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.
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.
My life’s work, as an author, is to write about the divine light that is within all of us. Take a look at this shot from outer space and marvel with me, will you? And let’s stop doing anything to dim our own divinity and the light that allows our planet to self-heal.
Somewhere along my journey, I picked up the idea that the only three things we carry into the next life are: the wisdom we gain, the relationships we make, and the personality that we develop.
I have a hard time knowing how to fortify relationships with my beloved kids and g-babies that live so far away. I visit when I can. We Facetime and talk every day. Sometimes we read stories at night. But it’s not enough. I still miss ‘em like mad.
Maybe because I spent a chunk of my life as a photographer, images are important to me. I look at photos and paintings and drawings to remember moments and experiences. Looking and remembering make me feel not quite so disconnected by distance. That’s why when Adelaide sent this winning image of her rapturing in a facial, I thought, “I’ll let her know how much I wish we could be sharing a facial side-by-side.”
Her response? “G-Mom’s so silly and just way too cute.”
Adelaide and I have those things in common, even if we’re divided by a million miles.
A few weeks ago, I was with my son-in-law and three of my g-babies at Pearl Harbor. It was an emotional experience because my father earned a purple heart in WWII. My uncle was nearly killed December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor.
The boat ride, the monuments, the guides, even the movie all taught me a lot that I didn’t know. But nothing compared to what my 2-year-old Edison taught me. Out of thousands of visitors, she zeroed in on one little boy about her age and size. At the same time, he fixed his sights on her. She tugged at my hand to get to him. He ran from his mother’s grip to get to Edison. The two little strangers sized each other up, then they hugged. They danced. They laughed.
Edison lives in Hawaii, but she was born on the mainland of the United States of America. She speaks English.
Her little pal, Kaito, was born in Fukuoka, Japan. He speaks Japanese.
A small wall like a language barrier was nothing to those two kids. They didn’t need words to show us what healing looks like. I wish you’d been there that afternoon. I wish you’d seen how the crowd encircled those two little ones, oblivious to history, while keenly away of humanity.
Memorial day is a day to remember those who have died so that we might live in freedom. Today, I honor all those who have served and sacrificed. I also honor two little children who found each other and found a way to tell the rest of us that love can heal the deepest wounds.
Last night, after a fun Mother’s Day weekend with some of my sons in Vegas, we were driving home and from the backseat, I snapped a few photos of a gathering storm. Just as I pushed the button, going 88 mph, BANG! Mother Nature shot a streak of lightning out of a cloud. I’ve taken a million photos in my lifetime and I’ve never managed the perfect shot. This isn’t perfect either. But I’ve lived long enough to appreciate the beauty of imperfection. The reward is in the effort. It’s in knowing I spotted and opportunity and “took a shot.” I’m learning to give myself credit for something so simple. Hit or miss. I call that progress.
Buckle up my dear readers. My advice to myself has always been to write when I’m hot and edit once I’ve cooled down. But after this weekend’s attack on the innocent, my temperature is just not dropping.
My skin is Danish white and pink. I have two children whose skin is African brown and black. To me, all we are is family. (The photo is of two of my sons.) But to others, looking from the outside in, we’re something different. There are actually people who have said and done things to threaten me for mothering these stellar boys. Mostly, I just let it roll.
I’m done with rolling because this isn’t about how I’m treated. It’s about how my sons and millions and millions of others are treated. Is there a way to stop the hatred? Is there a cure for racism? The easy answer is love. The hard answer is love.
Babies aren’t born with the ability to hate. It has to be nurtured and nourished. One generation teaches hatred and so goes the cycle. I keep hearing, “How could this happen in our country?” It happened because enough loving people didn’t stand up to the hating people. It happened because it feels safer to stay quiet. To stay home.
My outrage and pain sought solace in a call to my congressman. Add disappointment to my list of churning emotions. Frustration, too. I attended a rally to listen to voices that quivered in the very emotions surging through me. But I didn’t find any solutions.
Then I came home to my youngest son needing a ride to football. And news that my other son just got a job promotion. I scoured the kitchen and bought a gallon of white pain to perk things up around our house. We read stories from people who live with violence every day. We talked about those stories and talked to some of those people.
I found myself asking the same question: What can I do?
“Just live the love. Do what you’re doing.”
That answer seemed so small and flimsy.
I wanted to stand on a pinnacle and shout the words that would change hearts.
Foolish me. Martin Luther King Jr. and a host of others, far more poignant and profound than me, have done that and will continue to do so.
The only way I’m going to affect change in this country and the world, is to live love within the walls of my own home. To speak words that edify and educate. To stand with those who have been knocked down. To not stay still or stay quiet, but to use resources carefully and constructively. To pay attention, seek awareness, and attend to what needs attending to.
Love needs attending to. If love is there, there’s no room for racism and all its ugly relatives.
My little part is to make sure that my children know the power of love is always, always stronger than the force of hatred. I’m not positing that hated can’t plow into the innocent and claim carnage. We all know that happens. What it means is that hatred cannot steal what it cannot touch. It cannot touch the love I have for my sons. It cannot diminish the value of my diverse community. It cannot suffocate a spirit that is fueled from within. Love provides its own kindling. Hatred has to be fed externally. Think about that, will you?
So while the situation might feel helpless, it’s not. And our little parts aren’t really so little after all.