Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Love You...pass it on....

Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air - explode softly - and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth - boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn't go cheap, either - not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination. ~Robert Fulghum

Writing is nothing more than thinking, thinking way too much and right out in front of people. What I’m thinking right now is that there is far too much hate in the world, far too many evil words, evil acts, evil looks and not nearly enough hugs and smooches and smiles.

Honestly I think most of this stems from feeling ourselves in some way superior. I am right, they are wrong. It’s an us-and-them mentality. We’re uncomfortable with those not like us. Maybe we think them not worthy. We find them unclean, inappropriate, disgusting. We draw a line and say, On this side is who I am. On that side is who you are. If you are not interested in being like me, stay on your side and I will stay on mine. This just reeks of middle school cliques. I joined my daughter for lunch during one of her fifth grade days. She pointed out the different tables—Those are the pops (the popular kids). Those are the wannabe pops (the kids who think they’re popular, but in some way fail). Those are the guys who are really good at sports (apparently, they lacked the term “jocks.”) Really? Already? You stay at your table. I’ll stay at mine.

I am enjoying a nice sweet potato quinoa veggie burger on a fat organic crusty oat bread at one of my favorite lunch spots. I have given myself a day to clear my brain, to decompress, to help my soul find its way back to its happy place. When I feel especially overloaded in life I tend to go off by myself, to retreat, to shut out the world and all that it entails. If I were a pioneer or a woodsmen or a Girl Scout, I might go off into the woods for a couple of weeks. But I am not any of those. I am a suburban mom of four whose idea of camping is a nice hotel with a spa and continental breakfast, so I hike on my boots and head out, instead, to some distant mall. I hit the highway. I drive. I explore strange and foreign bookstores, wade through shops packed with lotions and shower gels and scents of all sorts, and forge my way into the thicket of latest styles at Victoria’s Secret. Yes, my suburban roots are strong, and they serve me well. When I feel the need for a respite from all my trekking, I take myself for a beautiful, nutritious bite to eat.

And so I sit jotting notes with my purple pen, taking in my surroundings so that later I can share with you. As I do, I notice the two women at the table beside me. They seem to be having a brain-picking session, mentor and mentee. The sage advisor is a fifty-something with shortish black hair and shortish black slacks. She does a fair job of pulling it all together, keeping up her looks after years of kids and work and marriage. The younger woman is maybe in her mid-thirties, skinny, not thin, but skinny and decked out in the latest fashion. She, apparently, has been an at-home mom or is recently divorced or has been let go from her job (I am getting all writerly in my imagining here, as I know none of this for certain) because I hear that now she is at a point where she would like to figure out what she is doing with the next phase of her life. Hence, the brain-picking. The two also seem to be on familiar terms as I overhear a bit of juicy gossip and would like to know more about what Kathy did or did not do with her boyfriend or ex or boss—well, geez, could they be a bit louder and just a tad more clear--but at this point the younger woman puts her hand to her mouth and whispers so that eavesdroppers might not hear, but still loudly enough for someone at a nearby table to pick out the word “stalking,” and so this leads me on a whole different set of imagining and I am only sorry that I do not write fiction so that I might use this wonderful bit of material, but, honestly, I digress.

The conversation leaves me thinking about my own life. Not the stalking part, but the what-am-I-doing-with-the-next-phase part. I have been at various transition points in my life and feel that once again I am greeting that old friend, Fork in the Road. I am at a good spot for me, yes, but I am doing not nearly what I could, given who I am. I teach, and I write, and I love both. I do. But I am operating at only half speed. I am a book with chapters left unread, a map with roads yet to explore, a Christmas tree with presents still to open. What, in the words of my falafel-pita-wrap-with-gorgeous-pickle-spear-on-the-side lunch neighbor, am I doing with the next phase of my life?

Hmmm. I am reminded again of the hate that fills this world. I am reminded of the shortage of hugs and smiles and have a great days. And I am wondering if spreading insane amounts of peace, love, and compassion to all is too big a goal……

*peace and love………pass it on…………

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