Friday’s Focus—There’s One on Every Corner

My father-in-law used to say, “Opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got them.” And they do. Whether it’s good or bad depends on what side of the opinion you’re on. Sometimes it’s neither but there’s still a comment that didn’t have to be made. I’ve let people’s opinions knock me off my course and hurt me. I believed what they said because I thought they knew better, had more experience = knowledge and I’m sorry now. It’s hard to stay true to your own compass at any age but especially when you’re a teenager or young adult.

One such person was a professor I had in college. I was an art major and he was not only my professor but also Chair of the Department. I knew his reputation early on, but he taught many of the classes I had to take and so there was no way around escaping his classes or attention.  Soon enough, he showed himself the tyrant that I was warned of. One afternoon, he went around the room critiquing each student’s assignment from the previous week. He stopped in front of mine and completely tore it apart telling me I had no idea what art was and I had no talent. This was the latest in a series of derogatory and humiliating criticisms I heard from him.

His comments of my work and  my abilities was particularly harsh, and I decided I was done. That was my last art class and I changed my major the next day. Reading that, you may feel I was weak to have done so, or just not passionate enough to stay with my art. Trust me, I thought the same things about myself then.

And so do the kids who are told they are stupid and can’t learn anything; the young adults that are told they’ll never make anything of themselves if they don’t have a job; the girl who’s told she’s not pretty enough until she loses weight; the boy who won’t grow up to be a “real” man because he doesn’t like sports.

I didn’t believe in myself enough to stick with it. It’s not about pride—it’s about believing that you can do something and if not now, then one day. This can be taught to us only so far by our peers but there’s also something within each one of us that needs to recognize it and own it. Sometimes we do, but it’s not until much later in our lives.

It’s never too late or too early to believe in yourself and what you can do. I bet there is something each one of us was told we couldn’t do or be, which changed the directions in our lives.

Every day, every hour, every conversation, every argument, every person you meet, every relationship you’re in and every situation that presents itself is an opportunity and a chance. Take it, run with it and believe in yourself.

#takingitdeeper

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Friday’s Focus—The Devil Is in the Details but So Is the Beauty

It’s the little things that often trip up the best of intentions but can also upgrade that trip to something wonderful:

A stranger’s smile.
A penny on the ground.
Winning even $2 on a scratch-off.
Hearing from an old friend.
Your child’s eyes.
Your lover’s smile.
That amazing first cup of coffee in the morning.
That much-needed cup of soothing tea at night.
Finding a parking space right in front!
Your garden’s first shoot.
The smell of fresh flowers.
The feel of dirt under your bare feet.
The sound of children laughing.
The warmth of the sun on your shoulders.
The sound of ocean waves.
Your favorite song on the radio.
The juicy first bite of a peach or strawberry.
And oh, so much more.

On any given day, these things may go unnoticed on your radar, but then there are those days when the little things mean a lot—sometimes the most!

Have a great weekend!
Keeping it light and singing LiLoLa [Live, Love, Laugh] all the way…

All I’m Asking

Smile

That’s it.

I’m not asking you to do anything else.

You don’t need to ponder the mysteries of the Universe or what you’re making for dinner.

The weekend plans will wait.
The kids will wait.
The laundry will wait.
The bills will wait.

Life won’t.
It keeps moving forward.

Don’t worry about trying to catch up.
Don’t worry about what will happen if…
Don’t worry about what won’t happen if…

Life doesn’t.
It keeps moving forward.

When you smile, your body’s aches and pains may still hurt, but in time, not so much.
When you smile, your breaking heart may still hurt, but soon, it won’t seem to hurt as much.
When you smile, your deepest spaces may still be dark, but eventually, it won’t seem as dark so much.

All sorts of things happen,
when
you
smile.

I’m not suggesting you read something, write something, or watch something.
It’s not magic or rocket science or some newfound healing.

It’s just a smile.

It starts with your lips and your cheeks, eventually rising as you bring the smile to your eyes.

Then, with your eyes smiling and your cheeks smiling and your lips smiling, other smiles will come back to you, and then….your heart
smiles.

Life even smiles.
It smiles in its sunrises and rainbows and laughs through its birdsongs and windy melodies.

When you’re mad, bad, sad, angry or afraid, Life still smiles.

Even when you may not want to…

smile, and let Life’s smiles touch yours, and see the sparks fly.

I’m not asking you to fight, flight, or forgive.
I’m not asking you to scale a mountain or swim a river.
I’m not asking anything other than to do this, try this, and to see that…

all I’m saying is

to
just
Smile…..

Blogging From A to Z: Zippy

Z

I knew from the beginning of this A to Z challenge that I would end it with the word zippy. I tried other Z words—zelig, zaftig, zoo, Zelda (Fitzgerald, not Nintendo’s Legends of), Zippo, even my older brother Zoltan was a potential candidate, but nothing quite stuck.

So I decided to be true to the word that apparently won’t let me go and wants its place in the alphabetic line of this challenge, and thus I offer up the word zippy. It’s a pretty versatile word actually: the classical definition is to be very quick and speedy or fresh and stylish. It can also be used to sarcastically describe someone who moves molasses-slow and for those of us who remember or who are comic book fans, Zippy was an iconic comic strip from the early 1970s created by Bill Griffith. Personally, I have no particular associations with this word except that it makes me smile and it’s fun to say.

I love the peppy and lively energy of the word. Taking this deeper, I think I wanted to end this month-long blogging event on a high note and a smile. After today, I will return to my regularly scheduled programming of posts so I want to thank all of you who have stopped by, visited, and those of you following me since this challenge began. I met some truly wonderful, incredible, inspiring people—writers, artists, photographers, and just plain folks with an outlet and something to say.

So to my fellow bloggers, artists, and soul travelers, I want to wish all of you a very zippy day.

Just took it deeper. 🙂

Blogging From A to Z: Hello

H

Those of you who have been following me know that I believe it’s the little things we do for ourselves and each other than can mean the most and brighten our days immeasurably. One of the simplest, and smallest things that we can do rests in the simple act of saying hello. It is courteous, respectful, and it is also the simplest act of acknowledgment we can give each other (“I see you”) that can make a difference in someone’s day.

So with today’s post, I’m saying Hello! to all of you, dear readers and beyond, and wish you all a wonderful day or evening ahead, depending on where you are in the world and when you read this!

Hello (English)
Namaskar (Bengali)
Dobrý den (Croation)
Goddag (Danish)
Hoi (Dutch)
Hallo (German)
Bonjour (French)
Aloha (Hawaiian)
Shalom (Hebrew)
Namaste (Hindi)
Jo napot (Hungarian)
Góðan dag (Icelandic)
Ciào (Italian)
Ohayou gozaimasu (Japanese)
Merħba (Maltese)
Hallo (Norwegian)
Salaam or do-rood (Persian)
Dzień dobry (Polish)
Oi, boas, olá or alô (Portugeuse)
Pree-vyet (Russian)
Dobrý deň (Slovak)
Holà (Spanish)
Jambo (Swahili)
Hej (Sweidish)
Ia orana (Tahitian)
Merhaba (Turkish)
Dobriy ranuke (Ukranian)
Xin chào (Vietnamese)
Shwmai (Welsh)
Sholem aleikhem (Yiddish)

Taking this one small act deeper and taking this blog entry sideways!