Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I do believe it is possible to create, even without ever writing a word or painting a picture, by simply molding one's inner life. And that too is a deed.
Etty Hillesum

Acceptance of the status quo is a kind of zombie walk through life, where you just act upon whatever facts are presented to you. Everyone has an agenda and buying into everyone else's without even knowing what your own is dangerous. Suddenly you're a voluntary puppet of the first degree. Too many of us have no clue about what we really think or believe. And don't forget the ones who're almost certain of their thoughts, but don't have the foggiest notion about why they adopted those beliefs in the first place. I possess first-hand knowledge on this tiresome subject, because I was once an extreme member of that twisted club.

Nowadays, I know more about myself than I often want to, but good or bad at least I have a clue. I have strong opinions about things that affect my soul. Many brutal lessons taught me to give special honor to the voice that screams when the edge of losing sight of self is within range. I always heed the screamer. Their only agenda is my self-preservation, and I'm not foolish enough to dismiss the warning that may save me a hard fall or worse. But I do refuse to sweat the small shit.
I'm satisfied inside my three feet of personal space. If I'm secure linking it to another persons, where I rest at any given time really matters not all that much. I never get bored when I'm alone. I'm always exercising my brain in one way or another. Take away my pen and paper and I'll find a book that challenges my mind. No books in sight and I'll sink deep into thought and find satisfaction there. I'm excellent company for myself and an undemanding guest inside of the space others invite me into.

Long ago, I erased the graffiti other people had written inside of me. Back then I wasn't ever at ease. It's truly impossible to find peace when the people you love demand you be a certain pattern to please them and change its style every time you get close to achieving their goal. Shadow boxing is a pain in the ass when the shadow is you and your punches are directed by others. Creation comes from the inside out. The sky is the limit, when you paint your own masterpiece, using colors you create on a canvas that belongs to you alone.

There comes a time when you admit that the flaws are a part of the picture. There comes a point where you learn to like yourself enough to say to the people viewing what you have become... "Take it or leave it, but don't paint your own design over mine." Try creating your own picture. Life isn't a paint by numbers experience. Coloring in someone else's book doesn't make it your creation.



I received the following as an email. Sharing its message here is my delight. Enjoy and pass it on. Pay it forward, folks.

The Daffodil Principle

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must
come to see the daffodils before they are over."
I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake
"I will come next Tuesday," I promised a little reluctantly on her
third call.
Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy.
Still, I had promised, and
reluctantly I drove there.
When I finally walked into Carolyn's house I was welcomed by the
joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my
"Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these
clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these
children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!"
My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this all the
time, Mother."
"Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then
I'm heading for home!" I assured her.
"I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick up my car."
"How far will we have to drive?"
"Oh...just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "But I'll drive. I'm used
to this."
After several minutes, I had to ask, "Where are we going? This
isn't the way to the garage!"
"We're going to my garage the long way," Carolyn smiled, "by way
of the daffodils."
"Carolyn," I said sternly, "please turn around."
"It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive
yourself if you miss this experience."
After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and
I saw a small church. On the far side of the Church, I saw a hand
lettered sign with an arrow that read, "Daffodil Garden."
We got out of the car, each took a child's hand, and I followed
Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and
gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight. It looked as though
someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain
peak and it's surrounding slopes.
The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great
ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon
pink, and saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was
planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river
with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.
"Who did this?" I asked Carolyn.
"Just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property.
That's her home."
Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly
sitting in the midst of all that glory.
We walked up to the house. On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers
to the Questions I Know You Are Asking" was the headline.
The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The
second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet,
and one brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."
For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of
this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had
begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an
obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this
unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day
at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence,
beauty, and inspiration.
The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest
principles of celebration. That is, learning to move toward our goals
and desires one step at a time--often just one baby-step at time--and
learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time.
When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of
daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We
can change the world.
"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I
have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or
forty years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through
all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"
My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct
"Start today," she said.
She was right. It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of
yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of
a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?"
Use the Daffodil Principle. Stop waiting;
Until your car or home is paid off;
Until you get a new car or home;
Until your kids leave the house;
Until you go back to school;
Until you finish school;
Until you clean the house;
Until you organize the garage;
Until you clean off your desk;
Until you lose 10 lbs.;
Until you gain 10 lbs.;
Until you get married;
Until you get a divorce;
Until you have kids;
Until the kids go to school;
Until you retire;
Until summer;
Until spring;
Until winter;
Until fall;
Until you die...
There is no better time than right now to be happy.