Why I Turned To Writing

 

I lie in bed, turning over again and again, sleep no where in sight. With each physical turn of my body I was breathing new life and energy into the thoughts and questions plaguing my mind, peace and sleep stood no chance. One nagging question was the impetus for this mental storm, refusing to subside until I stare at it in the face, see it and address it. So I rolled out of bed, leaving warmth and comfort, at 1:00am determined to do just that, face my question.

Why? How does a three letter word carry so much power? Despite it’s simplicity in structure, that word has the power to bring even the sturdiest of minds to its’ figurative knees. So here I sit, blinking curser daring me to get it down lest I forget. For yes, I do believe I have the answer.

Bare with me as I take you on a bit of a detour as I eventually answer, why?

I can blame a friend for this latest bout of insomnia. He posed the question while sharing a cup of tea and mulling over my latest writing project. He reminded me that without knowing the “why”, my writing journey would be longer and more arduous than necessary. Why writing?  For years I have enjoyed words. I would play with them for hours. I love learning new ways to string them together, to tell a story, to convey emotion, and using them to capture the thoughts that would keep me awake for hours.  I can still remember toying with rhymes, barely able to write, I would rehearse them for hours until I either fell asleep or give up and succumbed to writing them down. To this day I have a special blue folder filled with random sheets of paper with my scribbles.  Now, not being naturally gifted with words, this is something I have to work at. Yet, loving it as I do, I do just that.

My latest writing project began three years ago,  writing as a means for answering questions that would arise from my profession as a social worker and early childhood educator. My staff loved it and found it helpful, so I kept at it.  I fell into blogging, rather haphazardly, more as a means to an end; a format for meeting a professional need. Yet, I found the process more than moderately satisfying. The challenge lie in answering a question, and doing it in such a way that had my reader nodding their heads and feeling satisfied that they had in fact learned something of value. Even then, I found myself not wholly satisfied after awhile. It was definitely not the writing aspect, though after some tossing and turning and late night writing, I discovered it was the theme of my writing that had me yearning for something more.

As someone who gets an idea and isn’t afraid to literally run with it, I began to write about things that I love. I began mentally writing on my daily walks through my neighborhood.  Thoughts I would have during my walks would turn into ideas for a new writing project.  I began to write about the things dearest to my heart: travel, human connection, urban living and love. Yet, the question still remained, why? Why write about these things in a blog format? I even grappled with scrapping the idea of a blog and just keeping a journal. Yet, it seemed the purpose in my writing was not just for me. I have learned that the greatest gift we can offer the world is to share what we love. Delving deeper into the “why”, I began to wonder why this writing would be important. And in that “wonder” lie the final answer.

One more detour as I round the corner to “the answer”, bare with me just a bit longer.

I was in Paris on Friday the 13th, 2015. I was within close proximity to the horrific acts of that night and I was traveling alone. Yet, before that evening, I had spent three lovely days in” the city of love”, and I wrote about it, in real time. What a gift that turned out to be. For the events of that Friday have since changed me and changed me in a way that just wouldn’t make it possible for  me to capture the flavor of those first three days. For that I am grateful. I am grateful for no amount of fear or chaos can steal from me what those days meant, they are forever captured in my own words for me to relive at anytime, untainted.

In the days following, after cutting my trip short, I struggled emotionally. I struggled like so many impacted directly from the events of that night. I wanted to make sense of something that we can only conjure about. Though in the end we will all have to make sense of it for ourselves. For me it was just another part of this journey. As I wrote about the events of that evening I experienced emotional release, a plethora of emotions that I just did not know what to do with. Though, I discovered it was no different than the emotions I carry around about poverty and homelessness, in short human pain and suffering.  We all, ultimately, want to do something about the things in our world that we find unjust. Yet, so many turn to apathy as coping a mechanism. It seems easier to say “fuck it”, avert our eyes and walk away hands up in the air in resignation. It seems easier than to admit our feelings of helplessness and ultimately inadequacy.

In my own personal journey, the final puzzle piece fell into place when I decided to turn to baking to deal with my crippling feelings of hopelessness. And baking is what I did. My children and I baked over 10 dozen cookies and I packaged them into little baggies to share with strangers and made care packages for the people we cared about. The children shared them with friends and their teachers and I shared them with people I hold dearest to  my heart. I walked the city determined to do what I love, though was having a hard time reconnecting with my gift, smiling and making eye contact with everyone I meet. I found that the events of that Friday had left me disillusioned. So what better way to reconnect with my heart once again than to have in hand something tangible I could share, I didn’t have to worry that I didn’t want to smile, I could just offer folks who asked for money something tangible. And that is what I did. “Do you have some change to spare?”, was answered with “I don’t have any money on me but my children and I just bake some cookies would you like some?” Over 100 cookies later I have yet to be refused. Everyone smiled as I handed them their tiny bundle of homemade love. I smiled and a part of my heart began to heal. A healing made possible through a genuine act of love.

So “why” write? I find value in putting into words and sharing with others my own journey in making a difference. Maybe it is just a smile. Maybe it is just a cookie. Yet connecting with others with a smile and a cookie tells them they are important. It is my way of letting others know that when I look at them in the eye,  I see them and when I see them, in that moment, they belong. Human connection and belonging are the answer, at least to the challenges of world as I see it.  My only hope in writing? Simply to inspire others that they too can find a way to make a difference, for even in the smallest of gestures one can find great love. May you all find the answer to the “why” in your life. For it is in knowing why I write that I feel a deeper connection to my purpose in this life, ever changing, writing allows me to continually understand my evolving sense of purpose.

 Always leave people better than you found them. Hug the hurt. Kiss the broken. Befriend the lost. Love the lonely.” — Unknown Author

Here’s to spreading love and kindness, may love always win.

Your Delightfully Urban Blogger~

 

 


Fostering Mercy

Since May 2010, Escuela Viva, a bilingual early childhood program I began in 2004,  has shared a neighborhood with a church/dining hall where they feed the hungry. Living in Portland Oregon, we are no strangers to the burgeoning houseless population. Our school community has watched the houseless population grow right before our eyes. Our closest neighbors live in lean-tos, tents and run down motor homes. Portland is often cold and wet, making life for those living on the streets arduous.

As the situation for the houseless grows more desperate, everyone feels it. In our own school community parents worry about how the needs of the  houseless might clash with the needs of their children. We all worry about the safety of those living on the streets, some with addictions, many with mental health challenges, all just struggling to make it day by day. We tried for the last 6 years to work with the city to establish no camping zones  around early childhood programs like ours. Our pleas fell upon deaf ears. We found ourselves frustrated, tired and without hope. Then we stopped. We took a collective breath and decided to regroup and change our approach. Why not work with the houseless, listen to their needs,  share our needs and begin from there? And that is what we did.

Our first “Coffee, Cookies and Conversation” was amazing. At first there seem to be some trepidation on their end, and who can blame them? Everyone wants them to move out, yet move where? Until we can offer better, more comprehensive mental health and addiction services, until a family can afford housing making minimum wage, and until a family can afford to be poor, the best answer I can muster is mercy. Mercy is the act of showing compassion and/or grace toward someone with whom it is within our power to punish or harm. As we demonstrated mercy with our neighbors, their guards came down. They expressed concern with the level of camping near the school. They offered to help do some clean up if we could offer the supplies and perhaps warm dry socks.

 Today, March 18th, 2017 we held our first Clean Up Day. We had a small crew available, mostly parents from our school community. As we began to OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAshare with our neighbors why we were there, many expressed thanks. Several took plastic bags and began filling them with their own trash. I was particularly struck by one neighbor, who shared that he and several others had moved their tents around the corner after our first “Coffee, Cookies and Conversation”. He was clear that he is not a drug user, yet he knows that by moving he is modeling for others to give the school and the kids some space.

A small group of junior high girls and their group leader brought pastries and coffee. They passed out treats to our houseless neighbors and the clean up crew. Watching the girls smile and share joy with each poured cup of coffee, I couldn’t help but feel that we accomplished much more than a cleaner brighter neighborhood. This was merely one of  many steps we will be taking as we work to build a shared sense of community. Yet, today as the rain gave way to sunshine, as we got dirty and cleared away a dumpster full of trash, we moved closer to a common vision of a neighborhood. A neighborhood where we care for one another. A neighborhood where an early childhood program can share space with the houseless.

Watch for the release of DelightfullyUrban merchandise, where 80% of the profits will go to fund sanitary services for the houseless.

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Beyond Tolerance

I roll over, the sounds of the early birds chirping outside my window, ugh! The clock reads 4:22am. Waking at this hour is not unusual for me, unfortunately. Some mornings I can ease back into sleep, yet, this morning, not so much. One of the first images to fill my head is that of Chyna Gibson, a transgendered black woman murdered in Louisiana. Just one of 7 black transgendered women to be murdered between January and the end of February 2017 in the US. The one question that I fell asleep contemplating, and was still with me at 4:22am, why?

One word kept tumbling around in my lucid brain at this ridiculous hour. Tolerance. Sounds nice, right? If only we lived in a more tolerant world? Yet, I can’t seem to embrace this word as others have. It never quite sat well with me. Though I understand the sentiments, I still long for more. The Christian, the Buddhist, the Universalist in me yearns for more. I want home, school,  community and this world that I spin around on to value human life, all life. Perhaps we don’t fully understand one another, I for one don’t understand a great deal, yet I don’t hate or devalue what I don’t understand. I might wonder about it, marvel at it a bit, yet hate?

I know I won’t ever be Jewish (at least I don’t think so), I can’t ever be Black, or Asian, or transgendered, or a multitude of “others”. Yet, isn’t a beautiful idea that we can look at someone and think and feel in our hearts “You are a human being just like me”. On average, in terms of DNA sequence, all humans are 99.5% similar to all other humans. No two humans are genetically identical. Can ’t we start here? With the 99.5% of us that are absolutely the SAME. Yet that .5% is what makes us 100% unique, like no other. Marvelous. Wonderful. Valuable. Extraordinary. Fabulous. It is what sets us apart. It is what fuels this world. We won’t all be mothers or fathers. We won’t all be engineers, teachers, computer technicians, fire fighters, politicians, garbage men, migrant workers, bartenders, authors, activists, mechanics, linguists, students, etc. The world needs all of us to be exactly who we are, it wouldn’t work otherwise. So what blinds us to the beauty of us? Yep, there’s that word again, hate.

I have quoted Shel Silverstein for years. His work has a way of humanizing the silly in us all. Yet there are a few of his pieces, even as a children’s author, that hits home and nails humanity on the head like none other. One poem that I think embraces this notion of a shared “us” better than I ever could is this one:

No Difference

by Shel Silverstein

Small as a peanut,

Big as a giant,

We’re all the same size

When we turn off the light.

Rich as a sultan,

Poor as a mite,

We’re all worth the same

When we turn off the light.

Red, black or orange,

Yellow or white,

We all look the same

When we turn off the light.

So maybe the way

To make everything right

Is for God to just reach out

And turn off the light!

“No Difference” by Shel Silverstein, from Where the Sidewalk Ends. © Harper Collins, 1974. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

We don’t have to live as others do. We don’t have to look the same, sound the same, dress the same, to understand that beneath it all, we are the same. There is great liberation and beauty in acceptance. We can live in a home, go to a school, be a part of a community that honors the uniqueness and the divinity in us all. We can begin to see diversity as our Deities way of creating beauty, a vast array of loveliness just as was intended. The only way, perhaps, for us to get to this place, is for the God in each of us, to reach over and turn out the light. So I begin with me, and I am turning off the light, the light on hate, and will shine a light instead on what binds us all together, love.


Dear Orange One

It’s 2017, right before your inauguration. I have dreaded this day, though not certain just how afraid I, and those like me, should be. Are we afraid yet have no reason to because your bark is worse than your bite? Or are our fears real, and we need to buckle up, keep our eyes and ears open, and stay keenly tuned in to your every step? As I have pondered these two dichotomies a story comes to mind from my early twenties. My mom and I were remodeling a home that would soon be my very first home. It was in complete disrepair. It didn’t have plumbing,  electricity, or even walls. Yet, I knew just how beautiful it was going to be. One day as I was pulling wire, the contractor working with us began using a sawzall. I was mesmerized by just how effective this tool was, and powerful too. The contractor noticed me watching and asked if I had wanted to try using it. I quickly said “Oh no I am too afraid. It is a very powerful piece of equipment.” He smiled and said “Yes it is. Ready?”, as he handed the tool to me. I shook my head and repeated my fear, “No, I am too afraid I will hurt myself.” He quickly replied “Well good”, handed the tool to me and continued with, “You are less likely to hurt yourself then.” So he addressed each of my fears and as he addressed each fear, I began using the tool. As I did I found that my fear was a good guide for what to consider, questions to ask, and how best to handle this powerful yet effective tool. Fear was just my reminder how careful and considerate I needed to be, but by no means a reason to not proceed. So proceed is what I did, and with much success I might add.

So as I think about how I will proceed with these next four potentially dangerous years, I will use my fear to guide me. Yet, my fear for what you might do with the next four years won’t stop me nor paralyze me, in fact it will be what reminds me to ask the right questions, read and stay current, speak out when I need to, and be more active politically than I have ever been. Just like the sawzall, you have the potential to do a lot of damage, a lot of people could be hurt, our environment negatively impacted, a woman’s reproductive freedom at risk, the poor disenfranchised further, the liberties of LGBTQA threatened, and our national security in peril.

I, and those like me, will use these next four years to be kinder, more aware, and more active in our local communities,  standing with and along side those further disenfranchised by your mayhem. I personally won’t let you or your hateful views of those you don’t deem worthy change me in a negative way. I will be more patient, reflect greater compassion for all, and use all of the resources at my disposal, creative and financial, to deflect any threat you might spawn over these next four years. And I know I am not alone. Your luster for the dramatic, your gravitational pull towards hate only draws those guided by love and mercy closer together. We were dazed and confused for a moment, yet don’t take that as a sign that we will succumb to you or any destruction you may muster. We will be watching carefully, we will mobilize and yes we will be loud.

We will find solace and strength in the famous words of Haruki Marukami “When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person that walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.” You may be a storm like we have yet to see in our life time, yet we will use this time to become a stronger America, one united in our founding principals adorned at the base of the statue of liberty “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” For it is in these words that we find what has and will continue to make America truly great.

Sincerely,

DelightfullyUrban

And to the rest of you,  remember this life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.  Take it slow and steady, be gentle with yourself and stay hydrated.

Your Delightfully Urban Blogger


Hopeful Thoughts Moving Into An Uncertain 2017

I wrote this little gem during my travels abroad in 2015. I wrote this almost exactly 24 hours before the Paris bombing. It is a reminder just how quickly our realities can change, for the better and sometimes not. This event had a profound impact on my life for quite some time. I won’t ever be the same, though different in wonderfully surprising ways. I still don’t live in fear and usually I am all about embracing life. As we move into 2017, we can all stand a little reminder of  just how impetuous and fickle life can be. Welcome 2017 we are ready for all you have to offer us. 

Walking in Paris at the end of a long day, the lights dancing on the canal water, I smile to myself.  Laughter and the soft sounds of French paraded around in my ears. Groups gather at the water’s edge, families, friends and lovers. A smile permanently etched on my face. Oh how this city has surprised me, it just isn’t the same city I experienced 15 years ago. Or is it? Is it I who is not the same?

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Getting carried away by the sights and sounds of Paris at night I suddenly found myself lost. To avoid getting even more lost than I already was I made a stop into a little brasserie, a Parisian brewery, mostly to steal their wifi. While sipping a glass of white wine, soft candle light flickering to the music, downloading my latest photos, I’m gifted a beautiful reminder of home. A reminder that home is always where you are at, never more than a memory away. I began singing along with Van Morrison’s, “Brown Eyed Girl” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfmkgQRmmeE). If I had a glass or two more of wine I might have even danced alone in the middle of this little brasserie. Though, I settle for smiling to myself. Others smile back, likely wondering what secret I might be holding.

Traveling alone has always taught me so much about myself. I have learned that nothing is more scary than the thoughts I have erroneously held as truths; half-truths and downright lies, about being alone. I’ve learned that OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI can sit alone in a restaurant and I am ok. I’ve learned that I can walk in a strange city, get lost and suddenly realize I was never lost. For wherever I go I carry home, the memories of family, friends, and of all that is familiar.  I have learned never to be afraid to explore, for in those explorations one finds parts of ourselves that we never knew existed. In those explorations lie opportunities to make new friends, reveal hidden treasures and discover that home is so much larger than we could have ever imagined.  My world has grown, my connections beyond home stretched, and I have my time in Paris to thank and the good people I now call friends. Merci Paris!

Remember this life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.  Take it slow and steady, be gentle with yourself and stay hydrated.

Your Delightfully Urban Blogger~


Finding My Smile Again: Post Friday the Thirteenth 2015

*On the anniversary of the terrorist attacks in Paris one year ago I publish this blog post today to remind us that so much can happen in one year. In one year we can heal from great tragedy, we can grow, we can move on and learn that things can change and manifest in ways we would never imagine. So as we face the reality of the 2017 election, we can take heed, we can take a collective deep breath, and know that indeed much can happen in a year. 

I am a walker, among many other things. Walking brings my heart and soul peace and joy. As I walk I rarely am without my smile, for it is the one thing I have that I can share with everyone. It is the one way I reflect back to the world the love and peace I hope for all who walk our planet. So no matter what city or country I may be walking, I offer the same, for there is no language barrier in exchanging a smile.

On my walks I occasionally encounter someone who refuses to smile. Preferring to look down at their feet, avoiding eye contact.  I would think “Avoidance is no way to experience the world.” I would think “Avoidance not only keeps us from experiencing pain, it keeps us from experiencing much of anything.” We all know people who seem to live their lives ruled by fear and avoidance. Well for the first time, I felt I had the experience to help me understand “closed off” and “avoidance”. In the wake of Friday the 13th, 2015 upon returning home from Paris where the whole city was experiencing a kind of pain and violence one can not put to words, I found myself wholly debilitated by sadness and grief. The kind of sadness and grief that left me paralyzed, wishing only to escape and avoid. Feeling a sense of urgency and panic to avoid feeling, escape is what I did.   With my bedroom as my shield from the world and all it’s realities, I wrapped myself in a cocoon of self-pity and there I remained, feeling nothing but a gnawing pit in my stomach.

You wonder what brought me back to reality? Back to my smile? Oh there was no one thing, it was a multitude of experiences, people and love that gave me the courage to return. The breath of my son sleeping next to me, his sweet face reflecting innocence. The memory of the countless people, who like me, just wanted to leave Paris and be home. We pooled our courage and supported one another with our stories of survival. We touched our Parisian friends on the arms and lent them our support as they start on their journey to healing. The knowledge that a familiar face would be waiting for me at the airport. The family and friends who sent their love and support when I needed it most. The words of one of my best friends reminding me time and time again that I would be okay and remained the voice of reason and calm when there was no reason and calm in sight. The knowledge that I am a mom, with two children who desperately need me to be okay. And as I sit here in a place of comfort and familiarity, far from the tragedy of Friday the 13th in Paris, it is here that the whole picture becomes clear. The final puzzle pieces falling into place allowing me to make some sense of my experiences and allow me to begin to understand how one gets to the point of avoidance. It is here, home, where I find myself once again. Though I may not ever be same, though I still experience moments of overwhelming sadness, the events of Friday the 13th forever etched in my heart, I find myself slowly finding my smile once again.

It is here that I remind us that this life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.  Take it slow and steady, be gentle with yourself and stay hydrated.

 

Your Delightfully Urban Blogger~


Who Are We? My Personal Journey with Body Image

*I wrote this blog some time ago, believing there is always a time and place for what’s in our heart. It dawned on me that the time is now. This election has taken a toll on me. I have watched and listened as people I genuinely care about are casting their vote for Trump. Why do I care so much? I think this blog post, a deeply personal account of my life and my struggle to love my physical form, tells a part of that story and why I believe a vote for Trump is a slap in the face of all women. Disagree if you must, yet I am entitled to this, at the very least. 

Just google the words “Body Image” and you won’t find a shortage of interesting articles ranging from eating disorders to images of women in various shapes and sizes. As a woman I find it interesting that so much time has been spent trying to understand this very dynamic topic. For myself, I think I have figured out that the mental image I hold of myself is often, though reluctantly, tied to my physical self. This is a very personal journey every person wanders through, sometimes focused and other times, as I do, quite by accident. I share a part of this journey with you now….

I stood in front of my friends camera, somewhat shy and unsure of what to do with myself. I had a cascade of thoughts running through my mind, “What does my hair look like”, “Am I shiny? Do I need powder?”, “Is this shirt flattering?”…..then I pause. I take in the moment and breath in my surroundings. I am acutely aware of the slippery self deprecating path I am wandering down. I must get off. On this beautiful sunny morning with intention I change my focus. I change my train of thoughts and turn to the beauty surrounding me and this lovely woman holding her camera. I find it interesting that as a woman who loves her body and all that it affords me that I still struggle with how others will and do see my body? My body, the mere shell that houses the real “me”. How did I get here? How does anyone get “here”?

It has taken me a very long time to understand how I got “here” though how I view “myself and my body” has evolved over time. And as I learn, have more experiences in this world, I image it will continually evolve until the moment I am no longer in this form.

The image I hold of my body ebbs and flows much like the currents of the ocean. I equate this ebb and flow with my experience on a surf board. As you stand up on that board, you feel muscles you rarely connect with, you feel each moment of air and water in a way one can not experience on land, and you forget all except that moment, your immediate surroundings and how amazing it is that this form can get up and ride that wave. You don’t even think about how others may be seeing you. You just are, perfectly present in the moment. True you feel exhilaration, then you may feel fear as you struggle to find balance, and in the end you may end up face first in the ocean. Not a failure, yet just a part of the experience. Learning to surf, learning to love your self physical and otherwise, is just part of this journey we call life.

As a woman who lived through 8 years of sexual abuse and a relationship filled with emotional abuse, I have carried with me the messages of those two very painful relationships. Messages that my body is not mine. That I am only as worthy as the people in my life say I am. I have spent years coming to terms with the dynamics of these relationships. I have come to understand the messages both boys and girls receive about their bodies. For the most part I know who I am, I am not my body, my body is a vessel, a vessel that carries me from one place to the next, that can jump, skip, dance in the kitchen and carry and birth two amazing human beings. I remind myself daily that my body is vital, it is strong and will be with me until I draw my last breath. And I will treat it as such. I will nourish it with healthy food, strengthen it and treat it as the amazing gift that it is. I will continually come back to all I have learned about who I really am: a soul, a spirit, both housed in a vessel we call the body. The vessel very much an extension of me, though not the defining part of me. How I view and treat others. How I choose to live my life. How I will live my life and give back to others. These are the real aspects of me that I will connect with, return to and at the same time I will treat my vessel with kindness and respect and will expect nothing less from those in my life.

And in the end, what we all want is for others, anyone, to see us as we truly are. And in my case, how I feel inside: funny, strong, compassionate, smart, silly, kind, tender, serious, creative, energetic, and on most days fearless. I feel all of these things, though it may not always show. Especially in those moments when I let “old” and “new” messages about “me” creep in. Yet, I am so grateful that my voice is strong and almost always wins in the end.

So in the end it is all about knowing who you are and being true to it. Find clothes that represent who you are. For me it is about wearing stylish shoes that allow me to walk for hours, pants that allow me free mobility, and sometimes, reconnecting to that little girl who likes to dress up and where those uncomfortable but fun high heels. Know who you are and let it shine through. And when we momentarily forget who we truly are, because we all do, we can close our eyes, breath and just “feel”, for in that “feeling” we will find our true selves. Remember life is a marathon not a sprint, take it easy on yourself, stay hydrated and….

 

Your DelightfullyUrban Blogger~


Today I Will Go Easy on My Neighbor

Maybe it is because I had 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, or maybe it’s because Mark (my favorite barista) made me the yummiest 16 oz almond milk latte ever, or perhaps it was sharing the road with a big man on a small bike singing at the top of his lungs; whatever the reason I made a decision this morning to take it easy on all those I come in contact with today.

I won’t scowl at the man who doesn’t stop at the cross walk. I won’t holler “Slow down this is a school zone!” at the young lady speeding well over the posted 20 mph. And I won’t think unkind thoughts about neighbors who refuse to pick up their dog poop in front of our house. No, I won’t do any of these things today. I can’t guarantee how I will hand these inconveniences tomorrow, but today I will be grateful when children get safely home from school, when someone eventually stops for us to cross the street and will, with a smile on my face, pick up the poop in front of our house because I have an extra poop bag. I will be grateful for the squirrel chasing his friend across the power line, I will smile at the neighbors who do pick up their dogs waste and I will happily stroll down the street just because I can. I have way too many blessings in my life to let the everyday struggles generate frustration in me. For when I focus on what is wrong, I fail to notice the beauty in everything else. And today I make the choice to let beauty win.

Remember this life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.  Take it slow and steady, be gentle with yourself and stay hydrated.

Here’s to letting beauty win!

Your Delightfully Urban Blogger



Welcome!

Human Connection: Living in a city that allows me to walk instead of drive, I am witness to human interaction, or as is too often the case, lack of human interaction. Urban living is conducive for getting wrapped up in our own world and disconnected from those around us. It is more true than not that we evade eye contact, refrain from smiling at one another; simply put we fail to notice one another. We fail to notice the pedestrian in the crosswalk, the cyclist approaching in the bike lane, the “no smoking” sign at the park. What will it take to look the homeless in the eye as we walk past them on the park bench? Smile at the elderly man walking alone on his way home from the grocery store? The mentally ill woman mumbling obscenities to the voice in her head? Why are we so content to hide behind the music flowing from our headphones, disconnected from the sounds of our beautiful city? Or are we? I contend that there is a disconnectedness in our lives, an underlying sadness, the only cure? Connectedness.

Personally, I have been the one failing to notice, the one holding back my smile and the one completely disconnected to what is my life.  Though I have gone through periods when I have taken intentional steps to notice, and what a joy I experienced in those moments. In those moments I made a choice to be an active participant in my life.

A year ago I took the first step towards a life where I intentionally connect with others on a daily basis. I began learning the names of the small business owners, of my neighbors and those who live and work in my neighborhood. My life will never be the same.

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe’ —a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein

This is my task friends, new and old. What are we afraid of? Take one step. Smile more. Look at passerby’s in the eye. Walk more. Engage in your neighborhood and in your life. And as you do share what you experience. For I have no doubt that these small steps, collectively, can transform our world, one human connection at a time.

Remember this life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.  Take it slow and steady, be gentle with yourself and stay hydrated.

Yours truly, The Delightfully Urban Blogger!