Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lily Pads in the Muck

Photo: Lori Landau (this photo will be auctioned at the Save Stitch house concert April 10th)

Have you ever caught yourself in the middle of a moment where you’re smiling, feeling it all the way to your core and you realize…Oh my god, this is it. This is perfect happiness. It may only last 20 seconds, but you had it. You want to lasso it and hold it forever, but you can’t. Those moments are beautiful and elusive gifts.

Years ago my therapist taught me to go to those moments when darkness threatens to overtake me. I close my eyes and relive them: Holding my baby daughter, laughing and spinning in place; My son Taylor peacefully sleeping in my arms under a balmy Carribean sky; Looking into Evan’s eyes for the first time; Troy and I sitting in silence on an Alaskan mountaintop- the only people in the world. When I go there in my mind, I’m able to see that these moments are possible, and they will occur again. The sadness lifts and my hope is restored.

The other night was one of those moments. I was supposed to watch my grandbaby so my son and daughter-in-law could go out. Instead we all ended up hanging out together in the living room with the kids running around, the baby making his way from one lap to the other. We ate hot fudge sundaes and talked and laughed. It was pure, simple happiness. I reminded myself to stay present in it, and absorb every second. 

As I have navigated my way through the troubled waters of the past year, I found tiny moments like these to be the lily pads that bloom in the middle of the muck. I  hopped from lily pad to lily pad to make my way across those dark turbulent waters. And when there was no happy-moment lily pad, my friends were there, throwing me the life-line.

This week I landed on a big, fat, happy lily pad: Because my amazing friends supported us through this lawsuit and trial, we now have the best attorney fighting for us. A month ago I was despondent and beaten down, ready to give up. Now I feel confident that we WILL win. As if that wasn’t enough, on Monday, after writing all my life, I signed with a literary agent. On Wednesday, I randomly found out that a story I wrote would be published in Chicken Soup for the Soul- Answered Prayers (something I had submitted a year ago and forgotten about!). And Thursday…Wow. Thursday a project that Amy Ferris and I have been nurturing for a year has finally taken wing. Seal Press bought our anthology The Shame Prom. This is the beginning of a beautiful journey that we believe will lift so many. My happy moment has stretched out for a whole week now and I am practically delirious.

Life is so unpredictable. There were times over the past year and a half when life was so crazy-bad, I thought someone had a big voodoo doll of my soul. On the darkest days, I felt doomed that my luck would never change. But through it all there were those tiny moments to keep me going.

And that’s what I believe life to be. Not always fair or just. I’ve seen bad people make out like bandits in this life, and good people suffer. But we get what we get, and in between there are those moments: a friend reaches out, a stranger holds a door open for you and smiles, a baby is born, there are spontaneous fits of laughter (my favorite), flowers blooming after the rain, a crocus poking it’s head above the snowy ground…these small scenes of perfection that are there to heal us if we pay attention and let them in.

Right now I am in one. I sit in my sanctuary writing, my favorite music is playing softly, Stitch and the kitties sleep peacefully together at my feet, birds are chirping, the windows are all open as the breeze blows the gauzy sheers in and out, as though the room were gently breathing. Absolute perfection.

I am in a state of deep gratitude, and wanting nothing more than to return the generosity of spirit you’ve all shown me. Thank you for all the tiny, perfect moments: the kind words and comments, the letters, the cheerleading. Thank you for helping me to bloom in the muck.

Have a beautiful weekend my friends, and keep your eyes open for the lily pads…


  1. you are a gorgeous, generous, stunning human being, woman, writer, mother, grandmother, daughter, singer, songwriter, friend, wife...

    and you are MY friend.

    and you have an amazing husband.
    so, that makes you really fucking amazing.

    i adore you. thank you for coming into my life.

  2. Hollye, I love you and your energy and your spirit and your smile. You brighten my day with your words and deeds and actions. I am so glad we are friends.

  3. ....and this my friend is karma. You so deserve it all! Love.

  4. Hollye,

    You so deserve all these beautiful blessings that are flowing into your life right now. Embrace them...wallow in them...smell them...taste them...listen to them and remember beyond a doubt that it is your strength and perseverance that has brought you to this amazing moment in your life. Leave yourself open to all the good things and they will continue to manifest without pause...xoxoxoxo

  5. Justice always wills out... and brings fantastic door prizes in the process! As I look out my window and see the clear blue sky, the mountains and trees, and think of my many and glorious friends, I wonder what I ever did to deserve such blessings. Yet I know...deep down I know... I have struggled, I have fought, and now I have won. That's the way of the warrior and that is exactly what you are, and similar to what Amy Ferris said at the top of this thread... you are a beautiful warrior. This is why you win!!!

  6. You deserve every lily pad coming your way. So happy for you.

    Can you see me smiling? Can you hear it?

    A smile that big has a sound, you know.

    Hugs and smiles for you. Embrace the joy.

  7. Hollye . . . you are such a loving, kind, wonderful woman. You deserve joy and love and happiness. You have earned it - one million-fold.
    And, all of these wonderful things that you are doing! YAY!!!!!!!!!
    oh YAY!!!!!!

  8. Your spirit always lifts me up. Congrats on all the good news and may it always be coming your way. xoxo Dani Ray

  9. So very happy for you. So glad you have received an abundance of lily pads lately (to make up for the muck). And also loving the lily pad analogy. It is perfect. I will try to store away my own perfect moments for those rainy days. They truly are the best reminders of the goodness of life.
    love, B

  10. How very wonderful and though I don't know you but for your writing, I know you are well and truly deserving of a sail full of wind in the direction of your heart's desire.

  11. Hollye!!!!! I was away on april 2nd, and only stumbled across this just now while doing a google search for an old article I wrote. WOW. this is exactly "right." we have to find the joy in now and hold on to it in our mind as a way to balance the dark times. when we apply vigilance to our unruly thoughts, we take control of our own mindset. thanks for posting this reminder, and THANK YOU for posting my photo!!!!!! may it ALL be for the greater good--Love Lori


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