Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale
a tale of a fateful trip,
that started from this tropic port,
aboard this tiny ship.
All stories start somewhere. Many start with "Once upon a time..." We are like a tiny ship setting off in the sea of life, little knowing what lies ahead. I suppose if we did, we would never pull up anchor.
The mate was a mighty sailin' man,
the Skipper brave and sure,
five passengers set sail that day,
for a three hour tour,
a three hour tour.
We never think things will take as long as they do. I think we all tend to underestimate the amount of time it will take to achieve our goals, to do what it is we think we want to do. And while we are sailing along, the time seems to be stretch well beyond imagined.
The weather started getting rough,
the tiny ship was tossed.
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
the Minnow would be lost.
The Minnow would be lost.
Storms comes up but somehow we survive. We soldier on. We are courageous in the face of danger, of what might appear to be insurmountable odds. We are the crew that keeps us safe. We persevere and see our vessel through the tumult and the drang.
The ship aground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle
the Skipper too.
A millionaire and his wife,
a movie star,
the professor and Mary Ann,
here on Gilligan's Isle.
There are times when we find ourselves in uncharted territory. We may even feel like we are on an island where no one will ever rescue us. We look around and the people we are with are not people we would ever have imagined ourselves being in relationship with. But we learn to support each other and forge a way of life that, surprisingly, help us survive. We even come to love these people, value their differences and honor the diversity that is "us" now.
So this is the tale of our castaways,
there here for a long long time.
They'll have to make the best of things,
it's an uphill climb.
The first mate and his Skipper too
will do their very best,
to make the others comf'terble
in their tropic island nest.
No phone ,no lights, no motor car,
not a single luxury
like Robinson Crusoe
it's primitive as can be.
Make the best of things. Make other comfortable. Learn that phones, light, motor cars are not what's important. Luxury is life itself. The basics are all we need to be happy. It can be a long, long time. It can also be over in an instant if the island where we have found ourself is suddenly swamped by a sudden storm. Make the best of things and tend to our nest. Life is what you make it. Life is good.
So join us here each week my friends,
you're sure to get a smile,
from seven stranded castaways
here on Gilligan's Isle!
I think the folks on Gilligan's Island had the right idea. They had no control over their fate. They found themselves on an island, yet maintained the hope that someday they would get off it. In the meantime, they turned their lives as stranded castaways into adventures that each week taught them valuable lessons. It showed them life is what you make it. In the end, the did get a smile each week, rise to every challenge and took what came their way in stride. Most of all, they never gave up. That is the lesson of this silly TV show, but, really, isn't that what we all need to keep in mind?
Song is by The Wellingtons.
They say the truth shall set you free, so I’ll be brief. I’m not feeling it. Yep, nothing’s coming through. Sometimes times are like that. Or should I say, “occasionally the muse disappoints,” as she has done tonight. And why do I have such trouble remembering how to spell “occasionally”? I always have to look it up on Google or Dictionary.com. And why do I use the word “occasionally” so much? Do I really? Maybe I need to find another word. I certain friend of mine gave me a hard-copy thesaurus. I bet there are many alternatives for “occasionally” in there.
And what about this presumption of mine that my muse is a she? What’s that about? You didn’t think I would let that slide, did you? Really now. I am sure a muse, my muse, could be a guy. I bet it has something to do with the fact that creativity is more associated with the feminine than the masculine side of things. I suppose it is because women have babies and men don’t. That is the ultimate creation. Yet there is a strong predilection to see God as a male and he, okay, she, he/she, whatever, it(?), is the Ultimate Creator. But in the end, everyone needs a muse. And sometimes, even when you think you have connected to one, that muse can let you down.
No inspiration. No “qwerki” thoughts. Ummmm.
Oh, wait. I think I the muse came through. I just wasn’t paying attention.
And so there you go. Even when you’re not “feeling it”, even when you think you’ll “be brief”, sometimes if you just start, you’ll be surprised. Like now. Like here.
Say goodnight, Gracie. Good night.
(If you don't recogize that quote, watch the video below. George Burns and Gracie Allen were the best).
Whenever I think if the quote, “Cast thy bread upon the water…” my first thought is always, “And thee will have soggy bread.” Yuck. But this morning I looked it up to find the source. I always thought it was from the Bible, and lo and behold, it is. Ecclesiastes 11:1. And the verse ends, “for thou shalt find it after many days.”
Now before you think this is some sort of Bible lesson, I am not intending it to be one. But I do think that it is true that, to quote the Bible again, “for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7-9
So what’s got me on this Bible quoting kick? Well, to tell the truth, I was kvetching about how I sometimes feel left out of certain things, events, that I think I would like to be included in. These are usually times when the “cool kids” get together or the artists gather and talk about spiritual, inspirational or philosophical concern. Deep thoughts abound there I am sure. Not negative really, just the meeting of minds and opinions shared and honored with the caveat that others are allowed to respectfully disagree. And the agreement is that sometimes it is quite necessary to agree to disagree and let it go.
So that thought “cast upon the water” and thinking that it was just not my lot to be included, the bread came back...and lo and behold, it was not soggy! Oh course then I began to argue with myself and find reasons not to participate. Practical reasons such as it really was not convenient to drive so far out of my way or irrational reasons such as I would be disappointed and once again my cynicism affirmed. Sigh.
So we shall see what we shall see. I think that is a quote, but a quick search on Google yielded no satisfactory results. It feels like a resignation, similar to “Whatever shall be, shall be.” Maybe its not a resignation afterall. Maybe its just an acceptance that we cannot see the future, predict what will happen if we do accept that invitation from the cool kids, or “que sera sera!”
It hit me this morning as I was washing the breakfast dishes: I wasn't thinking about washing the dishes. I was just washing the dishes. My hands knew what to do. Hot water, a bit of soap, the bottle brush and dishcloth. It all just seemed to happen without my having to do a thing. Yes, I had to decide to actually wash the dishes. I could have left them in the sink, stacked up. I might have filled the sink with water to let them soak until I felt like washing them, but I made the decision to just go ahead and wash the dang dishes.
I don't remember learning how to wash the dishes. I do remember times when I was washing the dishes as a kid I would hear my grandmother from the other room shouting, "That water isn't hot enough!" or "You need to scrub harder or that dried egg will not come off!" I still hear her voice every morning in spite of the fact I have heard that piping hot, hand scalding water is not necessary if you are using anti-bacterial dishsoap with maybe a bit of bleach. Dove is my go-to choice. (Dove is the choice of marine biologists to cleanse the feathers of birds who have been exposed to tar and oil during an off-shore oil spill. More info.)
So I guess washing dishes became automatic. I did it without having to think. I likened it to when I learned to type in high school. Anyone in the AP classes needed to learn to type because there would be hundreds of papers in their future. Typing was mandatory. Now of course keyboarding is prerequisite to survival. Hunt and peck doesn't work. Anyone with a laptop, computer, even a cell phone, needs to learn the QWERTY system. What's remarkable is that repetition and practice, your fingers seem to learn where the letters are to commit your thoughts and messages to paper. And I learned this in spite of my own resistance to actually learning.
This is how I learn: I get out of my way and just do it. Seems to be a recurring theme these days. They say to establish a new way to do something or create a new habit it takes repeating it for seven or twenty-one days. Then it becomes second nature. And there's the key that starts the train in the brain to learning: practice, repetition, rote. I practiced my alphabet, my multiplication tables, riding a bike and saying my prayers. To this date, I can just default to my implicit muscle memory.. What a deal! The brain train is leaving the station. All aboard!
Don't you just love a letter or memo that begins, "To Whom It May Concern"? Well, this isn't one of those. It just that I was reflecting on an incident recently where I got into the wrong lane on the freeway which ended up making it very difficult to make the exit I needed to make. "Note to self," I said to my passenger, "Don't take the carpool lane on the 60 coming east where the 215 and 60 meet if you want to get off at the Watkins/Central exit." And that's what prompted this. I am always making notes to myself to do something differently, remember this or that, or get dog food at the grocery store. Note to self: write these things down!
So in that vein, and because you might be a "whomever this might concern", I am making just such a note. The note I am making here is that whenever I am dragging my feet about doing something, I need to just push forward and do it. Like writing this blog. It is so easy to listen to that annoying inner voice that tells me so very often that I just don't feel like it. That is so bogus. It is procrastination in disguise. It is fear of commitment. It is all those things that keep you from doing the things that you know if you do them you will feel so good afterwards and be glad you did them. As the Nike slogan goes, "Just Do It!" The Just Do It Story here.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to put up some of my photographs for a church exhibit and auction. I dragged my feet and let it go and put it off. Finally I just did it. It felt so good. And they were well received and three of the four were bought at the auction...not only raising money for the church, but raising my own self esteem and confidence. So much so, I submitted another image for the upcoming member show at the Riverside Community Arts Association gallery. It felt so good! I was on a roll! I even picked up a writing project and submitted a piece to the
Inlandia Institute Writers' Workshop I attend!
So note to self (and whomever it may concern), the time is now. Just do it.
End of sermon. Amen.
Rushing about this morning, quick coffee with hastily prepared eggs and a bit of sausage, I got ready for another day and of busy busy what-not and to-do's. Walked the dogs, took out the trash and threw whites in the washer with a healthy dose of Oxi-clean. Suddenly found I was ready early for an early run to Orange County, so said to myself, "Self, you have time for a second cup of coffee!" "Oh, no," I answered myself, "Too much trouble! By the time its done, it'll be time to go!" "No, it won't do it!"
I have been making coffee in a second-hand percolater that I picked up at an estate sale. Made the best coffee I thought until for some reason I forgot to put water in it one morning and it began to burn. I thought I caught it in time, but alas, it seems to have had a stroke and forgotten how to shut itself off when the cycle is done. I am pretty sure it cannot be repaired. Oh, well. Back to the french press I thought hadn't been making good coffee. Well, perhaps it was the human making it. I tried it again yesterday and again today and wonders of wonders, it makes just fine coffee!
Anyway, I decided to make a second little brew. (It is a small press, big enough to make one mug of coffee. A cup seems not enough these days and who drinks coffee from cups these days anyway?) So it is brewing right now as I write. And there is time enough to drink it...leisurely...before I take off to get gas and hit the road.
And taking the time to have that second cup (mug) feels so deliciously decadent, I am savoring every sip. Maybe coffee isn't your thing. That's fine. But I am sure there is something that you can treat yourself to, take the time to fix or buy ready-made, and enjoy. The point is to take time for it and indulge. It is making my day. Probably would yours, too.
This evening as I was leaving one of my writing workshops I found myself feeling a bit disconnected. Everyone dispersed and and went their separate ways. Feeling adrift, It was as if I wasn't quite plugged in right then.
During the workshop I felt like I was connected to the other participants, but then someone would make an observation or comment actually repeating something I had already said as if I had never said it. That I attributed to the layout of the room, my soft voice and the probability the person who made the repeated remark having not heard me. That happens. It's time like that that make one stop and go "huh?"
Maybe it is because I have come to enjoy my alone time so much that I am finding it more difficult to actually connect with other people; although I really doubt that. Perhaps I am more impatient with people and just don't invest that much energy in trying to connect. Maybe. I don't know. But I do notice that sometimes even when the moment is right for a "connecting moment", it doesn't happen. Like waiting for someone who is going to the same event you are and you both arrive early. The other person walks a few steps with you and then says, "I'll see you there, I'm stopping here to meet the others and get some coffee." Huh?
Maybe I am just being a bit sensitive maybe, or maybe clueless. I don't know. But I feel a bit dismissed when things like this happen. On the other hand, there are times when someone actually wants to do something with me or include me in an event and I just can't. It usually either because I'm previously committed or I feel insecure or I just don't feel like it. Now shouldn't a connection be made there? It's not about you. It may not even be about me. It is just that particular time and circumstance. That's all. Of course, if it happens repeatedly, over and over, then I suppose a connection will be made, conclusions drawn and future connections not appear.
So I guess what I am saying that I realized tonight that connection is a basic human need. I know I need to feel connected to others, but not anchored and/or tethered. The trick is to find the balance, as it is with ALL things in the human condition. Ugh. Work. That all said, I think I will unplug for now and connect with the pillow and my subconscious mind in dreamland. There, I believe, we can really connect the answers we are looking for.
And of course, I'll always have Facebook for that ultimate illusion of connectivity! Just kidding, I love Facebook and, yes, I do believe it is a sincere form of staying connected, at least for me.
I just turned on the outdoor light, the one by the kitchen door the lights the driveway overnight. It was 9:44pm. That’s late. I normally turn it on at dusk. But lately I seem to be turning it on late, sometimes just before I go to bed. Sometimes after I’ve gone to bed and get up for my usual trip downstairs to “take care of business.” This may not seem like a big thing. But it started me thinking. And that thinking led to an epiphany: everything changes. Sometimes the changes are gradual. Sometimes they are sudden. But things do change. And sometimes we notice right away and sometimes we may never notice.
But things do change.
About a month ago I was on a path of my choosing. I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life and where I wanted to go. I still do. Yet the course I was on took a detour. That detour almost became a U-turn. Fortunately I realized this before that happened. And now I’m righting the course. Not easy. Detours can lead you to places you never wanted to go. Detours can also lead you back to places you’ve been before. If that happens, it’s best not to panic or despair. It’s best to just stop and take a deep breath. All will be revealed.
Okay, maybe it is not clear exactly what I am talking about here. Let’s just say life has a way of throwing your a curve ball now and then. A big one was thrown my way recently. The best thing, though, is for it not to actually throw you. Sometimes being thrown for a loop is just what you need. Sometimes, not. Only your heart knows the difference. I think thats why we have both a heart and a brain. The important thing is that our brains and our hearts remember to talk to each other. And that’s the truth.
So here I go, back on track. No u-turns and any detours are just temporary forays into what might happen if… That’s just fine, just leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind, just in case...
The Chinese character for epiphany