The Mightier Pen

They say the pen is mightier than the sword. In times like these, when airports where my children were supposed to be, blow up thirty-six hours prior to their arrival, I am apt to take pen to paper to make sense of it all. Only it is senseless to try to make sense of something so incredibly violent, deadly, disruptive and hateful. While there is power in Slow, there is something so incredibly powerless about ambush, anger and anxiety. It wraps its grip around our necks, daring us to breathe.

And I dare to breathe.

I dare to claim, even in moments like this one, that 98% of people are good. That 22,000 individuals who have committed themselves to hating others, cannot stop me from loving, living and laughing. They cannot stop me from seeing my family. They cannot stop me from believing in the power of prayer, the Universe and That Which is Good. In everyone.

Terrorists are pawns. They execute orders from others who are kept out of harm’s way. They are driven — in brain-washed insanity – to take their own lives and those of others around them. They truly believe they will be rewarded. Oh, they will be rewarded! With yet another life, coming back this time as perhaps an ant or a microorganism. And they get to come back over and over again. They get to start anew until one day they get it right.

I told my children that if anything ever happened to them as they glide through European borders — or anywhere in this world — that I would hate that person, that forgiveness would not come easy and that I would need a lot of people to raise that threshold of inhibition within me not to lash out in kind. But that the only way our world can get better is — through our own extreme efforts — to fight fire with water.

It is the only way. And so I dare to breathe. I dare to live. I dare to love. Beyond borders. Beyond terrorists. To celebrate the 98%.

 

The Wings to Fly

Time is the most precious resource we have. How we spend our days informs how we experience life. We are challenged, but that is not what matters. What counts is how we move forward even when obstacles cross our paths.

Watching children grow into young adults is incredibly gratifying. As parents, we are tasked with giving them wings. We walk a fine line between granting them too much attention and not enough. We pray we get it right. Sometimes we do. Sometimes we do not. My guideline has always been to hold the space for their greatness while giving them room to breathe. The only way they can figure out who they are is to let them join the inquiry. Simply telling them won’t help. Allowing them time to show themselves will.

Last week I gave my son his first “real” camera. The look on his face was priceless as he held his beloved Pentax in his hands for the first time. It was as if he had received meaning and purpose and the tools to live out his life in a powerful way. The next morning as he talked about camera settings, angles and lenses, I realized his wings had grown exponentially and in that second, I saw he now has the ability to flap away from me. It was a bittersweet moment. One day he will.

Letting go is a hard thing. We want to protect our progeny with all our might, knowing full well that we cannot shield them from the world. Not really. We trust, as they ride their bikes to school or take trains and airplanes to far away places, that others will observe traffic rules and other regulations. We must relinquish control and believe in the goodness of everyone.

This past weekend I caught a glimpse of who my children are becoming – amazing individuals with epic talent and kindness. They humble me daily and I now know what is truly important. The time we spend together is what counts. Everything else is secondary.

Our family life differs from many. In fact, family is defined by anyone who wants to join our tribe. Our wings grow with the number of people underneath them, if only for a moment. I have seen the importance of everyone getting what they need, including me. It has been a long and winding road, but as long as we are together in spirit, no bump along the way can topple us.

Yes, how we spend our days informs the life we lead. The time is now to live that life to the very best of our ability.

Of Life, Love and Liberty

Slow doesn’t mean screeching to a halt, but it does require taking a break every now and then. February was a month of taking inventory of things – of life, of relationships, of professional direction. Although I blogged in my head, I couldn’t bring myself to write the things I was thinking about. It took time to sort through the thoughts to ensure they have meaning for you as well.

Blue Waters Inn Hotel_2016

Photo Credit: Klaus Polkowski (c) 2016

The coolest thing happens when you change your behavior. New doors open. New opportunities flood in. New perspectives shimmer through the cobwebs of our minds. I left the country for three weeks, dappling in the cold of New York City, then the heat of Trinidad & Tobago. No matter where we went, the same thought kept persisting.

“We are one.” It doesn’t matter what climate you live in, what job you have, what color your skin is. We all feel things. We all love. We all hate. Spending time in a former British colony was eye-opening. I met many lovely people, and a few not so nice ones. I sensed what oppression does to people. And to me. In the end, I came to the conclusion that we must take time with one another. Time is the ultimate gift you can give another person. I am eternally grateful to my mother, who gave my children so abundantly of her time while I was away. And to so many people in my life who mean the world to me. My partner and I now truly know we can live in a shoebox and come out smiling.

Travel teaches us many things. Perhaps most importantly, it confronts us with our own perceived limitations. We think things should be one way or another, simply because we are accustomed to things being a certain way. But when faced with a completely different value system, it causes us to take stock of what’s truly important to us and what we can let go of. I learned that I can live on very little and still have a fabulous life.

The flame of freedom flickers within. Light its fire and see where it takes you.