The Pink Panther

Whew. Thank goodness it was only a dream, but unlike others that fade off into the far distant recesses of the mind never to be heard from again, this one is indelibly etched in my head. The last thing I remember before waking was having the thought, “Oh my God! I hope this is only a dream!”

The details are fuzzy except for the intense feeling of being utterly captivated by the presence of an adorable, lovable, tiny little pink cat that showed its affection by way of a fuzzy pink body weaving and curling itself around my leg. Whoever heard of a pink cat—one that did the occasional morph into blue or white? Hmm. Chameleon cat. I should have known then and there that something was a little off. Beware of the bizarre.

Like a kid with her nose plastered against the glass of a pet store window, I simply had to take that precious, cuddly, creature home with me. With its delicate petite little body, I concluded that she must be a girl. No matter. I’ll just assume that she’s a she, and that her name is Pinky.

Once home, I watched in horror as Pinky quickly morphed from her sweet little critter into a vicious, terrifying predator with me in sight as her target. The first hint of trouble was when she lunged at me and tore the bow off my black strappy dress-up sandals while they were still on my feet. The next was when she sank her teeth into my derriere and refused to let go. Maybe she was jealous of my sexy sandals. Who knows? Why was I wearing dressy sexy shoes in my casual dream world, anyway, but hey—it’s a only dream, right?

Worse than the teeth sunk into my flesh was the underlying awareness that I had abandoned my dear sweet, gentle, loyal, loving, trustworthy, safe, obedient dog Charlie in favor of the sneaky, vicious, con-artist pink panther terrorist that had pulled a nasty bait-and-switch con job on me. What kind of awful person would ever do such a dreadful thing to a dearly beloved pet? I was heartbroken and horrified. Try as I might, I just couldn’t seem to find a way to unlock the jaws of the panther or get Charlie back. Somewhere between trying to clean up the blood from my nasty wound and regretting my actions about Charlie, I woke up to the realization that it was only a dream, thank goodness, and I breathed a great sigh of blessed relief to see Charlie lying peacefully next to me in his bed. It gives a whole new meaning to “Sorry, Charlie!”

Well okay then. That was yesterday and today is today and since then I’ve been wondering what in the world ever brought such a nightmare upon me. Was this a concoction courtesy of the great cosmic clown to provide me with writing material chock full of grist for the mill? Did the clown hold a mirror up to my face to show me aspects of myself that I’d prefer to keep hidden away? If so, good grief, I certainly got a face full of NOthat can’t be me! Is there a vicious ego named Pinky lurking somewhere in the deepest recesses of my being awaiting the first moment of weakness as an opportunity to lunge forth and attack?

Oh but wait—what about Charlie, the gentle, trustworthy loving companion, adorable in spite of his quirky little ways? Charlie, the abandoned? Charlie, the loyal friend of many years from whom I walked away lured by the seduction of a temptress with a cunning plan to con me into selling my soul to the devil?

Oh but wait another minute—where there’s a Pinky there is also a Charlie. Pinky the devil, Charlie the angel, both coexisting within the deep recesses of my soul. I get to choose. I can be a Pinky, or I can be a Charlie. Or I can bounce back and forth from one to the other like a ping pong ball moving at warp speed. I get to decide which one I wish to live with, which one I will take home and make my own. Sometimes I am a slow learner, but this one was pretty easy to figure out. The answer is obvious.

So here’s the thing, Pinky. I’ve got your number. I know who you are. Your name is ego and your game is fear. You think you can con me into believing that you’re my best friend, but in reality, you are my worst enemy. Oh, I might believe you for a minute or so, but eventually, I’ll wise up and figure you out. You’re very good at your act, but I’m not buying it. You should be on the stage—the first stage out of town. If it ever comes down to a battle for my soul, a battle between love and fear, trust me, Charlie and I will win because we fight on the side of love, and because we know that fear is only something that we make up in the nightmare of our minds. Love trumps fear and love always wins in the end.

One other thing occurred to me as I pondered my way through the day. Perhaps at the moment when I take my final breath and close my eyes for the last time, I will wake up on the other side, look back and realize that it was all only a dream. Or a nightmare, depending upon which side I have chosen to live. My days may be numbered, but the good news is—I can still make what’s left of them count on the side of good.

C’mon Charlie, you sweet precious little thing, you. Let’s go out together hand in paw and have ourselves a nice, peaceful little walk.  I won’t leave you again, I promise.  Ever.

Oops – There’s a Hole in My Head

pexels-photo-262488.jpeg I ask for creative inspiration and my front tooth falls out. Ha ha, very funny oh Great Cosmic Clown.

Lest you think me totally irreverent here, let me just say that I have a profound love and respect for the grand mysterious workings of the Universe and the power that lies behind it, whatever It is called. I also have a great appreciation of the gargantuan sense of humor inherent within it. Would that all of life’s tricky little life lessons were given with the ingredient of such wonderful humor. Perhaps they are, if one seeks to find it.

My six companions and I seek and find a Thai restaurant across the street from a theater on the upper west side in New York City.   We are on a two-hour dinner break from a riveting woo-woo workshop by Tom Kenyon. Those interested in checking out the woo-woo can go to tomkenyon.com. Yes, I’m finally willing to own up publically to my woo-woo leanings. It’s all a part of my recent decision to be authentic and true to myself—a risky move involving extreme vulnerability and definitely not for the faint of heart. If you haven’t tried it, and if you can muster up the courage, I highly recommend it.

Three of my dinner companions are eating with gusto, enjoying each morsel with that oooh-uahhh glazed-eyed look that overtakes one while in a fit of a divine dining delirium. Unbeknownst to the glazed-eye set, the rest of us are trying to choke down what might possibly qualify as the worst meal of our lives. But no matter – we aren’t really that hungry anyway after our tasty but frenetic lunch at a deli where we are rendered half deaf courtesy of fellow diners intent upon outshouting one another, and sound bouncing back and forth from a bare floor to a ceiling that suffers a serious lack of acoustic tiles.

Waiters whiz by our table at break-neck speed taking and delivering orders, while beleaguered busboys swoop away dishes from tables and send them crashing into huge plastic tubs just behind our booth. We are so intimidated by the pace of it all that we are reluctant to ask for the things that one would hope for in a deli, like straws, lemon, and mayo. Oy. Ulcer Gulch Deli.

Meanwhile, back at the dinner table, I bite into a soft summer roll dipped in peanut sauce and encounter something that clearly is not on the ingredient list. I discreetly sift through the ingredients that actually belong there, and while no one is looking, pick the unidentified object out of my mouth, and place it on my plate. It wasn’t very long before I discover that said mystery object is the fallen tooth responsible for a new gaping hole between two front teeth. I am now compelled to not to smile and talk simultaneously. Rats. I should have ordered soup.

Dinner ends and we return ourselves to the care and keeping woo-woo Tom who describes for us the upcoming meditation that will focus on clearing out the obstacles that prevent us from self love—obstacles of all manner and size, and sometimes brought on by seemingly insignificant things, such as a bad hair day, a pimple on a nose, or . . .

At this point it is all I can do not to jump out of my seat and shout, “Or a gaping hole in the middle of your smile!” but I manage to restrain myself.

It’s a very interesting exercise to rate oneself on a vanity scale from one to ten. A bad hair day might put me at about a six or seven depending upon the degree of badness. A nose pimple (I don’t even like that word) could be a four. But a toothless grin? That could well rate a minus something.   I’m mildly embarrassed to confess that the toothless experience explodes my awareness into the realization that appearance means more to me that I’d like to admit.   Bad hair days, pimples, and a toothless grin make mighty good grist for the self-image mill. Happily, I find comfort in knowing that I’m not alone in this one. What a great opportunity to get a good up-close-and-personal bird’s eye view of vanity and the role it plays in my life. Did I mention that I’m also working on willingness to allow myself to be vulnerable? What? Confess my shortcomings in public and own up to my own vanity? Horrors!

Day is done, and Amtrak whips us southward through the black of night toward home. A 2:30 a.m. arrival time seems forever away. I fidget in my seat in search of a wee modicum of comfort and try to settle in to review the experience du jour.   I find myself rehearsing my response to friends who will surely ask me about the day.   “Well,” I’ll say, “the weather was cold, windy, and miserable and mealtimes waffled between bad and worse.  One traveling companion suffered from an ailing shoulder, another was barely able to walk due to extremely painful knees and back, and I lost a front tooth and my dignity, all in one innocent little bite.” Well, so other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play? It was amazing. My years of travel in the wonderful world of woo-woo made it all worthwhile and bearable, and allowed good humor and acceptance of what-is to make it a deliciously savory experience.

Joy of joy, my dentist responds to my frantic texts for a fix-it plan before I reach Wilmington. As I drive to my appointment the next day, my mind unleashes a flood of appreciation and I feel suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude for the extra hole in the head, along with its attending vanity crush. It reminds me about how grateful I am that my teeth have remained faithful and in tact in spite of decades of wear and tear. I am grateful for my dentist, God bless him, who was willing and able to make time on his Sunday during a beautiful Memorial Day weekend to do damage repair and plug up the hole where a tooth should be. While I was at it, I gave thanks for my trusty and reliable little Honda and the gas in its tank, and the money to pay for damage repair, and for everything else in my world that came to mind as I wheeled my way around a traffic-jam free beltway. I gave thanks for that too. I just love the random bouts of unexplained joy brought about by an abundance of gratitude! Come to think of it, at moments like these, I love just about everything.

When I told Dr. Fixit of these newly minted insights, he said simply, “You made lemonade.”

I did. I made lemonade. The ingredients are a sweet, delicious blend of authenticity, vulnerability, and gratitude with a pinch humor mixed in for a bit of comic relief.

And speaking of sweet, in closing, I’d like to offer a special thanks to the Great Cosmic Clown for answering my request for inspiration in such a creative, humorous, and holy way (yes, pun intended). It’s so easy to love the lovable. The trick is to love it all—the good, the bad, the ugly—the bad hair days, the pimples, the holes in places where holes are not meant to be, and most especially, the self—and all those other selves out there in the world that some days seem so utterly unlovable. Right now, this minute, I love it all.  Right now, this minute is all I have. I’d better get busy then and make the most of it while I’m still a grateful guest of our beautiful planet earth, courtesy of the grand cosmic plan.

It’s About Time

AC1C6000-D68D-486D-BFFD-1C8712309839.jpegLord have mercy me I’m doing my very first blog and putting it out there for all the world to see. I haven’t a clue about what I’m doing and I’m scaring myself stupid, but what the heck. What’s the worst thing that can happen? I think the game plan is to quit agonizing over whether it’s perfect, and just dive in and do it. It feels like something akin to stepping out of an airplane at 10,000 feet. I can do it, but that first step is a gonna be a whipdoozie.

When I was 29, a palm reader told me that I should write. “Write what?” I asked? “Anything,” she said. Huh. Never thought of myself as a writer. Okay, fine, so I’ll write. Write what, I asked myself. Children’s books seem like a good place to start. Easy peazy, right? Well, maybe not so much . . .

So I focused my energies on acquiring the necessary accoutrements that would make a great writer out of me. Desktop computers were not yet a gleam in the eye of Bill Gates, so I had to bite the bullet and settle for a Selectric typewriter. It was way better than candlelight and an inkwell, I suppose and at least the keys didn’t get stuck together, but still . . ..

Set-up mission accomplished, I was ready.  I parked myself back in my little blue meditation chair and awaited the inspiration that was surely in there somewhere. Yeah, but where? My trusty typewriter was growing cobwebs while I played the waiting game.  Many months—or maybe even a year or so—passed by, and then one day I heard a compelling voice in my head command, “Get up, go sit down at your desk and write.” Bossy voice!

Again there was that pesky question, and again I asked myself, “Write what?” I dallied in my cozy little corner in a state of major resistance for a while, until finally against my will, something propelled me up and out of my comfort zone, hurled me into to my office, and plopped me down at my desk in front of my typewriter. Oh no—now what?

The voice again. “Put your fingers on the keys and just start typing.”

Type what?

Anything. The alphabet. It doesn’t matter. Just start typing.

So I started typing and I haven’t stopped since. Decades later after reams of typewritten pages, newsletters, a book and more journals that I can count, the voice returns and nags yet again. This time it is with a one-word command:  BLOG.

WHAT? NO! I don’t want to!

Why not?

Because it’s a lot like work. I don’t have a clue about how to start a blog. What if nobody reads it? Worse, what if somebody I know reads it and doesn’t like it? What if I sound like a raving lunatic in need of a one-way ticket to the nearest funny farm? Furthermore, who’d want to read anything that I wrote? What’s the point? What makes me think that I have something to say that is any different or better than what anyone else wiser and cleverer has already written?

What’s different you ask? What’s different is that this is your story and it is unique. Everyone has a story, but you are the only voice that can tell yours. Every story matters. Every story is different. Every life holds value and offers gifts to those willing to hear, willing to listen. Every story is of great benefit to at least one someone else. If your story finds its way into the hands or heart of just that one, if it benefits just one life, will have been worth the effort?

Your job is to use your voice and not concern yourself with the opinions of others. The only outcome that matters is the completion of the work that you came here to do. Do you wish to reaffirm your commitment to your spiritual path and purpose? If so, it is time to take that first step, jump out of the plane, and free fall joyfully through your fears with faith enough to know that you are safe and supported even though appearances would have you believe that you are surely headed toward a crash landing.

Okay fine. I get it. It’s about time to quit wasting time and get on with it. After all, I’m not 29 anymore.  And I’m not getting any younger, either. It’s definitely about time.  Bossy voice.

Deep breath in — Geronimooooooo . . . YIKES!   Wheeee . . .

You’re welcome.