SERENDIPITY-DO-DAH. My, oh my, what a wonderful day!

authorRecently I am reminded of the crazy forces outside of us which influence our path.  It struck me just this week that I am not entirely in control of my destiny.   Okay, well I already knew this fact.  I just forget sometimes…. like a lot.  It’s comforting and amazing to know that when I mess up, those forces are there to right my course.    On my own, I don’t fare so well.  So, thank God for the other forces working in my favor.  Yes!  Those forces are God.  So thank you, God and your troops.   We’ve all heard people talk of that desperately wanted job, love, house or (insert desired object here) which eluded us, only to unexpectedly receive something much better shortly afterwards.  What’s up with that, anyway?  Twice I have auditioned for community theatre roles I failed to get only to be handed a more primo role in another production during the same time period.  The scary part is that these phenomenal roles were not even on my radar.  Well, I take that back.  I usually see them posted, but assume I am not good enough or would never be selected.  In fact, my best three roles to date are owed to a director, producer or other involved party who prompted me to audition.   Why do I believe so little in myself?  I’ve done this in the past with my previous career when I declined to interview for management jobs.  What could most of us achieve if we saw in ourselves what others see?  Or, what God sees? What if we were less afraid of the challenge?  Something tells me you have a story.  Here’s the inspiring and eerie details of my latest one.

Following the disappointment of being excluded from a show filled with only small roles and vignettes, I saw a terrific leading lady role at another theatre.  I looked into the show, but, for a variety of reasons (not all self-defeating) I rationalized myself right out of it.  Here’s where it gets a little weird.  I received a message after the first night of auditions from the producer.  She wanted me to know about the part, the show and the final night to audition just in case I was interested.  Are you kidding?  I had forgotten about the whole thing.  I went to bed that night and said a prayer asking God, my angels, spirit guides, dead relatives, and any other interested powers who might be listening to please send me a sign.  To be honest, the size of the part and the commitment scared me.  The next morning I woke to an e-mail from the public library informing me that my hold request had arrived.  What hold request?  I didn’t request a book.  Or, did I?  I looked a little closer.  It was a copy of the play!  I had actually requested the play many weeks ago and forgot to cancel the hold.  Obviously, I went to the audition.  I don’t know why I was still surprised when I got the part. 

I can’t help but think that my spirit guides are forever shaking their heads, thinking, “there she goes again.  This girl is dense.”  Well, I’m really sorry for making you all work so hard on my behalf.  Some of us just have a bigger learning curve than others.  But, here’s the great thing.  I’m no longer scared of this part.  I’m super excited and perfect for it.  See, I wouldn’t have been so beautifully gifted something I wasn’t meant to do.
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So please pay attention.  Watch for the signs.  Listen objectively and openly to others when they praise or encourage you.   What would this world look like if we moved forward with even half of our dreams or ideas?   I can only imagine.

Tell me your story so I can see it more clearly. I would love to add a little serendipicilous nutrients to my daily inspirational diet. And feel free to make up your own fantastical words while you’re at it.

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Beauty in the Visually Impaired Eyes of This Beholder

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The cruise through middle age has offered some wonderful stops for the enlightenment of my mind, but it’s been no pleasure trip for the physical body. At this very moment my soul blossoms as my looks dwindle and I’ve been forewarned of rougher waters ahead.

First, I must confess that I am vain, so let’s get that out of the way. I am not proud of it, but it is a fact. I suppose it was inevitable since my mother never stepped outside to the mailbox without makeup and my grandmother wore heels and jewelry every day of her life. Okay, I’m exaggerating (a little). But if I die tomorrow, I truly believe the hairspray industry would suffer a significant hit. My mother is a beautiful woman, as was her mother, without jewelry, heels, makeup or hairspray. Genetics have been good to me, so I am not complaining. Like many of you on the same leg of this journey, you know that almost every week there is a new surprise which clearly says things will never be the same. I will share a couple with you.

I have been Spinning as a form of exercise for years. Last week in class I caught my image in the mirror. As I stood running on the bike, my hands in position two with back straight, I saw an alarming thing. It was two things, actually; two small things that loom large in my memory. My boobs were jiggling vigorously beneath my sports bra. This had never happened in the past. No, it’s not the sports bra. I thought of that, but they all produce the same results. Oh well.

Over the summer I was lounging by the pool when I noticed dirt on my leg. Actually, I thought it was a line caused by an ink pen or magic marker. I casually reached down to wipe it away, but it stubbornly remained. I generously Iicked my thumb and rubbed the spit hard on my leg to erase it. WTH?! I looked a little closer, but didn’t trust what I was seeing. (That’s because I can’t see worth shit anymore but that’s a whole other story). I pulled out my trusty reading glasses and stared in shock at the blue vein marring the landscape of my once smooth, hot, long and shapely leg. Ahhhh! This is war! Age has been playing its tricks for a while now, but my legs? These were my trademark back in the day (that was a Wednesday, by the way, according to Dane Cook).

The saddest thing is I never appreciated my legs when I was younger. Truth be told, I never appreciated my looks at all. I spent my twenties and part of my thirties cursing the mirror, comparing myself to others in a state of insecurity. Men told me I was beautiful. Strangers told me I should be a model. Friends assured me I was pretty. I didn’t see it or believe any of them. I know now that I was wrong. So what’s the takeaway here? What is the lesson? I think there are a couple of lessons that we, as women, can learn.

First, physical beauty is overvalued and does not define us. Our identity should be based on our character and the kindness of our soul. (And I’m not saying that to make myself feel better about the dwindling and jiggling and stuff). Secondly, we must take off the blinders, reject the images of the media (mostly computer generated, by the way), and quit being our biggest critics. Oh, and don’t watch Housewives of Beverly Hills or any of those ridiculous shows. Those women don’t have a clue. They are so crazy lost in their pathetic, shallow lives of unfulfilling superficiality that even I, in all my vanity, feel sorry for them. Rant over.) I would love sometimes to go back and re-live a few of my early days, but this time in a state of appreciation. I missed out on so much walking around self-consciously and without confidence.

What really matters though is what I do with ‘now’. Today I am as physically beautiful and healthy as I will ever be again. Therefore, I vow each day to appreciate that which I have, not what I’ve lost. I also promise to think of my worth as the essence of my soul; all that I believe, think, do and create for myself and the world. Oh, and I also vow to use less hairspray, definitely less hairspray.

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“Rome wasn’t built yesterday”, “You have an eight track mind”, and other popular sayings.

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For as long as I can remember, my beautiful, intelligent and always optimistic mother has had an adage at hand to cheer and guide me through life.  The problem is that they seldom come out right and often require some translation.  My sister and I will smile at what we affectionately refer to as Mom-isms.  Just the other day I was lamenting about money I had spent on several things needing repair to which she replied, “Forget about it.  It’s water over the bridge.”  Really?  Sigh.  Now I have a water problem, too?!  After suffering some teasing when I was a girl from some mean kids at school, she wisely informed me, “What goes up comes down.”  Sometimes she will know it is wrong as soon as the words leave her mouth and we will laugh together. I noticed several years ago that every once in a blue moon (Ha!  Take that!)  I would mess up a saying in conversation with friends.  Well, nobody is perfect.  When Mom brightly quips, “Well, you know what they say?” I move to the edge of my seat while my mind is screaming, ‘No.  What do they say?  Please tell me, because I’m just dying to know what it is that they say.’   It’s like she can read my thoughts because she’ll pause a moment, smiling and carefully considering her next words.  The following is from an e-mail exchange I had last week with a friend when we couldn’t find time in our schedules to get together for weeks. 

Me:  What is it they say?  Good things are worth waiting for. 

Him:  Close.  It’s actually ‘good things come to those who wait’. 

Crap!  The cat’s out of the bag.  Mmmm.   I just thought of something.  Curiosity killed the cat.  It’s raining cats and dogs.  She’s the cat’s meow, the cat’s pajamas.  It’s like herding cats.  Look what the cat dragged in.  I smell a cat (Oops, scratch that one). When the cat’s away the mice will play.  There’s more than one way to skin a cat.  For the love of God…….someone stop me!  What is this freaking fascination with cats in our culture?!  (Deep breath)  Oh, sorry.  I digress.   As the Mom-isms flow more frequently from my mouth I’ve concluded that the pear doesn’t fall too far from the tree branch.   But you know what?  I wouldn’t trade my mother’s advice for all the money in the world (Well, yes I would.  That would be stupid to turn down all the money in the world).   I guess what I’m saying is that her sentiments and the pleasure they bring us get the point across, make us laugh and we forget about our problems.  Wait a minute…… Maybe she knew that all along.  Anyway, whatever your disappointments, challenges, mistakes or failures, don’t ever lose hope because she wants you to know that “where there’s a will, you can do it!”

Posted in Fun, happiness, humor, idioms, Inspiration, laughter, mothers, optimism, sayings | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Job of Having Fun

smileyI noticed last month I was trying to schedule ‘fun’ into my calendar.  If that’s not pathetic enough, it would amuse you to know I was failing miserably.  I’ve come to the realize that my serious side dominates me.  I recall a psychic telling me, “Your angels are flashing.  They don’t want the serious side of life anymore.”  So I quit that fun killing job, got rid of my time & energy sucking house to have fun:  travel, write and act on stage.  Mmmm.  Somewhere along the way I managed to turn those things into a job.  Serving on theatre boards, volunteering, learning to write book proposals, workshops and networking the industry has become my new work.  Obviously there is a business side to those things.  Unlike most creative types, I don’t need to be reminded.  What I need to be told is “Wake up, dumb ass and chillax.  This is supposed to be fun!”  How many of you find yourself biding time until you can ‘have fun’?  Maybe we should write FUN on every day of our calendar so we can get a grip.  Yes, I am the one who wrote the blog on Mindfulness, in case you’re wondering right now.  And no, I’m not a sham.  I’m just like you, trying to squeeze all the joy I can out of life.  I’m doing it despite myself; my stern, serious, driven self.  So take heed!  My blogs are taking a turn as I endeavor to feed the fun loving part of me (yes, people that know me, it exists!) in hopes that it will grow bigger.  While you can expect more sarcasm and humor, I promise not to go all negative on you (that’s not me).  My goal is still to inspire and be inspired by the mighty power within us all.  I’d love to hear from the rest of you on your struggles to have fun (please let me know I am not the only one).  I will leave you with the words of a song.  ‘Happy days are here again.  The skies above are clear again.   Let’s sing a song of cheer again.   Happy days are here again.’  Maybe not, since that stupid song is now stuck in your head.  Your welcome.

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Safely outside the comfort zone?!

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I’ve been preaching for a year to everyone who will listen that you have to step outside of your comfort zone to experience exponential growth. That which is truly exciting and phenomenal waits in that place we are too often afraid to venture. Well it’s time, as they say, to “put my money where my mouth is”. I have entered excerpts from my first novel in a publishing contest for fiction that heavily relies on public voting to progress to the final round. Having publishing editors and trusted friends read your work is one thing. Opening it up to the general public (which just so happens to include colleagues, acquaintances, ex-boyfriends, friends of friends, and other writers- just to name a few) is another disturbing thing altogether. For some reason, stepping on stage as an actress in front of an audience hasn’t caused me to feel so exposed. I know what you’re thinking. Don’t writers write to have their work read? In theory, the answer is yes. Though we claim to write for ourselves, we all desire the approval of others. What if people read it and hate it? What if they criticize it to others? What if, worst of all, they are completely uninterested? What if I don’t get any votes? Well, obviously, I will die. They will drag my stiff, cold body from the keyboard, put me in a box, and bury me in the ground. That’s ridiculous, of course. The most important thing we can do for ourselves is face fears and take a chance. What are worse than the above questions are the other questions which would go forever unanswered. What if someone likes it? What if it could have been a success? Anyway, in a few days the contest goes live and I will start promoting it. If you want to follow it (or better yet, vote) visit http://www.nextbestauthorcontest.com/voting-info/ on May 1st.

The point is that everyone has dreams and plans that were thwarted by fear. So, is it safe outside the comfort zone? I’m not sure, but I’ll find out soon. If fear of failure is holding you back in your life, I challenge you to re-evaluate the risk. Pick up your left-behind dreams. Reorganize those cast-aside plans. I hope to see you there, outside the zone. If you see me, say “hello”, so I can give you a smile, a thumbs-up and an encouraging pat on the back. We’re all in this life together!

Posted in comfort zone, creativity, Inspiration, optimism, publishing, publishing contest, taking chances, writing | Leave a comment

April Fools Revisited

Yesterday was a little sad when I noticed the date and didn’t much care. There was a time when I would have been either cautiously on edge all day, or waiting in anticipation for word that my joke had hit it’s mark. Long after Candid Camera, but way before Punkd, my friend Tracy and I played our own practical joke tug-of-war for years. I’ve been the fool and the fooler. It started in the mid 1990’s when she bought her house. A group of us girls helped her move on April 1st. I came up with a marvelous scheme and plotted with the others. It culminated in a phone call from another friend’s brother posing as the loan officer who regretfully informed her that a lien had been found against the home. He concluded with the sad news that she, as the new owner, would be legally responsible. I sat on the floor of the living room, but didn’t have to strain to hear the one sided conversation in the kitchen. She was arguing bitterly. Since he worked for a bank and knew the lingo, he wasn’t going to let her off easily. I guess it went on a little too long because she was pretty upset. I thought she forgot about it, but discovered the next year that I was wrong. I received an affidavit in the mail from the court with notice that I was being sued. Apparently, while using my car, my boyfriend had struck a family’s dog on the very day they were leaving for Disney World. The dog was killed and their vacation ruined. I was being sued for the cost of their trip and the pain and suffering of the children who witnessed the horrible scene. It was more than an hour and long after I left a seething message full of expletives for my boyfriend, when I started to question the very convincing document. Why would it come in the regular mail? Wait! Tracy is a paralegal and it’s April 1st. Burned! I scored next when Tracy got engaged. I sought the permission of her fiancée, of course. She received a letter in the mail from the jeweler on forged letterhead explaining that the diamond ring she had sized was now a fake. A former employee had been arrested after many months of stealing merchandise from customers and replacing it with worthless imitations. While they were very sorry, they were only obligated to inform customers since they were deemed exempt from legal responsibility since they fired him before the crime was discovered. They advised her to talk with her insurance agent and the local police regarding restitution. Obviously I knew that she had not yet insured it. The last joke was at my expense, but I managed to turn it around. I received a letter from the JC Penney headquarters in Texas recalling my couch. I couldn’t believe it. This was the couch that I had searched for high and low for many months before I found the right look and size for my odd shaped living room. They declared it was flammable and a fire hazard. I was requested to return it to the closest store as soon as possible for a refund. It wasn’t until I was on the phone with JC Penney that it dawned on me. Wait a minute. It’s April 1st! The salesman found it very funny. I didn’t say a word until I left her a message a couple of days later. In my most exasperated voice, I told her I had taken my couch back to the store and become so aggravated with their confusion and the chaos of the recall, that I left it. I was now couchless and boycotting JC Penney. I knew she was coming over that evening and that it would worry her all day. I was going to push the couch into the other room when she arrived, but I was too lazy. Now you might be thinking that we’re both pretty naïve for falling for these scams every year. But, the truth is that there were sometimes years in between jokes. In the off years, Tracy and I would join forces or individually prank others. Our friend, Charlene was the easiest victim. There was the year that Charlene received a phone message from the travel agency telling her that her trip to Jamaica the next day with her husband had been cancelled. She was given a number to call if she had any questions; the lesbian hotline. Another year, Tracy located a spare key for her car, drove to her office during lunch hour, and moved it clear across the parking lot. What great memories. I think this blog has stirred the sleeping prankster in me. Maybe next year….

Posted in April 1, April Fool's Day, humor, jokes with friends, laughter, practical jokes | Leave a comment

Who needs stuff?

less stuffLast week I saw the man of my dreams on The Today show. The fact that he is hot and a millionaire is beside the point. His name is Graham Hill and he is a minimalist. What is a minimalist, you say? I am, for the last year and a half. I hope to be one for the rest of my life. It refers to someone who has minimized ‘the stuff’ they buy and own to live smaller, cheaper and lighter. His arguments and reasons for such a lifestyle are similar to mine. First, it is eco-friendly and will help us sustain the planet. You can learn more about this by going to his website: treehugger.com. I did it for more selfish reasons. Though I only owned a small home and one car, I was still feeling encumbered by the growing amount of useless stuff around me. Much of this stuff requires cleaning, maintenance, upkeep and time. Time I spend acquiring, caring for, organizing and managing my stuff is time lost for more valuable life experiences (i.e. mowing the lawn when I could be hiking, shopping when I could be having coffee with a friend). When many people talk of winning the lottery, they dream of the boats, houses, jewelry and clothes they will purchase. I used to say if I won the lottery, I would not buy things. I would hire people to take care of my current things, so I could free up my time to live my life. Graham commented that people buy things to make them happy or fill them up. He said that what is really important to him are people and experiences. When I heard this audio from the other room, I raced to the TV to see who was spouting my beliefs so clearly to millions of people. I am not demonizing the many good people in the world living lavish lifestyles who find comfort in these things. But, it’s not for me. In 2011, I sold most of my belongings and moved to a small space with my bare necessities. It was the most freeing experience of my life and I haven’t missed a thing. I realize that I am not your typical female. I only own half a dozen pair of shoes. I realize that I’m not helping the consumerist economy. I don’t shop much and have no debt. I realize that I’m not your typical American. I only want to live in a tiny cottage. But, I also know that I am happy and stress-free. I am traveling, laughing, exercising, acting, writing and playing. I also work a job now and then, so I can keep doing these things. It’s not the life for everyone and I’m a firm believer in looking at what’s right for you. But, if you are stressed, unhappy or overwhelmed, it might not hurt to ask yourself whether it is due to managing material things to maintain a lifestyle you have no time to enjoy.

Posted in Inspiration, materialism, minimalist | Leave a comment