Category Archives: spirit

A Worry Jar Unearthed

Ever go looking for something and find something else of interest? I’ve written about losing things and finding things before because it is such a part of my daily life.

Yesterday I came upon an old Worry Jar in a drawer full of photos — a Mason jar with a metal hasp, missing its glass lid.

You probably know the drill: you put notes or symbols about the things that worry you into the jar. The simple ritual is not meant to be a fix so much as temporarily freeing.

Here Jar, you take these thoughts for a while!

There were coins, a rock, a smooth bit of glass, a roll of cloth, and many notes. Almost all of the notes were about my sister, so let’s just admit that the jar was also a repository of despair.

There was a teeny pouch with a five dollar bill in it. I don’t remember making it or filling it, but I do remember being worried about money.

There was a pencil, likely representing writing, a miniature plastic scuba diver, probably referring to my husband who is a master diver, and a beautiful miniature clay mother and child, there no doubt to stand for a whole world of Mother Worries. I’m surprised the clay didn’t melt or shatter.

I rather unceremoniously threw all the paper out. Another letting go? I’ll pocket the coins, although I don’t know why since they’re not even needed for parking meters anymore (do NOT ask me how I feel about the Passport Parking app). Mother and Child went on my bookcase-altar. They look content — perhaps singing praise songs? — sitting there near the pretty spring gentians and the glass owl.

The owl was a gift to my sister and makes for a happier sibling reference. She was obsessed with them after a recurring dream about “Owl Mountain” during her nearly two-month medically-induced coma in 2009. In case you’re wondering, I like elephants.

The jar is empty now. I am not free of worry, of course, but that particular chapter is quite over. After reading the Brene Brown quotes I had collected in August 2021 and posted here yesterday, I wonder: can I apply curiosity to the things that eat at me?

Hello there! Who are you and what do you want with me?

Talking to Mom

I was walking Finn the other day and decided to ask my mother for some help. Why not? Whether it’s some synaptic crease of memory or a calling across time, if the advice is good it hardly matters.

I would’ve liked direction on my manuscript, but she zeroed in on cloth instead (no surprise, there) (she was a seamstress extraordinaire, remember?)

“Put all the sewing away except for C’s quilt,” she said.

There are two unfinished quilts for C, actually: a pale green one planned as a queen-sized blanket and a smaller log cabin in saturated blue/greens for the couch. The couch quilt was meant to be a quickie, made well in advance of the larger quilt. Ha!

Since the larger bed quilt’s unfinished state more than occasionally keeps me up at night, I got right to it. And guess what? I felt better immediately.

Before and after below. I’d been pinning on top of bed quilt sections for a couple of seasons.

It’s about focus and intention.

A tidier living room makes for a happy secondary benefit.

Sunday Assisi Walk Part I

How endless the visual and historical delight is here! This morning I went back to visit San Rufino, a cathedral I’ve now been to seven or eight times. Since I went on the Roman Antiquities tour yesterday — an absolute subterranean wonder, medieval Assisi having been built on top of a first century Roman town– I paid more attention to what is under the Cathedral… the layers of civilization and time in plain view.

Above: the front rose window from the outside on Good Friday and from inside this morning, reflected in the glass flooring that’s been used in order to reveal Roman wall work underneath.

On one side of the cathedral, next to statues of Jesus, Mary, David, Isaiah and others, is a preserved arch opening into an ancient Roman space.

Here, a hokey inclusion of my own shadow to hint at the insubstantial brevity of this life.

Speaking of life passing, one of the blessings of being here has been distraction from the last months of my sister’s struggle. I’ve lit candles for her all over the city and shared a little about her with a new friend, but otherwise not much — not much memory or hand-wringing. This morning, I threw coins into a pool at Santa Chiara (my sister’s middle name being Claire, recall), one each for K, the boys, me, and her.

Not three minutes later, there was a beautiful and perfect feather in my path. Some say finding a feather means an Angel is near. I thought cynically, it also means pigeons are near. But then, not two feet away, I found a sticker emblazoned with a pentagram, a symbol important in magic generally and to my sister personally. And so, there she was. Hello, Noreen!

I took out the little owl that I’ve been carrying around in my pocket (one of hers) and photographed it near a new picture of Francis in her honor from my favorite perch of this visit — my chair by the windowsill. Need I say — I am a sucker for religious iconography?

I finished the first Assisi-inspired quilt (below) and am rushing to finishing another to give my host before I leave.

Didn’t get to share pix of the sweet cafe where I had breakfast or the many incredible street views returning home, but look how long this is already. I’m going to load some wall and door pix on Flickr and otherwise will be posting about this trip for weeks to come!

Home Tuesday. Apologies for not commenting on blogs right now. Can’t wait to catch up with Jude’s class and Happy Birthday, Nancy!!!

Good Friday Procession

The Christ figure had been brought down the hill to the Basilica of St Francis after early Mass first thing on Good Friday. At dusk, we gathered at San Rufino to process Our Lady of Seven Sorrows down the hill to join her Son. Then, after a brief service in the Basilica, Mother and Son were processed back up the hill as a full moon rose. Town lights were largely turned off, with small wicked lanterns lighting out way — so the pictures are dark. I post them anyway to capture at least part of each section of this extraordinary ritual.

Waiting outside San Rufino

Our Lady lit by cell phone flashes

Interior Basilica of St Francis

I could only load one video. It’s dark, but strangely enough the cell phone lights flashing on the statue of Mary add a mystical feel.

You do not have sufficient freedom levels to view this video. Support free software and upgrade.

PS. I am moved by the communal experience of it — seems the whole town came out — more than the spiritual experience of it. In fact, the white hoods and crosses can’t help but be creepy to someone immersed in the study of slavery.

Ghost of Tara and travel plans

After ten years of a blogging on a basically free WordPress platform, I used up the allotted memory. A funny time for that to happen, if you ask me. A little like how I waited weeks to shut off my sister’s phone and cable and when I finally did so, she was dead within 15 hours.

As for WordPress — I just signed up for two years on the business plan. I’d rather not pay for what’s been free, of course, but I’m so relieved that the fix was straightforward, I don’t really care. Who knows what other bibs and babs will show up here now?

(Please note: in the process I dropped “WordPress” from my domain name, so your computer might be suspicious. Also, if you link to this blog on your blog, you’ll need to update. Now it’s: http://www.deemallon.com).

Here are a few more pictures of the box holding my sister’s ashes. The play of light is something she would have appreciated.

Today, grief brought me to this realization: I am an incredibly resilient person. At the moment pretty battered and worn out, but not at all worried about myself. That’s what resilience will do for a person.

Two obvious contributing factors to my brand of resilience: loving food (seriously! and I don’t mean loving food in a serious way, but seriously, this is a factor) and, this is key — seeing beauty and stories everywhere.

I started my day watching an interview with Gloria Steinem (you can find the link in Michelle’s comment yesterday – thank you, Michelle!) Talking about the importance of narratives, Steinem said something like, ‘we are wired to tell and listen to stories.’

Yes. And to appreciate beauty. Wherever we find it.

Another mosaic from my sister’s clip files.

And sidewalk shadow and rust seen while walking to my car this afternoon– also beautiful.

There’s a lot left to do in my sister’s apartment, but the end glimmers and good thing because an incredible travel opportunity dropped into my lap.

Such a gift! Such timing!

My cousin Ginny (also Mallon) offered me a small scholarship through The Fat Canary literary and art journal to attend a residency program in Assisi, Italy for the latter half of April!

Can you believe that?

What contributes to your resilience?