I love this man!
You are currently browsing the archive for the Inspiring category.
I love this man!
It’s a happy day here, for no particular reason, yet there are so many to celebrate. First, a bounty of kick-ass yoga sessions this week. My body is feeling as strong and beautiful as a wild mustang, caught full-gallop in a still photograph, and I’m not embarrassed to say it. I am very disciplined in my practice and being able to move in ways previously unfathomable is beyond thrilling.
Second, and I cannot think the words without unleashing a torrent of grateful tears about the myriad friends, near and far, who grace my life. I get calls and mail and messages and hugs and the tiniest of remembrances that render my soul into the highest of soaring kites. Squee, I tell you, squee!
Third, the weather has turned, maybe for only a brief period, but I am holding it with all I can muster, wiggling my toes on sun drenched pavement, while my ears fill with birdsong and the humming of bees, and inhale the scent of lilac, earth, and grass and the promise that is Spring.
Fourth, I’ve been grooving and dancing and singing, ever so much, to Radiohead (goes without saying, I suppose), Fleet Foxes, Other Lives, and My Morning Jacket. BIG sounds that awaken ancient stirrings.
Hoping it is lovely wherever you find yourself.
Hugs and love to you from an entirely unapologetic Pollyanna…
Happy Birthday Martha!
It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.
If you’ve been reading for a while then you probably know that I can be pretty quick to tears. There is just so much out in the world that inspires awe in me, so much that is worthy of that kind of emotion: sunsets with a sliver of moon, the sight of the hubster, beautiful cars and buildings, true love, kindness… The world is a truly wondrous place and worthy of deep reverence. I say this with the hope that you will, perhaps, see me as a genuinely sensitive person, not just some nut who cries a lot. Though, if you do, I suppose I’ve given you plenty of ammunition. Anyhoo, the reason for prefacing this post with all this weepy jazz is the extraordinary nature of the two films I saw this week. They are awe inspiring tear-jerkers. Friends, I cried, A LOT.
First is Note by Note. It follows the construction of a single Steinway & Sons Grand Piano, mark L1037, over the course of a year, from the milling of the wood to the final tuning of a single note. It is a meticulous and deeply human process, with the vast majority done lovingly and entirely by hand. In our world of get-it-now-and-super-quick, this film is testament to the value of art, patience, precision, and skill, where millimeters count, and time truly makes a difference.
Equally important to this process is the individual, of which there are surprisingly many doing very specific jobs. They are caring and very passionate about their craft, most working for Steinway longer than they ever imagined (decades!). Much like the people in charge of their creation, these pianos are individuals with their own quirks and idiosyncrasies. It was both a surprise and delight to see these exquisite combinations of wood, metal, and wire anthropomorphised into various and sundry personalities: open, bright, shy, cruel, testy, boisterous, giving both their creators and players a bit of a surprise, despite their often identical outward appearances. So fascinating!
Last night, with Note by Note still on his mind, I suggested we watch a movie, and the hubster looked at me and said, “I don’t know how we’re going to top that last one!” Ever confident of my queue selections, I started my search, and when I saw Blindsight, a film that follows the journey of six blind Tibetan teens and their intrepid team of explorers, I got excited. He wasn’t convinced initially, but it didn’t take long before this group cracked both of our hearts wide open.
Dang, where to start with this one! Sabriye Tenberken became blind at the age of twelve, but she’s never let it stop her from doing anything. She decided to set up a school for the blind in Tibet, arrived entirely on her own, and got to work. The school is the only one of its kind in a part of the world where the blind are treated as pariahs, working through some pretty serious karma from a past life. They are seen as burdens, not allowed to attend school (save this one), and often hidden from the rest of society, except to beg for money, their parents embarrassed and ashamed.
Sabriye was inspired by Erik Weihenmeyer, an inspiration in his own right. He’s the first blind man to ascend Mt. Everest (and is part of an elite group of mountaineers to reach the the Seven Summits – the highest peak on every continent). She contacted him, and they devised a plan to take her six strongest students, along with a team of experts, on a trek to neighboring Lhakpa-Ri, which stands at a staggering 23,000 feet.
The journey is far from easy, and they encounter their fair share of obstacles, but they triumph, each in their own way. The most important message, I think, is that they are not less than. They can climb mountains! More importantly, they can create a community of their own choosing and be nourished and uplifted by it. Great for all of us to remember, really.
Have you ever received a very fine gift, one that you really like and appreciate, yet aren’t quite sure what to do with it? This describes the fancy paper the hubster bought for me some six (!) years ago. It’s so beautiful that I felt it required a special occasion to write on it. And I did, a time or two, but, in the back of my mind, I thought it had an even higher purpose, so it stayed in a drawer.
This makes me laugh! You, Madame Paper, are so special that you get to stay in a dark drawer for six years. How about them apples? I am such a purger, if you didn’t know already. I like to give things away. If I’m not using it, I don’t want it in the house. Yet some items get a pass, and then, often times, years later, are used, and quite well, I might add. We made a stand for our second mason bee house with a metal pole that languished in the basement for who knows how long. It’s now buzzing with life and testament that it can be okay to not let go.
Back to that fancy paper. I have always liked telling people that I like (or love) them, their work, think they are smart, funny, have good skin, cute toes, great style, awesome glasses, whatever quality I happen to admire or appreciate. Sometimes people seem frightened by this (wondering if I have an ulterior motive?), as the recipients are often strangers, and I’m this smiling crazy person bearing down on them at the supermarket (slightly hyperbolic), but mostly they like it, or at least smile and say, “Thank you.”
Then I heard about a man (John Kralik) who was going through a very difficult time in his life and decided to write a Thank You note to someone every day for a year to better appreciate what he had. It changed his life in the most extraordinary way (365 Thank Yous). Then I stumbled upon the Pema Chodron book at the library (that’s it in the photo, too) and the words, “Give away what you most want,” struck the deepest chord.
What do I want? How about love, kindness, validation, sincere compliments, and being appreciated? Pretty awesome, right? Why not give it away? So I’m starting my own Lettre Royale Campaign (after the paper). I’ll write one letter a week until the pretty paper runs out. There are about fifty sheets. I’ll write to friends and strangers, near and far, and see what happens. Besides, it will give me yet another reason to buy cool stamps. I like those, too.