How Sunday Should Look

“It is this broken road with pitfalls and sharp turns and unexpected traverses that has brought me joy and adventure. ”  ― Alice Walker

This is how Sundays should look:

Wake up happy and give thanks. Check.

Delight in good people, fine food, beautiful weather. Check.

Run a little, walk a lot in great big woods. Marvel at the seasons changing. Check.

Laugh out loud at the old dog’s antics. Check.

Have faith. Check.

Only thing better would be you here with us.

Yes, you.

“Oh, she say. God loves all them feelings. That’s some of the best stuff God did. And when you know God loves ’em you enjoys ’em a lot more. You can just relax, go with everything that’s going, and praise God by liking what you like.” – Alice Walker, The Color Purple

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Tuesday Tidbit from Tara Sophia Mohr

A while back I wrote about Blank Slating. Here’s an update, in the form of a Tuesday Tidbit.

One thing I’m learning is I don’t have to be anything I’m not, or go too far out of my way to please anyone. I know this sounds basic, but it’s revolutionary really. I’ve been trying to do things “Right” for so long. It’s exhausting. Some people worry they’re not enough… I’ve been hearing I’m “too much” my whole life… and it’s not true. Too much… who ever heard of such a thing?! And I bought it, silly me. Internalized it deep down and have carried it around and into relationships at home and work. Trying to pipe down, scale back, not stand out too much… don’t let them know I’m too much, unmanageable. Do things “normally” or worse yet someone else’s way. Hooey! For the birds, I tell you. Especially because it’s a game I cannot win. (And you know how I feel about that.) It leaves people thinking exactly that I am too much, unmanageable and yaddah, yaddah, yaddah. Irony! Hmpf.

That whole paradigm’s just not helpful. I have no desire to be manageable, reasonable, or normal. Never aspired to that set of adjectives at all.

A friend wrote to me the other day, in the middle of a message: “You don’t have to be perfect to be loved. (on the contrary)” Holy moly! I’m not too much at all. I just am. You’re not too little or too much, either, you hear me?

In his oft-quoted Stanford commencement speech Steve Jobs said, “Keep searching.” Do what you love and keep searching. For your Right Work, for someone who’s just right for you… because you are already just right the way you are. I mean, really. What’re you gonna do about it now? So onward with the search, Fellow Adventurers!

We all do what we can do. We’re each sloppy sometimes. I’m learning to fly. So are you. This Tuesday Tidbit is brought to you by the lovely and talented Tara Sophia Mohr, who is just right, too. It’s called “You Shaped Hole:”

 

You-Shaped Hole
Sometimes the world feels inhospitable.
You feel all the ways that you and it don’t fit.
You see what’s missing, how it all could be different.

You feel as if you weren’t meant for the world, or the world wasn’t meant for you.

As if the world is “the way it is” and your discomfort with it a problem.

So you get timid. You get quiet about what you see.

But what if this? What if you are meant
to feel the world is inhospitable, unfriendly, off-track
in just the particular ways that you do?

The world has a you-shaped hole in it.
It is missing what you see.
It lacks what you know.

And so you were called into being.
To see the gap, to feel the pain of it, and to fill it.

Filling it is speaking what is missing.
Filling it is stepping into the center of the crowd, into a clearing, and saying, here, my friends, is the future.
Filling it is being what is missing, becoming it.

You don’t have to do it all, but you do have to speak it.
You have to tell your slice of the truth.
You do have to walk toward it with your choices, with your own being.

Then allies and energies will come to you like fireflies swirling around a light.

The roughness of the world, the off-track-ness, the folly that you see,
these are the most precious gifts you will receive in this lifetime.

They are not here to distance you from the world, but to guide you
into your contribution to it.

The world was made with a you-shaped hole in it.
In that way you are important.
In that way you are here to make the world.
In that way you are called.
– Tara Sophia Mohr

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Fall in CPH

I booked myself two extra days in Copenhagen this trip. Two whole days  – with friends and solo – in sunny, crisp, cool air… wandering streets, shopping, eating good food. It was a rare treat in one of my favorite cities.

There’s a misconception in the U.S. that because the Danish government levies taxes and administers public services it is socialist. That is not what socialist means, and if it were I’d be asking to sign right up.

Working in a multimillion dollar corporate headquarters then shopping on Strøget, I can tell you capitalism is alive & well in Copenhagen. Yes, it’s true that accumulating tremendous capital is challenging with Danish tax rates, but the quality of life is fantastic & if you have 3 or 4 kids the benefits outweigh the costs.

One thing I loved was all the gluten-free options, as tons of Scandinavians are celiacs & I’ve discovered I have a nasty reaction to wheat (not convenient but I feel so much better). I actually bought a big box of cereal & brought it back in my suitcase. I tried 3 groceries before I found these. They’re in the basement of Magasin du Nord.

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Mufasa’s Big Adventures, Part 3001

It’s time for Mufasa to have his own facebook page. He’s on dogbook, but it’s just not enough. People tag me in photos of him… you know like they do with womens’ kids, too… only the inference is somehow not the same. Right now all the little photos that show up on my facebook Wall are of Mufasa. I love him madly, but the implication is that I’m a dog.

I’m single and that simply Will. Not. Do.

He needs his own page.

Plus, he has adventures like you would not believe. We must post his own photos.

It’s amazing how even six years into this expat adventure everyday occurrences are still remarkable enough that I wish I’d brought my camera. NOTE TO SELF: Remember to carry phone or camera everywhere.

Today Mufasa and I walked to the grocery store in Zollikon. It’s a big store, busy, on the town square. I tied him up right in the middle of the action — something I’d NEVER have done in the U.S. because you just don’t do that as often and because he was much younger and wilder and apt to misbehave.

He’s older now, more subdued. Actually, I have to face that he is quite old. It’s so difficult for him to sit I cannot ask him to do that anymore. He had a seizure Saturday night before last and seems fine now, but it was a pretty long one and he’s never had one before. The vet said it may not even be worth all the tests to see what caused it, just watch to see if he has one again, and then we’ll decide what to do. He’s old.

So there he was today: giant old dog, tied up in the middle of the town square in Zollikon, Switzerland. Instead of telling him to sit I had him lie down on the ground facing the grocery (he was pretty far away looking across the square). I peeked over my shoulder as I walked into the store and he was holding his head up so straight and proud, like a baby allowed to sit at the Big Kids’ table for the first time.

I shopped quickly because you never know what kind of trouble a hundred pound dog might get into while you’re not looking. I didn’t hear him, which (unlike with kids) was good.

The scene that greeted me outside in the square made me laugh out loud. There he was, paws straight out in front of him still holding his head up all regally as if he were the most gorgeous dog ever born, smack in the middle of a tight ring of crouching 4-year-olds. They were very close to him, only inches from every part of his body, and had clearly been instructed not to move or touch him. It was something to see – about 10 perfectly still preschoolers in special bright orange reflective outing gear, feet flat on the ground, little rumps resting on all their heels, hands held behind their backs, peering into his beaming face. The dog was smiling as if he’d been crowned Miss America and given a beefsteak bone instead of a tiara.

I told the teacher it was ok, they could pet him, and four or five nearly dove onto him. He didn’t move at all, just laid still and let their little fingers pet his crazy-long, silky fur.

I wonder how many of those sweet little Swiss German kids will tell their parents about him at dinner tonight.

Every day this dog amazes me. He teaches me patience and consistency. I might not have lived this expat adventure the way I have if it were not for him.

Wednesday morning we’re going on the train back out to HundeLand, his new favorite place, and they will surely post more photos of him on facebook. He’ll have his own facebook page by then.

ADDENDUM: When I tried to make him a facebook account it told me he was ineligible, I guess because he’s too young. LOL.

At the Olten train station after his visit to Hundeland he fell asleep on the platform. It’s hard work playing so much!

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Count Me Among The Crazy Ones

“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” 
         – Steve Jobs, in this unaired version of the 1997 Apple commercial

I am honored and grateful to know so many of the Crazy Ones: Letha Sandison, Maggie Doyne, Esra’a Al Shafei, Bill Liao, Jeroen Hermkens, Estrella Roseberg, Gail Mooney, Subhash Ghimire. We’d planned to meet up tonight in Amsterdam for the 5th annual European Summit. Schedules and funding and overextension on my part meant that we are not. Tonight I salute you, Crazy Ones. Thank you for all that you do.