what we can learn….. we can be more aware of our balance, (too often we rely on others to keep us in balance)…… we can accept that mud is temporary, at one point it will turn into dirt…(nothing remains the same…. sometimes we focus on a problem that it will last forever)….. we can celebrate the dance in the mud…. (knowing that we may fall….but sometimes we do not fall)….. we can learn that sometimes we need to take a walk in the mud.
Planning a vacation is sometimes more exciting than the actual trip. I am proud that I have enjoyment in creating the detailed outline of our agenda for get-a ways. I like all the parts of the plan: sometimes I am let down by the results. I/We return home more tired, anxious, and less fulfilled than “I planned.”
We recently, (my husband and I) took a camping trip to Wisconsin. This is new for me, I do not enjoy the challenges of camping. I am trying a new. My husband does enjoy cooking and camping. We made the reservation for the campsite last October before the site closed for the season.
We followed all of our normal, we had the dates and somewhat of “an opportunity agenda”, things we could do. Reflecting on over planning takes away those hidden discoveries. More importantly the objective to have organic time with the person who I want to be with.
Well the weather was cold, 28 the one night, we were in a tent. But the most memorable and best vacation I have ever had. We figured it out together, no we did not freeze. We found this magnificent pink elephant in the middle of Wisconsin, we ended up “NOT planned” an hour from a place my husband has wanted to visit for years in Iowa. Taking a vacation to look for a pink elephant gives us many things, we had time to catch up (we spend so much time existing in life: we need to take time to walk to the elephant: during the walk we were able to check in with each other for more than a text or quick conversation), we had time to nurture (having less plans the Wisconsin Zoo we went to: free admission… we could joyfully watch the animals instead of rushing to the next spot on the itinerary… we also tried some new meatless recipes over a fire, we also found a Presidential library to visit)…..we had time to throw back (we were able to revisit some of the activities we found fun when we did not know each other as well: such as walking like we were characters in the Wizard of Oz).
It is important to take time to have the Destination of a Pink Elephant with the ones you love. I challenge you to set a location to look for that pink elephant……
Walking at the Cleveland Metro-parks the other day, following the windy Sunday, I saw a branch that had fallen. As I approached it my thoughts were deciding on whether I should move it off the path. This way others would have an easier trail. Sometimes, I find myself “trying” to do this: making things easier for people: even when they do not ask. I reflected that leaving it may benefit the unknown people to come behind me. Obstacles often make us stronger: yet obstacles sometimes prevent us from going as far as we could go. So, I decided to move the branch. I believe in helping people, I believe we should do what we can for those who come behind to make a better, safer journey.
As I went to lift it, I saw that not only was it frozen into the ice, but the roots were still attached. This was not as simple as I thought. It would take tools which I did not have, many people to assist, and to sever of the branch from it’s base to move it. I could be a participant in the making of the path a safer place, but not alone. I was alone.
I continued my walk thinking about the branch/tree and my journey, my path and the people I encounter. Sometimes I do try with haste to help, sometimes I am able, but always more successful when working with others. We do all have gifts.
we learn from early on in life that we should not talk to strangers. we carry this into adulthood. yet, talking to strangers gives us the opportunities to make new friends and have amazing experiences. i make it a habit to talk to strangers all the time. we each have a story. today, my husband and i went to Lorain County Metro parks with the intent to talk to strangers. we are going to volunteer there for the summer season. we do not know anyone, no one knows our story. talking to strangers gives us a new opportunity to create a new version of our old self.
for the past two years we have been church hopping. it seems like we have our fit, St. Stan’s on the east side of Cleveland. the people welcome us and we make a point to “peace” as many people as possible. we do not know if this is the only connection individuals have to another person. our “stranger friends” look for this…. they are turning into not-strangers. tomorrow, i am meeting a “stranger-friend” for coffee who I met at a restaurant. we talked for about 10 minutes.
i clearly understand that we want to protect ourselves. i am not suggesting that you should ever put yourself at risk: what i am suggesting is to put yourself at opportunity.
Thursday I needed to stand in the rain, for an hour. I did not plan on it as part of my day. Wednesday evening I was informed that I may not be able to participate in something I am working very hard to complete. I felt like I was hit over the head. I was without words, something I am not known for. I tried to process and understand what message I was to take from this news. I believe I know, but am not sure. There have been many occasions in my life where I was too confident with my path, but directed in another way. I think this happens for many people.
So the rain: I stopped home for a short time, as I am able to do. I am working on being mindful of my time and steps. Walking out of the door, I collect the recycles and all my bags, I close the door, then put the recycles in the can and walk to the car. It is raining, relatively hard. My drive is short I have to walk maybe 10 steps, I did not have my keys. I backtrack and the door is locked. I try to open the car door, it was also locked. I am blessed to have a son who randomly answered his phone at this time. He would be able to come and let me in.
The rain continues and picks up momentum. I have a library book in one hand and my work backpack filled to capacity. I am proud that I am not upset by this. There was a time, not too long ago where I would be in a panic. I triage the situation, I am safe in my driveway and it is not too cold, yet it is raining. I make one final attempt to check the door, yes locked. I again try to think what is the message I am supposed to be getting from this? I scan my driveway watching the rain make circles of beauty and perfection on the broken cement, driveway: we really need to get that fixed. I see the buds on the bushes: tomorrow it is supposed to be 20 degrees, today it is 50, I am not locked out tomorrow, I am lucky. I look at the garbage and recycle cans side by side: we are working hard as a family to reduce our waste, feeling very proud. As the rain comes with more force, I find myself protecting the new library book and backpack in between my doors. This is a brand new book, I was the first to take it out, I want other people to have the benefit of reading it. My backpack has work stuff, activities for my kids, I do not want it damaged. I reflect on how often I am taking care of taking care of others. I did not care about me getting wet. I did not want other people to be hurt or effective in a negative way. I am thankful for the requirement of standing in the rain.
Once upon a time, there was a word which traveled with great dignity, almost always arriving, and with exactness. Where did that word go?
Now, I have many verbal igniters, the most recent would be, JUST. We have taken a word that had precise measurement and dignity and transformed it into less. I hear college students explaining, they are “just going to community college”, hard working individuals who, “just work in fast food”, home owners who, “just live in Cleveland”, and athletes who, “just walk the 5Ks”.
When did this begin and why do we accept it? Why do we let others whomever they may be dictate our path. Whether, on the side of speaker or listener why do we just accept this? Our words are powerful because they stem from our thoughts. Let us do better by not simplifying our life or the life of others. If we are on the side of looking for others approval by “justing” well stop. The approval for your existence must come from yourself.
Living in Cleveland, which in my opinion is the greatest place on the planet, we get this stuff called snow. There are many opinions on this blessing from above. I was recently away during the onset of our newest covering: to return to the horror stories of the events. While listening to the outrage, I was armed with my defense of this seasonal weather crop from the sky which came in abundance. There is just too much! “Perhaps, you are correct, we can look at this as a reminder to clean out our closets, to watch what we purchase, and to reduce our gluttony consumption of resources.” My car gets stuck in the snow! “Again, that does happen. Did you ever notice how strangers are jumping out of their cars to assist another who they do not know. We visit our physical strength as well as our kindness for others.” And my favorite, It is so cold! “Sometimes we can embrace the cold, knowing that we will be warm. Weather “Group think” is a very powerful thing. The air is cold, we do have to wear more clothing, but experiencing the cold is temporary for most of us. Too, often we want to live in the middle of the pendulum, neither to hot or cold. We do this with our emotions as well. Too, many of us are afraid to be chilled. We delete quickly, I am guilty myself, any picture that is flawed. Yet, the reality is we must be cold and hot. We must have a little bit of discomfort. If we do not give ourselves the opportunity, we will never really know ourselves.
At the end of each day I reflect on my position on this planet.
As I started this blog journey, deciding to take the platform of student and teacher daily, my lens has been broadened. Much of my time I spend learning, I am learning how to embrace aspects of technology, I am learning how to participate in yoga, I am learning various assessments for children, I am learning about different cultures, and so on? Am I ever a teacher? I work in the early childhood arena, constantly teaching the fundamentals of life. Often adults make the assumptions about what others know and therefore do not know. We are constantly sizing people up with their abilities: based on age, clothing, ethnic background, physical ability, and where we meet them. Well today while using the public library’s computers, a young lady appeared frazzled, she had a visitor library card. I spend much of my time working at the library, and watched her take the “walk of shame” to the librarians desk to ask questions about the computers. Looking over at her, I gave her a “you can do it smile”. She responded, “I don’t want to ask them again.” …Our short conversation, included, “It is their job.” (Now I can truly be empathetic to this walk). I was able to show her how to add money to her card to print, use the printer, and e-mail from the copy machine. Yes, another fundamental skill that she can use to change her daily behavior. Each day we can assume that others know or do not know, each day we can stop and help another person with some fundamental skill. Or we can let them walk unknowing.