Friendship. History. Life. Living. Sickness. Women. Barrymore. Collette. Relationships. Yes.
“If I saw you hitchhiking, I’d smile and return your thumb’s up, just for you doing such a great job of being a positive roadside influence.”
― Jarod Kintz
Being positive, having a positive attitude, looking at things with a glass half full changes everything about your day and your life. A person can look around and notice all the things in life that aren’t right, or need work. They can wait for things to break or go wrong. Or they can look and see the things that are working now. They can see the blue sky, that there’s light and love and beauty all around them. One way leads to stress and worry, the other to contentment and happiness. We all worry, we all fret about the things that can go wrong, the things that might be going wrong, but we can’t live there, in that place. We have to live with light, and be in love with life. If we can manage that, even in times of trouble, we become a force for the positive. We can learn to see past what might not be OK now to know it will be soon. We stay open to the world, instead of being afraid of it. Light wins, dark abates.
“Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.”
― Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
Playing, as in riding a bike, or swinging on a swing, or going down a slide, or jumping in a bouncy house, is good for the soul. Those things speak to the kid living inside us and encourages that kid to come out and play. Being playful, however you do it, brings so much joy and happiness into our lives. It can be telling a stupid joke or saying something dorky to make someone laugh. It doesn’t matter how you get there, it’s that you get there in the first place. Joking around, being dorky, being willing to play, brings out the kid in us, the kid that’s always there, waiting to smile and have a good time. The kid that knows how to make things lighter and brighter and new.
“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
Reading a good book opens the world to us. Words create bonds. They convey insights into life, living, emotions we might not understand, ways of living that are different from ours, or the same as ours. In every good book I read I find some new meaning and depth in life. A turn of a phrase can enlighten and fills out more of the story of living. Books open worlds otherwise unknown.
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Friendship carries us through everything in life. The value of living is found solely in our relationships with others. In the experiences we have with the people in our lives. Our friends can be there throughout our lifetime or people we only know and spend time with during shorter periods. They can be family or other people we’ve chosen to spend time with along the way. Their presence gives meaning to all the most important experiences of our lives. They strengthen us when we need it, hold us when we need it, tell us the truth when we need it, and bring more love into our lives than we can even believe possible. The people we love and who love us back are the most important. Period, the end.
“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
Generosity of spirit and of self brings peace and tranquility to life. When you give of yourself you put out positive energy into the world, broadening it. Being generous of spirit means you give of yourself in small ways and big. You don’t have to give out loads of money, but you can get inclusive, you can share what you have to share, include others in your life, be gracious, be open, be willing to help when help might be needed, be a light when someone can’t see through the darkness in their lives. Being generous just means opening yourself and giving of yourself without thought for what you might gain from it. It’s selfless, and being selfless pulls us out of our own heads, our own lives, reminding us that we aren’t alone, and that we aren’t all there is. It’s so important to remember that. Be generous with your time, with your heart, with yourself.
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Appreciation for things in life, be it the actions of a friend, the kindness of a stranger, the smile on the face of someone you love, or wet kisses from your dog, brings a sense of connection, joy, and awe about this life we’re living. Knowing to appreciate what you have, not so much the things, though appreciating those as well says you realize others might not have what you do and you should be grateful for what you have, but for the people in your life, for the food on your table, for getting to experience the experiences you do, helps you to cherish life, cherish living. Appreciating the actions of others says you acknowledge a kindness or a gesture of goodwill. Having a real appreciation for things means you don’t take them for granted. Not taking the people and things in your life for granted means you feel what they bring to your life. Feeling that brings meaning.
“i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)”
― E.E. Cummings
Being thankful for good and kindnesses and help and smiles in our lives further connects us to those moments. It brings a warmth and sincerity to our every day. A person can never say thank you enough. From the check out clerk to the post lady to helpful visits from family to just an everyday act of being passed something you asked for. Saying thank you spreads good will and encourages others to spread it as well. Saying thank you says you acknowledge the importance of what just happened. Saying thank you fills your heart with beauty and grace and a happiness that doesn’t come any other way. Being thankful, to your bones, for life’s little wonders, and some big ones, creates a force for so much good inside of you that it spills out to others. It gladdens our hearts as well as the hearts of those around us. You will never regret saying a deserved thank you. You will regret not saying it. We don’t act alone in the world, saying thank you acknowledges that. It’s a powerful force for good.
“When You Are Old”
WHEN you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.”
― W.B. Yeats
Grace can’t be put on, it has to be cultivated inside of us. Simplicity of movement, of thought. Being present for people in your life. Not like a bull in a china shop but by being quietly there. Not everything has to be done with a big splash, some things require a quiet manner, they require a certain dignity. I struggle with this, but reach for it, try to cultivate it in myself. I have seen grace under pressure, I’ve seen simple dignified grace. It is a beautiful thing.
“How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbour says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy.”
― Marcus Aurelius,
Keeping quiet, not speaking unless you have something good or positive to say, perpetuates good. Speaking out of turn, gossiping about others, even stating your opinion when it’s not asked for or warranted, creates discord, chaos, and possibly hurt feelings. It’s always better to stay out of things. Jumping into situations only helps to keep them going, to keep the negative talk in the fore. There’s a difference between standing up for something or someone, and putting yourself into the drama. There’s a proper way to stand up for someone or something without being nasty or ugly or hurtful. If someone is hurtful, you don’t have to sink to that level. If someone is bullying, you don’t have to become a bully to fight against it. Don’t talk about others. Talk about ideas. Talk from a place of love and understanding. Use your powers for good. It will help to keep the chaos at bay. It will simplify your life. It will keep you from being the victim and will add to the strength you already have.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
― Hunter S. Thompson,
Adventure can be found right where you are. I watch the grandchildren and everything, including a leaf, or jumping off a step stool, holds adventure for them. There’s a lesson in it. We get so caught up in our daily lives with the business of living; paying bills, making money, doing chores, we don’t stop and look and experience things in a pure way. We’ve forgotten how. But, it’s still in us. Those feelings of awe and inspiration and wonder. So go on an adventure, even if you can’t leave your house right now. Make a game of it, tackle a task as if you’re on safari, narrate doing the dishes. All of this beautiful life we’re living is an adventure. It’s incredible. Say yes to life, even if you’re unsure. Grab it. Be bold. Be brave. Be adventurous.
“I examined the poets, and I look on them as people whose talent overawes both themselves and others, people who present themselves as wise men and are taken as such, when they are nothing of the sort.
From poets, I moved to artists. No one was more ignorant about the arts than I; no one was more convinced that artists possessed really beautiful secrets. However, I noticed that their condition was no better than that of the poets and that both of them have the same misconceptions. Because the most skillful among them excel in their specialty, they look upon themselves as the wisest of men. In my eyes, this presumption completely tarnished their knowledge. As a result, putting myself in the place of the oracle and asking myself what I would prefer to be — what I was or what they were, to know what they have learned or to know that I know nothing — I replied to myself and to the god: I wish to remain who I am.
We do not know — neither the sophists, nor the orators, nor the artists, nor I— what the True, the Good, and the Beautiful are. But there is this difference between us: although these people know nothing, they all believe they know something; whereas, I, if I know nothing, at least have no doubts about it. As a result, all this superiority in wisdom which the oracle has attributed to me reduces itself to the single point that I am strongly convinced that I am ignorant of what I do not know.”
To be humble, to know you don’t know everything, allows you to be more relaxed with others. It leaves you open to new and different ideas. It broadens what you could experience, it creates a space to let others in. If we think we know it already, there’s no room for anyone else. If we are continually certain of everything, there’s no space for beautiful surprises and mistakes. Being humble in our opinions and in our lives creates a place that says we are all in it together. Absolute certainty, being right, is the bane of relationships. Connections get severed because of it. There’s always more than one way to look at something. There’s always room for another idea, another thought on the subject, another viewpoint. If there’s one thing in life I try to remind myself of its that I don’t know everything, I haven’t experienced what others have experienced, and my thoughts and ideas and opinions are no better than anyone else’s.
“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
You can look at everything in life as something to battle, to conquer, and to fight, or you can look at everything from a place of love, understanding, and togetherness. Either perspective colors your world, informing how you live your everyday, and how you see things. The choice is always yours. If things have been done to you, you can turn around and project that nastiness out onto others, becoming the very thing you despise, or you can be the better human, rise above, and transform that ugliness to something wonderful. The world is full of bullies who use as an excuse the fact that they themselves have been bullied. Do better. Perpetuate good, light, and hope instead of fear, anger, and hurt.
It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us, as the confidence of their help. ~ Epicurus
Sierra Club Daily Ray of Hope
M, my friend, I love you. I know your heart is breaking as you get ready to start your journey. This trip, in one sense, signifies an ending, but I know in my heart it will also end up being a celebration of a life well lived.
I believe the people we love never truly leave us. She lives in your heart, she lives inside of you. Her spirit is with you…
She’s there in the sound of footsteps and the rain falling on roofs and the feel of the wind on your cheek. In the rushing of the waves and the ceaseless movement of the tides. In small kisses and the purring of a furry friend and when you are wrapped up in a warm hug. In the emotions brought on by the pages of a good book and in the beats of great songs. In hope and joy and laughter and in the sunlight through the trees. Inside deep conversations and thoughts of love. During moments of celebration and sadness. In the quiet space on either side of a breath. In the flapping of birds wings overhead and in the lightly falling snow. In the moonlight, the moving of the planets, the rushing of the blood inside of you. She resides there. In all those moments. In so many moments. Strong, eternal, full of grace, and overflowing with love.
Love surrounds you my friend, as it surrounded and surrounds your Mom as she steps to the next place on this amazing cosmic adventure.
It’s windy out there tonight. I can hear the rattling of the blinds as the wind whips in, rustling them, causing a banging on the window frame. I may have to shut the window, but maybe I’ll put up with it, I love the cool desert night air. And I love the sound of the wind, whipping by outside. Whistling, then howling, then still. It is a symphony.
It’s after 11:00 in Vegas. It was warm today, 79 and blue sky. I wore shorts and a t-shirt, had on my slide shoes and had to squint when I was out driving around. I think the people who live here think it’s still sort of cold. They are used to the heat. My body doesn’t expect it until June. I live in the Midwest after all.
I’m missing my honey and don’t much like being so far away from her, but am glad I came. Friends like these are gifts.
It’s amazing how people can be so different, and yet have so much love for each other. I was a bit nervous about coming. Not sure how, after all these years, we would get on. Hoping it would be the same, wondering if all of life’s ups and downs might have changed us all somehow, made us different people. Those ups and downs have changed us, all of us, but who we are, and have always been, to and for each other remains. Distance and time haven’t altered that. Thank god.
I am blessed to have these people in my life. And with them, as I always have felt, I am home. We’ve been in each others lives for so long there’s a comfort and certainty that is reassuring and magical. There’s a peace that happens not brought by any one of us, but made by our presence together. Deep love and understanding resides there.
We may be different, see the world differently, but we understand each other and know, always, that there’s a love and a respect and a kindness there.
My wish for the world is that people would feel this sort of kinship in their lives. I’ve been lucky enough to feel this with several people throughout the course of my life. Spectacular people, each and every one.
This tapestry of lovely humanness is overwhelming, and as I sit here, the blind still banging on the sill, I feel an incredible sense of humble gratitude for how fortunate I am, for how full my life is of beautiful people, and for the sounds of the wind, right outside the window.
Wow… I’m tired. We arrived back home at 11:00 PM last night after spending much of the last five days back in Oregon. What a time we had…
I’m sitting here looking back on it all and I’m overwhelmed with a feeling of love, laughter, and community. We have a big life there. So many people who love us and who we love. Amazing.
We arrived Thursday at about 10:00 PM after a direct flight from Chicago Midway. Kevin, my brother, picked us up and hauled us back to what used to be our house and is now Vicki and Kevin’s house. We slept on the hide-a-bed after staying up way too late talking to Kev. I love my brother. He’s an awesome man!
Next morning we jumped into our Toyota pickup truck (the one we left in Oregon so my brother could use it if he had to do stuff for any of our rentals) and drove in to Gravy for a fantastic breakfast with Kev. I love that place. So good. After we all drove down to Mom and Don’s place in Salem. Kev stayed over there as well, which was great, so we had a really nice time just hanging out at the farm with everyone. Mom and Don’s place is fantastic. A true Better Homes and Gardens kind of place. Gorgeous plantings, landscaping, etc. It was so nice getting the Mom hugs and just hanging out with her and Don. I love my Momma. She so rocks it out!
Saturday, after hanging out more at Mom and Don’s we jumped back in the trusty Toyota and headed back to Portland. We hit Saturday Market for some wedding gift shopping and some lunch. After we drove on out to Stacia and Eric’s place to drop our stuff and load Stan’s party playlist on his retirement present… new iPod and docking station. Then it was off to the fairgrounds to hook up my laptop to the sound system and make sure all was well. Then… party party party. We were there from 5:00 to after 11:00. I got to see so many great friends and people I hadn’t seen in a long long time. People who I hadn’t seen since I abruptly left when I got sick last year. It was wonderful getting to catch up, hug some people, and hang out with some fantastic peeps. Plus, getting to be there to help send Stan into retirement… so wonderful. I love that man…. he’s a true sweetie. A fantastic friend. He’s family…. many of those people are like family to me. So much love in that room. For Stan and for each other. It was lovely. When we got back to Stacia and Eric’s that night we had a chance to hang and visit with Stacia a little bit… and then again in the morning for a brief time. Not long enough… but it was great just getting the time we did. I love you girl… my sister from another mother!
Sunday we got up and drove back over to our Oregon house to drop off the truck and get a ride from Vicki (thanks girl!) into Maggie’s for the wedding. Wedding prep ensued. It was a lovely lovely ceremony. I love weddings…. after all, they are all about love. What’s better? I was so honored to be a part of it. I love Kate and Terri and am so happy they took this step. Plus, it was wonderful wonderful to hang out with the POD. Ladies, you are a classy group of babes and we are so lucky to be a part of this little family we’ve made. Love love love to all of you. It was so nice sitting around the chiminea Sunday night chatting it up.
Sunday we got up and hung out with Maggie a bit. She’d had to take Bernadette (so great to see you again B) to the airport early early that morning and then had come home before work. So glad she did so we had some time to chat. You’re house, and you yourself, are fantastic. We love you! Later Sandy and Angela came over, picked us up, took us to the airport, and then enjoyed some breakfast with us at a restaurant at the airport. So so great to get to spend this time with them. We were rushing so much that getting these little snippets of time with individual people was like getting little gifts each day. Sandy… you are a gift to us. We adore you.
It was wonderful… our time back home. Lovely. Fast. Furious. A whirlwind. We saw so many people, ran around so much, stayed at a different house every night, but so so good. So so wonderful. Our life there is so big. Our relationships so important to us. We love each of you. Know this.
Yes, it was also good to get back home. Which is nice. It was great seeing the pups again, great to see Mary and Sebastian this morning. Great to see Lisa Lynn who was so fantastic to stay with and care for our babies while we were gone. Girl… you rock and we love you. Thank you so much! And… we felt like we were coming home as we traveled back here. Because, this is home now. We are making new friends, loving being near Sebastian and his parents, and finding things to love here in Illinois. We are starting to make a life here… what we hope, and what we can dream… is that our life here starts to resemble, even in a little way, what our life in Oregon has been and still is. If we can do that, build even a part of that here, we will have done something amazing. Because people… you are an amazing glorious group… a huge web of love we feel all the way over here in the Midwest. Much love to you. Thank you, thank you, thank you….
Today I got the treat of all treats. My friend Linda, from Vegas, visited with me for a few hours. I’ve known her since we were 13. It’s a long time. There’s something that happens when Linda and I get together. It’s a sort of ease and understanding. I love this girl, more than I can say. We don’t live near each other and haven’t for a long time, and because of that we don’t see each other as much as either of us would like, but when we do it’s as if nothing has changed. It fills my soul to see her. She’s that kind of friend for me, as I think I am for her. Linda… I loved seeing you today. So lucky that you could come and be with me for a few hours. Hard not to give you a hug, but I’ll just have to give you a bigger one next time. Friends like you my sweetie are so good for my soul.