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practice makes perfect. [merely-a-thought monday]

the world will treat you royally

“live generously and the world will treat you royally.” (crown royal commercial)

“practice makes perfect,” it says on an index card in the piano bench of my old piano downstairs in the basement.  written in the careful-penmanship-printing of me-probably-as-an-8-year-old,  i have kept this card in my bench for over 50 years.   i’m sure there were multiple times i rolled my eyes at this, as i opened the bench to take out and work on lesson music.  i still roll my eyes.  everything takes practice.

everything.  including living generously.  there’s always that moment when you have to decide to either take up the rope, as they say, and tug back or let the rope lay still.  so much easier to pick it up and tug, letting it lay there and not touching it requires sheer grit-your-teeth-restraint sometimes.  it’s too easy to tug, to even wrench, and too royally hard to let a sleeping rope lie.

but in those moments, the really tough ones and the little ones, that you actually and intentionally choose to mother-teresa your way through, your generosity spins outward in concentric circles and goodness spreads.  goodness has a way of coming back, returning to center, with centrifugal force and your heart in the middle.  gravity draws back goodness and keeps close the spirit of all with whom you have been generous.  kindness bestowed upon you is royal treatment; it is the world treating you royally.  we are all so fortunate.  we are already receiving lavish unconditional love.  what would happen if we practiced living generously even more?

after all, they say, practice makes perfect.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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not. [two artists tuesday]

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granted, schitt’s creek is not a shining example of serious shows.  nor is it the apex of intelligent, thought-provoking viewing.  but we had run out of parenthood (still sniffling over the bitter end) and this is us and everest movies and documentaries and decided to try on something new.  we chose schitt’s creek.

it quickly became apparent to us that the humor in this show was not necessarily in alignment with our sense of humor, but we watched anyway.  we decided it was a study.

the stunning moment came when one of the characters looked at another and, in complete candor, said, “kindness is a sign of weakness.”

we sat and looked at each other, the glow of the moon on water out the window.  we dove deep into those words.  after much debate and a search for profundity, we realized that in this country, at this time, with these circumstances, it was a true statement.  kindness is not where it’s at, not what gets you ahead.  it is without power and control.  its calmness is terrifyingly missing in national goings-on, in international goings-on, in dealings with people even close-up and personal with agendas that serve only themselves.  kindness has left the building in more places than we would care to think about.  but a weakness?  not.

beaky, my sweet momma, said, “be kind.  be kind to each other.”  and she damn well meant it.  it may not have served her as well as being arrogantly demanding might have.  it may not have served her as well as being haughty, nasty, biting might have.  but it leaves a legacy for her that i am proud to speak about.  it is a rare treat to see someone not take sh*t from someone else and do it with strong backbone in a kind way.  my sweet momma was well-practiced.

and, i might add, she was not weak.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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because they are them. [merely-a-thought monday]

not salmon quote

this doesn’t really need any more words.  these words are succinct and clear.  and i appreciated them more than jay could know when she sent this message to me.

d always repeats to me  ‘don’t take anything personally’  but, at the times he says this, i am ready to jab back with examples of when he has ‘taken it personally’.  we are human, after all, and things people and say do affect us.  were we to be teflon, we could avoid most hurt, but people are made of cutaneous cells that absorb, not the stuff of good frying pans or the feathers of cold-water ducks.

once i heard an interview with a woman who was 95 or 96 years old.  she was in excellent fitness, no plaguing physical difficulties, with a robust view of life and living and a quick laugh.  she was asked to what she owed this phenomenal overall good health.  she replied, “i don’t take anything personally.”  after a moment she added, “or seriously”.

it’s a part of me to wonder why people have said barbed or snarky, malicious or unkind things to me, why they have been ugly or hateful.  if i sit back and look from afar, i realize that they are, at the very least, consistent.  their behavior has been the same, their bite has become predictable.  regardless of my action or inaction, they are hurtful.  remembering it is ‘because they are them’ is helpful, especially in the path of not-taking-it-personally.

but it’s not so easy.  i guess i still have to work on this.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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kind of awesome. [merely-a-thought monday]

your day

when packages arrive here, you get either a phone call or a text from the ferry dock.  you are told that a package will be arriving and that you can pick it up after 4:45 at the ferry dock office.  it’s pretty exciting, especially when you don’t know what it is.  you arrive, curious.  if you are in the back room of the dock office, you are likely surrounded by amazon prime boxes, because amazon prime is definitely a thing here on island.  with a $53 round trip ferry price tag for the two of us to go shopping off-island, paying zero for delivery on items you can’t buy here anyway makes total sense.

last week we got a call.  it was the thursday of a for-various-reasons-really-rotten couple of weeks.  david had been having high fevers for over a week and we had to go off-island to a clinic for some bloodwork, which eventually revealed that he picked up lyme disease in the previous weeks here.  exhausted and shocked, we attempted to stay patient and treat his painful, confusing and somewhat scary symptoms while we waited for those results.  jen and brad knew we were waiting and they knew we were having some heftily trying days.

we left for the ferry dock at 4:30, our pace slow, watching for the sweet leggy deer that wander into the road.  david went in to get the package.  he came out with a big box, from wine.com, with the words: “fact:  your day just got kind of awesome.”  six bottles of our favorite friday-night-potluck wine were inside with a note of love.  you can bet that as early that evening as was acceptable, we opened one of those and toasted our dear dear friends and our gratitude for them.  kind of awesome.

we have wonderful friends at home.  we consider ourselves very fortunate.  20 was just up here for a couple days, replenishing groceries for us, sitting and talking and having the kind of conversation only people who have known each other for years have.  it was kind of awesome.  the up-north-gang is coming this week and we can’t wait.  they will bring snacks and laughter, hugs and listening ears, perspective and big heart. they asked for a list ahead of time, of things we might need that we don’t have access to.  our days with them will be kind of awesome.  back at home, our friends help take care of our home, assisting us from afar.  michele and john mow our lawn, loan their bike to my girl, ask how they can help.  linda and jim make us food and pour generous glasses of wine at the drop of a hat.  dan brings a new dehumidifier.  kind of awesome.  there are too many people to list.  there are too many people to thank. which is, in and of itself, kind of awesome.

today, with a deeply sombered heart, i am aware of a young woman who is losing her grasp on life.  with the thinnest of thread she clings, struggling against a plethora of sudden medical emergencies.  i don’t know the whole story.  i just know that this young woman, with a huge life force, may be moving on to a different plane of existence.  and it very well might be today.  today.  i think about that.  today.  toDAY.

every day we have the opportunity to help make someone’s day kind of awesome.  we can choose that or we can choose to perpetuate something different.  we can gift someone with kind words, kind deeds, or we can be, well, rotten.  we can ignore people’s hearts or we can tend to them.

it’s a choice every day.  fact.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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choose kindness. [merely-a-thought monday]

kindness kerouac

we just chose the august movie for TPACWONDER seemed perfect.

“Starring Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, it is a film with powerful messages about kindness, friendship and the embracing of those who are different. Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the inspiring and heartwarming story of fifth grade student August Pullman and a community struggling to find compassion and acceptance.” 

with the climate of our world as it is, we could not think of any family friendly movie that would be more fitting.  we re-watched this movie, reviewing it for appropriateness, for its message.  it is filled with wisdom, reminders of how to be human, quotes that should be on the bathroom mirrors in everyone’s homes, or better yet, plastered to our foreheads.  afterwards, i downloaded the daily wonder app, a source of daily inspirational quotes.  even if you have little time to read, you can read a sentence.  i designed a gift to give every movie-goer that evening.  it’s just a little generosity, but it makes us feel good – and isn’t that what it’s about?

my sweet momma was dedicated to kindness.  she would have loved this movie.  she would wholeheartedly agree with the words of novelist jack kerouac, “practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you are already in heaven now.”  and she would love our in-her-honor ‘be kind’ buttons.  always her parting words, “be kind to each other. be kind.” gentle reminders.  lead with kindness.  filter with kindness.  lean on kindness.  “when given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.” (wayne dyer)

there are a plethora of wise, generous, kindness-oriented people in our world, both living and on that other plane of existence we call heaven.  perhaps yielding to their exquisitely eloquent words of guidance would join these planes together.  and we would, indeed, realize that we are – already – in heaven now.

#choosekindness (wonder)

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if you would like, purchase BE KIND buttons – for you, your friends, your family, your class, your workplace, your club, your organization, your religious community, your neighborhood, your whole entire town

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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leave a mark. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

seagull prints copy

years ago when i turned 30 we celebrated by going to the zoo.  we spent the day, along with my parents and my niece, traipsing around admiring animals, learning factoids, taking pictures, eating ice cream.  i’m not really a zoo person.  i prefer to think of animals living happily in the wild, supported by a world that is thoughtful, careful and ecologically minded.  but i do recognize the need to conserve endangered species, study wildlife and inspire education and preservation of species and their natural environments.

it just so happened that the day we visited this zoo, this day that i turned the big 3-0, they were pouring cement sidewalks.  there is a wee letter ‘k’ in that sidewalk.  a mark.

we all want to leave a mark.  is it an invention?  is it a passing-down of a precious heirloom?  is it a name on a bench in a personal, special place?  is it a work of fine art, a painting, a piece of music?  is it a story?  is it a world record?  is it a mindset?  is it a way of being on this good earth?

i’m not sure when they last poured the surface on townline road.  but on that day, a certain seagull decided to leave a mark.  it walked across the freshly poured street – pad, pad, pad – and, until they pour again, its mark will remain.  we smile every time we walk past this set of prints, wondering aloud how long they have been there.

as we continue our time here, we are aware both of the mark we are leaving and the mark people are leaving on us.  in many years from now, when the road is paved over and we are no longer, i would hope that most of us led with the mark my sweet momma left, “be kind to each other.”

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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when push comes to shove, don’t. [merely-a-thought monday]

civility 2 copy

my sweet momma always said that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  although she stood her ground, she rarely pushed back.  well, maybe at my dad…i certainly heard her push back in that relationship.  she was a woman before her time, struggling to be seen and heard…in relationship, in work, in the world.  nevertheless, she lead with kindness and generosity.

recently i surprisingly found myself in a situation where i felt the kind of civility that is needed to accomplish anything was lacking.  instead it was aggressive, pointed, antagonistic.  “when push comes to shove” implies escalation and this, indeed, was the case.  instead of actual conversation, it was a push-shove back-and-forth.  instead of communication, it was a shining example of what-not-to-do.

we drove past a passiton billboard on the way up north that read these words:  when push comes to shove, don’t.  civility is in you.  what does a boorish push or a retorted shove accomplish other than an establishment of immaturity, a driving desire and play for power and an uncooperative non-collaboration?

civility is not that hard.  it should be what we lead with.  respecting others and their place in their world.  we each get the same air to breathe and we each breathe in and out the same way.  instead of escalating to shove or pushing yet harder, how might we fill our lungs with responses of peacefulness, thoughtfulness, fairness, appreciation, intelligent consideration, magnanimity, grace, even reconciliation.  why must push come to shove?  it needn’t.

just don’t.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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