I want it. My daughter wants it. My closest friends want it, and I’d bet my life on the fact that you do too. There are classes on how to achieve it, books written about the subject and philosophers have always mused about lifestyles that are most conducive to it. Yet with all of this longing, all of the resources on how to grasp it, it’s still very hard to come by. I’m talking about inner peace. The most fortunate of us have to contend with day to day stressors of making ends meet, getting the kids’ lives in order, finding and keeping a good job, and finagling the time and money to pay our ever-mounting bills. But in extreme cases, some of us have to contend with fear and literal threats to our physical, financial or emotional survival – sometimes all at once. Regardless of our experience, we all want the same thing: to find a state of serenity and wisdom, a sense of purpose and contentment that would rival the life of a Buddhist monk. The truth is we can find it, it’s just that sometimes you have to fight like a gladiator to get it. Continue reading
As a child I admired my grandfather deeply. A smart, respected computer department manager in a local company, he was well-liked, not just around town but also by strangers he’d meet in his travels. He didn’t go to college but, as a soldier in World War II, he’d certainly seen the world – both its good and bad sides. And somehow, despite all of the “bad” that he’d seen, Bill McGee was always quick with a joke, a shoulder to lean on, and advice he’d dispense in an effort to be helpful. I’d sit at his feet and watch while he played his organ in the den, or sit by his side when, with a beer in his hand and an iced tea in mine, we’d pick out shapes and figures in the clouds and plan the future. In my humble opinion Grandpa was a success in every way; he was accomplished in business, traveled occasionally with my grandmother, laughed with friends and was loved by his family. What I didn’t know until I was an adult, though, was that my grandfather’s present was never the future he’d planned on in his youth. Continue reading
Back in November I read something by Dr. Phil that, well, disturbed me. Rather than sum it up myself, here’s a passage from Get Rid of the Have-tos and Should-dos, an article about the holidays that appeared in the November edition of O Magazine. Continue reading
As I approach the one year anniversary of the creation of my blog, A Fork in the Road, I’m noticing that blogging has been a big topic of conversation among my inner circle of friends. A few women, writers and non-writers, have all expressed an interest in starting blogs of their own. They’re not all sure they should, mind you. After all, it’s a bit of a commitment. One mentioned that she doesn’t think she can expose her innermost thoughts; she’d be too vulnerable. Another is wondering why she should give herself another thing to do every week – and on a deadline, to boot. Still another can’t see the benefit of devoting time to something if it’s not going to bring in any additional income.
So all of this made me wonder, why do I write my blog? Continue reading
Unemployment, mounting bills, concern about the future – with Thanksgiving around the corner, you may be wondering if you have anything to be thankful for. Despite the challenges of living in these tough times, it’s important to remember – you do.
When I was young, I had the distinct feeling that time was somehow standing still. Yes, the sun rose and set but the days seemed longer, experiences felt more heightened, and time itself seemed to stretch out so graciously that it was barely noticeable. Now that I’m older and busier, time seems to race by faster than I can measure. Weeks and months go by in a blink. This same phenomenon seems to be true for most people I know, which makes me wonder; if time hasn’t changed (a day has been 24 hours long whether we’ve been nine or forty nine) then why has our perception of time changed as we’ve gotten older? The short answer is – It may be because we’re not paying attention. Continue reading
There will always be someone with more than you – someone who is better than you are at a skill you’re passionate about, who is better looking, who has more money or “stuff,” who is more successful. It’s also safe to say that when we’re faced with these people who seem to be so much luckier than we are, many of us feel inferior or even short-changed. We’re often told not to focus on what we don’t have and, instead, to be grateful for the things we do. But I’m inclined to agree with Mark Twain who once said, “Comparison is the death of joy.”
A few days ago, my daughter was listening to music. Passing by her room, I stopped dead in my tracks at the sound of some comforting lyrics by Jessie J (someone I’d never heard of before). The profound phrase that wafted through the crack in the door was surprising in its simplicity: It’s ok not to be ok.
When Teresa Thaman heard how bad the storm was going to be, she, her daughter and her husband closed themselves in their bathroom and hid under a mattress, just like they’d done every other time a tornado warning had been issued. This time, though, was terribly different. The storm didn’t pass. The windows exploded before the roof tore off, piece by piece, and the wood in the walls cracked apart. Teresa and her family clung to the toilet and tub, unable to comfort one another or even hear each other scream. And as debris pounded the mattress and the suction intensified, she was sure they were going to die.
When the storm passed and the family emerged from a pile of wood and rubble, dirt filled their mouths, eyes and pockets, and the once varied skyline was leveled flat for miles. Family heirlooms, photographs, every piece of furniture and clothing they’d ever owned were all gone – taken in a matter of minutes by the 2011 Joplin tornado. Continue reading
For a long time I’ve had two identities. Most days I’m a working mom: reliable, responsible and professional. I go to work, pay the bills, and do the things most mothers do to run a home and raise a child. But then there are those few nights a month I let go of all of my inhibitions and get in touch with the deepest part of myself. It’s a place I’ve never been able to describe, but have always needed to access to feel whole. With emotional hunger and a sense of abandon, I shed any trace of convention, walk into a crowded room with the company of four men… and pick up a microphone. The next few hours can only be described as transcendent, an amazing exchange of energy, expression and passion between musicians and an audience. People express their good-natured envy all the time; I’m a mom who gets to be a diva.
But all good things must come to an end. Continue reading