Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saving Face

Brenda from The Big Fresh passed on the following from The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp:

"A Manhattan writer I know never leaves his apartment without reminding himself to "come back with a face." Whether he's walking down the street or sitting on a park bench or riding the subway or standing on a checkout line, he looks for a compelling face and works up a rich description of it in his mind. When he has a moment, he writes it all down in his notebook. Not only does the exercise warm up his descriptive powers, but studying the crags, lines, and bumps of a stranger's face forces him to imagine the individual's life." (The Creative Habit, p. 30)

I love this. It is the sort of exercise that challenges one to be disciplined and intentional while wandering through life. It asks us to really see the people around us, to think of individuals with empathy and compassion. Maybe it asks us to think of walking in another's shoes. Coming home with a face might eventually inspire more right actions in the world. Think I'll give it a try.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Memory Brushes the Same Years

Girls weekend!
It came at the right time, right price and right place. A quick Friday morning flight to Spokane with three good friends to spend the weekend at D.'s beautiful waterfront home. We each had our own bedroom, rainshower bath and view deck - lovely posh linens, sauna and soaking tub. What a luxury to get up early with a freshly brewed cup of (not Folgers) coffee and step out on the deck for that Folger's moment! What a gift to stay up late with good friends sharing stories, joys and sorrows over wine, limoncello and bubble water. We cooked, snacked, hiked, read, watched movies, meditated, stared off into space, enjoyed the fabulous original William Papas art on every wall and napped at will. We giggled like school girls and retold old stories just for the fun of remembering together. The cab driver on my way to the airport had joked: "lucky girl you are off to sing and dance and make merry with your pals, huh?" Yes sir. You're right on. Just can't say it enough. I am so blessed.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Like Rain in a Drought

A good friend and CEO of a large organization sent a newletter to her staff today and shared her thoughts about the recent shootings. Her words were profoundly sad. But she ended her message as she often does with an action item:

"Perhaps you are feeling helpless and that the world is spinning out of control. I urge you to change your thinking right now. Each of us has the power to do some small thing to set things right. I urge you to do one totally unpredictable act of kindness in the next twenty four hours and show someone that the world is a little better than they thought it was going to be. I give you permission to do this on company time."

I commit to doing one totally unpredictable act of kindness in the next twenty four hours. Won't you join me?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Freedom is a dark road when you're walking it alone!

What does it take to be truly happy?

According to Dr. Kathianne Lewis: Relatedness, Competence and Autonomy

To be truly happy we "connect" with others maybe in a loving relationship, maybe in a friendship, maybe just meeting the eyes of a stranger. (Definitely through sustained communication with other bloggers.)

To be truly happy we experience our activities with a sense of confidence and accomplishment in one or more areas. And - we continually renew our competence by taking on new challenges, trying new things, refining something we already do well.

To be truly happy we are autonomous - retaining our personal strength, power and choice. To be truly happy, an autonomous person gets to CHOOSE relatedness and competence.

One might think relatedness and autonomy are opposites - until the rugged I can do it myself individual understands that life could be richer when exercising the right to choose connection and competence.

Sometimes in my life I have let go of relationships and chosen isolation when what I needed was to maintain the connections and provide for the needed solitude - and I have thought that I couldn't risk trying something (like painting or dancing)until I had (privately) established competence - and then given up or not shown up because I was indeed not good at it.

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

We Are The World

You are walking down the street and a young person asks you for money to catch a bus. What do you think? What do you do? Does it make a difference if it is Christmas? or cold? or night? Does it make a difference if it is a man or a woman? Would it be different if there was a child involved? Would it be different if the person asked for money for food? a cup of coffee? drugs? health care? a decent place to live? an education? Does it make a difference if the person is ringing a bell and standing next to a red pot? Does it make a difference?