Today I hope we’ll all journey to a place we’ve never been. It can be as close as a neighborhood street or into a book we’ve never read. I hope we chat with someone we’ve never met. I hope we commune with Creation and are kind to ourselves and others. Those are the best kind of days for me. I’m learning slowly but surely, to open my eyes, heart, and mind, but keep my mouth shut. You know? My daughter, Dev, took this photo in the west desert. I love venturing there looking for wild horses. When I spot them, I get so excited I might as well be spotting a herd of unicorns. Wild horses are just as magical to me. And there’s magic to be found for those willing to search and see. Have a stellar day, friends. You are loved beyond measure.
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.
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.”
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.
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 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.