Glitz, Glamor, and Humility

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Have you ever wondered what it might be like to take a temporary tour of someone else’s brain to see what it’s like to live in there?  I do.  This notion came to me as the result of once writing a list of people that I admired and noting the specific qualities about them that I would like to develop within myself.  There were many names listed, but the only one that I remember is Grace Kelly, the lovely screen star turned real-life American princess of Monaco, the icon of perfection.  I admired her grace, elegance, and beauty.

Today’s list has only two names, and when put together in the same sentence, seem absolutely ludicrous because on the surface they appear to be the pinnacle of contrast: Dolly Parton and the Dalai Lama.  Dolly Parton, the worldly, glitzy glamorous entertainer, and His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, humble spiritual leader of Buddhism and political leader of Tibet.  The very thought that there is any commonality between them makes me want to giggle.

Dally has been quoted as saying, “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.”  Who doesn’t love Dolly?   She’s smart, talented, unbelievably generous, utterly adorable, and has a heart of gold.  The Dalai Lama is—well, he’s the Dalai Lama.  I have never met him, but I know those who have and they report that His Holiness has an impish sense of humor and is quick to laugh at himself.  There is something totally lovable about those who have the ability to poke fun at themselves.

Dolly is full of sparkles and spangles, big hair, eyelashes, and bedazzled fingernails.  The Dalai Lama is a simple monk who wears only robes of saffron and maroon.  Somewhere between the sparkle and spirituality lies a commonality that cannot be denied.  Beneath the external appearance, there is a profound inner beauty, wisdom, strength, courage, intelligence, kindness, compassion, generosity of spirit, and a concern for the health and well-being of humanity.

Both offer a life of service simply by their presence in the world, by the very state of their being—Dolly by entertaining us with her considerable gifts and talents, and the Dalai Lama by his dedicated life of spiritual leadership and service to his country and to humanity.  And yet at the same time, both are still human.  Like them, we must find a balance between our persona and our soul, and deal with all aspects of our humanness.  Both present us with a portrait of possibilities about who we are and how we present ourselves in the world, and how we walk around in our heads.

These icons inspire me to strive to embody the qualities in them that I admire the most.   They make me want to recognize and acknowledge the best within myself and let go of all that is not.  For me, it’s humility, compassion, kindness, generosity of spirit, self-acceptance, fearlessness, and humor to add a bit of lightheartedness to the mix.   Which reminds me—my own unbedazzled fingernails were part of the inspiration for this blog, but that’s a story for another day.

Today, I would like to invite you to think about the people you admire, and what qualities they embody that you might like to add to your personal storehouse of ideals.  The power of imagination is miraculous—if you can dream it, you can be it.  If there are any qualities that you would like to adopt as a model to shape a new behavior for yourself, start dreaming!

I also invite and challenge you to inspire others by sharing your comments in the section below.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us).

The Pitcher and the Pandemic

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This morning I shocked myself awake by catching an unexpected glimpse of myself in the mirror.  Good Lord I look like the wild woman of Borneo.  Thanks, pandemic.  That picture brought to mind an image of a swinging vine, and the memory of a failed bar with the same name that my inexperienced, entrepreneurial husband swore would make him rich, which then conjured up a picture of wild-woman me swinging on a vine high amidst the trees in the jungle.

In the space between flushing a toilet and walking away, I took myself on a no-cost tour of the jungles of Borneo and enjoyed a sky-high swinging vine excursion in the process.   Wow. What a trip—all in less than five seconds, and I never even had to leave home to enjoy it.  Isn’t the mind amazing?

I thought I knew where this morning’s writing adventure might be going, but then a funny thing happened.  While sitting peacefully in my Lazygirl minding my own business, the silence was shattered by the sound of a large ceramic pitcher crashing down from a bookshelf and smashing to smithereens on the hardwood floor.  Books that had been sitting in the same place for many months suddenly fell over of their own accord and that was the end of the pitcher.

This sudden unexpected turn of events leaves me in a bit of a quandary.  Where do I go from here?  So many options.  I could just forget it and return to my original writing thoughts.  Or I could shift gears and launch off on a tear about whodunit and why, or chalk it off as a freaky accident, or question the possibility of whether I might have just touched a nerve of a dearly departed ex-husband, or whether or not it’s feasible to even consider such possibilities.

It brings to mind the recollection of other strange happenings—a notebook fell from a top shelf twice, potholders monogrammed with my mother’s initials were mysteriously displaced from a hook while I was not at home, a small picture of the Charles Bridge in Prague purchased when my mother and I visited there fell over twice, pots and pans turned themselves around in a cupboard so that their handles faced backwards; is someone or something trying to tell me something?  Could it have been my mother telling me that she wanted me to move?  She didn’t like my neighborhood.  She didn’t think it was safe.  Nine years have passed since I moved, and there have not been any odd occurrences since.  Until today.

So what just happened?  I have no idea, but it certainly makes me wonder.  Am I missing something?  Is there some “reality” that I know nothing about?  It makes me think about life after life, and about how the life that I live while here on this earth might influence the life that I have after I take my last breath.  It makes me want to try harder to do the best that I can while I am still here so that I will be able to live in a safe neighborhood when it’s time to move on.  It reinforces my desire to get it right.

Why does anything happen?  Who knows?  But there is always a reason, if only just to stop us in our tracks for a minute and make us think.  The pitcher and the pandemic—the perfect duo specifically tailored to help me learn a thing or two.  Now all I have to do is figure out what.

I think I’ll go comb my hair, swing on a vine, and think about it for a while.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us).

Loving What I Hate

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Yesterday I spent a few hours hanging out in a dentist’s chair with a myriad of dental miscellanea and numerous fingers simultaneously stuffed into my mouth.  Whoopee.  When will lunch with friends be considered essential business, I wonder?

I have never been a big fan of dental visits, dating back to my early childhood when my poverty- stricken widowed mother dutifully took my sisters and me to a free dental clinic that was furnished with rows and rows of stark black dental chairs manned by budding dental students who poked and prodded and operated without benefit of Novocain.   It was terrifying.

Later when things improved, off I went to a dentist who flew his own plane and had a mistress.  I swear he poked around my mouth and created multitudes of man-made cavities to support his habits.  I don’t know how my mother and I ever survived those years, but I’m fairly certain that she provided at least the down payment for the plane, while my school principal questioned my excessive requests to be excused for dental appointments.  Had she known early on about his expensive indulgences, I’m sure she would have jumped chairs and moved on sooner.

Hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars later, I still have all of my teeth—well, sort of, I guess, if an implant, a bunch of crowns, and a permanent bridge count as my teeth.  I guess they do—I paid for them.

I have spent about a kazillion hours stressing out over the thought of an upcoming dental appointment.  Noooo!  Don’t make me go.  I don’t want to . . .  oh, the things that stick in our memory banks.  It makes me wonder—how much of my life is, or has been, influenced by memories of the past?

I’ve done my best to drop the pre-dental-appointment hand-wringing habit, but sometimes I still catch myself in the act of stressing out ahead of time.  Occasionally, I’ll even toss in a little resentment about how much it’s going to cost to sit in a dentist’s chair and endure a few hours of torture in the process.

Somewhere along the way though, sandwiched between the lines of past memory and present resentment, the light dawns and I realize that I am seeing amiss.  I am seeing fear and hate.  I could be seeing gratitude and love instead. A little transformation, please.

I am grateful that I still have teeth in my head to fix. I am grateful that I am able to pay to for necessary repairs.   I am grateful that the days of terrifying dental torture is a thing of the past.  I am grateful for the amazingly fabulous, wonderful technology that has brought dentistry into the present where I now live.  I am grateful for a staff of kind, caring and experienced people who look after my dental health.  I am grateful for every opportunity to let go of the past and transform fear into love.

Just to keep this in perspective, I offer one final note—and this one is the mother of all gratitude— I am especially grateful that my name is not George Washington and that I don’t have to live with wooden teeth.  Eeks.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us).

 

 

 

 

Learning Lessons in Real Time

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I just spent a couple of hours writing today’s blog.  I put the finishing touches on it before pushing the publish button, then accidentally pushed the delete button instead.  Shoot me now.  It was all about how everything happens for a reason and that there is a lesson that can be found in every unhappy, unfortunate situation.  Well now.  Didn’t I just give myself the opportunity of a lifetime to practice what I preach?  Back to square one.  Sigh.

Fellow writers and bloggers, can you relate?  Lesson 1:  Save.  I knew that, but I flunked Save.  Some of us are slow learners.

So I suck my heart back up out of my stomach and begin again.  Okay, so where was I?  There was something about learning from my mistakes, about wrenching my elbow out of joint while trying to extract my foot from my mouth, blah blah blah.

It was about converting miseries into miracles.  I felt pretty good about it too, and even managed to find a link to add (a shortcoming, you may recall) but now alas, poof—it’s all gone.  Maybe with luck I can find a new link to the thing about links.  Stay tuned but don’t hold your breath.

Meanwhile, like the kid in the room with all of the manure, I know that there must be a pony in here somewhere.

Well I’m just going to have to fumble my way through this one till I find a point, or come to an end, or figure it out, or giggle my way through this cruel twist of fate, or maybe suss out a lesson, or learn to get by on a hum, a wing, and a prayer.  You know—resort to your basic stream-of-consciousness stuff.  What can I say?

One of the things that I’ve learned along the way is that by the time I’ve pushed the publish button, I feel as if I’ve put in a whole day’s work and it’s only 9:00 a.m.  I’m done.  It’s breakfast first then nap.  Like I always say—we get to repeat our lessons until we learn them.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.

It would really be cool if the missing blog suddenly reappeared like magic but I doubt that’s going to happen.  But the miracle that I was talking about in the missing blog was about finding compassion, love, healing, and happy endings in the midst of what I call the miseries, those life situations that make you want to pull the ostrich act and run off in search of sand into which to stick the head, kind of like now, this moment, when I’d like to run off and stick my head under the covers.

Well so here’s my question to myself.  Have I learned anything here (besides push the Save button, I mean)?  I don’t know about that yet.  It’s a little too soon.  Maybe I’ll figure it out later.  Or not.

Maybe it’s just about another lesson in letting go, and going with the flow, of being okay with the way things are, of loving and forgiving myself in spite of my silly foibles, of making the best of whatever the situation is.  The deleted blog took a lot of time and thought.  This one was whipped off in about ten minutes and was a whole lot more fun to write.  Don’t know about you, but I enjoyed the process.  Hope you enjoyed the read!

Ta ta for now.  Off for my nap.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us).

What’s the Point?

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Some days are just better than others.  Some days I can sit down at the computer and stuff rolls out faster than I can type.  Other days, not so much.  Today is one of those other days.  I keep wanting to compare my life to my jumbled computer filing system, but that’s just bad news and doesn’t work out well.  It’s frustrating.

Friends tell me that during the pandemic, they’ve cleaned out every drawer, every closet in their home.  I, on the other hand, have added to my disorganization by creating a new anthology of computer files thanks to my recent habit of writing a daily blog.  Good luck to me if I want to add a link to something that I wrote days or weeks ago, because I can’t find it.  One of these days I’ll print them all out and stick them in a notebook with some sort of index system.  The whole sorry mess mirrors the closets and drawers of my life that still beg for my attention.  Sigh

Wait—is this the point where my dear friend who was upset with me for not showing myself in a more favorable light might be angry with me again?  Or perhaps is it the point where I might be a little angry with myself?  (See?  A link here would be a really nice touch, wouldn’t it?)

Okay, now I‘m stuck.  Where am I supposed to be going from here?  Is this the moment of panic where I say to myself, “See?  I knew I couldn’t do it!”?  Nope.  Not going there.

Maybe it’s time to have a little chat with myself.  Okay, fine.  So I’m stuck.  It’s not the end of the world. Maybe there’s a reason for stuck.  Is there a point to all of this go-nowhere jabber?  Am I missing something?

Oh—I get it.  Maybe the point is that I don’t always have to know what I’m doing, or what is going on, but it’s okay, because that’s life.  Maybe the point is that there doesn’t always have to be a point to everything, or that there may be one, but I just may not see it.  Maybe my only job is to let life flow without having to control the outcome, or have an opinion about everything, and just let it be whatever it is.  Maybe I’m just supposed to be the observer, the one who sits back, watches, and accepts without judging, who forgives and loves unconditionally.

I like it.  That kind of a life would work for me—a-let-go-let-God sort of an existence.  Maybe I just need to have enough faith, enough trust in the process to know that it’s all okay, whatever it is.  Pollyanna?  Maybe.  But isn’t that a better existence than stressing out over every cluttered closet or lost computer file, or guys who run around with M-14’s because they don’t want to wear masks?

Maybe it’s time to practice equanimity and work on seeking  a balance between being and doing (Be-Do).  I can be Pollyanna and still clean up a few computer files along the way.  I can shift my focus from fear to love.  I can have a little faith, trust myself, and add a link.  And I did.  Yay me.  It’s a start.  Just start.  Maybe that’s the point.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us).

It’s All In How You See It

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It’s a brand new day on which to write another page of my life.  What will be written today, I wonder?  Who will show up on the page?  Will Julia be lighthearted and funny today?  Will she be serious and introspective?  Will she be a little self-deprecating, or slightly irreverent?  Or maybe check all of the above?  Always a mystery, always a surprise, ever an opportunity to sit back and watch as the daily script of my life plays itself out.

Today I am aware that there are multitudes of personalities crashing around inside clamoring for attention.  Me. ME.  No, ME!!  The committee in my head is busy at work jostling for position.  It’s a circus in here.  The jugglers and the clowns are duking it out for top billing and the jugglers are losing.  It’s hard to keep juggling while duking it out.

Last night, one of my dear friends called to share a few thoughts about Voices.  She loves me.  She thinks I’m wonderful.  She thinks that sometimes my writing fails to express the me that she sees, and that upsets her because she believes that I am showing the world a picture does not match her view of me.  She wants me to shine, to show the best of myself to the world, to show myself in a favorable light.  I’m fine being in it warts and all, if it helps anyone else.

Her comments sent me off on yet another inner quest in search of motive and purpose.  Why do I write?  Who am I writing for?  Am I afraid of vulnerability?  How do I feel about being judged, or misjudged?  How am I being perceived, or misperceived?  Does it matter to me?  Do I care what others think?  If so, why?

What a gift to have a friend who loves me enough to tell me what she really thinks.

Oh, but wait.  Have I interpreted her words correctly?  Did I get it right?  The only way I will get an accurate answer is to ask her.  My perception of her comments is strictly that: my perception.  Perhaps one or both of us might be wrong.  Sometimes the windows through which we view life might get a little foggy and benefit by a bit of Windex.

Here’s the bottom-line question to myself.  Will I let the perceived images and impressions of others stop me, from writing, or from telling my truth?   Will I let the perceptions and interpretations of others change the way I write?   Or the things I say about myself?  Or allow my vulnerabilities to tempt me to go into hiding?  No, I think not.

I had a little chat with myself about that, and conclude that whatever turns up on the page is okay with me.  And whatever anyone thinks is none of my business.  So, what is it today?  Is it lighthearted and funny?  Serious and introspective?   Or maybe a little self-deprecating, or slightly irreverent?  Or check all of the above?  What do you think?

Whatever it is, it didn’t quite turn out the way I expected, but that’s just part of the mystery.  Always a surprise, ever an opportunity to sit back and watch the daily script play itself out.  We are the writers, producers, directors, and actors of each new day.  We are the ones who make it up as we go, and we’re the ones who see it through the eyes of our own inner vision.  I don’t know about you, but my script has a happy ending.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us).

Dusting Off What Truly Matters

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I read that clothing sales are down and pajama sales are up.  Small wonder.  A life in the day of a pandemic—wait—what day is it today?   Time and waistlines are partners in expansion.

This week has brought me a case of lethargy complete with days that roll on by at both the crawl of a turtle and the speed of light.  Is that even possible?  I get up, arm myself with my coveted cup of coffee, park myself in my Lazygirl, and suck my thumb for a while until the caffeine kicks in.  I contemplate, meditate, then write the blog du jour and from there, it becomes a downhill slide.

All of my good intentions, my stabs at creating a life of balance between inner and outer work go cattywampus as I search for the eject button on the Lazygirl.  Huh. There doesn’t seem to be one.  Drat.  An unnerving pile of laundry grows in the night while layers of dust turn the dark hardwood floor the color of ash—evident mostly in the morning sun that shines its light on a dusty path as I make my way to the kitchen.  Handy for me I have a friend who loves her new vacuum cleaner so much that she runs around our condo building looking for floors to vacuum.  It’s a Teneco by the way.  Never heard of it, but if I didn’t have her to do it for me, I might have to buy one.

I know there’s a message in here somewhere.  I just need to find it.  Ummm—it might have to do with how I feel about myself as I laze away the days living like a slug.  Yep.  That’s it.  How do I feel about myself?  Not good.  It feels as if I’m letting myself down again by not doing the things that I know are good for me.  I’m not listening to the urging of the quiet voice within myself that encourages me to get up and get moving.  Life in the slug lane does not produce a feel-good sense of self.  It’s depressing and I don’t like depressing.  It’s enough to make me decide that it’s time to do something about my attitude.  But what?

Just get up and get moving.  Oh, really?  Is that all?  How you do that without energy, enthusiasm, or will?  What am I missing?  Hmmm.

Oops.  Maybe I’ve lost sight of what matters most.  Maybe I’ve forgotten to keep my eye upon the donut and slid headlong down into the emptiness of the hole.  Maybe I have lost sight of my meaning, purpose, goals, or flunked willingness.  As much as I want to clear away the dust and return to a cleaner, clearer better version of myself, there are just times when I need help.  Pay attention, Julia.  Ask for what you need.

Okay, God. I can’t do this myself.  I need some willingness please.  Like magic,  willingness appears and morphs into want to.  Instant presto—the fans are flamed and I’m back.  When that happens—watch out world—here I come.

Forgetfulness is a mistake that I seem to repeat, but as an earnest student in the university of life, I get to retake my classes until I learn what I must.  Since one of my goals is to graduate with honors, I’d better get busy and work for an A+ in Feel-Good 101.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us).