“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
― Haruki Murakami
Hello my Valentines, hope Tuesday was all it should have been for all of you. I am not and never have been a fan of this day (except for the chocolate – that’s the best) but 2017 is all about being different. I might have to learn to love love after all. So happy wishes to all from a brand new romantic. May you all roar.
Don’t be so surprised my readers, I promised more this 2017 year. I don’t have any travels on the horizon that I can share about yet – some ideas and some dreams are swirling in my mind. It won’t be a year to sit still for certain.
Today, I worked on my intention of kindness. Not on purpose – a sort of by accident. I was in the supermarket.
I am a smiler – gets me in trouble, crazy people approach me all the time but I cannot help it, I smile. I don’t want to be one of those crank pot old ladies with a grumpy face. Besides, I was born under the bright August sun – maybe I am moody and mercurial, my resting nature is sunny. It’s how I love, it’s how I deal – not on purpose, I shine a bit of sunshine around. It’s completely annoying to my cynical side and not for nothing, it’s a bit of a chore too. Not in a happy go lucky kind of way, goodness no. But sunny all the same.
You might as well all really get to know me this year – no more cryptic references and 30 year old stories – and for my friends and family who already do, stay the course. I care for my octogenarian year old sassafras of a mother. I didn’t plan this but this is anchor that keeps me in this cow town most of the year and why my wings cannot spread and fly me so so far away from here permanently – just now and again, more again please always. And so on Sundays, I need to go buy the food as the unintentional caregiver I have become. Don’t worry, I always buy her gin. It makes her happier. She’s old, don’t judge.
Back to the supermarket, smiling me first got a sweet old man to hand me coupons I didn’t need – he insisted. I turned them down three times but I took them and walked on. The market was humming with people and long endless check out lines. I chose one and the woman in front of me, dark circles under her eyes, frazzled was unloading her towering cart. No bagger, slow check out clerk – so she was bagging herself and left her still half full cart in front of me. So, I unloaded it for her, one of those selfless, selfish things we can opt to do. The person behind me thanked me, clearly we all were tired of the market. I offered her the coupons just because but she said no and then gave me another coupon instead that I could use. After she was done, I gave the old man coupons to the frazzled woman ahead of me because someone needed to take them. Weird paying it forward backwards moment. Why am I even telling you all this story which is nice but maybe a bit too much information and smidgen boring?
I am telling you all because it’s been a hard weekend and a hard 2016, it started hard, ended hard and sometimes, we all forget that the tiniest act of kindness can be like a butterfly wing’s beat, that flows out into the world like wind of goodness – kindness is sunshine on a winter’s day. Even my cynical heart believes in this concept (in a sort of fairytale I refuse to not believe it kind of way – I am complicated). And if it’s not under a foreign sky, I’ll accept the commonplace supermarket kindness kind of sunshine on a holiday Monday, 2017, on day two. You know why? Summer is invincible and it will always warm your soul.
And that dear readers, is #2 of of 2. Not so bad for a reformed blogslacker.
Happiest of New Year’s wishes to all.
2016: I promised stories. I promised pictures. I promised much. Unfortunately, I am not the best at sitting down and writing. I had a great year of travels to Martinique, Canada and my amazing and special time in East Africa this fall – as deeply in love with that land as ever.
2017: As always on Jan 1, I am feeling the pressure for something to appear here. Something meaningful, insightful to inspire and engage my ten regular readers (up from my four!!). Maybe a travel life blog wasn’t my best idea after all. Stay with me though. Perhaps this will be the year.
Here’s the deal. I am not a supporter of new year’s resolutions – I prefer intentions. So many intentions this year but really just one. My intention is to be kinder – to myself, to my body, to my people, my co-workers, to strangers.
Our world is on fire and certainly in the USA, it’s been a rocky fall. For me, despite some knocks, I am solid, I just need to do some rebuilding and some renovations on this house of mine.
So…. I started this year at yoga. They say you should do on day one of the year what you want to do all year. I want to be the person I am five minutes after class. I want to feel strong and relaxed. If I can hold on to this, I can handle the storm that swirls around my house, calmly and I hope kindly. There’s a bit more at stake this year for reasons I will share as I go along (I am 100% fine, just reasons, people).
A large part of 2017 is going to be showing up. I am showing up this year. I’m going to give it my best shot.
Still processing an amazing adventure. Came back to a country on fire. I will just leave you all with this snippet of a video of a Lutheran Choir practice in Karatu, Tanzania. A very special moment in the middle of my trip. Voices unite us all.
“When in the end, the day came on which I was going away, I learned the strange learning that things can happen which we ourselves cannot possibly imagine, either beforehand, or at the time when they are taking place, or afterwards when we look back on them.”
― Karen Blixen,
Two week countdown begins….
I was rushing to work that horrible day, September 11, 2001, trapped in the normal Boston traffic listening to NPR. I knew I was late because it switched over to the BBC broadcast at nine am. I heard the news of the first tower falling in an English accent. It took me a moment to realize this wasn’t happening in a far away land but here in the USA, blocks from where my sister worked, in a city filled with my people, my buildings and streets I knew well. Not to mention, working for a tour operator, airplane travel was my day job.
And so began the first endless day. That would be followed by weeks of the same.
People know where they were when JFK was shot. I know where I was when Kurt Cobain’s death was announced, when the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up and then the planes hit those towers. The historical moments that transform generations, that rewrite history.
This morning it started out windy and raining, so unlike that morning fifteen years ago. That day dawned as one of the most perfect late summer, almost fall days. The kind of day that makes people fall in love with the Northeast USA.
This afternoon, the sun broke out and I took this glorious picture of my cow town and one of my favorite views. I went to a loving kindness meditation session (we can talk about that another time). Fifteen years of wisdom tells that the lesson to take forward and think about today is that people are truly good. In adversity and sorrow, they show you how triumphant and solid their spirits are indeed. Trouble will find us all, in so many forms, but no matter what, the skies do always clear. It’s going to rain again, but today, blue sky. Nothing but blue healing sky.
The world churns madly on.