Archive | Dreams RSS feed for this section
The sun is shining
The air is cold
Your laughter to hear
Your hand to hold
Just wanting to know
What you’re doing the rest of the day
We could sip on lattes
And read the news
Smile across a table
Twinkle in our blues
Just wanting to know
What you’re doing the rest of the week
Drive the country
Eat pie a la mode
Cuddle in the darkness
Travel that road
Just wanting to know
What you’re doing the rest of the year
Kisses in the morning
and every night
Just wanting to know
What you’re doing the rest of our lives.
I originally published the first 20 rules some time ago. I had a couple of people ask me to write the next rules, so here they are in their entirety.
Lie only to children. Adults should be able to handle the truth. There should be more of it in the world.
Smile at everyone you meet. It can change their day and eventually the world. One grin at a time.
Be passionate about something. Being passionate about someone is not the same. Really embrace and want to be something, whether it’s a better person or a vegetarian.
Learn a new word every day. You don’t have to use it, but you have to learn it. Language is a lost art and should never be forgotten.
Eat a sticky fruit tart at least once a month. Close your eyes and savor it. It will change your life.
Do not worry about what will happen in the future. You will most surely bring it about. Instead, concentrate on what you want to happen, whether it be to win the lottery or buy a house. Do not surrender the dream of what can be.
Use the word “whilst” more. Just because it tickles your tongue.
Drink green tea every day. Not just because of the health benefits, but because Japanese tea ceremonies should be acknowledged.
When you love someone, tell them. Yes, they probably already know, but say the words. Do not dilute them with insincerity. Mean it from every cell of your being.
Don’t just say you love someone. Show them in the small things you do. You do not have to send flowers daily or buy jewelry. Remember a book they wanted to read and bring it home on a Wednesday. Wash their favorite coffee cup perched on the edge of the sink. Suffer through a ballet or a sports event because it means the world to them.
Travel beyond your hometown. It is important to see the world, to experience new foods and smells and people. Eat pie in every place you visit. Remember to smile at everyone you meet. You are an ambassador your kind.
Do not take yourself or the world too seriously. It is okay to laugh at politically incorrect jokes and self-deprecation.
Keep looking forward whilst (see it is easy to use!) nostalgic for the past. You cannot undo what has occurred. You cannot atone for wrongs or sidetrack regrets. However, you can let them go, and accept they are the threads in the quilt of life you will one day drape around your shoulders.
Never act your age. Do not surround yourself with people who act older than their years. Wear blue jeans even in your eighties. Never accept you are past your prime. Scoff at the notion of middle age. Invent a new era.
Brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly.
Browse the news but do not devour it. There is death and destruction all around you, acknowledge it and mourn, but keep moving on. You are doing your part to change the world, one smile and recycle bin at a time.
Recycle. Stop using plastic water bottles. Think about the soil you are leaving for those who follow.
Be charitable. Whether it is a weekly tithe or a dollar in a tip jar, give to others what you can. Give your time, your resources and your empathy. You need to know you aren’t the center of the universe, at least not to anyone but your dog.
Have a pet. Whether it’s a dog, cat or a rock, have something to take care of that will return the love unconditionally.
Laugh. Every hour of every day. Be grateful for those things that make you happy. Even when you are crying, remember a funny joke. Sorrow is good, but it is impermanent. Happy is forever.
21. Walk every day. Not just to your car. But get out in the sunshine, the rain or the snow and walk. Don’t power walk. That’s for athletes. But stroll leisurely and watch the way the grass blows in the breeze or a squirrel scampering up a tree. It’s there for you to enjoy.
22. Apologize when you’ve done something wrong. Not later or the next day, but immediately. Saying your sorry is powerful for the person you’ve wronged and yourself. Be a big enough person to admit your faults and when you’ve let someone down. We’re all human and not above the flaws of living life.
23. Read something every day. Not just magazines and internet blogs, but something fictional that will transport you to somewhere else. Read someone else’s words and their outlook on life. Expand your mind and your horizon.
24. Relax more. You do not have to be a whirlwind of activities and schedules. You do not need to cram something into every minute of every hour. Take time to do nothing. Spend an extra hour in bed on a Sunday morning staring at the ceiling or cuddling a loved one. Stop feeling guilty for not being perfect. Allow yourself to just simply be still for periods of time each day.
25. Embrace your work. You may not like your job or your boss, but enjoy the work you do. Simply showing up every day is an accomplishment, but do not be content with it. Go above and beyond what is expected and your self worth will improve. Even if you’re having a bad day, enjoy the work. Embrace it. It is what will sustain you.
26. Embrace your age. Do not fill your face with poison and plastic. If you are unhappy with your looks, improve it only for yourself, but do not pretend you are younger than your years. Every line and wrinkle tell the story of you and wiping that slate clean makes the you that came before disappear. Everyone will age. Everyone will die. Just do it in style.
27. Allow yourself to feel sadness. Wallow in it for no longer than 24 hours. Then rise above it. The world does not end on your tragedies. Life does go on. Participate in it.
28. Be nice. It sounds so simplistic but it’s so hard for people. When you see someone struggling, empathize. When you ask something of someone, ask nicely. You are not better than anyone else born into the world. Remember your place amongst people. You are simply one of many. Not THE one.
29. Be genuine and yourself in every situation. Pretending to be something your not only sabotages your relationships. Show someone who you really are and let them decide if they like it.
30. Believe we are all on our journey and we are all where we need to be. Some of us have an easier journey than others. Help those who need it when you can. Believe in fate and destiny. Take chances when they come along, they arrived for a reason.
There is only what lies ahead
What is done
Happiness yet to feel
Pain yet to endure
Potential already in motion
Embracing the road I’ve taken
Too late to change it now
Maybe I wouldn’t if I could
All things brought me here
I’ve seen happiness
I know passion for all things
I’ve soared above what will only hold me back
This morning the sun was hidden behind a veil of thick clouds and the wind blew cool Fall air. I began my walk in the park, one I have done many times, with no destination in mind. I listen to my music loud and I try to clear my mind. I’ve never been the type to enjoy exercise, but lately I am learning to love it. Every exhale is a negative thought, every inhale is gratitude for what is good. I listen to the lyrics in the music, and I write a dozen stories in my head, I rewrite painful realities in my life and every one of them has a happy ending.
This morning, long after my calves ached and my arches burned, I kept going. The breeze blew my hair and I felt buoyed by it. I was carried away and didn’t want it to end. Each person who passed, waved and said good morning and I returned their greeting. We were all on that road for various reasons, but we were all determined to complete whatever goal we had set for ourself.
I kept going when songs made me nearly weep with ache. I kept going when my lungs burned. I kept going even when I wondered why I bothered. One morning does not change all the others that follow, I thought. But this morning, I was driven by things other than myself and I kept walking. One hour turned into two, and finally, at the end, when I could see the parking lot, I called enough.
I felt strong and determined. I felt confident in happy endings. I felt grateful for sheer exhaustion. Grateful for every second of every minute I’ve been happy. Buoyed by the wind and the eternal hope it will never end.
The Tibetan monks spend weeks creating sand mandalas, intricate sand painting of vibrant color and meaning. Once the mandala is complete, the monks then perform a ritual of sweeping up all the grains into a glass jar, wrapping it in a silk cloth, then distributing it in moving water. All the weeks of labor, of painstaking placing sand to represent deities and ancient symbols, swept away and carried across the water. The lesson in it all is that material life is impermanent. You and your things can be swept into a jar.
When my daughter was four we were living in NYC and I heard about a Tibetan festival being held on Long Island. Braving the city traffic, the bridge and Long Island, I drug her out in the cold fall morning to see something she could have cared less about. I was in a crisis of a sort. I had been since uprooting my daughter from Kentucky and moving to a city I knew nothing about with a man I was beginning to discover I knew even less about. Spending a Saturday with Tibetan monks seemed a better alternative to the chaos my life had become.
We arrived at this nondescript house down an equally unassuming road, drove up an impossibly steep driveway to stumble upon Shangri La. There among the apple trees was a Tibetan wonderland. Behind the main house was a large hall, open to the outside and there scattered on the rug on the floor were monks enveloped in orange robes, tied with ruby sashes, with their eyes closed and the most mournful, plaintiff chants emanating from their open mouths.
My daughter, usually a flurry of activity, paused in the doorway with me, holding my hand tightly with her eyes wide with wonder. We stood there, the pair of us, enraptured by these men in their robes, so removed from anything but the harmonious sound that carried us away. In that moment I was standing there with my little girl, whose tiny hand was intertwined in mine. It was just the two of us, experiencing something beautiful and profound and I had blinked away tears at the perfection of it all.
Later, after we were given paper mandalas to color and a small woven bag, we mulled around the grounds, saying hello to our like minded brethren. An elderly woman from Tibet approached us, her smile toothless and her face creased with the beauty of her life. She crouched before my daughter and ruffled her hair, pinching her cheeks. Then she looked up at me, her dark eyes alit with something I could only describe as happiness, and remarked I was surrounded by love. It was one of those remarks you file away.
I was watching something on television the other night and they were explaining the sand mandalas. My little girl, now a beautiful young woman, turned to me and asked me if I remembered that morning we went to the Buddhist temple. I did remember, I told her. I had been thinking about the same thing. That morning, listening to those monks, seeing that old woman. I am surrounded by love. At the time, I thought it meant I had people who loved me. My daughter, my family, my circle of friends and the man I had moved to NYC to be with.
Years later, sitting in my living room, I realized that’s not what she meant at all. I am surrounded by love. I am the carrier of it, not the recipient. I am the one with the open heart who was shocked by the power of loving my daughter, whose heart flew open with the possibility of getting love in return. I am surrounded by love and it’s mine to give with no expectation of it returned. To love a book, a song, a band or a perfect Saturday morning. Love is not restricted to people. It can apply to food, to scents or to soft sheets. You can love this life despite all it’s impermanence. I have built my life mandala, only to have it swept away in a stream, but always return to work on another one. This time more intricate, more colorful than the last. To see for a brief moment, this life in its entirety and then to sweep it up.
I am surrounded by love. And love is all you need.
Even at my age, I think there’s room not to take life too seriously. Call it a midlife crisis, but I put purple highlights in my hair. I did it for
no other reason but I wanted to. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, what is it that I really want? There was a time in my life, when
I dared not ask myself that question. It seemed too selfish.
But as the years wane away, and as I face my own mortality and limitations, I recognize how fleeting perfect moments are. Life is dotted with
stresses and tragedies, like millions of stars in the sky. It’s those stars we pay attention too, because they are the most visible. But the dark matter,
the space between those dots of light, that’s where the contentment, peace and happiness dwell. I have finally figured out that happiness is a choice
you make. Not forcing yourself to be happy in unhappy circumstances, but actively seeking out what will bring that joy to your life. Such joy
that the unhappy pales in comparison.
I watched this show called the Wonders of the Universe. It reminded me how inconsequential life is and how finite it all will be. Stars will be born, stars will collapse, and yet
the universe will whirl around it. It reminded me that the choices I make today will one day not matter in the scheme of things. I will have to face consequences, but it is
all temporary. I can let go of the past, dying stars of who I use to be, and emerge a new brighter version of me.
Now I can have purple hair, and I can open my heart fully and risk the greater hurt. I can pursue what makes me happy without guilt. I can laugh every day because
there is joy. I can let go.
The Hindus believe in destruction, there emerges new life. There must be the eternal sequences of death and rebirth. So here I am reborn, better than before. With purple hair.
Cancer has always been on the periphery of my family. My great grandmother died from it, my grandmother Tumor died from, yes, you guessed it, a tumor. My aunt had colon cancer at thirty five. It’s always been there lurking.
Now it has invaded my immediate family. My father recovered from surgery, the tumor was small and supposedly all gone. It has not invaded the surrounding tissue or lymph nodes. He’s home from the hospital and resuming life, albeit with the knowledge he had cancer. It was there and now it’s gone. Gone. Stay gone.
I would be remiss as a human being for not wondering when it’s my turn. When does the Russian roulette of junky genes call my number? My new attitude has been “if it’s not happening right now, it’s not happening.” A mantra I’m repeating over and over as I lay in the dark blocking out whatever negative thoughts might try to creep in my conscience. It’s not happening to me right now, so it’s time to concentrate on my father, on my daughter, on this life I’m navigating.
I keep telling myself I’m different from my family. I have never smoked, and they all were heavy smokers for at least 20 years or longer. I’m a vegetarian. I attempt exercise. I meditate. I try to wash whatever bitterness I have on my skin off in the shower. But it’s still a roulette wheel isn’t it. If it’s my turn, then it is.
I’m not going to change the life I’m trying to carve out because of fear. Fear has never been a friend of mine. It’s led to rash decisions that have reverberated through my life. I won’t allow fear to dictate my future. Or cancer.
I am the captain of my own destiny. Or something profound like that.