You Are Not Alone Even in Lockdown

When I saw the headline yesterday that said, “Newsom orders all California counties to close indoor restaurants, bars,” the Covid pit in my gut I’ve tried like hell to keep at bay hardened.

I was at the gym listening to upbeat music as my feet twirled ever faster on the elliptical when I glanced up at the bank of televisions overhead to read the sad news. “Cases have climbed dramatically since then, and the number of people hospitalized and in intensive care with COVID-19 has increased steadily. As of Monday, more than 334,000 confirmed cases statewide. The state has been reporting, on average, more than 8,000 new cases a day over the past week.”

Shit. I thought trying to go to that happy place exercise usually takes me. But even though I chose the most positive songs from my playlist and willed my legs to circle strongly, I couldn’t stop the stressful thoughts from coming.

I’m going to be so lonely. Again. Just when I was able to get out and see friends, enjoy my community, try a few dates it’s all shutting down. I’ll be trapped at home. Don’t even have a boyfriend to hold at night.

And it went on and on.

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I kept working out. One hour. An hour and a half. When I started to get weak around the two hour mark, I showered and headed for home. Here I was met with my sweet girls: my daughter and my roommate. They were chatting and giggling over a glass of wine and I joined them. We told jokes, silly stories, debated politics, and shared insights and I felt better.

Later, I was doing my nightly meditation of “I am” affirmations when one phrase struck me. “I am a wonderful friend. I am here for others.” And I realized that even in lockdown, that I am able to live my best self. I can continue to be part of and give to the human community .

Dear ones, if you need me I am here… Together we can endure.

With love.

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Finding Gratitude

Thank you. A simple phrase. So easy to utter.  It falls from our lips multiple times each day. Yet, have you ever thought about what it means to be thankful? To embrace the gifts all around?

I know I don’t always show gratitude. Sometimes I live in resentment,  blaming others for my successes and failures. If my step-father hadn’t beaten the women in my family, I’d have been assertive in my romantic relationships.  I would have stood up and demanded that my needs be met. If my husband hadn’t had an affair, I wouldn’t be doubting my lovability today.  Even if we’d still divorced I would have begun dating with confidence in my attractiveness.  It was my boyfriend’s job that kept me from committing fully. If he had just gotten a better paying one, we would have had the perfect relationship.

And it goes on and on.

So often, I’ve argued with what is the truth of my experience.  But I have no control over past events. I cannot change the fact that my ex-husband had a secret seven-year affair. I cannot rewrite an old boyfriend’s resume. I cannot magically erase the black eyes and broken bones my step-father inflicted.

But I can choose where to focus to my thoughts. I can say thank you for every experience. I can choose gratitude. I can thank my ex-husband for believing in me when I was just an insecure kid unsure of my life’s path. I can admire how my step-father sought counseling and tried to overcome his anger showing me that anyone can change.  I  can be grateful for how my boyfriend told me time and again to be kind to myself . How he modeled self-acceptance and making peace with what is.

Instead of fixating on what never manifested, I will remember what has.

I may be single, again, but wondrous relationships abound. My children fill my heart and mind with joy. My silly dad and worry-wort mom say ridiculous things that make me chuckle. I have rocking times with friends dancing, chatting, sharing stories. Kisses and caresses from lovers of the past linger on my skin.  I have an abundance of love for myself and others.

I am blessed.

Thank you all.

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(Photo by David Stroup)

About Laurie: The author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet, and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

That Moment: A Poem

For that moment

Life was perfection

And I became

Not separate

But a part

Of something sublime.

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About Laurie: The author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

Without Touch: A Poem

Without touch

We are a dead sea

Where tides rise and fall

On a barren shore

 

Without family

We are an endangered species

A wraith of a white rhino

Waiting in vain for a mate

That never comes

 

Without love

We are but hollow shells

Exoskeleton crustaceans

Branded by the noonday sun

 

Alone

We are but specimens in a zoo

We pace before the bars

Of a hundred onlookers

Searching each face

In despair.

 

(Photo by David Stroup)

About Laurie: The author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

Cloud Dancers: A Poem

Lighting upon a liquid stage

Briefly for an audience of one

Two fallen birch leaves

Pirouette in a whirlpool,

Mirrored mimes in

Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet,

Carmen, and the Firebird.

 

Those who had once been

Skyriders reflecting and

Filtering light

Fell to Earth

Reluctant parasailers

Only to battle ensuing currents

In a watery waltz

All escape blocked by

Cries of encore.

 

One ochre lover

Makes his way upstream

While his partner is left

Swirling in the sun

Lost and alone

These former cloud dancers

Surrender to the stream

And are gone.

 

To where they are destined

Is unknown but I’d like

To imagine

 

That when the wind

Choreographs them

One final time

They embrace

As they slowly sink

Forever from the sky.

 

(photo by David Stroup)

The author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

 

Men’s Song: A Poem

I love men.

Their musky scents.

Car grease, salt,

And briefcase leather

Linger in my lungs.

 

I love how they move.

Purposeful fingers pounding keys

Or the deliberate way they

Place one sturdy foot in front of the other

As they swagger
Across floors.

 

I love men’s stalwart shapes

Muscled arms, broad shoulders

Carpeted chests

Inviting touch

And nuzzling faces.

Their small hips

And the way belts

Ride just so.
I love the sounds they make.

Dressing for the day.

Snapping buttons, razors buzzing

Water splashing.
And deep voices

Which resonate

Their mesmerizing tune.

***

I hate men

Their strong smells

Of sweat and musk

Shoulders so wide

As to make walls

While daring  hands to

Touch.

I hate the way they

Peacock preen

Over the ground

Deliberate steps

Crushing insects

Flowers

And my dreams.

 

I hate their discordant

Voices

Crooning cacophony

Reminding me

Of glory days

Real and imagined.

As they say goodbye.

(photo by David Stroup)

The author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

 

Snare: A Poem

I have been on a path to find my way back to myself
But I’m so lost that I can’t tell if this bramble covered ground
Is a road, a garden, or a kingdom.
I reach for shears to cut through the thorny vines
But they have long since rusted
And crumble in my hands.
I try wading through the woody sharpness
And look down to find my feet torn and bleeding.
I remember Jesus imploring me on that night
So long ago.
With unspoken words that tou(ched and terrified me.
And decide that this is not a path
But a snare.
I entrap myself in again and again.

Laurie Woodward is the author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky of the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. She co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

(Photo by David Stroup)




Sublime Love: A Poem

I had a sublime love once,

A love of salt and sea and skin

A love where every song was him

And poetry filled my heart.

 

I had a sublime lover once

One who gently brushed my cheek

With the back of his hand

And whose lips quivered

As he taught me who I could be.

 

I had a sublime marriage once,

One that had me dancing from room to room

And singing off key

To babes as beautiful as life.

 

I had a sublime friend once,

Who stood at my shoulder

With words of comfort

As we created home, and art, and family.

 

I had a sublime eternity once

With a statue in transcendent embrace

Watching over graves with the etched words,

Love was not meant to be just fine.

Love was meant to be one thing,

Sublime.

 

But all  that was long ago.

 

(Photo of The Kiss by Auguste Rodin)

 

Laurie Woodward is the author of  several novels including Forest Secrets, and the fantasy series The Artania ChroniclesShe also cowrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes her novels on the Central Coast of California.

The Man Without a Home: A Poem

He emerged on the horizon

Of a crumbling walk

And paused

To swab his feet.

They were caked in dirt

And bleeding.

 

When I asked why,

He said,

Beware:

The falling snowflakes,

So beautiful as to blind,

That seep into cracks

And lie in wait

Year after year

To break your countenance

And turn it to dust.

Leaving it to blow

Aimlessly in the wind.

 

For what is love but

Cement formed

From a single mold?

Strengthened by steel

Hardened in the rising sun

Smoothed by a ballet of trowels

It becomes a single path.

 

So tread lightly on this esplanade

Of love beneath your feet

Skip rope, draw chalk figures,

And dance upon it,

Let it lead you to

Wondrous playgrounds

And home again.

 

This he said.

Before he continued

On his journey.

 

This man without a home