My Father Used To Say or Living Life While Learning Lessons

You can’t be everything to everyone all the time and still be true to yourself.  My father used to tell me that all the time when I was young.  When it didn’t really make sense because stuff like that doesn’t make sense until you’ve experienced some living and can see how these things mesh within your own story.

My father also used to tell me that walking half a mile in another’s footsteps was like walking five miles on your own, uphill into the wind.  Again, this didn’t make a whole bunch of sense until I had spent part of my life walking in another’s footsteps, chasing their dreams which didn’t match my own dreams.  Granted at the time I wasn’t sure what my dreams were, not really.  It takes time and reflection to know which dreams to follow and which as just nice to think about.

I’ve walked more than enough steps down a path that wasn’t mine, just to turn around and find my own path.  I’ve tried to fulfill dreams that weren’t mine to fulfill.  And I’ve spent periods of my life living the life others wanted or expected of me.

So you’d think that by now I would have figured things out as to what I want, how to get it and who I am.  But now and then I surprise myself.  It’s normally after I’ve struggled with something and can’t figure out why it’s been so hard to achieve that a switch flicks in and I realize it’s hard because it isn’t mine to do.  Or the path I’m walking down is tough walking and my steps keep sliding backwards, that’s when I get it.  It isn’t my path to walk.  But perhaps it is mine to walk along for a little bit.

But I get caught up in others, their ideas, their excitement and sometimes just their energy.  I guess that’s what happens with the human condition.  No human is ever fully sure of him or her self.  It isn’t possible.  And it’s those moments of doubt that let us explore things that aren’t really for us.  The trick is to learn, to learn the signs and more importantly to learn a bit more about the person whose steps, dreams or expectations you are matching.  Maybe that’s the way to getting to a more whole picture of the person and in turn becoming more wholly human.

And my father also used to say, if you go walking in a farmer’s field, sometimes it is better to just not ask questions and awakes look down.  😉

Dance of Success

When I was a little girl I was enrolled in ballet.  I have no clue what the real motivation was for my parents to think I belonged in ballet.  Maybe they thought it would be a way to teach me discipline.  Perhaps it was because at some point I liked to dance around or twirl on my toes.  I honestly do not know, it wasn’t something that we ever discussed.

I was simply enrolled in classes, provided with shoes and less than frilly outfits.  I learned how to stand and bend.  I learned positions and the barre.  I learned that my ballet teacher had once danced in a ballet troupe, but not a huge one so she had to settle for teaching to stay with her passion of ballet.

She told us that it was not a case of broken dreams or not being good enough, rather it was a story of success.  A way of holding onto her dream, keeping her passion alive and sharing it with others.  To her dance, and where she ended up, was a dream come true.

At that age, I had no clue what she was talking about.  When I was a teenager, she was once again my ballet teacher and she shared her story again.  I remember thinking that she wasn’t fooling anyone with saying she had a successful life.  She hadn’t become a ballerina with a major company.  She taught ballet to some girls who were gifted or talented, but primarily to girls who lacked any real skill or talent.

Looking back now, her true success was finding a way to keep her dream alive, make a living doing what she loved and being free and comfortable with her life.  She didn’t care if she wasn’t the star.  She cared that she had made her self the best she could be and knew talent when she saw it.

She recently got in touch with me via one of my friends who happened to be talented.  My friend put in the work and effort required to master those positions and dance.  I struggled with discipline.  You see I wanted to leap and twirl and do what I wanted to do and no that did not include practice.  Apparently I had left an impression upon her and so when my friend was back in town and visiting the studio she asked my friend who gave her my contact information.

When she asked me if I still danced, I explained that while I learned an appreciation for the grace that came from hard work, I personally did not dance.  I didn’t dance because I knew I wasn’t that good and because my health didn’t permit it.  She told me that inside everyone is a graceful dancer of sorts, even if only in our dark bedrooms when no one else can see us.   See?  Even know in her older years this lady is still successful at living life with dance and connecting me back to it.  Perhaps, if I grow up, I too may find a way to be successful in that same model, but with my passion.

 

Lessons From Traffic

Isn’t it funny how depending on a view-point something can be enjoyable or use torture?  Beloved and I were driving through a small town and is ten the case when driving through small, rural towns the world over, something happens to bring traffic to a standstill.  IN this case it was goats and young children crossing the street, slowly and n a dreamy fashion that caused the traffic delay.

Typically we exit that things may take more time when we are driving like this, typically it isn’t a big deal.  But for some reason this time it drove Beloved and I antsy.  We didn’t have to be anywhere particular for any specific time and yet you’d think our lives depended on this traffic moving quickly.  At least that’s if you based it on our conversation.

Id like to say this is a one-off, that this is so out of the ordinary for me, but often times I find myself feeling impatient.  Especially when I in the middle of growing, traveling or learning something.  When I’m caught up n those moments, every second seems to be precious.

When im not n the middle of something, I sometimes don’t consider those seconds as precious for some reason.  In the end, when we get down to it all, isn’t every second precious no matter how we spend it?  Isn’t every interaction, every experience something we can learn from if only we stop and consider it in that light?

My journey, to find my mission certainly has me reconsidering how I see “ordinary” things.  There is potential for the ordinary to become extra ordinary if we allow it!  How about?  Have noticed these opportunities too or did I inhale too many exhaust fumes stuck in traffic? 😉  Maybe, if it is from the fumes, I’m okay with that too.

What Is It To Live

I  read an article that has left me in a state of, well to be honest I’ve no clue what state I’m in.  The article is about choosing Heaven over the Hospital  which can be found Here.

Now given my own health conditions I made a decision awhile ago that in the event anything should happen to me, I have no desire to be resuscitated.  I’d sooner have a shorter life, that is more filled with living than a longer life that means spending most of my time in the hospital.  These decisions are mine, based on my own wishes for my life.  I’d never impose them upon another’s life.

And I guess this is why I’m in a strange state after reading the article, you see the person in the article who has decided to forgo hospital visits is a young girl.. Five years old to be exact. Is that too young?

Her parents seem sincere in wanting to honor her wishes.  They have tried to get her to understand that this decision may result in the end of her life.  But how much does she understand when it comes to death or dying?  Can she really comprehend that her life will cease, she will not grow older or spend more time with her brother?

The flip side to all of this of course is that we have to consider e quality of her life.  Is it fair to ask her to hang on for the rest of us?  Because let’s face it, who is really comfortable with the idea of a five-year old opting to end her life?  Then again what would that life be like?  Sure she is loved, but is that enough?

Her parents anguish over this child’s decision is raw and easily felt as you read their story.  And yet they indicate that they will honor her wishes, let her make the choice.  And it’s clear that coming to this point hasn’t been easy for them, that their faith and beliefs are strength as they all wrestle with the finality of the decision. There is an honesty in how they explain how they’ve come to this point in their life as a family.  They don’t sugar coat it as they share their pain.  And they know that at some point somewhere, people will judge them.

Does any of us have a right to judge?  Do we know, really know, what it’s like for this family?  For this child?  Why is it acceptable for adults to make a decision when it comes to dying with dignity and not a child?  Do we fully understand what a child does or does not comprehend?  Let’s face it, some of us adults struggle with death with dignity and if it is right.  So when the decision is expressed by a child, a young child at that, it makes the wrestling and struggling with this topic that much worse.

And in the end I suspect a lot of us end up in a state of something we can’t express.  I hate to see the hope that comes with a young child extinguished so quickly.  But I also don’t think a child so young should be forced to a life without quality for however long that life is.  And so I’m torn.  But I do know, it is not my place, nor my right, to judge these people and heir choices.  And I know, no matter what choice is made, this child’s life is not easy.  Nor is the life of her family.  But I also know there is something to be learned here, that even in the worst of moments there is beauty, love and humanness in each life.  And that’s what we need to remember, to honor, cherish and hold onto.

What I Learned From A Romance Novel…

In a fit of whimsy I joined a book club, which is rather unlike me.  I thought it would be good to step away from discussing and exploring books in an academic sense and just do something more normal and less intense.

The first book to read was one I’d have picked out on my own.  A romance novel.  Now I should say I have nothing against romance novels, I just don’t read them.  It isn’t that I haven’t read them, but I don’t read them now.

When I read them before I found them to not even be an escape because they were so scripted and typical.  The characters were flat and the plot always the same with just a change of venue.  Needless to say this is what I was expecting when I read the chosen novel recently.

Sure the plot was there of woman meets man, circumstances are such that they can’t be together even if tthey can’t stop thinking about each other.  Add in a twist in the plot and suddenly they are able to get together and realize at what they thought they didn’t want was what they really needed and wanted.  All, of course, live happily ever after.  Yes that was in this book.

But what surprised me was that the author managed to make the characters, main and supporting, to come alive and seem real.  The twists in the plot weren’t so far-flung as to be fantasy and the ups and downs were things we all experience in life.  In other words I could relate to the characters and the plot.

I found it refreshing to read and the discussions about the book were equally refreshing. And through the process I was reminded how often our unconscious biases, those we aren’t even aware we have until we stop and examine them, prevent us from experiencing things that we might enjoy.

I told Beloved that even though the purpose of the book club was being able to read a variety of books and have discussions about the books in a non-academic setting, I learned more here than in school.  I’m glad I had this opportunity!