Punch the Monster

Be authentic;

know who you are.

Understand what’s

buried beneath those

mountainous feelings of

inadequacy,

fear,

suffering,

depression,

despair,

grief.

Be prepared

to walk deep into the

cave of your misgivings;

to poke the monster,

Vulnerability, and

hear its high-pitched

squeal that shuts you down

or sends you running.

Be prepared

to punch the monster

in the nose and say,

“No more!

No more will I be

ruled by the unseen

terror that lies

dormant within.

No more will I

allow it to undermine

my truth and sway

me toward the lies

that feed

its hungry belly.”

Be prepared

for the struggle that is

that step from the dark

pit of toxic unknowing

into the light of pure truth.

Be the David to your inner

Goliath; slay the monster

and rise victorious. It is

your right to be

authentic.

~*~

When we have no understanding of who we are, or what makes us tick, we cannot be authentic. It’s just not possible. All the fears, anxieties, and other negative feelings that keep us stalled in a debilitating life pattern are driven by what we don’t know about ourselves. It takes courage and shining a light of curiosity into the cave of our unknowing to unearth our truth, remove the obstacles that prevent us from living it and be authentic. It’s a heck of a journey and worth every moment.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

Daily Prompt: Authentic

 

 

Now You See It

Sheer shimmer;

Flash of light

Vibration.

Beyond shining.

More vital;

More alive;

More present behind

The grey disguise.

Mercurial, myriad

Hues ~ blues,

Greens, pinks,

Golds.

Shades of life

Discerned by

Soul. Now you

See it; now you

Don’t.

Now you see it.

~*~

images-3I was thinking of the beautiful feldspar stone, Labradorite, while writing this. Usually I carry a piece with me always as a reminder to be present and to appreciate the multi-layered complexities of life. At first glance Labradorite can look like a grey, uninteresting stone, but hold it to the light and its luminescent beauty shines forth, dazzling and delighting not just the eye, but the Soul.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

Daily Prompt: Luminescent

 

No Rush

Rush …

A fast word.

Adrenline-fed.

Exhausting.

~*~

I learned the hard way to change my life-long pattern of being “in a rush.” Years of adrenal fatigue the rude wake-up call.

Let me give you a tip ~

S-l-o-w d-o-w-n.

There really is no rush.

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

Sir Winter

~ X ~

Sir Winter hath his frigid tune declared

With blast of snow ‘pon wind that gusteth fierce.

But I, perchance, am not so unprepared

My body warm with blankets nought can pierce.

Though sleet and rain and pellets icy fall

Upon the ground and mire where’er I go,

My repast take I warmly in my stall ~

No need to be outside in ten below.

*

But all is not as bleak as it may seem

As longer grow the days t’ward Lady Spring,

And of the warmer hours do I dream ~

Imagination is a wondrous thing.

So, let Sir Winter wail his frigid song,

For as the days unfold he’ll thaw, e’er long.

~*~

This sonnet is not new. In fact, it is the tenth in a 25-sonnet collection entitled, Sonnets from Poet’s Paddock: A collection inspired by Shakespeare, a poet out standing in his field. One day I may publish it.

Trust

Shakespeare, my muse, died tragically of torsion colic on November 21, 2017. He was my heart horse; the one who saved me from myself. Through these sonnets and other writings, he helped me find, and have confidence in, my voice. He thawed my frigid, unhappy heart and then warmed it up and brought it to life again.

I honour his memory by living the lessons he taught and sharing the creativity inspired by him. All the sonnets in this collection are in his voice, except the epilogue written just days after he departed and the torch had been passed to me.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

Daily Prompt: Frigid

No Return

To churn

is to change,

our life

re-arrange.

Like butter

from cream,

to rise from

a dream.

A process

profound,

turns our lives

upside-down.

To change

is to churn ~

one-way ticket;

no return.

~*~

When we make desired changes in our lives or take steps to live a dream we often forget that for a time there will be some discomfort; some churning of our inner world as we move into a new level of consciousness. Every transition brings uncertainty as we process and let go of what has been and make room for what might be. And once we’ve made that shift in awareness there’s simply no going back.

Be well,

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

Daily Prompt: Churn

Masterpiece

I am a work in progress.
The canvas of my life
Stretches across the easel
Of time, anticipating each nurturing
Brush stroke by the Masterful Artist.

I am a landscape ~
An ever-unfolding vista of colours,
And shapes and light.
The shadows of clouds
Float in, and out,
Dispersed by bright sunshine,
Irreverent and true.

The Masterful Artist reveals
Mysterious patterns and
Miracles with a
Flick of the conscience, or
A long, deep stroke of thought.
The brush of a shadow ~
The sweep of radiant light ~
Depth to denote character,
And dappled sunlight to
Delight the soul.

~*~

The Masterful Artist’s strokes
Are sure, each measure
Of the art-child completed
In its time ~
Contemplated and recorded.
Mistakes are washed away,
Remembered no more.
Flaws are embraced to
Profess a perfectly natural appeal.

I am a landscape ~
Time rolls across my verdant fields,
Tickled by morning dew drops ~
Each tender blade of
Life reaching beyond
Tomorrow ~ to grow ~
To stretch toward the measure
Of its creation.

I am a work in progress.
The canvas of my life
Gradually reveals a story
Spun by the Masterful Artist.
I am a Masterpiece.

~*~

If only we could be patient with the creative process of living …

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

Daily Prompt: Radiant

Viper

Sssslithering,

ssssliding,

sssslinking ’round

tox-ssssick tree.

Shiny apple offered;

foe friendship ~

flattering,

falsssse.

Forked tongue a

twissssted tale teller.

Laden with loathssssome liessss;

sssserpent’s sssseditious charm.

Shedding sssscum-sssscaled

faux-ssssparkle sssskin,

bedazzling innocentssss

to wanton, wicked wayssss.

Sssstrike!

Hsssssssssssssssssssssssssss ….

~*~

Early last year I wrote a series of 14 poems prompted by a prolonged (and ended) entanglement with an extremely toxic person. Viper is one of those poems.

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

Daily Prompt: Toxic

 

Dearly Beloved

 

Dearly Beloved

Shakespeare
June 23, 2001-November 21, 2017

~*~

Dearly Beloved

Dedicated to those loved and lost

Dearly beloved …
How can you have gone?
One minute living your life,
The next ~ no life to live
And in my life
A gaping, lifeless, dark hole
Where once shone your living light.
Oh, how I miss you ~
Your touch, your presence, your grace.
Such tangible moments
A sorrow sore borne.

Alas, dearly beloved,
I must go on
Minute by minute living my life
In tribute to your wisdom, love and dignity.
Gradually filling the darkness again
With the light of
Your beloved memory ~
Your beauty, your essence, your face.
For such intangible comfort
I can scarce dream.
Dearly beloved ~ I miss you.

~*~

Thank you for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Elizabeth Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018 … Aimwell CreativeWorks

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved

 

Lest We Forget …

When I was a little girl, I loved to hear the family stories my Scottish granny, Alice Gordon, would share of her parents swapping the civilized life of gentry in Glasgow for the pioneering life of the wilds of northern Alberta in the 1920s. A family of nine stepping into the unknown to start anew under some of the most undesirable conditions possible. The longest, bitterest winters. The angriest mosquitoes. The biggest, immovable field stones. What a shock to the system! I’ve heard lately that if they’d had the money they would have returned to the old country after just a year of these, and other, challenges. Their life was just that hard.

Still, Granny was proud to tell of their sacrifices, incumbent hardships and the ultimate satisfaction of taming a hostile environment that provided a foundation for future generations to grow and prosper. She was also proud to call herself a Canadian.

Her younger brother, Archie, was just five when they landed. Barely 15 years later he would pay the ultimate price for his new country, in the cause of freedom.

I am reminded that nothing that is of value comes without a price.

Here, in my late Granny’s own words from a memoir I discovered and typed up earlier this year, is a short account of Flight Engineer, Archibald Don Gordon RCAF, Squadron 405 Bomber Command, and the family’s experience of his loss. Though her thoughts are quite personal I feel it appropriate to share. May her words be a poignant reminder to us all.

Lest we forget …

~*~

Archie Gordon

Archibald Don Gordon was born December 15, 1919, in Dundee, Scotland ~ the 12th of 13 children (seven made it to adulthood) and the first after dad’s (William Alexander Gordon) return from the war. He was named for a superior officer who was killed. The officer’s name was Archibald Don. Dad wrote to the family in England and asked permission to do so. Archie came from a proud family of soldiers. Indeed, our father was a member of the Black Watch and served out his time in WWI as a Sergeant Major.

He was a chubby, sturdy little boy with hazel eyes and red hair who grew into a good looking young man with a ready grin. He had a sunny disposition and was popular with everyone who knew him. Archie was always ready for a prank. Always willing to go along with his friends in all of their various and, sometimes, daring activities. When he was angry it never lasted for long. However, he had lots of grit and his temper, when roused, was something to see. As he grew up he was very well liked by the girls. He was wonderful dancer and very sociable.

When he joined the RCAF he had been training as an electric and acetylene welder in Edmonton. Frank, his older brother, and he enlisted as volunteers at the same time. Before doing so they set aside a few weeks at home and travelled with dad and sort of did the town. Then they went their separate ways into the services. One Army; one Air Force. Frank tried later to get a transfer to the Air Force, but was unsuccessful.

The war got very grim as history books will tell. Archie started out as ground crew, but studied to become air crew. He was very happy when he made it. He flew in a Halifax Bomber as a Flight Engineer. Those bombers were big and awkward and had very little maneuverability. They were really sitting ducks for enemy planes.

Of course, it happened. He and his crew were shot down over the Bay of Biscay while on a mine laying expedition. Six fellows in the crew. Some bodies were washed up on islands in the Bay. He was reported as missing in action for six months, then he was officially presumed dead. The bodies that washed up, including Archie’s, were buried by the French civilians in a cemetery in La Rochelle. Later, after the war was over, they were gathered up from their various burying places and laid to rest in a big military cemetery. Archie’s body, along with those of his crew companions, was reburied at Pornic cemetery in France.

The correspondence regarding these events were thrusts of sorrow and pain to my mother and father, and to the rest of us. So many tears. Archie had met a girl in Brandon, Manitoba, who was in training as a nurse and became engaged to her. Her name was Dot Hurle.

Who can write sorrow? Those who feel sorrow can hardly tell it. It is a leaden weight ever present in the heart. The night Archie was killed, April 6th, 1943, I dreamt I was a way high up in the sky. It was very dark. Then I felt a great crushing on my chest, and I woke up. I felt very strange, but went back to sleep. I then dreamed I was in a great field of very beautiful white lilies. I was desperately searching for a coloured lily, but I searched and searched and didn’t find one. Word came the next day that Archie was missing in action.

Can you imagine my mother’s sorrow; my dad’s sorrow?

My mother was alone when the telegram arrived. She ran to a neighbour who got to my dad at his work. Such a dark day. My mother couldn’t eat or drink fearing that Archie was a war prisoner, or that he had no food or water. I cannot tell all details here of the agony of it. My mother had been listening to the news on the radio the night before. The results of raids and which planes had not come back to England were broadcasted. She heard that the Bomber “P for Peter” had not returned, and said she sort of knew that Archie had been on it. He was 23. My mother didn’t sleep for nights on end. The darkness that descended on us when the dreaded telegram came never did leave. Words cannot express the very depth of our sorrow. Hearts were broken never to heal. Our big, tough dad wept until the tears rolled down his cheeks when his face, he thought, was hidden behind his newspaper. But I saw those tears. We all did, and turned away and wept. I don’t believe (and some others feel the same) that Frank ever got over the loss and the grief.

Trips were made to the Red Cross headquarters in Edmonton every day to find out if anything had been heard. My family were not the only ones who made these sad trips. There were many families hoping against hope.

Anyway, after six months they were all presumed dead. Archie’s clothes came home in a box. Not many. No uniforms. All the shirts and socks needed washing. He’d had some of his pay sent home each month and deposited in my mother’s name in a bank. She didn’t spend a cent of it for many years, until my dad urged her to.

I never forget them, the hosts of the great volunteers. They unselfishly and bravely and willingly offered their all. Their all was taken, but the spirit is beyond harm and death, so triumphantly they live. I know they live. I know Archie lives.

These boys were great. They gave their lives for a great cause. Read about Hitler and concentration camps and the Holocaust of that time and realize that these boys knew why they were fighting and they didn’t die in vain. Read of their joking and laughing as they boarded their bombers for the raids knowing that the big thing was to do the job, and knowing they were facing almost certain death. Archie and his great host of fighting heroes are forever alive and forever with Almighty God in a safe place. Because God loves the ones who give their lives for a good cause. And did not God’s own Son set them an example? Believe me I know that they are all ok and safely home, and we shall all meet again as sure as the sun rises each day. I look forward to seeing Archie. I long to see him. And I will see him. I’ll also see all my loved ones who have gone on before me. Each of us are spiritual and alive and better off than ever, and I know that Christ was with the men fighting for right and that He gave them all a welcome home to their new and spiritual life. He was on the shore at La Rochelle and He guided them in to a safe harbour.

Time goes on and time does heal.

Dear reader never forget these boys and men who paid the full price for the freedom of Europe and for us, too, as had Hitler not been stopped he would have been in England (he already had France and Holland and Belgium and many other countries). These boys had a saying. If crews didn’t return after a raid they said that the crew had “bought it,” or so and so had “bought it,” and so on. So Archie and his crew “bought it,” too. The “it” being our freedom. They considered they were buying our freedom, and that they certainly did. And Jesus also “bought it.” You see? They paid the price. Out of my family of seven raised, one paid for the freedom for the rest of us. And for many others.

To conclude, Granny penned this beautiful poem tribute to the lads who lost their lives in defence of freedom. I’m told it appeared in the Edmonton Journal some time in the 1950s during a Remembrance Day feature. Sadly, I don’t know the specifics, still her words live on.

~*~

A Lad and a Lark

Alice Gordon McDonall

Upon the death of Flight Sergeant Archibald Don Gordon, RCAF,
405 Squadron, killed in action April 6, 1943, over the Bay of Biscay.
Buried in Plot 1, Row AB, Grave 5 Pornic War Cemetery, France

1
From far off shores they wrote and said,
“Your boy lies here among the dead
With softest care and gentle hands
We laid him with Canadians.”

2
See how the grain is bending low.
See how the rivers cease their flow.
The wild flowers drop their saucy heads
The winds hide in their mountain beds.

3
Silent and sighing the whole land
Grieving my lost Canadian
Bowed in sorrow and despair
Broken my heart beyond compare.

4
The land, the sky so very dark,
But, what is this? A meadowlark?
Hear it! Hear it! Through the haze?
“I love dear Canada,” it says.

5
“He is not dead!” he bravely tells,
“He’s here! He’s walking in the dells.
He wanders by the river wide
He’s here! He’s here! He has not died.”

6
His little voice, so sweetly true
I must believe! Oh, wouldn’t you?
The meadowlark my laddie loved
And deathless Life to me was proved.

7
Oh, leap you rivers, run you fast.
You flowers lift up your heads at last.
Blow, blow you winds and toss the grain
I know my lad is back again.

8
I raise my head and bow no more
Lift up my heart and am quite sure
He is not dead. He walks the land.
For is he not Canadian?

9
Oh, meadowlark you little bird
Who in my darkest night was heard.
Love you my Canadian lad?
“I love all Canada,” he said.

~*~

Most of my grandmother’s generation are gone now, and with them the terrible burden of memories they carried of a most brutal time in our world’s history. I pray, for all our sakes, that the sacrifices of those who gave their lives in pursuit of freedom, and the sorrows of those who loved and lost them and had their lives forever changed because of it, shall not be in vain.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2017

 

A Taste of Music

Don’t over think this, I tell  myself while contemplating a response to my niece’s inquiry about my taste in music. Amy’s 12 and at an age where she’s developing her taste for many things, music being one of them.

“Well?” Amy waits not so patiently at the wobbly kitchen table, one hand dipping into a freshly made batch of popcorn, the other clutching a glass of sparkling water and black current. No soda pop in this house.

“Music is a personal thing,” I attempt to explain. “It’s an expression of the soul. It can build up, and it can tear down. It can inspire. It can soothe. It can …” Words fail me really. My awe for the power of music is beyond description. And yet, I must try. “To develop your taste for music,” I proceed while staring out the kitchen window and tapping a finger on the table top, “you must listen to many genres to see what resonates.” I pop a piece of popcorn into my mouth and allow its buttery texture to dissolve rather than crunch on it. “I’ve developed my musical appreciation over a life time. Still,” I ruminate, “my tastes were guided most by what I was exposed to around the time I was your age.”

I smile and leave the table.

“Where are you going?” Amy calls after me.

“Don’t worry … I’ll be back.” I head into the family room to a trove of old albums hiding in an out-of-the-way antique cabinet. I’ve had them since I was Amy’s age and possibly even younger. My introduction to music was quite different than that of most. My mother was a professional opera singer, so classical music permeated our home. All other musical appreciation grew through the finely-tuned ear the great masters of music gifted me. I feel incredibly blessed.

I gather a few samples from my eclectic collection and bring them to the turntable Bill has just purchased and set up in the bay window. The old is new again.

“Amy, sweetie, come here, please!”

“But you said you were coming back!” she howls as only a beleaguered pre-teen can.

“C’mon …” I cajole.

With the scrape of her chair against the old hardwood floor … and a sigh of exasperation … Amy manages to manoeuvre her way from the kitchen to the family room. Such a journey, those few short steps. Youth is, indeed, wasted on the young.

“Why do you want me in here?” she asks as her shadow dons the door.

“You want me to answer your question about my taste in music, or not?”

“I do.”

“Well, then, you need to come in here,” I assert. “I want you to experience the music as I would have at your age, and then you might have a purer understanding.” It’s a stretch, but worth a shot.

Amy slumps in the sofa and Abbey, the rough collie, joins her. Puts her head in her lap. Moans.

“You know your grandmother was an opera singer …” I begin.

“Yes.”

“Well opera, naturally, is where my taste for music began. Your grandma started her training for the operatic stage while she was pregnant with me and so naturally it formed the basis of my music education. Would you like to hear a little bit of opera?” I need to give her the choice. Being forced to listen to something that ends up grating your nerves without the option of cutting it short is hell on earth.

“Sure, I guess …” Amy hesitates, and hugs the dog.

“Okay … good.” I reach for a recording of highlights from Mozart’s captivating  The Magic Flute and select the dark, dramatic Queen of the Night aria. This should get her attention. I slide the record down the post on the turntable and place the needle at the beginning of the appropriate track. The quality of the recording is a bit tinny, but the voice behind it is divine. I flop in my chair and watch for Amy’s reaction to the trills and thrills of this particularly fine rendering. Will she ask me to turn it off? She has the option.

Her eyes close; her eyes open. She scrunches her face; she releases it. To my delight we see the aria all the way to 3:10 minutes. At the end we pause for a moment as if to allow the music somewhere to rest. Amy breaks the silence.

“Wow! Wow! Wow!” her eyes light up like fire flies; her countenance brightened. “That was awesome!! Did grandma sing like that?”

“Yes, of course, sweetie. Opera was her life, and was a huge part of mine. I kind of have a love/hate relationship with it … but mostly love,” I sigh, remembering a childhood filled with trips to the theatre and introductions to the most glorious music. “It tuned my ear. Made me rather particular about the other genres I would entertain, which is okay with me. I rather like my taste in music.” I giggle to myself. I rather do.

“So, what else do you like to listen to, then?” Amy wants to explore my other musical dimensions.

“Oh, a little bit of a lot of different things, but I am, as I said, particular.”

I pick up the pile of albums from the floor beside me and head over to the sofa to sit next to my niece. She scooches over and I have to kind of work my way around the dog, but the three of us figure it out and I rest the albums on my lap.

“This … ” I pick up the first album with its dark outlines and sunset background, ” … is Hotel California by one of my favourite bands, The Eagles. I was 14 when this album was released. I’ve played it many, many times,” I tell her while feeling the cover’s frayed edges. “Their musicianship and vocal harmonies reach into the depths of my soul.” I get up from the sofa and take the vinyl out of its sleeve; slip it onto the turntable on top of the opera, and place the needle at the beginning ~ the title track. For a few minutes I’m transported to my tumultuous teenage years, a period of my life that relied heavily on music such as this.  Close my eyes. Lose myself.

“Auntie Ell …” Amy calls me back when the song is over and the needle has slipped into the next track.

“Sorry, sweetie,” I give my head a shake, “I was quite lost there for a moment.” I pick up the needle and set it on its rest.

“I know. I watched you. Where did you go?”

It’s then that I realize that the music we adopt becomes our meditation. It takes hold and moves us … for good or ill.

“It took me home.”

Amy gets her quizzical face on.

We continue in this vein for about an hour, lost in time and space as Amy patiently allows me to share with her samples from the soundtrack of my life. The records layering on the turntable just as the music has layered my life. Maybe, just maybe, I can help this young woman develop an eclectic music palette. Balance the rambunctious with the soulful; the pop with the classical. Introducing her to a variety of music gives her a choice. Every generation has its music, to be sure. Mine was light rock and disco. Likewise, every generation can benefit from, and find expansion through, the music of the past and meld it with the present. I’m rather fond of Adam Levine‘s vocal interpretations, truth be told.

I am not so eloquent at describing music’s meaning to me. Music is personal. It speaks to the soul ~ moulds it; heals it; or even destroys it. It is our choice. I only hope that in the sharing of the music I love ~ and that loves me ~ I am able to help Amy find the music that amplifies her happiness. There is music for every mood; every occasion. I have heard of people who don’t listen to music ~ even worse, don’t like it. This only makes me wonder if they have yet found the music that whispers to their soul.

I try new music on all the time. This is one of life’s more gentle explorations, yet we can never underestimate the profound power our choice of music has on our lives. I could write a book and never get to the depth of meaning music holds for me. The fact that I can sing every word and every nuance of a song I haven’t heard in 20 years still baffles me.

It’s been a full hour music sampler ~ bluegrass, blues, country, choral and more. My final selection, Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most as sung by my favourite jazz songstress Ella Fitzgerald, leaves tears streaming down my cheeks. Amy brings me a tissue.

“You asked.” I sniff and mop up my tears, embarrassed by my self-indulgence. I really just want Amy to understand that her taste in music is as individual as she is, just as mine is to me. And I haven’t even addressed the impact that participating in good music has on us as performers. One day I’ll tell her about that, too.

She gives me a hug. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, sweetie. Now, come on … ” with a gentle push I loosen her hold and take her hand for some help up from the chair, ” … let’s eat some popcorn and turn on the radio to something you like.”

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2016

Daily Prompt: Music