Tuesday, January 9, 2018

#SOL18: MaryAnn’s #OLW, Reduce

Lake in Fog (Reilly, 2015)

This year I want to keep in mind the benefits of reduction. Not only is less more, but so too is the act of reducing. My one little word to keep in mind this year is reduce.

Two years ago my husband was alive. He began January in the intensive care and would undergo neurosurgery, rehab, a third staph infection, before returning again to the hospital where the prognosis would become terminal. He spent fifty days of his last 8 weeks of life in the hospital before coming home to die. We did not know he would not live to see spring.

In the space from then to now, I have emptied and filled my life with activities and necessities that often masked the awful waiting I have courted.  Acceptance is the dance partner of waiting. Acceptance is less graceful than I thought it might be. But I am standing in 2018 accepting that Rob's death does not define my life. 


Pain seeks response. For the last two years I have sought to reduce pain through clutter and stillness. I have filled my days with any number of things to do, places to go, and art to make happen alongside sitting very, very still and waiting. You might ask, waiting for what? It’s a fair question and one I find difficult to answer.  It’s what Samuel Beckett knew when he wrote Waiting for Godot.

          VLADIMIR: Well? What do we do?
ESTRAGON: Don't let's do anything. It's safer.
Waiting feels safer than acting at first. It feels familiar, while the world I knew so well felt less so. feels less so.  Mostly, in between doing and going, I have waited for time to pass and courage to rise like a familiar friend I could beckon. I have waited to accept Rob’s death, the death of a life I thought I would have, and my responsibilities to life.


Reduce the distractions for becoming is always an act of living, not waiting. Understand that the loss of Rob was also the loss of me and make note of the life emerging.

Waiting and remembering are twin acts that mask living.

Reduce the noise, the distractions.
Stand up.


  1. Our culture brainwashed us into thinking stuff, the clutter both physical and other, offers comfort. “Waiting for Godot” seems an important text these days. I have it on my AP Lit syllabus this year.

    Reduce is a perfect word. We’re purging our home of stuff this year.

    I hope 2018 is a good year for you.

    1. I am doing more planning in my head. Now just have to get my body to move and do it:)

  2. Your reflections and art always lift some of the veil I hide behind. I've missed reading your posts.

  3. I needed this perspective shift today. You've reminded me what is important, and it's not the lost item that is little more than a distracting toy.

    Thank you, and best wishes on your journey.

  4. Mary Ann, it is so good to read your post filled with the sorrow of acceptance and the peace surrounding the word, reduce. Your journey has been a long one but now I note that you are ready to stand up and be. May the word reduce guide you on this 2018 journey, Mary Ann.

  5. Mary Ann, would you consider offering Lake in Fog for my winter gallery?


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