Saturday, March 25, 2017

It's a Four Agreements morning

Facebook brought me news of a death yesterday, a friend from high school. It hit me hard, harder than I would have thought considering I had not seen or heard from her in over 50 years. She was a bright light from my high school years, someone I considered one of my best friends.

I don’t often dream of people, but, over the years, I occasionally dreamed of her and those dreams had a special quality. They were like reunions. I would always awaken with a joy of reconnection as well as a mourning of the lost friendship. We were separated the summer before our senior year when both of our families moved. We wrote for awhile, but those were the days before Facebook, and eventually life separated us and the tie was broken.

I tried to reconnect a few times over the years but met with unspoken rejection. For a multitude of reasons, I took it personally. This morning I poured my feelings of being unloved, unwanted, rejected into an Evernote file until the Four Agreements shouted: Stop the pity party!
The conversation continued: Yes, you were rejected by someone you once loved. Yes, that person didn’t approve of the way you lived your life. Yes, she’s now dead and you will never be reconnected in this life. Yes, she was hard-hearted toward you. And, yes, you’ve probably been equally hard-hearted toward someone who loved you. She was human. You’re human. People aren’t perfect. You’re still alive … try to do better. Keep your own heart soft. Be kind to yourself and others.

Remember: Don’t take anything personally!
All right already.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Forty Days of Memes: Day 2 Happiness and Wonder

Soap bubbles: Sticky water molecules sandwiched by a surfactant with a hydrophilic head and hydrophobic tail expanded by breath into a sphere-seeking, slippery, thin film reflecting color wave interferences which samba through kaleidoscopic patterns of iridescent colors while compressing the most amount of air into a minimal area  capable of withstanding the forces of gravity and evaporation before collapsing into a never-more, liquid pop.

Soap bubbles fascinate and delight for their beauty and fragility. A couple of years ago, when invited to participate in an art and science show in Fresno, I delved into the science of soap bubbles and came up with the 62-word definition above. Obviously, it doesn’t adequately capture either the wonder or the happiness created by these momentary delights.

This particular soap bubble has fascinated me since the bright, shiny San Francisco day when I took the photo. Many years ago, Richard had a device that would make these elongated gossamer rainbow catchers. It always irritated him when children delighted in popping them. And, you have to wonder what that impulse is to pop something beautiful that is going to self-destruct within seconds anyway.

I also wonder if it’s the very fragility of soap bubbles that takes our breath away. Soap bubbles are NOW. We have a second to be awed by them before they disappear never to be seen again. We can’t store them (except in photographs), we can’t say, “Oh, wait a minute, I’ll get back to you.” We have to pay attention while they’re in play. We have to let ourselves be thrilled by their shimmering colors during their glimmer of life.

What if soap bubbles offer us the most realistic of all metaphors of life? Savor it now, for in a second it will be gone.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Forty Days of Memes: Day 1 The secret destination of all journeys

Secret destinations. What an interesting concept. As if all journeys know a secret that we don't.

But, isn't that true? We start out intending to go to grandma's house and on our way, we meet a wolf.

I am starting a new journey, moving to Ajijic, Mexico. My intentions are to have a more outdoor, walking lifestyle by a beautiful body of water where community will grow naturally. What will I actually find there? I have no idea. And, that's a bit disturbing to the control freak that lurks within each of us.

We like change. But, we like it more when it happens the way we want it to happen and brings us stuff we enjoy. However, change is it's own master and it brings us whatever it decides is appropriate.

As I spend the next several weeks letting go of the present in order to embark on the new journey, I have to wonder about this secret destination that I am unaware of. Will it be joyful beyond my expectations or will it challenge me to the bone? One nice thing about living long is I know that, whatever the secret destination is, I will be able to deal with it. Pain or joy, it will be my life.

A man I once loved and still treasure said it better than I:
"Isn't life interesting~!  The paths we choose, the challenges we face, the hardships we endure and the joy of living.  They are all connected."

"Meme" is a relatively young member of our word family, but a useful and intriguing one.  Launched by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, it now means an idea that can spread from person to person somewhat like a virus, generally carried by a few memorable words and an image.

 With the advent of Canva which makes it easy to combine words and images to share on social media, I began creating memes. For the next forty days, I will explore these small potent messengers of ideas.