Sunday, February 18, 2018

Note to Myself # 18

This is so much harder than it seems.
The lovely moments seem to be fleeting.

The instant of trauma
feels more likely to imprint.

extraordinary moments,
moments of astonishment and celebration,
moments of tender love
moments that give you hope and inspiration.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Note to Myself # 17

For better or worse.

How has love 
(or the absence of it)
changed you?

Friday, February 16, 2018

Note to Myself # 16

The old Disney song tells us
that when you wish upon a star,
your dreams come true.

I don't know if that's true or not,
but it can't hurt,
unless you get a stiff neck 
from spending too long in a position 
of absolute amazement
at the beauty of the night sky.

Next time you look up into a crystal clear night,
pick one shimmering star 
and make a wish.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Note to Myself # 15

There's a saying that
if you don't know where you're going,
any road will get you there.

The current norm in American society
is based on plans and goals
and incremental steps toward those goals
(which mostly deal with career advancement
and the accumulation of material things).

God forbid you should just drift along, 
waiting to see where the current takes you.

Working toward goals is fine,
but you can't control serendipity 
or ignore those unplanned opportunities.
Well, you can. . . 
but it's probably a mistake.

Sometimes the best scenery
is on a blue highway.

And, looking back, it seems to me
that everything I did
led me to the logical next step 
without a whole lot of planning agony.
It all kind of hung together
as if there was some grand master plan
for me to discover.

Maybe it's true
that if we follow our path,
the next step will appear. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Note to Myself # 14

Are you happy you are who you are?

Often, it takes much work
to get to this place of. . . 
more than mere acceptance,
a place of celebration.

A place where we realize
(as Carole King said)
you've got to take the bitter
 with the sweet.

If you're not there yet,
what do you need to change?

Do you see yourself as others see you?

If you're too self-critical,
where does that come from?
What old tapes are you playing too often?

What are your best qualities?
What are the benefits of your worst qualities?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Note to Myself No. 13

Once, a few years ago,
I attended a writing conference
on the campus of Brown University. 
The summer session was taking place,
so there were lots of students around
(some of whom thanked us for coming, 
because the food in the cafeteria improved
when there were conferences on campus).

One day, as I was walking between workshops,
I paused to watch a young man
who was practicing his skills as a tightrope walked.
He had a rope tautly stretch between two large trees,
perhaps two to three feet off the ground.
Enough height to practice,
but not enough to break bones 
if balance didn't outwit gravity.

He moved slowly, with determination,
a look of concentration on his face.
One foot. . .
then gingerly, the next foot.
Sometimes his arms shot out to steady him.
And sometimes,
his arms weren't enough
and he'd fall (or self-propel)
from the tightrope.
He'd shake off the mishap
and mount the rope again,
always looking to gain mastery.

Life's kind of like that.
One foot in front of the other, 
progressing down the path
and trying to keep our balance steady.

Not always succeeding.

But picking ourselves up
after a fall,
and starting anew.

And learning to notice
when others are flailing
and extending a helping hand
when our feet are on steady ground.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Note to Myself No. 12

When I was in the year-long memoir writing class
at University of Washington,
the instructor extraordinaire Theo Pauline Nestor
said that this Rolling Stones song
was the perfect way to remember
the narrative arc of a memoir.

You can't always get what you want.
But if you try
sometime you just might find
you get what you need.

Think about it.

Life is filled with frustrations,
with detours from the path 
we think we're supposed to follow.
But sometimes, once we're pushed off
"our" path
we find the new one takes us
to strange and wonderful places.

We don't always know
what we need.

Sometimes we learn by 
accident or adversity.