I’m Up To Something

I’m at the stage of life when most people are retiring. That’s not an option for me. I’m back at the start, doing a few rather soul-shocking things. I learned to swim at fifty. I hiked Angels Landing at 56. Instead of checking things off my bucket list, I keep adding dreams to it. Life is wonderful when you’ve got something to hope for.

There are bleak moments, but mostly I’m simply excited for each new day and opportunity. Right now, I’m up to something that was always at the back of my mind. I’d written it off as impossible, but now I’m doing it. We’ll celebrate together when it’s complete. In the meantime, I’m celebrating every second of the journey.

Thank you LIFE, for letting me have one more day. One more chance to get things right.

I hope that whatever you’re up to, you succeed to your own satisfaction. I hope that you find joy in the little steps and don’t stop trying when you trip. We all fall. We all fail. A two-year-old taught me that you can’t stand unless you fall down. So here’s to falling and here’s to standing, and whatever your “it” is, you’ve got my applause just for trying. By default, that makes you a winner.

Wild But Not Free

The other day Eli and I came across a wolfdog. My son’s spirit animal is a wolf, and he was mighty stoked to see one in the middle of a city street. But that’s not where wolves belong, so we knew something was amiss. We wheeled around and went to make sure it was okay, and that any little humans around it were safe too. Poor thing was terrified. We did our best to approach it cautiously. I’m usually the animal whisperer, but this time the creature only wanted Eli. We sat down and let it come to Eli. The experience was surreal to say the least.

Then something spooked it, and off it went and so did we.  We followed it to a house where another wolfdog was penned in the backyard. SAD. But true. Eventually the owners came out and reclaimed their missing canine.

All this made me wonder about wildness. Like animals, I think we humans are born to be wild. But society, religion, tradition, and necessity do their best to tamper us and tame us. I get that. We need civilization, but don’t you ever feel that there’s a part of you that aches to be free? To run barefooted through wildflowers, exploring the next horizon and the next, and not be fearful that you’ll miss your call to fetch at a slave master’s bid? I, for one, want to go places I’ve never been. I want to make friends with strangers. I want to wander without a map. I want my pain to make me more deeply appreciate the pleasures of life. No more dull existence. No more living in shame, fear, and guilt. Those are chains and coffins for the living. So, if you need me, I’ll be digging my way out from behind the fences of life. Oh, I’ll do the work I need to do, fulfill my obligations, and even conform to the rules that make sense, but when my responsibilities are met…you’ll find me in the mountains or along a shoreline. I’ll be breathing deep and laughing loud. Who knows? I might be dancing with wolves…if they’ll have me.

Here’s to the wild spirit that lives within you! On that happy thought, I’ll sign off with Tolstoy’s sentiments: “I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for love.”

The World Is In Her Hands

There are all kinds of ways to love. There are all kinds of people to love. I guess if I’m decent at anything in life, it’s being open to love and all its designs, and being fortunate to love some of the most stellar spirits imaginable. That’s why I can’t wait to share what this photo means to me. It means my hope for the future. Through she’s not my flesh and blood, she’s wriggled her way into the core of my soul. I was there, with my camera, when newborn Sophia was barely able to cry. I got to watch her grow up, from a shy, observant little girl into a curious, confident woman of 20. The time between wasn’t all sunshine and sugar. She’s one of those rare gems, loved by a village, with a mother who raised her to be who she was meant to me, celebrated her uniqueness, honored her fanatical determination and courage. Sophia is wise and opinionated, she’s hysterically witty. And she’s beautiful beyond words, outwardly, yes, but inwardly, HELL, YES. If you’re ever fortunate enough to spend hours listening to her thoughts about life, you’ll find your spirit and mind stretched in directions you didn’t realize were possible. She’s fiercely loyal to those she loves. And I’m indescribably fortunate that she sees something in me worth investing her heart. Oh,  and her jokes make me laugh for days after we’ve parted. Sophia and her generation have the world in the palms of their hands. Think of a snow globe. I expect her to shake us for all we’re worth, toss us high, and catch us before we shatter. And when Sophia’s magic settles, I believe the world will be more bold, brilliant, and we’ll all be more open to the power that created the world in the first place…love in all its transformative splendor.

Jenny

Oscar Wilde wrote, “Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary.”

With that thought, I’d like to tell you about my friend, Jenny. She will zoom across any room to throw her arms around your neck and call you by your name, even if she hasn’t seen you in a very long time. To Jenny, no one is ordinary and everyone gets a share of her happy, happy love. Jenny all is authenticity. She’s confident, capable, talented, brilliant, daring, friendly, tender, tough, curious, grateful, faithful, and illustrious. She makes my world a better place. No, she makes the entire planet better.

I hope that you have someone in your life who lights up an already sunny day like Jenny does.

Native American weavers, I learned last week, put a tiny flaw in their rugs so the light can enter their creation. I believe that when God made people like me, lots of room was made for flaws, but when Jenny was created there was no need for a single flaw because she was and is the perfect, angelic light that this world so desperately needs. To love her is to love someone truly extraordinary.

Do It For The Children

When children hurt, we all hurt. But when we hurt children, we must be stopped. Like so many of my fellow human beings, I’m outraged and heart-wrecked that our country founded on freedom, and built by those who crossed borders and seas to live a better life, has any part in fissuring families. Okay. So I’m sad. I’m mad. So what???

I have an inkling of how those little children feel. One Saturday night when I was seven years old, the welfare barged into our house, accompanied by police officers bearing guns. I hid in the kitchen cupboard, but they found me and pulled me out. They separated me from my only parent, my mother, an alcoholic whom they deemed unfit. They separated me from my only sibling, my older brother, and my life’s protector. They put me in the back of a police car alone.

The foster home they thought had been arranged, hadn’t. So now there was no place to put me. I remember people arguing about where they could put me.

“Put me back where you found me,” I cried.

They ignored me, decided there was only one option to “help” me, and they drove me to jail. Grown up jail. They thought I was safe and better off because they gave me my own cell. I won’t tell you what happened, and I won’t compare my plight with the pain of the children around the world who are being separated from their families, but I will tell you that this is my country, and it won’t happen here if I can help it. Kids won’t be able to just “get over” what’s happening to them. Their parents will not morph into whatever the powers want them to be.

This situation will not change until we change. We do that by speaking up, standing up, and looking up. The God so many have forsaken may well be the only power with the strength and the wisdom to remedy this.

If any good is coming from the horror, pain, and outrage, it’s a glimpse into how malignant and misaligned a cohort can be, but above that, how compassionate humanity can be when united in a just and desperate cause.

Erase the political lines and bond us.

Let’s find a better way. Let’s speak up until we are heard. Let’s stand up until the bullies stand back. Our voices are the ones that must speak for those who can only cry in the dark for “Mami” and “Papi.”

You know what? Those welfare reps and police officers thought they were doing what was best for me. They thought they’d bully my mother into becoming “fit.”

They were wrong on all accounts.

So now what do we do? We pray, first and fervently. We call our representatives.  We keep calling until they answer.  We change leaders and we change laws. We go to the polls in droves. We go to the borders if we have to. We hold the children and hold ALL those who harm them accountable. God help us to never become calloused or complacent where a child suffers.

And we’re all children.

And all one family.

My prayer is that we’ll remember that and start acting like it.

Love is the only antidote for hatred. But love demands action and so let’s love on a higher level than we’ve ever loved before. Let’s do it for the children.

My Little Pink Hat

Tolstoy observed that everyone wants to change the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.  I want to change. Every single day, I want to evolve into someone kinder, wiser, more aware and more compassionate. At the start of 2018, I made some serious goals to help me climb out of the rut I was in. Here’s what I’ve learned so far. Success isn’t a massive leap. It’s lots of little steps in the right direction. It’s moving when you want to stay still. It’s honoring your inherent worth whether anyone else does or not. It’s how grateful you remain when you don’t get what you want. It’s being patient while you wait. AND…it’s delighting in life’s little gifts. This one’s silly. I’d always wanted a pink cowboy hat. Don’t know why, but I did. The world is full of pink cowboy hats. They’re stacked up at gift shops and gas stations. I almost bought one, once. I tried it on then put it back. It was a waste of money and something I didn’t need. Like anyone needs a pink cowboy hat.  I did. And now I have one. Who knew that such a simple thing could make me so happy. My wish for you is that you’ll splurge on yourself today. It doesn’t have to cost money. Maybe just time. Whatever makes you smile…do it. I tip my hat to you. My cute-as-can-be PINK HAT.

Life’s Treasure Hunt

 

I’m on a quest to reclaim all the pieces of my life. Some have been shattered, others neglected, a few lost, a few stolen. I want zentai, which is a Japanese word for wholeness. To do that, I’m taking back my courage by doing the hardest thing ever. I didn’t just start today, I’ve been working at it for a LONG time, but today, I realized how close I am to done and how very far I’ve come. I’d like to tell all of those who told me that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, talented enough, that I am ENOUGH. And sooner than later, my impossible goal will be realized. Learning to reclaim life’s gems, like courage, is a treasure hunt that makes me want to wake early every morning just to see what I’ve reclaimed by day’s end. Here’s to your treasure hunt and all the success in the world.