I inherited a gift from my father Moish, either by genetics or observation. Born and raised in South Philly; a multi-cultural neighborhood, he seemed to know someone everywhere we went throughout my childhood. I marveled at his ability to connect with people from all walks of life, having been raised in a working class Russian Jewish immigrant family, who spoke Yiddish in the home, but he and his two brothers and one sister were expected only to speak English outside the home. His major talent was being able to make friends, because he saw them as having heart in common. He could adapt to his environment and discuss religion, politics, world events and relationships with relative ease. I heard him speak in a polished manner at times and then in jargon, depending on the company in which he found himself. He would tell me “They put their pants on one leg at a time, just like I do.”, even if his were his often present cover-alls or navy blue SEPTA uniform pants and theirs were Armani.
Throughout his life my son would look at me puzzled when he would see me smile or greet ‘strangers’. I would remind him that everyone we now know and love were once in that category. How sad it would be to have missed the opportunity to connect with certain people who now grace my life and how rich I am to now know and love them. I have heard that people come into our lives for ‘a reason, season or lifetime.’ I have had fleeting encounters with folks whose smile or comment have made my day. I have lifelong relationships that I treasure. I anticipate connecting with anam cara (Gaelic for soul friend) as each day I set an intention for having extraordinary experiences and meeting amazing people. And each day I do. Last week while in Canada at The Grail Lady Faire, I met a triple digit number of folks and this week, through the marvels of modern technology, connected with new friends with whom I will be working and playing. Tonight I am hosting a house concert for my friend Heidi Cooper and her daughter Deanna. Heidi has been in my life at least 20 years and Deanna since her birth. Walking through my door will be people I have loved for decades and some I have not yet met, but look forward to embracing as new links in those overlapping soul circles that so delight me. I am grateful for my far flung tribe, wherever it is that they are living and breathing at the moment.
So, who are the hearts in your soul circles?
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zuzi-yH9VLo Friends by Elton John
Writing this entry at 4:35 a.m. on the morning of July 4th, 2012. It is Independence Day here in the U.S. In ‘tired and wired’ mode and when sleep evades me, writing is a companion and soporific. My mind is slowly swirling with memories from childhood. Excited to spend time with family who would come to visit our suburban New Jersey home for Willingboro’s annual parade that would wind its way down Levitt Parkway. We would set up folding chairs on the curb and I would wait with eager anticipation for those first drum beats that I can still feel resonating in my chest all these years later. After the parade, we would walk the mile or so back to the house and splash off the early summer heat at the local pool with cousins who trekked from Philly to hang out for the day. I watched scenes of frolic in home movies a few weeks ago and smiled with delight. A cookout would follow as we shared food and laughter, hugs and kisses, fun and games. Running through the sprinkler as it watered the grass and us simultaneously. Careful to avoid knocking over the mini American flags that my parents, sister and I planted in the garden as we raced around the yard. The day would come to a close with marshmallows toasted over the remaining embers in the grill and then heading over to the field of the local park for fireworks. The universal language (oooohhhhh……ahhhhhh) in response to the carefully staged pyro-technic performance as we would lay back on blankets in the grass would reach a crescendo, as, pleasantly exhausted, we would wend our way back home and tumble into bed after a day well invested.
As an adult, Independence Day goes beyond the traditional celebration of honoring the birth of a nation, but rather a re-birth for myself. It reaches inside to a place in me that sometimes feels like it needs freeing from my self imposed tyranny. I have held myself prisoner of fear, have taxed myself beyond the max; a high price to be paid for taking birth, have impeded the flow of life force energy. And then something like Dawna’s potent reminder comes to inform me that I am immersed in the answer at all times….choice is always available. I may not always know what awaits around the next corner or in the next moment, but I do know this….each is a day to be treasured and not squandered by taking a dive into lack and limitation. At times when I feel broken, I realize that I am instead, broken open to more love than I ever imagined. When faced with sighing with frustration….”Ok, now what?” thoughts, I can take it as an invitation to expand my perspective and ask how I can turn it around to something expansive and not contracting. Always the answer/question shows up “What’s right with this picture?” and then I can discover new options. Life truly does crack me open ever wider, if I allow for it. As a reflection of Dawna’s line about risking significance, I am reminded of something my friend Gina Foster said years ago, that she endeavors to “live significantly”. In that way, I too can experience winged wonder as my heart takes flight~
http://youtu.be/MezUEIBKfyk On the 4th of July by James Taylor
On Sunday, my 25 year old son Adam told me he had a surprise for me on the passenger seat of his car. When I looked in, I discovered a t-shirt with the words Make Today Ridiculously Amazing embellishing it . I laughed since it was a sentiment that I would have been drawn to, had I seen the shirt myself. He suggested framing it “So you can see it everyday.” As much as that idea appealed to me, I would rather wear it and make it a billboard for the life I choose to live that I would love for others to embrace as well. The first place I wanted to take it was to Planet Fitness (a.k.a. “The Judgement Free Zone”) for my ‘playout’. I asked the young woman behind the counter who has seen me pass through those doors countless times in the past two and half years, if she would take a picture for me. She laughingly agreed. That activity which makes this 53 year young woman feel stronger and more flexible and vital than I did when I was her age, was part of my ridiculously amazing day. It also included writing, promoting, listening to music and singing along, scheduling speaking opportunities, sending out proposals and query letters, cleaning, laundry, paying bills, speaking with my dear friend and editor Pam and planning a house concert for my friend Heidi Cooper. Oh, and a pedicure which was exactly what my slightly sore legs and tootsies needed post gym time.
On the surface, nothing over the top grand or glorious, but bubbling underneath were undercurrents of delight. I love the idea of being led intuitively from one activity to the next and sometimes (much more lately) no activity, just periods of rest. Although there are ‘have to’s’ in my life, just like yours’, there are also ‘get to’s’, which are treats such as hanging out with kindred spirits, meeting way cool people, discovering new thoughts, stretching my concept of what life is really worth. There are days when I’m not sure where I am being led and I just hafta trust that it will bring light and love, and when at the crossroads, I will know which way to turn. Even if I am not 100% certain what specifically awaits me, I do know this for sure….it will bring awe and wonder and deep amazement.
So, what ridiculous amazement do you have in mind and heart for yourself today?
http://youtu.be/uPc1wZABLDM Hold It Up To The Light by David Wilcox