Flocks

 

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Watercolor – Woodpecker feathers

 

This proverb has been in use since at least the mid 16th century. In 1545 William Turner used a version of it in his papist satire The Rescuing of Romish Fox:

“Byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together.”

Source: Phrases.org

 

Quentin Tarantino realized he needed to leave his flock as a young adult. He was working in a video store (remember those?) and enjoying the benefits of watching movies, which were his passion. His co-workers were also making minimum wage, but he knew he was the smartest one among them. This made him feel comfortable  – for three years – where he admits he “lost all ambition.” And then he woke up. He didn’t want to be an elderly man working in a video store, talking about movies. He wanted to MAKE them. So he had to leave his flock.

And he did.

 

 

Death as a Teacher

o0ta3hn-thc-jakub-kriz.jpgFor something that affects each of us without fail, the subject of death remains taboo in our culture. Why?

2016 was rife with “surprise” celebrity deaths: Rickman, Bowie, Prince, Fisher and so many more. It’s sad to lose people we admire and love.

Yet, death can be the best teacher. It reminds us that life is, in the end, pretty short. It can clarify values pretty quickly. Six and half years ago, I was told by my doctor that I had cancer. I was fortunate – it was early stage I breast cancer – and my prognosis was very good. But I was 41 and not expecting that diagnosis at all. My life got crystal clear: Family and friends were priority. I realized that my job – teaching – was something I truly valued and I was grateful for it.

As I walked out of the hospital to go home to recover from my radical mastectomy, the air was crisp, the sun shone brightly and I noticed practically every blade of grass of the hospital lawn. I felt so alive!

Realizing that we don’t have much time gives us urgency. Don’t waste a day complaining. Don’t be negative. Live in the light of positivity and gratitude. Work towards your dreams. You might not have much time.

 

 

 

How to Fall in Love Again

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I met my husband at a party. He made me laugh with his amazing ability to do impressions of famous people. He could do perfect Irish accents.  On one of our dates to an Irish bar in San Francisco, we met a couple Irish tourists. Willey spoke to them with an Irish brogue and they asked him which part of Ireland he was from!

It’s 22+ years later:

22 years is a long time. Nights at bars gave way to babies, cancer (and recovery), school activities, music lessons, mortgages, bills and retirement plans. The impressions and carefree days faded away. We had have responsibilities.

I threw my husband a surprise birthday party for his 50th last night.

Relatives and friends flew in from out of state. Local friends attended the party. We had a great time. One of our guests was from Australia. Suddenly, Willey was from the Outback, talking like the Crocodile Hunter. We all gathered around him, laughing. And I saw him. I saw us.

I saw our future, our hopes, our dreams, our joy.

And it all came true: We have a home, dear friends and family, beautiful children.

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When life is ebbing instead of flowing, remember the high tide. Remember what made you fall in love. It’s always there.

 

 

 

 

A Good Day: Smeared Eyeliner

My friend Angie and I were talking about the quote, “Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.”

Angie: I don’t agree with that! I think I love life so much, that I don’t want to die!  I don’t want it to end!

I know that is a lot of exclamation points. But my friend Angie is very passionate. And funny. She’s a teacher too, and she works in the room next to me. This is a recipe for a lot of giggling and nonsense. We laugh so hard that tears from my laughter make my eyeliner run. Anyway..back to the quote.

Me: (pensive)

I understand the quote. I understand that if we live in the present, moment to moment, and live it well, then we do not fear death. Why would we fear the inevitable? Because we haven’t finished everything we set out to do. We don’t want regrets.  But I also understand what Angie is saying. We love our lives. We love our families, our jobs, the sun, the moon, Arizona monsoons, great movies, fine wine, kids’ laughter and funny sayings and really, really good food! Of course we’d miss that! Yet…

I think another buddhist philosophy can answer this:

“Walk through life unattached.” This sounds cold and boring, but it doesn’t mean to lack joy. It means, don’t be attached. Don’t hope and hope and get disappointed. Work for what you want and then…let go.

 

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We’re too attached. We ought to enjoy the moment and let it go.

I’m not good at this. Yet.