Managing Life’s Struggles

May 28, 2012 by  
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So, I’m in Rio de Janeiro, one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  The people are beautiful and friendly and the beaches can be exotic or inviting – it all depends on your mood.  But, I’m really here to visit my aging parents.  Rio is the city of my birth.

Anyone, with older parents knows how difficult it is to see our loved ones struggle with things that used to be easy to do.  To witness their health wane.  In my case I also have to deal with the distance between Los Angeles – where I live – and Rio de Janeiro.

My visits are always full of mixed emotions; happiness in seeing them and stress for not being able to stop life’s unstoppable march.

By nature I am a caretaker.  When my late husband became ill, I spent the better part of two and a half years taking care of him.  I was by his side every minute of his journey.  My husband died at home by my side.  We slept in the same bed till his last night.

Through all my experiences of care taking, I have learned that we can only give if we take care of ourselves as well.  If we don’t fill up the well, it will eventually dry out.

Pain is part of the human experience.  There is no way around it.  Even if nothing tragic ever happens in your life – yes, there are a few of you out there – one day you will have an aging parent.   One day for sure you will have pain.

It is in these times of emotional stress that we need to remember to willfully seek beauty.  As sure as I am that we all deal with pain so am I that we can all have beauty.  It is all around us.  We just need to open ourselves up to it.

Beauty comforts inspires and fills up the well.

Diligently taking breaks to renew our emotional well allows us to go through the different pains life brings us from time to time.  It also allows us to give more.

If you are today going through a difficult time find the beauty in your world.  I know it can be difficult.  I know you can easily dismiss it by thinking “I have no time for this”.  But, you do.  And it is the only way you will be able to sooth yourself and others.   Go out with a friend.  Do something that is fulfilling to you.  Beauty is pain’s antidote.

 

 

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The Different Kinds Of Love

June 6, 2011 by  
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Wow.  So much has happened in the last few days. Bear with me for a moment while I make my way to the point I want to make.

Last Tuesday my dad – who is 86 years old and lives in Brazil – was rushed to the hospital with a bad cough.  While most of us would wait out a bad cough before flying to the hospital, my dad has 16 stents, a pacemaker, and has had a triple bypass.  He might actually be the man with the most number of stents of any heart in the world.  So a heavy cough puts a lot of strain in his heart.

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A Wednesday Love Poem – 1

September 1, 2010 by  
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I do not love you as if you were salt-rose or topaz,

or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.

I love you as certain things are to be loved,

in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms,

but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers.

Thanks to your love a certain fragrance,

risen darkly from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,

I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride,

so I love you because I know no other way than this:

where “I” does not exist, nor “you,”

So close that your hand on my chest is my hand,

So close that your eyes close and I fall asleep.

-Pablo Neruda

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Stop And Smell The Flowers

September 1, 2009 by  
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I was just reminded by a friend of the Washington Post story of 2007 where Joshua Bell, a violin player and one of the great musicians of all time, was asked if he would play at a metro station in Washington DC incognito as an experiment to see if genius would be recognized in an unlike setting without proper introduction or explanation.

Three days before Bell was to appear at that Metro station, he had filled the house at Boston’s stately Symphony Hall and two weeks later, at the Music Center at Strathmore, in North Bethesda, he would play to a standing-room-only audience.

So on January 12th 2007, at rush hour for forty three minutes, as the violinist performed six classical pieces, 1,097 people passed by. Almost all of them were on the way to work.  Each person had a choice to make: Stop and listen? Hurry past without paying much attention? Throw some money because they felt in a kind mood? Or get completely irritated because they were going to work while someone else was trying to make a buck playing the violin.

A short version of the forty three minutes is posted below but the sad result is that 99% of all people just walked by without taking advantage of this incredible gift; listening up close to a superb musician. 

I think this experiment illustrates how most of us live our lives.  We’re always in such a hurry to get somewhere, physically, emotionally or psychologically that we often miss out on real gifts that life presents us on a daily basis. 

How many of us have walked by talent performing on the streets?  How many of us have missed out on life changing conversations?  How many of us have missed out on the kiss of a child, a mother, a lover, because we were in a hurry.

John Lennon had it right: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. That’s something I try to remind myself constantly.  To be in the moment and appreciate what’s been given me.

So maybe next time you walk by a rare flower, or Joshua Bell playing in the metro, you too will remember to stop and smell the flowers.

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To laugh often and much…

May 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured

To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is to have succeeded!

Ralph Waldo Emerson,  (1803 – 1882) whose original profession and calling was as a Unitarian minister, left the ministry to pursue a career in writing and public speaking. Emerson became one of America’s best known and best loved 19th century figures.

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