“Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation…… ! “
~Life’s Little Instructions
My friend Tracy Lahr Glassey posted this quote on her Facebook page this morning and it got me to pondering how often throughout my life I felt a need to explain my reasons for feeling, thinking and acting in certain ways. As a recovering co-dependent (my favorite definition of the concept is not knowing where I begin and you end.), I have danced with the idea that I really could be ok even if I didn’t have the approval of people in life. Sometimes the idea stepped on my toes and sometimes we waltzed gracefully together. I much prefer grace to hobnail boots stomping on my tootsies. With the desire to be ‘loved best of all’, I would become a chameleon to blend in, to have a sense of belonging and to refrain from making waves or rocking the boat. Think “Guys and Dolls” and the piece “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat” combined with my former theme song straight from A Chorus Line; “What I Did For Love” and you get the picture…not always a pretty one.
These days, in the 5th decade of my life, I am relieved to recognize that as much as I still desire love and acceptance (is there any human being who doesn’t at their core, want that?), I know in my heart of hearts, that I am not now and never have been, incomplete without it. If someone truly would benefit from knowing what is behind my decisions in any area of my life, I am happy to share it, but I rarely these days, feel a need to justify, as if another person is the arbiter of my choices. As an exclamation, I do live full out, ripe and juicy. I dance my own steps and turns…no wonder I enjoy improvisational dance over ballroom. Less structure, more freedom to let the music move me. Those who know me, would say that I am vividly colorful, passionately purposeful, overflowing with energy, a no holds barred gutsy broad. Willing to be, as my father called me ‘a goofy kid’ at times. The facade has dropped and I live in vulnerability and audaciousness, an ecstatic exclamation!
What would it mean to you, if you were to live as an exclamation?
http://youtu.be/xjCTJXbgskc What I Did For Love, sung by Idina Menzel
Do you consider yourself an artist? Even though I don’t paint, sculpt, draw, create, perform or record music, weave fabric or take photographs, I still fancy myself part of that fold. Some have told me that I paint word pictures with my writing. I consider anyone in creativity mode to be an artist. Do you believe that those who add beauty to the world deserve to be well compensated for their talents and abilities? I certainly do.
Now, here comes a challenge….I have heard some folks say that healers, spiritual teachers, clergy and transformational teachers should do what they do gratis or by love offering. My repsonse is something along the lines of the time, training and expertise of those who offer service deserve to be well compensated, much as a doctor, athlete or actor/actress is as an ‘of course’. I add that the utility companies, the bannks that hold the mortgage and lien on my car, the supermarket where I shop, the gas station where I fill up my Jeep, all expect to be paid. They don’t care that I offer services as a minister for ‘hatching, matching and dispatching’, or case management in an acute care psychiatric hospital. When I have explained it that way, most people seem to understand this new perspective.
So, are you willing to be a thriving artist and claim your talents and skills, allowing for an abundant return on your time and talent? I am and I stand beside you…cheering you on all the way.
On my way home from work recently, I stopped at a local supermarket to pick up a few items. I am a consummate people watcher who enjoys observing interactions between folks. I noticed a mother and her adorable 4 or 5 year old daughter. Dressed in rainbow striped tights, a polka-dot skirt and jacket and pink scarf around her neck, shoulder length light brown hair framed her cute little face. Sometimes she walked ahead of her mother, sometimes next to her. She chattered away, touching things on the shelves as she walked by. Much to my dismay, I could hear her mother telling her “Don’t touch, stop asking so many questions, get over here.” in what in my opinion was an unecessarily harsh tone. I followed them for a bit, considering my options. While I know that she might have needed re-direction so as not to knock anything over, mom’s reaction seemed over the top. I didn’t want to undermine her mother AND I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to somehow let this child know that her natural curiosity didn’t need to be squelched. Before I went to the check out counter, I approached them and commented to this woman that her daughter was so smart and curious. She cringed a bit and then replied that she asked too many questions. “No such thing.”, I countered. “That’s how she learns.” and then I smiled at both of them.
It occurred to me that as the daughter of parents who encouraged questions, my curiousity and willingness to learn new things, was enhanced. As a result, I loved to read, devouring knowlege like chocolate. Back then, the prevailing thought, which my parents fiercely countered, was that ‘children should be seen and not heard.’ Although Jan and I knew that there were certain places we were expected to be quiet, like synagogue, or at the movies, we were also expected to be kids and play joyously. We would sing silly songs, laugh outrageously, dig in the dirt, jump rope, sled, skate, fly kites, bike, swim, build sand castles at the beach, sit on the floor in the kitchen and play jacks and marbles. Our parents would engage in those activities with us at times….big kids they themselves were.
This morning as I was driving to work, I saw a delightful sight of a grandfather walking down the street, holding hands with his toddler grandchild. He was reaching down to this little one’s level and walking at his pace; a companion along the path. THAT is the image I would prefer to maintain. Children are such sponges that soak up whatever they experience and want to trust the adults around them. What would you prefer to offer in exchange for such trust? What a world it would be if all children were encouraged to be smart and curious.
http://youtu.be/EkaKwXddT_I Teach Your Children by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
When I look at my life, the messy and marvelous, the mundane muddy muck, the magical miraculous occurrences that show up on my doorstep each day, I breathe a sigh of gratitude. This garden that is my earthly incarnation didn’t become what it is in a vacuum. The seeds that were planted were scattered by the loving souls who have stood at the ready with wheelbarrows filled to overflowing.
My job has been to clear the patch, weed, remove the rocks and rubble and prepare it for the implantation. If I expect that beauty will take hold and blossom in soil tumbled with brambles and overgrown with grumbles, I am sadly mistaken. I also need to remember that if I want to grow wildflowers, I ought not to plant watermelon seeds. Once the seedlings are underground, the real work of patiently waiting, watering, weeding out discontent and wondering when it will blossom, begins. I can’t very well be digging in the dirt, asking why the flora isn’t yet flourishing and yet, how often have I done that with projects in my life? There have been times when what I have asked for has taken (in my opinion), far too long to come to fruition and yet, like stop action photography, I can witness how in the grand scheme of things, my wishes and desiress have shown up in seemingly transcendent ways.
I welcome the ‘charming gardeners’ from all walks of life, from all realms of my existence that arrive in sometimes surprising and unexpected forms. I am blessed to have so many soul gardeners in my life, with rakes, shovels, seeds and sometimes fertilizer at the ready.
Who are they in your life?
What seeds have you planted?
How does your garden grow?
http://youtu.be/D3FkaN0HQgs The Garden Song sung by John Denver