Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Meaning of Peace

Someone sent me this in an email. It hangs on the bulletin board in my office so that I can glance over at it, and remind myself that yes, despite how overwhelmed I feel at times, I really do feel peaceful.

There was once a King who offered a prize to the artist who could paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two that he really liked, and he had to choose between them.

One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for the peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.

The second picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell, and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.

But when the King looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest…..a perfect picture of peace.

Which of the pictures won the prize?

The King chose the second picture.

Do you know why?

“Because,” explained the King, “peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.”

That is the REAL meaning of peace.

-Author Unknown

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Red Corvettes and Yard Sales

This is my third "guest column" as published in the Long Island Advance on June 22,2006.

“IHD2HVIT” was what was written on the license plate of the red Corvette that pulled out of the 7-Eleven parking lot in front of me. It took me a few seconds to figure out exactly what it meant, and when I did, I laughed out loud and thought to myself, “how very creative.” While riding down Roe Boulevard behind the “I had to have it” guy, I continued to smile and decided he would be my act of bravery for this day.

Recently a new friend suggested to me that in order to continue down this path I’m on; there are some things I need to do, with becoming fearless in the forefront. Although much braver than I have ever been, I’m still nurturing this trait that in some ways is so foreign to me, yet in other ways, not. My friend suggested that I could either ask myself in certain situations throughout my day, “What I would do if I were not afraid,” or I could actually do one brave thing every day. I haven’t actually done one brave thing every day, but on the days that I haven’t, I do ask myself that question.

My act of bravery for this day was to pull up next to the man in the red corvette, lean out of my car window and compliment him on his license plate, telling him that it made me laugh. I should also have thanked him for giving me something to write about, but at that time had no idea he’d be making an appearance in this piece of writing.

I am much more comfortable initially being an observer, a watcher… prior to opening my mouth to express an opinion. I like to have a sense of who people are and where they’re coming from before I reveal myself. But, certainly there’s no reason to hold back complimenting someone on an item such as an amusing license plate, or a cute dog they might be walking, or in my case a really nice pair of shoes or a bag they’re carrying. My friend Nina will chat with anyone, on any line, at any time, and by the time she’s done paying for her purchases, will know all kinds of things about them. I have not completely developed this skill, and I’m working on it as a means to change old patterns. And although sometimes just a little stressful, it’s very exciting as well.

The same friend who suggested that I might want to try being brave on a daily basis, also recommended that I clean out my closet. Somehow, at least in my mind, these two ideas go hand in hand. She said that I should get rid of anything in my closet that is no longer “me,” regardless of what it is, or how much it may have cost, and to wear what I want to wear, no matter what anyone else may think or say. This would have been my sister’s philosophy as well, so I’ve decided to adopt it and think that I may very well shop for that black tulle skirt and combat boots, an act of a woman not afraid to be who she really is. Maybe they won’t be items of clothing to wear to work, but I would certainly wear them to lunch in Chelsea.

Also in that closet are many, many boxes filled with items from my old life. For some time now, I’ve been thinking that I needed to go through them as I cannot possibly take all that’s in them, to a small apartment somewhere. The other reality though, is that so many of those items in those boxes, no longer “fit me,” physically or emotionally.

So, I’m going to continue to compliment creative men in red corvettes, women who have their own sense of style and don’t care what others think, and practice chit-chatting while waiting on lines. I’m also planning a really big yard sale in July in order to finally divest myself of all those items that are no longer me. And, if I see the man in the “IHD2HVIT” red Corvette tooling around town, I might just have to beep my horn and wave at him.

Monday, June 05, 2006

One year began

I started this blog one year ago today. And, I'm still here. I've looked back at this past year of writing and realized just how much I've changed. How much more confident I am about where I'm going and what I'm doing. I'm finding that living my life on the edge is a very cool place to be. I've grown so fond of edges over this past year and have a far greater appreciation for those people in my life, who have them.

Once you start to take the risks, they get easier, and in my case, have become a part of who I am *becoming*. I just joined a writing group, and am looking forward to writing and reading my work, out loud and in public. The idea of possibly reading something I've written, out loud, would so not have been me one year ago, yet now I find myself open to the possibility of doing so. To surrounding myself with others who can appreciate what it's like to have something to say and a huge desire to say it in a more public manner. To be able to say, " I am. Listen up....please read me."

I can look back on this year's worth of writing and see how I've grown and how happy I've become. I am jazzed about my life and about all the possibilities that still remain. I love all of you, my old friends........those of you who read me and cheer me on and who have so many times dried my tears and called me to make sure I've left the house once in a while, or fixed me tea. And now I add all the new friends I've made over this past year, those of you I'm still getting to know and whose potential I see, even if you may not see it in yourselves or have reached it yet. I adore each and every one of you, old and new....and hold you all, close to my heart.

And my children, who know nothing of this blog filled with writing....maybe this will be the year I share it with them. They, who have become so supportive of me and who I am hoping have come to the understanding that I was not abandoning them, but trying to save myself. And that by saving myself, I will always be here to catch them if they fall. Dramatic..yes, I know. But, that's who I am....I am dramatic. I have lived my entire adult life, not being who I was meant to be.....I was the person who never made waves, never expressed an opinion, never felt as if she really existed.....that person is gone now, she exists in memory wonderful it is to be free! And, is....dramatic!