Wishing you health, happiness and prosperity in the New Year.
Do you remember the Back to the Future movies? Michael J. Fox starred in these three blockbuster films in the 1980s. As we look forward to a new year and the second half of our lives, this title has major implications. Sometimes we plan our future by looking only at our past. If we had trouble learning French in high school, we are not “cut out” to learn French now and besides that, we are too old. If we always felt like a klutz dancing, no way could we learn the tango in anticipation of our trip to Italy next summer. Using our past limitations to modify our dreams for the future restricts the possibilities we have to create a future filled with wonder and amazement.
I can’t remember his name but I’ll call him Mr. A.T. (art teacher). Mr. A.T. made a significant difference in my life and feelings about being creative many years ago. In 7th grade he told me that the tree I had painted “didn’t look like a tree.” I relate that experience in my book, Keep Your Fork: Dessert Is On The Way. My recollection is that there were many adults that I had contact with in my small home town in Michigan did not feel that teaching me to sing, paint, play a musical instrument, act in a community play or do anything creative was something they wanted to invest time doing. These events included being told I could march in the band as long as I didn’t blow my horn and being turned down for a role as a Native American princess in the community theater.
“Having feared death all of my life, now that I have confronted it, I no longer fear it. Had I during my life feared death as little as I do now, I would have dared more and better things.” Rex Winsbury (www.hospice.net)
Several years ago when I knew that it was time to make peace with death, I read this article by Mr. Winsbury who had spent some time in a hospice in England with an illness that was thought to be terminal. He eventually did recover, left the hospice and went on to lead a very active life. His thoughts caused me to wonder what was I doing or not doing in my life because of my fear of dying?
Recently a friend told me of being at a family gathering and feeling for the first time that she was insignificant and mostly invisible. There were younger people, many family members, who were discussing events with their children, events at their work place, as well as the latest 14’er they had climbed. (For those of you non-Coloradans, a 14er is one of the many Rocky Mountain peaks over 14,000 feet tall.) For the first time she felt almost insignificant and realized that the important events in her life were now quite different than many of her younger family members.
For a long time I have loved the Beatles’ songs. I first was introduced to them at a Peace Corps party in Turkey in 1965. They had just become famous in the US and it was fun listening to them in Istanbul. I had joined the Peace Corps to make the world a safer place and to serve under-served children. It was truly an inspired time.
After returning home and moving to Denver, I joined a group in the late 80’s called Beyond War. I truly believed that because of the threat of nuclear war, countries would begin negotiating disagreements as war was no long an option.
Now in 2016, we have growing numbers of under-served children all over the world, Turkey is in turmoil and war and killing is the plat du jour on the evening news. Underlying racial hatred is boiling over, resulting in frequent killings in the US and abroad. Our political climate is filled with attitudes and actions that we would not tolerate among our children of any age.
Keeping a journal is basically sitting down with a pen (or computer) and paper and writing about what is going on with you. It’s like keeping a diary. Rather than writing down just the events of the day, however, you wrap those events with feelings and thoughts-of what was real in them for you.
Journal writing began for me quite a few years ago when there were many confusing events going on in my life. I wanted to make sense of them. I started with and have continued to use an inexpensive spiral lined notebook from a local grocery. There were fancy journals in the Hallmark store but I found that they intimidated me. I didn’t feel the need to write every day but just when I was inspired to do so. The mere act of transforming my thoughts into legible words always provided me a sense of relief and joy.