who i was
and who i never wanted to be.
thank you for taking time
to listen to me…”
we hug one more time
and part ways…
kindness
all it takes is a few moments
of your time
to stop
and be in the moment
for someone.
kindness
is free
so, please
share it
with someone today!

Read More catty women vs. kindness at nautilus teachings

finding safety at nautilus teachings

what does it take to
make you feel safe
protected
taken care of?
is this something
you provide for yourself
not relying on anyone
else to do it
or do you
accept it freely
from your spouse?
most of us know
we can take care
of ourselves
we don’t need
another person
to make us whole
but when you find one
it is such a gift…
let me tell you a quick story-
it’s the 60’s
a time of free love
hippies
war
peace makers
life is simple
moms are usually found
in the home
taking care of the
cleaning, cooking, ironing
kids…
dads in general are the
head of the household
and money makers
people walk safely
everywhere
to school
church
the park
bike riding
is done by all ages
family dinners are common
with aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins
on a weekly basis
for the most part
you feel safe
in this big world
you can hide in closets
behind huge oak trees
under the grape vines
even under the bed-
you just know how
and where to go
if you feel threatened…
as you grow
you learn to drive
so this becomes
your safe zone
grab the keys
hop in the car
blast the radio
and drive
like a bat out of hell
crying
the whole time
knowing
you are safe now
but when you return
what will you do?

so you plan escape routes
pack a small suitcase
with clothes, food and money
sleep with your window unlocked
screen out
so you can bolt
at first threat.
you go through life
looking over your shoulder
until you fall in love.
then you feel safe?
do you?
and why does it take love
to secure
protect
and guard you?
had you never felt love before?
maybe not this kind of love
but you were loved…
you have babies
and once more begin
stashing
packing
hiding
your get away bag
only this time
there are 4 duffels instead of one
because no way
are you leaving your kids.
time passes
you look at the bags
which hold their clothes
from 3 years ago
the money you stashed
had to be used
for rides home
from being left somewhere
impromptu movie nights
to get the kids away
from his anger
every time you turned around
you needed another 20$
to fix something
help someone
buy food…
more years pass
the kids are growing up
you wake up
and say to yourself,
‘i am done…’
so you change the locks on the doors
change everyones cell phone numbers
call an attorney
and prepare to leave
for it is in the leaving
that you truly begin
to feel strength
and safety…


you begin to grow
out of needing stuff
and into wanting
a small safe place
to call home
for you and your kids.
you do this
life is good
you are smiling
providing for yourself
then your car breaks down
the ac quits working
the kids need school supplies
and your credit card bill
is doubling…
but
you
are
safe.
you make a new plan
start hitting the thrift stores
cutting back on any extras
begin paying off your debt
and finally
life is balancing…
you are all happy
life is finally GOOD.
then he enters.
this guy.
he steals your heart
and you hate that
you hate men
don’t want to be attached
he’s by no means wealthy
but he is kind, loving,
funny, a great job
loves your kids
and you…
you marry
and he provides
safety
new cars
a home
food
clothing
but really it’s more than that
for the first time
you are not stashing cash
wondering if your car
can make it to work
if you can afford christmas
let alone a vacation of
any kind
because your needs are met…
there is something to be said
about a couple
working together
in tandem
each providing different comforts
it’s what makes a marriage work-
the understanding
you are connected
in every tiny way.
for me this is what d does.
he took away all my worry
of ever needing anything
wrapped me up in his love
securing in my heart
the knowledge
i am safe…
this is what i wish for you.
one person
who just lets you melt down
when needed
listens to your stories
laughs with you
holds you
and always says,
‘baby, i got your back…’
what does it take to
make you feel safe
protected
taken care of?
for me
trust
honesty
faith
love
and the knowing
d will always be
waiting for me
when i get home…

Read More finding safety at nautilus teachings