The Bridge

There’s a bridge in South Africa, as everyone on the planet with Windows 10 who likes nature scenes found out yesterday. So I’m not alone in this knowledge. But I feel like it’s meant for me, this picture chosen to appear on my screen. The bridge in South Africa, a land tied inextricably to the mixture of black and white, a land of unspeakable pain and breathtaking forgiveness – the bridge that crosses.

A river runs below, but that’s almost incidental. It’s the trees above and the ropes that surround and the wood plank support that pulls me in. I feel my feet on the bridge, the warmth of the sunlight through emerald leaves, and my hands on the ropes.

The intricate, looping, arched ropes. Even if I wanted to jump from the bridge, I wouldn’t be able to – beautiful, strong, solid thick ropes block my fall, curved patterns that stretch along the length of the bridge.

There’s no jumping off then. No going backwards, either. My only choice is to breathe in leaf-tinged sunlight, 

and cross.

Last night’s dream…

…is haunting me, filling my head still with the feelings of transition and loss and nostalgia and hopefulness for this new year. 

But it doesn’t make any sense, unless you accept the idea of “priestess.” That there are some women on this Earth drawn to spiritual places and groups because their soul’s charge and purpose is to be the light and life of that community. In eons past, they would live within the walls, spend every waking moment tending to the spiritual lives of the faithful. They are found in every house of every kind of worship, in every culture, throughout history. And my soul is one of these – I know because I came alive when I walked into my temple.

Last night before bed I learned a fellow priestess had moved on, had decided our community was no longer her path. And when I slept, I dreamt her dream.

All the welcoming features of the building itself were gone – warm mauve deepened into dark blue, stained glass windows turned into walnut wood walls, easily accessible gently sloping aisles stretched upward into high stairwells and narrow halls. And the spiritual leader had become unrecognizable, not just a new person but a farce of another faith’s stereotypical paradigm. And a woman she knew and loved (who is now gone) turned with rage twisting her face and declared, I am SO angry with you!

A dreadful place indeed, and who can blame her for wanting to leave? But my fellow priestess, you may travel on, but remember that your sisters still know and cherish you. In the end, dreams may help reveal our hearts, but you have to open your eyes to see.

First Day

I am here, about to receive my new keys to my new kingdom. And the power they have invested in me is humbling. I have discretion, they say. I hold the possibility of a brighter future in my hands for hundreds of lives that I will touch, who will come to me for guidance. And if I just believe in them, maybe, just maybe, they might continue on in confidence and pride to do amazing things with their lives. On this first day, I feel the responsibility. And I am beyond thrilled to be here at last.

At the end of this year….

I end this year wiser, having learned much more about myself and what the reality of my dreams looks like, feels like. It’s the feels like that’s what’s important. Who cares what it looks like? Only I know what it feels like when I know I’m following my path. Only I know the joy of watching my now-sober husband, a man so different from me, be so perfect for filling the hole in my children’s lives. Only I know the pride in watching them thrive. Keeping my eyes on the prize and they are the prize…may I keep my sight clear this year.

Happy, happy new year!

Goodbye, 2013. You will be remembered as the year of new beginnings and revelations. The year I claimed my work as my own. The year I claimed my own power. The year I got what I thought I wanted, and it ripped my heart into pieces. The year I learned how to protect my own heart. The year I learned what true love looks like. The year my love came to me, because I listened to my instincts and followed my own twisty path.

Time for 2014 to begin. The year of fertility and fecundity, of prosperity and perception. The year of new threads added to the tapestry of our lives. The year of intertwining.

I don’t feel broken anymore. I feel ready to conquer the world. I feel like the best me I can possibly be. And thank God for that, and for the blessings of this year.

May all your dreams and wishes come true in 2014!

 

The Speech I Wish President Obama Would Give

My fellow Americans, I am here today to talk to you about the Affordable Care Act. You know it as Obamacare. I want to tell you why, even with the healthcare.gov problems and the challenges ahead, I am proud of Obamacare.

Because of Obamacare, over 6 million young adults have health insurance they wouldn’t have had before. Because of Obamacare, parents of these six million young adults can rest easy, knowing that their children have the health insurance they need.

Because of Obamacare, no child can be denied health insurance, for any reason at all. Because of Obamacare, children with diabetes, children with cancer, children with epilepsy – their parents don’t have to worry that they won’t be able to get health care for their children. Because of Obamacare, their children can get the health insurance they need.

Because of Obamacare, health insurance companies are now required by law to spend at least eight out of every ten dollars they collect in premiums on medical care.  Because of Obamacare, if they don’t follow this law, they have to give the money back to you. Because of Obamacare, over a billion dollars in premium refunds went out to Americans last year.

Because of Obamacare, millions more low-income Americans now have the option to get free health insurance, with the expansion of Medicaid. Because of Obamacare, for the first time, if you can’t get health insurance from your job or your spouse’s job, you can go to a fair Marketplace where you can shop for health insurance, knowing that you’re buying good coverage for your family. Because of Obamacare, health insurance has to cover the benefits you really need, and health insurance companies can no longer take your premiums but give very little coverage in return.

My fellow Americans, we’re building a new system here, and it’s going to take some time. We’re connecting government agencies and private health insurance companies and uninsured Americans in ways that have never been done before, and yes, there have been some bumps in the road.

But the road is worth traveling.

We must continue on. We must not let the health system break down. We must not go back to the days when the rules were unfair, when premiums kept rising unchecked, when millions of Americans had no options at all. We have already traveled too far.

And we will get there – to a health system that keeps us healthy through free preventive care, and covers every American for what they need when they’re sick. To a health system that cares for our children, and for our mothers. To a health system that coordinates our care, delivers the highest quality, and contains costs, because we need all three to get the health system we deserve.

God bless our efforts to build our greater good, and God bless America.