An Ode to Avett

It probably won’t come as a surprise to you that I am in love with a band with lyrics including the following:

“Be loud, let your colors show.”

“I wish you’d see yourself as beautiful as I see you
Why can’t you see yourself as beautiful as I see you?”

“Where nothing is owed, deserved or expected
And your life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected
If you’re loved by someone, you’re never rejected
Decide what to be, and go be it”

I spent yesterday with a smile splitting my face as I gazed up at these insanely talented musicians sharing their passion with a field full of people. There is something about being in the presence of people who pursue their dreams and had their dreams come true. If you are with musicians, you in the audience, are a part of that. You get to help make their dreams come true by buying a ticket and showing up.

As I stood there I could I see how lucky and grateful they felt. For two hours, they made me believe that I could do it too. I could pursue my dreams and make them come true. Maybe it was the music, a healing art unto itself. My heart was open and bands of doubt, fear, and worry continued to snap off me the more they played. Yesterday I didn’t have to try. I didn’t have to pile into my head any affirmations, meditations, or pick up my latest self-help book. I encourage you to put yourself in as many situations like this as you can, a position where you don’t even have to try but the thought “my life is so amazing,” spontaneously pops into your head.

 

Giving Up Math

“It isn’t fair!”

“Life’s not fair.” Would come the reply to my childhood whine. The reply exhausted and frustrated me.

I’m not sure how old I was but I was already treating life as a mathematical equation. I expected my life to compute just the way numbers did in math class. If I bought someone dinner, they’d get the bill the next time. If I got someone a thoughtful gift on their birthday they would return the favor. If I did the dishes they would take out the trash. If I got all the right diplomas I would get all the right jobs. If I loved someone, they would love me back. I expected fairness, that the effort I put into someone or something else would be the same effort I recieved back. I expected other people to think and act the way I do.  However, in the words of Lillian Bridges, “To love someone is to forgive them for not being you.” I have to forgive everyone else and let go of all expectations because the equation someone else has in their head for how the world works might be and probably is different than mine. Expectations are an interesting thing because they seem to be absolutely pointless or perhaps even destructive.

We have to stop waiting…No perfect gift, perfect person, or perfect anything else will lead to the ultimate happiness, enlightenment, contentment or any other term our language has for finding ourselves or whatever it is we are looking for. However, sometimes I still find myself drawn in by the mathematical thinking. If I meditated long enough, did enough yoga, stood in front of the mirror saying my affirmations, read the books, ate the right diet, went to all the seminars…maybe then? I think the universe might be laughing at me and this nonexistent equation I am trying to define. Appropriate because many times I find myself laughing at my thinking.

I am trying to give up doing the right thing just because it is right, pleasing other people for the pat on the head or whatever other form of recognition I feel I may need. For me this means giving of my expectations of others and the world while not losing faith in the good of people.

I think I have figured out that when I love someone I have to love them because it gives me joy, it makes me feel good, and not because I want to be loved back.  Same goes for the buying of dinner, gifts, the chore-split and anything else.

Caution for Candles

 As a teenager I remember loving the different smells coming from the variety of colored jars at the  candle store. There were hundreds of scents. From cinnamon to cupcake. I would buy votives, tapers, and tea lights to enjoy lit on my night stand. Little did I know that apart from making me want to buy out every pastry at the nearest bakery, the burning wax was  harmful to my health.

Many candles are full of poisonous chemicals because they are paraffin based with added artificial oils. Paraffin is a petroleum industry waste that is bleached. Ever breathed in bleach? It gives me an instant headache. Stearic acid is also added to harden the wax. That lovely ingredient is a byproduct of the meatpacking slaughterhouses. When burned, these candles can release carcinogens such as benzene and toluene into the air.

More and more candles are being made with vegetable waxes such as soy and palm but my favorite are beeswax. Beeswax is all non-toxic, non-polluting, non-allergenic, and has a delicious honey-sweet aroma. Beeswax produces negative ions which actually clean your air of odors, pollens, smoke, dust, dust mites, viruses and other allergens and hazards.  Beeswax candles leave your air fresher and cleaner – they are a true air purifier as opposed to an air quality destroyer.  

So when you crave a candle, whether for romance, bathtub time, reading, flattering light, or just for the warmth and the glow, try beeswax and let me know what you think!

A Perfect Morning

My green juice sprayed my arm and the back of my cousins button-up work shirt as we rode on his Vespa over the Brooklyn Bridge. The helmet I was wearing prevented me from taking a sip of the kale, parsley, cucumber mixture until the ride was over. My cup filled hand hovered just outside  his right shoulder and every time things got a little bumpy we were sprayed. It must have been a comical sight for the passerby. I worried about my flip-flops falling off so I curled my toes tightly and held my legs at a weird angle and they began to ache.

But who cares? I certainly didn’t. Being outside on a beautiful morning, experiencing one of the world’s best cities, with one of my favorite people had me feeling insanely happy. It was just a scooter ride, a way to get from the place I spent the night to the next point of transportation that would take me to my place of work. I started my day off with joy. Any discomfort I felt was inconsequential, it didn’t matter because there are so many things that are simply worth it. As I got off I observed the handy work of the juice, it was rather artistic actually. Neon-green paint splatter now on my dress, arms and the right back half of his shirt. We may turn it into the latest fad. Coming Soon! Veggie Juice Art!

 

The Comfort Zone

Poem Share!!! Maybe you have seen this poem before, but if you haven’t, it is such a good one! It encourages us to shoot for our dreams despite the fear and doubt.

The Comfort Zone

by Anonymous

I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I couldn’t fail, The same four walls of busy work were really more like a jail
I longed so much to do the things I’d never done before, But I stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor
I said it didn’t matter that I wasn’t doing much, I said I didn’t care for things like diamonds or furs and such
I claimed to be so busy with the things inside my zone, But deep inside I longed for something special of my own
I couldn’t let my life go by just watching others win, I held my breath and stepped outside to let the change begin
I took a step and with new strength I’d never felt before, I kissed my comfort zone good bye and closed and locked the door
If you are in a comfort zone afraid to venture out, Remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt
A step or two and words of praise can make your dreams come true Greet your future with a smile, success is there for you!

Big Scary Words

I remember taking medical terminology and thinking about the ridiculousness of some of the terms. Fifteen syllable words should not exist as far as I’m concerned unless we are singing a song made popular by Mary Poppins. My grandmother taught me the word sternocleidomastoid when I was seven. It is the name of a muscle in your neck, named for its origin and insertion.  Imagine if a doctor told you that you had something wrong with your sternocleidomastoid and you didn’t know what that meant. You would probably be terrified when really he was just trying to explain you pulled a muscle in your neck.

Going to the doctor and getting a diagnosis can be intimidating, frightening, and daunting. There is a saying: “Diagnosis kills.” People hear a big word and see their world come crashing down. However, many of the big words don’t even mean anything concrete. Some of them are even fancy terms for “we don’t know.”

I am writing about this because a close family member of mine just went to a doctor who chose to scare them instead of speak plainly. Unfortunately, there are some doctors out there who will write letters and make phone calls not to protect you but to protect themselves. Medical malpractice suites have the doctors scared and in turn some of them are scaring you. I have friends that have been called bad mothers in the delivery room for asking for some time to think about the care they wanted for their babies. Minutes after their babies are born nurses want to fill their newborn with vaccinations. If you choose to take some time to think about it they are going to throw the gauntlet of scary possibilities at you. Most of which are very unlikely. It is important that the doctor describe all possibilities to you but you should know that you always have options, and a lot of them.

The point is not to point fingers at the medical community or any doctor in particular. I think we are all doing the best we can. However, please have a doctor you know and trust. One that you feel has your best interest at heart and is willing to sit down with you and explain their findings without the big words. Make sure all this happens before you go under the knife, drill, or through the CAT scan. Also, always remember that there is someone who knows more about your health than anyone else, even your doctor, and that person is you. Trust yourself first.