Throwback Thursday – #6 – Gift Giving & Receiving

Welcome to the sixth edition of the Throwback Thursday Memory BlogHop where we take on a nostalgic object, event, or memory and blog about it. It’s the last Thursday of September. Hopefully we will be having cooler days, which in my book means more inside time and more time to blog. Maggie, From Cave Walls, and I alternate posting a blog with the title Throwback Thursday – subject of the week. (This week my subject is memories of gift giving or receiving.)

When I first read this I had a few things come to mind immediately but I think I can organize it in my head best if I think about some of the people who gave gifts and how it felt to receive them.

My son: It has been over two years since my son passed away and although it never gets easier, it is easier for good memories to surface. This memory, although not necessarily good, makes me laugh. First let me start by saying I am one of those people who try to find gifts to match the person. I will recall conversations or think about things that person likes, just to get the “right” gift.
So every year, for as many as I can remember actually, I would purchase gifts for my kids throughout the year, whenever I found something that I thought they would like. I did go off their lists to Santa but then they stopped writing to him and apparently guessed that Santa knows all!
Now picture this…Christmas morning, the family sitting by tree, the kids handing out gifts one at a time. Now it is Joey’s turn to open his gift….
Do you like it?” I would ask. He would shrug and say something like, “yeah, I guess I used to but...” and then my tears would flow. It got to the point that my daughter used to tell him to act happy with his gifts “so mom doesn’t have to cry”.
It sounds sort of awful but if you knew Joey, you’d see how it was just him and I loved him for it!

My daughter: Lindsay sort of took after me when it came to gift giving, always looking for the perfect gift. Two years ago, after losing my husband/her dad, we had some rocky times. We talked often and worked through a lot and became very close. It was that year that she gave me one of those little wooden signs that you put on your shelf that said, You’re the mom everyone wishes they had! Talk about tears!

David: David and I had been together almost a year when we celebrated my birthday (for the first time together), that was two years ago. His birthday is only 12 days after mine and it was one of those things where you don’t really know what to buy for the other person because maybe you haven’t lived together long enough to get something they can use around the house or maybe you just don’t know what the perfect gift would be.
That year, two years ago, I had gone to see my father and when I came home David told me he had a gift for me. I had just gotten home and he kept insisting I bring up my suitcase first to the bedroom. I didn’t feel like dealing with the suitcase but I finally just gave in. When I walked into my room there he was, Beary, my sweet guinea pig! Oh, how I love guinea pigs! I guess I had talked about the ones I had over the years so David decided to take the chance and get me one. I loved it! The best part of all is that one of the reasons I didn’t have any guinea pigs for so long was that I was the only one who liked the piggies and I guess it didn’t seem like something practical to buy for myself. Woo hoo! I still have Beary and his brother, Oreo, who we bought a few months later to keep Beary company.

Beary is the brown one on the bottom, Oreo is black and white (obviously!)

Other really special gifts I have received are my dragonfly pottery and dishes from Mary and so many other things I can’t even list them all.
I can’t really think of the best gift I’ve given…some have been great, others just ordinarily good.

The Sunday Whirl: 09/12/21

My Vow to You

Kneeling down before you now
On carpets made of silk
I travel to a land I know
Where tears flow slow like milk

A line before me has been drawn
By wheels inside my head
Like flowers put before a throne
Where candles burn instead

Through the candlelight I see
A living, breathing man
And reaching out I do recall
A quickly as I can

That you are mine and I am yours
It’s not too late to see
That my heart is reaching out
Touching you tenderly

And so I ask you now my dear
If you will be my king
And with this vow I do present
A perfect wedding ring.

©2021 CBialczak Poetry

The Sunday Whirl

One of my favorite writing challenges! Check it out here

Do For You

I feel a flutter in my chest
and feel the wind beneath my wings
like a bird upon its cage
feeling free and so it sings
Needing nothing now but love
like a hanger for a shirt
wanting to be hanging out
not laying in the dirt
but the cold can come and take it
and try to halt its song
like a blocked path in a garden
a tree root is that strong
To deny yourself the freedom
like a child from a womb
is to wish you had no lifeline
Only future filled with doom
so you finish what you’re doing
try to stay along your way
keep your vision very close
don’t let sadness make you stray
Be eager to find that someone
to share your love, your flow
and go just where your heart leads
don’t stop or let that go.

©2021 CBialczak Poetry

Book Tour: To Be Enlightened

Welcome to the tour for “cosmic love story”, To Be Enlightened by Alan J. Steinberg. Read on for details and a chance to win a $100 Amazon e-gift card!

To Be Enlightened

Publication Date: February 27, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Literary Fiction/ Romance

To Be Enlightened is a cosmic love story that follows Professor of Philosophy Abe Levy as he grapples with what it means to love both his wife, Sarah, and the ocean of silence within. It is also an intellectual exploration of the most intimate of subjects: our consciousness.

Abe Levy’s long tenure as a philosophy professor has motivated thousands of students to ponder age-old questions in light of New Age ideas. Though Abe is passionate about his teaching, he is obsessed with a powerful childhood dream of heaven. To return to that heaven, he must reach enlightenment in his lifetime. Day after day, Abe settles into deep meditation, reaching the very cusp of his goal but unable to cross the threshold. Desperately, he commits to doing whatever it takes, even if it means abandoning his wife for a more ascetic life-a decision that sets off a cascade of consequences for Abe, Sarah, and those he loves the most.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

Vedic wisdom holds that during the forty-eight minutes prior to sunrise, which is called the Brahma Muhurta, a wave of purity and balance sweeps through the world, gently waking it up, along with the birds and other animals. I sip my coffee, enjoying the silence and morning calm. About fifteen minutes before sunrise, the birds start singing praises, enlivening and infusing the atmosphere with optimism for the approaching day. The transition rarely fails to uplift me.

A high-pitched fluttering followed by a distinctive buzzing draws my attention. I look up to see a large, shiny purple hummingbird hovering about a foot above the center of the table, looking at me as if wanting to speak. It flits its beak up, down, and sideways, and—zip! It’s gone. I don’t remember ever seeing a hummingbird so close. I sit for a moment. I know that hummingbird! I’ve seen her many times before in my dream. But she was always a bee.

I do asanas and pranayama and then walk toward our bedroom for my morning meditation. The hummingbird gets me thinking about omens. If there really are omens, does it mean that God communicates with us only at specific, special times? Or is it that at certain times we become still enough to precipitate an omen? Maybe there are always omens and we aren’t aware enough to appreciate them? I bet it’s even more complex than that. I adjust my pillows for meditation. In a half lotus, my eyes close.

Mantra, mantra, maaaantra, mmmannntraaaa, maaa…mantra emerges from shimmering pool, drop of water in reverse. Mantra, mantra, mmmmaa…the place on surface of pool where mantra will emerge begins to move, vibrate…I am observing and hearing the mantra’s emergence from my consciousness. It is separate from the real Me, the observer…The school’s administrative board has asked me to head the search committee for a new chief of campus security. I don’t know anything about security. I’m not going…I observe that thought, and this thought, arise in the same way the Mantra emerges.So interesting…Mantra, mantra, mantraaaaa, maaaantra…surface of pool, no ripples, no thoughts, no feelings coming from body or mind, endless…one side, silent awareness; other side, activity. Mantra, maantraa, mmmmm…mantra barely tickles my expansive surface…Bliss surges through body, mind. Bliss is caused by awareness of subtle disturbance at junction between…Mantra, mantra, mantraaaaa, mmmmmmaaaaaaa…flowing outward, all directions; I am a boundless, luminous mirror between my self and my Self… Mmmaaaa…mmmm…maaaaa…I am the surface of the ocean, impossibly still, deafeningly silent…needing to let go…ready to let go…fearing loss…Mmmmmmmm…decision made, must go forward, will go forward…surrendering all I thought I was for what I am…individuality dissolves: raindrop, ocean…

I am.

I am—the vast, unbounded ocean of consciousness. I am—unmoving wholeness. I was never that body or that mind. I have been observing Abe Levy since the moment he was born, and much, much longer than that. I am—at peace. I am—now awake. I was sleeping before. I can see the sun and the planets clearly. They are so dear to have nurtured Mother Earth, allowing her to birth humanity. I notice distantly that my body is glowing. Time is immaterial and has lost its grip on me…

* * *

Back in my body, I look over at my bedside alarm clock. More than an hour has gone by. I lie down to rest and a deep sleep envelops my body and mind, though I am awake, aware, and witnessing.

I get up and put on my robe. Something is very, very different. It’s as if I am still meditating even though my body and I are active in the world. I am in two places at the same time—the unbounded ocean of consciousness and the bounded world of activity and senses. I have never, ever, felt so good and so focused. I walk to the kitchen, but I don’t seem to be moving.

It happened. The thought comes that I should be jumping with joy, but I’m past that. A more pressing, evolving issue appears to be whether my body can contain my joy. I close my eyes and watch as thin, sparkling beams of Bliss increasingly poke their way through the shell that is my old body, shining out from my new one in a myriad of luminous, waving threads of various lengths and hues. The brightest and most numerous ones are congregated around my solar plexus and the top of my head. The weirdest part of all is that I’m not surprised or concerned by this in the least.

I make oatmeal with whole milk, dried cherries, roasted almond slivers, cinnamon, cardamom, and a hint of nutmeg. I notice something is gone. I am not, in general, an anxious or fearful man, but I now realize I had significant anxiety and fear all my life. I know this because, for the first time, I am completely without those constant companions. Along with my anxieties and fears, my worries about leaving Sarah to go to Fairfield have evaporated. I don’t have to go anywhere now. I am where I have always wanted to be. I’m Here. The weight of responsibility that I had shouldered in guiding Sarah around her triggers has lifted. I think that I can now lovingly support her without feeling bogged down or burdened.

I shower, shave, dress for class, and it all seems to happen automatically, as if I’m uninvolved in the process. I was somewhat intellectually prepared for this, but even after over fifty years of meditation, I’m not prepared experientially. This will take some getting used to.

Walking to my office, the world is delicious. The singing birds are part of me, thrilling me thoroughly from the inside with our perfect twittering. My heart sings with them. My body hums with a hymn as my feet beat the rhythm into the sidewalk.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Alan J. Steinberg, MD is board-certified in Internal Medicine and practices with the Cedars-Sinai Medical Group in Beverly Hills, California. He also serves as one of the attending physicians for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. He grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he learned Transcendental Meditation (TM) in 1975. Earning his undergraduate philosophy degree at Pomona and Pitzer Colleges in Claremont, California, he went on to attend the University of Nevada School of Medicine, receiving an MD degree in 1984. His first book was a non-fiction consumer’s guide, The Insider’s Guide to HMOs (Plume/Penguin), which garnered favorable reviews in the Los Angeles Times and other publications as well as appearances on The Today Show20/20 and C-Span. The book helped sway the direction that healthcare was heading in the late 1990s. His debut novel, To Be Enlightened(Adelaide Books, 2021), is a work of visionary fiction, inspired by some of his own experiences as a lifelong practitioner of TM. Dr. Steinberg lives with his wife of over thirty-five years in Los Angeles, California. They are the proud parents of three young adults.

Alan J. Steinberg | Twitter | Instagram 

Twitter Tags: @AlanJSteinberg8 @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours

IG Tags: @alanjsteinberg @shannon_rrbooktours #rrbooktours

Click the link below for a chance to win a $100 Amazon e-gift card! (Open to everyone)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f287/?

Book Tour Organized By: 

R&R Book Tours

©2021 CBialczak

The Sunday Whirl

Click here to read about the challenge

Happy Again

I thought about the role I’d played

as an energy surged right by

like a gust of wind on a rainy day

trying to stay unequivocally dry

I thought I’d send a card to her

in the fashion of a formal note

a photo of me in the Sunday choir

with a mask and a scarf and a coat

The storm itself went rolling by

as my letter did fall to the floor

I put my hands upon the counter

And stared through the blinds on the door

When all of a sudden I saw the light

of someone just driving by

It was my love and to my surprise

We both laughed then started to cry

We hugged and talked and hugged some more

and couldn’t part hands at all

I told her that I loved her so, so much

and how happy I was for her call.

©2021 CBialczak Poetry

Where’s My Joey

By Wendy Monica Winter

I was on Goodreads and this story popped up. It made me smile and feel sadness at the same time. I wrote to the author, Wendy, letting her know why her book title caught my attention and affected me the way it did. She wrote back immediately and told me about why she wrote the book. I let her know that I put my name in for the book Giveaway. She sent me the PDF of her book. It is perfect for me in so many ways that I wanted to share it.