Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Haiku for a Sunny Cloudy Day

 


Sun spilling through clouds

Moment by moment they change

Fill up your mind's eye



Late fall cosmic sky

Waking up to such splendor

Spend all day gazing



Pink streaks the blue sky

Is God writing her Name?

Black ink, horizon.

Haiku is a traditional style of Japanese poetry that has 17 syllables. In Japanese haiku, all 17 syllables appear in one line, while in English, haiku is split into three lines of five, seven and five syllables. Haiku, which originated in the 1600s, is often written about nature.




Sunday, November 22, 2020

THE NOW, IN STARK RED AND YELLOW

 "Realize deeply that the present moment is all that you ever have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life." Eckert Tolle



Thursday, November 12, 2020

IT TOOK NINE MONTHS FOR THIS BOOK TO GEL AND TELLING GRANDPA ANGEL-o's FAMILY HISTORY

It's Friday November 6, 2020 and 50 degrees and the sky is bright blue and sunny, so Leah is once again doing her yoga outside on her purple mat. The iris is just a few feet away.

Leah breathes and stretches her arms overhead, stretching one arm up and then the other. Then she kneels on the mat and raises her arms in a steeple pose.

Today makes exactly nine months almost to the day that Leah first walked outside onto the frozen lawn. This book has had the gestation period of a human baby.

Here now it is November and the lawn is still green and unfrozen but all of the trees and shrubs and flowers and plants, with the exception of 

GRANDPA ANGEL-o's IRIS!!

Everything else is brown and crispy.

About an hour ago, wearing her blue bathrobe, Leah had just finished meditating.

She started writing in  her journal about light.

At that moment, suddenly and with no explanation, the flashlight in her iPhone turned on. She couldn't turn it off.


Leah smiles. She isn't shocked anymore when these littles miracles might happen. She is accepting and grateful. 

*******

Her cousin Donna Ricci sent her more information about her Grandfather, ANGEL-o Ricci, and his family. His mother, Augusta Baldini: 

His father, Giovanni:



Here are GRANDPA ANGEL-o and his wife, GRANDMA ALBINA ORZO when they were courting.

ANGEL-o's daughter, Elizabeth (Bette) Ann Foeller, nee Ricci, who lives in Illinois, interviewed Grandpa ANGEL-o in 1988, and learned that he emigrated to the United States from Priverno, Italy on 

February 6, 1903. 

EXACTLY TO THE DAY, 

117 years before 

THE LEAH HEALING BOOK BEGAN!

ANGEL-o's parents, Augusta and Giovanni, were poor when they first came to this country.

Writes Aunt Bette:

"Angelo and his father, Giovanni Ricci, took a train from Priverno, Italia, to Viterbo, changed trains and went on to Naples. In the Port of Naples they boarded the "Princess Irene," a two-stack steamship, which was a German line with an Italian crew.

"The ship stopped in Palermo, Sicily, to pick up more passengers. They had third class tickets, "steerage passage." The food was bad with no choices; they carried their own utensils, slept on a bunk in a large dormitory, sanitation and comfort were poor."

"Angelo's ticket was $41.00; he was 11 years old. They landed in New York Harbor, were processed at Ellis Island, on February 25, 1913 (14 days on board.)

"As an immigrant, Giovanni had a job with the New York Central Railroad as a forger in Maybrook, N.Y. His skills working with metals in Italy, where he made and sold cooking pots, were advantageous. Giovanni also grew artichokes when in Italy, which is a crop that brought a high market price. But years of bad weather ruined him financially."

"His wife, Augusta (nee Baldini), owned and operated a grocery store in Priverno. She and other family members emigrated separately. Angelo tells of his brother Freddie, who would hide on a shelf under the counter of his mother's store so he could snitch some cheese or other goodies."

"In the United States, Angelo worked alongside his father as a waterway. One summer he worked as a houseboy for a wealthy businessman, emptying chamber pots and generally helping the domestic workers and family."

"He and his father finally settled in Bristol, Connecticut. Angelo for many years worked for Ingraham & Company, the local clock factory. He rose to the position of shop foreman."

"He courted the love of his life, Albina Orzo, with her sister Mary, chaperoning often at Rockwell Park in Bristol where they would row boats on the Park lake. He would serenade his sweetheart and play the mandolin.

AGAINST THE WISHES OF HIS MOTHER, AUGUSTA,

"He married Albina Orzo on October 12, 1921 (he was 20, she was 18). They married in the rectory of Saint Anthony's Church. They had five children, Robert, Richard, Catherine, Paul and Elizabeth."

"He died on March 7, 1993, at the age of 91, of pneumonia while hospitalized in New Britain, Connecticut."

What my aunt doesn't mention is that GRANDPA ANGEL-o WAS AN EXTRAORDINARY GARDENER. HIS VEGETABLES WERE EXQUISITE. HIS ROSES DIVINE. AND HIS IRISES

ARE

NOW

THE 

SUBJECT

OF A

FAMILY HISTORY.

What Aunt Bette doesn't write is that none of Albina's grandchildren ever heard a word about her in-laws,

AUGUSTA AND GIOVANNI RICCI.

It was as if GRANDPA ANGEL-o HAD NO FAMILY AT ALL!

How terribly sad.

As Leah writes this history, she feels a deep dark cavernous emptiness in her chest. She feels anxiety and she realizes it's all because of the very sad story she just wrote.

When she tells her spiritual therapist about Augusta denying her son, GRANDPA ANGEL-o,

Mary says

AUGUSTA DENIED HER NURTURING FEMININE SELF AND SHE ABANDONED HER SON ANGELO RICCI MUCH AS

DOMENICA ROTONDO ABANDONED HER DAUGHTER GISELDA!

So was the bad feeling that Augusta had for her daughter in law Albina --ANGEL-o's WIFE-- that Augusta erased herself from her son's life.

And now Leah knows that she needed to trace these family stories

in order to

ROOT OUT THE DARKNESS FROM HER ANCESTRAL LINE.

She is so so grateful to her cousin Donna Ricci, and her Aunt Bette Foeller for helping her unearth GRANDPA ANGEL-o RICCI'S HISTORY!

As Leah finishes writing, she asks herself,

is this the last family story

she will tell?

In her GREEN JOURNAL NUMBER TWO, 

she writes, "AM I FINISHED?" 

And she answers: "I will ask that question in meditation. I will wait for an answer!"






Tuesday, November 10, 2020

A Tale of Two Green Journals -- THOUGHTS AS I REVISE THE BOOK

November 6, 2020 It is 8:55 a.m. ON FRIDAY MORNING and I am sitting outside cross-legged on my purple yoga mat. It's 50 degrees and the new iris is a few feet away from me. 


I have five journals piled here at my feet, they complete the first draft of HEAL LEAH LEAH HEAL.



The two green journals, miraculously, are exactly nine months apart. THEY ARE LIKE BOOKENDS FOR THE MEMOIR.

I started the LEAH HEAL book with a chapter called "LEAH IN THE FROZEN LAWN" on February 6, 2020. I never posted that first chapter on this blog.



Nine months later, I have just written: "LEAH, UNFROZEN, CONTEMPLATES THE CRYSTALLINE IRISES." 

So perhaps the first draft of the book is done. I will ask that question in meditation. I will wait for an answer.

November 8, 2020 How odd! When I went to write the date in my journal, I first wrote it as:

February 8, 2020 

I am being drawn back to the first GREEN JOURNAL. I am being drawn back to read the first draft of the book.

I am trying to absorb and digest the fact that this book may be finished. Is it? Have I told the whole healing story?

7:51 am: I am rereading HEAL LEAH LEAH HEAL. I read the first chapter:

"LEAH IN THE FROZEN LAWN"

I like what I read.

I read the second chapter:

"LEAH AT SUNRISE." It too reads well.

I send both chapters to my friends Peg and Renee. Peg has been reading the book from the beginning. Renee has just started reading.

I need readers. And these two friends are some of the best.

I need perspective. I NEED TO KEEP READING THE BOOK.


February 9, 2020 IT HAPPENED AGAIN, INSTEAD OF WRITING NOVEMBER 9, 2020, I 

WRITE FEBRUARY 9, 2020.

AGAIN.

Finally I slow down and pick up my red pen and cross out February 9, 2020 and write: 

NOVEMBER 9, 2020 After reading four more chapters of the book, I perceive a break in the flow of the narrative. We go from the opening Leah chapters, which are paced well. None of them were blog posts. I come to a chapter called:

"MOM AND THE MIRACLE OF THE ORCHIDS." It's the first chapter I put up on the blog. The tone feels different.

And then I go back to the original GREEN JOURNAL. The one that began on February 6, 2020.

I flip through the pages. And I see that every page is filled with English and Italian. I see that every page is chock full of realizations I am making in therapy with Mary. I am wrestling throughout the month of February with fear and anxiety, specifically in terms of my mother. And her asthma. 

7:59 A.M. I CHANGE TO WRITING IN RED INK: I AM WRESTLING IN THAT JOURNAL WITH ME SITTING BY HER BED, AS SHE IS HUNCHED OVER PILLOWS, STRUGGLING TO BREATHE.

VIRTUALLY NONE OF THE MATERIAL IN THE JOURNAL PAGES ARE REFLECTED IN THE  BOOK.

AND NOW, READING THE BOOK, AND LOOKING BACK AT THE JOURNAL I THINK:

SO MUCH IS MISSING IN THE FIRST DRAFT OF THE HEALING STORY.

Shouldn't I be writing some of that material into the book?

RECALL THIS: YOU ONLY REALIZED ABOUT A MONTH AGO THAT LEAH'S NAME

SPELLED BACKWARDS

IS

HEAL.


8:04 A.M. TIME TO STOP JOURNALING AND DO YOGA. TIME TO GET BACK INTO MY BODY. 

I MUST WAIT FOR INSPIRATION ON HOW TO HANDLE THIS ISSUE OF

REVISION. REALIZING NOW:

WHEN YOU WRITE THE FIRST DRAFT OF A BOOK, YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU ARE HEADED.

WHEN YOU WRITE THE SECOND DRAFT,

YOU HAVE THE

COMPLICATION (OR IS IT THE ADVANTAGE?) OF HAVING INSIGHT INTO THE

WHOLE ARC OF THE NARRATIVE.

What will I do? How much of the journal material belongs in the book?

STOP. 

8:15 a.m. What will I do? How much of the February 6 journal material belongs in the book?

8:18 a.m. I HAVE TO STOP READING THE DRAFT OF HEAL LEAH. I NEED TO CAREFULLY REREAD THE FEBRUARY 6TH GREEN JOURNAL (WHICH LOOKS JUST LIKE THIS GREEN NOVEMBER 9TH JOURNAL.) I NEED TO CONSIDER ADDING DETAILS FROM THERAPY.

WHY DOES THAT FEEL SCARY? 

BECAUSE I BARE MY SOUL IN MY JOURNAL.

8:23 AM: IT FEELS OVERWHELMING. BECAUSE IT FEELS CONFUSING, AS IN

WHAT IS THE BOOK?

AND



WHAT IS  THE JOURNAL?

AND WHAT IS THE BLOG?

And then I remember what Mary says to do 

WHENEVER EVENTS THREATEN TO GO OUT OF CONTROL: 

8:26 A.M. I CHANGE FROM RED INK TO PURPLE:

BATHE THE BOOK IN PURPLE FLAMES!

******* 

JOURNAL ENTRY NOVEMBER 10, 2020 

 

7:49 a.m. I bathed the book in purple flames all during my meditation this morning. I felt nervous about trying to read the FIRST GREEN JOURNAL but I just kept bathing the book in violet and purple flames.

 

I got up and walked into the kitchen where the FIRST GREEN JOURNAL lay on the counter. I opened it at random to

 

JOURNAL ENTRY February 10, 2020 (EXACTLY NINE MONTHS AGO TODAY!)

A NEW DAY!

“7:51 a.m. Just keep opening your heart. Just keep staying present, just BE, just keep opening your ART and your HEART. Just stay calm and don’t panic. From this vantage point nothing seems scary. But when the panic hits I sometimes can sit with it but yesterday I could not. I will pray for a calm day today A NEW DAY in which I am not panicked. I will stay at peace, I will keep opening my heart, the way Mary says to me over and over and over again. I will try a round of tapping to see what happens when I do! 7:56 a.m.

8:00 a.m.  Even after tapping I can still feel twinges of panic in my stomach but nothing comes up as the cause. I want to have a good feeling today. I don’t want that EVERYTHING IS BORING AND FROZEN feeling. Mary would say “you have to stay with what comes up. JUST KEEP OPENING YOUR HEART! Just keep opening up your heart. Yesterday when I texted Mary telling her I was in such a panic she wrote back: “Find the feeling you don’t want to name.”

Let the violet flames take away the fear and the panic! Stay with your open heart. Have patience and you will find GRACE. Is all of this just PTSD? I will go forward with the day and pray I can stay calm! Mary says when I’m having this frightened frozen feeling I am blocking some emotions.”

I stop typing the journal entry. I print it out. I slip the "JOURNAL ENTRY FEBRUARY 10, 2020" entry into place after the chapter called:

"WISE SAYINGS, WEIRD SIGNS."

So that is how I will approach the revision of HEAL LEAH LEAH HEAL. That is how I will read the FIRST GREEN JOURNAL. I will open it at random and type up some of the entries. AND MAYBE I WILL ADD THEM AND MAYBE I WON'T.

I feel relaxed. I know how I will go forward. 

NOVEMBER 22, 2020 BY STAYING IN THE NOW.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 










Sunday, November 08, 2020

LEAH, UNFROZEN, CONTEMPLATES THE CRYSTALLINE IRISES

Leah slips into her powder blue bathrobe. The sun is on the cusp of rising.

Slippered now, she steps out the front door to check on her irises.

Her eyes open wider. Her heart flies apart!


Are these irises hers? Or do they belong to her heavenly ancestors: Grandpa ANGELo and her dear father, Richard L. Ricci?

(This is the last photo I took of my dear Dad, Richard Louis Ricci, on August 6, 2019. Dad was pretending he was holding in his hands his brand new great grandaughter, DARLING LITTLE DANI, named for Mom, Dena Rotondo Ricci! Dani was born in a total of 18 minutes that morning!) 

Awe gee, we are so lucky to have so many family members on EARTH. And so many ANGEL ANCESTORS IN HEAVEN.

This morning, the ancestors are sharing, big time, as

LEAH IS STARING AT SOMETHING SO BEAUTIFUL SHE CAN HARDLY TAKE IT IN!

The irises are crystalized. CRYSTALLINE PURPLE! 

THE PETALS LOOK LIKE ICED PURPLE FLAMES.

She gasps. She holds her chest.

THE FLOWERS ARE AS FROZEN AS SHE WAS LAST FEBRUARY WHEN SHE STARTED TO WRITE THE BOOK,

HEAL LEAH LEAH HEAL

OR IS IT


LEAH HEAL HEAL LEAH?

NO MATTER

the book has a title page, and it can be morphed. Endlessly. 

That is the beauty of publishing the book on the blog. It is a fully fluid format.

AS FLUID AS SHE IS

FLUID

WARM AS SHE IS

TOTALLY UNFROZEN.

So complete

she feels

the heat of

happiness.

Her husband opens the door. "It's below freezing honey.  Aren't you cold? You've been out there for 40 minutes?"

SHE SMILES. Only 40?

HOW MANY MILLION MINUTES DO YOU NEED TO WITNESS AN IRIS MIRACLE?

She is FULLY WARMING BY INTERNAL PURPLE FLAMES.

"I'm watching the irises," she says, as if he doesn't know.


She keeps photographing them over and over again, in every pose imaginable.

Suddenly her sister in law Jo Kirsch calls. Leah is buying a Hindu "murti," a statue of the deity

SHIVA. And it was Jo who, two days ago, helped her figure out which one was her archetype.

She will give a fuller explanation in another chapter.

Meanwhile, this morning, which is Halloween, her irises have been blooming for nearly two weeks.

She's finished speaking. For now, she is resting in the wind of her heart.


Monday, November 02, 2020

GETTING OUT THE HEAVENLY VOTE: I'M RECRUITING MY ANCESTORS TO JOIN THE BATTLE TO DUMP "HIM" IN A LANDSLIDE!!!

In February I began writing a book about my Italian ancestors, and it has turned into a healing book for me and my family.

But it's time to take a break from the book, HEAL LEAH LEAH HEAL, to ask my thousands and thousands of ancestors to help DEFEAT THE MOST REVILING MAN IN AMERICAN HISTORY!!!

In honor of Dia de Los Muertos, yesterday we had an ancestor party at my house. There were eight of us at the table,  my siblings and my cousin and me, and 

there were literally 10,000 or more photos of ancestors, photos that everyone brought to the table. (My sister Holly brought six HUGE BOXES of all the photos she's inherited through the years!)

I made spaghetti and caper sauce (my specialty which I haven't made in 15 years!) and Rich made scrumptious meatballs and we even had ESCAROLE the way my mom and Grandma, Dee and Mish, used to make them!

Back to this damn election. I've been praying and praying and begging and praying for a 

BIDEN HARRIS BLOWOUT OF EPIC PROPORTION

A LANDSLIDE LIKE WE'VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE! That's the only we are ensured that OUR COUNTRY will be 

FOREVER RIDDEN OF A SOURCE OF SLIME THAT I'M NOT EVEN WILLING TO NAME.

So here instead I will bring a few million ancestors to their

HEAVENLY VOTING BOOTHS! 

To name just a handful of my ancestors, 

there's my grandparents, Grandma Albina ORZO Ricci and Grandpa ANGELo Ricci (of the irises fame.) 

And Grandma Albina's parents, PASQUALE ORZO AND CATARINAAMENDOLA ORZO:

 
And DOMENICA ROTONDO, otherwise known as "LA ABONDONATHA!"

And this blessed couple, MY GRANDMA MISH (Michelina) and CLAUDE ("Pop") ROTONDO.

And back to the Ricci side, there

is PASQUALE ORZO'S MOTHER, FILOMENA SCRIVANO (who had Pasquale out of wedlock in 1870. They took him away from her and gave him to some other woman to raise. Oh and the town gave him the name ORZO (like pasta) in order to secure him for a lifetime of SHAME!) 




and there's my mother, darling DENA CLEMENTINA ROTONDO RICCI, seen here as an infant, and a hero in my life!

And HER GRANDMOTHER, CLEMENTINA CIUCCI

and my gorgeous mom again,

and my mom with my DAD, Richard Louis Ricci, who passed in August 2019.


So these are a just a handful of the ancestors THAT I'm asking to go to the voting booths on

behalf

OF GOOD 

AND 

DEMOCRACY 

AND 

DECENCY 

AND SO MUCH ELSE.

My dad, a lifelong Republican, is free to vote the way he wants to from heaven but by now 

I THINK EVEN MY DAD WILL DUMP the nut job in the White House.

Here's to a landslide of EPIC PROPORTIONS!


LEAH, UNFROZEN, CONTEMPLATES CRYSTALLINE IRISES!

Leah slips into her powder blue bathrobe. The sun is on the cusp of rising.

Slippered now, she steps out the front door to check on her irises.

Her eyes open wider. Her heart flies apart!


Are these irises hers? Or do they belong to her heavenly ancestors: Grandpa ANGELo and her dear father, Richard L. Ricci?

(This is the last photo I took of my dear Dad, Richard Louis Ricci, on August 6, 2019. Dad was pretending he was holding in his hands his brand new great grandaughter, DARLING LITTLE DANI, named for Mom, Dena Rotondo Ricci! She was born in a total of 18 minutes that morning!) 

Awe gee, we are so lucky to have so many family members on EARTH. And so many ANGEL ANCESTORS IN HEAVEN.

This morning, the ancestors are sharing, big time, as

LEAH IS STARING AT SOMETHING SO BEAUTIFUL SHE CAN HARDLY TAKE IT IN!

The irises are crystalized. CRYSTALLINE PURPLE! 

THE PETALS LOOK LIKE ICED PURPLE FLAMES.

She gasps. She holds her chest.

THE FLOWERS ARE AS FROZEN AS SHE WAS LAST FEBRUARY WHEN SHE STARTED TO WRITE THE BOOK,

HEAL LEAH LEAH HEAL

OR IS IT


LEAH HEAL HEAL LEAH?

NO MATTER

the book has a title page, and it can be morphed. Endlessly. 

That is the beauty of publishing the book on the blog. It is a fully fluid format.

AS FLUID AS SHE IS

FLUID

WARM AS SHE IS

TOTALLY UNFROZEN.

So complete

she feels

the heat of

happiness.

Her husband opens the door. "It's below freezing honey.  Aren't you cold? You've been out there for 40 minutes?"

SHE SMILES. Only 40?

HOW MANY MILLION MINUTES DO YOU NEED TO WITNESS AN IRIS MIRACLE?

She is FULLY WARMING BY INTERNAL PURPLE FLAMES.

"I'm watching the irises," she says, as if he doesn't know.


She keeps photographing them over and over again, in every pose imaginable.

Suddenly her sister in law Jo Kirsch calls. Leah is buying a Hindu "murti," a statue of the deity

SHIVA. And it was Jo who, two days ago, helped her figure out which one was her archetype.

She will give a fuller explanation in another chapter.

Meanwhile, this morning, which is Halloween, her irises have been blooming for nearly two weeks.

She's finished speaking. For now, she is resting in the wind of her heart.