When I was a little girl, my mom would take me to her work and for 2 weeks of summer I was part of a vacation bible school. I really don't remember much from that time except one exercise. It was a quieting session (in hindsight maybe it was for the sanity of the vbs teachers...) Feet on the floor, making sure everything was comfortable, with eyes closed, start listening. For a little kid, just sitting still for 2 seconds was extremely difficult (Some days that is still true.) The instructor would list the things they could hear, then confirmation from my ears. When you're little you have no idea why this is important, but over time I have begun using this exercise frequently. It's amazing to be able to hear so many layers of so many things. One by one, then on top of each other, it's almost like an orchestra tuning up before a play. I think about the small and near sounds, my overhead ceiling fan, my feet moving against the top sheet, my stomach that is hungry. I hear small and more distant sounds: a car door shutting, a cardinal call, tires on the road. Bigger sounds like a siren in the distance, honking geese, a blue jay or crow, dishes being put away or conversations across the street. I love the overlapping sounds and the game of picking out each particular one, then trying to relax my mind to take all the sounds in as they bubble up together-some dropping away only to have new sounds emerge. I have noticed that when it is spring and the cardinals have their unique mating trill, that is the sound that puts me back to sleep as I count the "doydoydoy" desperation rapid fire song. It may seem counterproductive to be still while hearing all this, but it is in the paying attention that increases the ability to hear more, to listen and take things in on a deeper level. This exercise can be done at any time. During the spring, my favorite is the 4:00am wake up of all the birds and then the sounds of man as their day begins. It can be done anywhere and anytime and that is the beauty of it.
Beauty begets beauty, iron sharpens iron,
A very long time ago we discovered my husband had a brain tumor. He had surgery to remove it, but he ended up needing two other surgeries because of complications, it was a horrific time between November 2009-October 2011 and that is not counting the start of 2009 when he was exhibiting behaviors unlike him and went from 200 lbs. to 127 lbs. in a matter of months. I was a wife that became a care giver and I was not prepared for what we were facing. It’s all good now, he is well, but I remember a good friend of mine asking during his healing time what I was doing for me. I think I looked at her blankly and answered I wasn’t doing anything – I had no time for me when there were all kinds of real (and imagined) monsters around the corner – I lived in fear and probably busyness was a distraction. She advised that if I could steal away for one hour – even per week, go somewhere that made me happy, to make that time. Best advice I ever got and fully took in.
My husband and I were watching a documentary the other night. The whole hour was about pizza. I could watch an entire season of pizza documentaries, and you know what comes of that – craving and then eating pizza. The series follows a chef and a food writer, so these are people who know their stuff, so when the chef mentioned that he liked Dominoes Pizza, I was taken aback. He took a trip to Dominoes and for a day became a delivery guy for the chain. At one point he was talking to the manager who told him there are 3,000,000 topping combinations. That number is staggeringly unbelievable. I am not a mathematician, scientist or engineer, and I’m not sure if that number is even possible, but, if that is the case, it made me consider how that translates to things in our lives that we feel we can’t do because “somebody already has that corner covered”. Take music for example. There are 12 notes in a chromatic scale, with 3 notes making a chord (this is where I stop trying to make a point and you can read someone who knows more than me). Then consider the countless types of music and styles, add to that rhythm and nuance. The Beatles, Tchaikovsky, Pink Floyd, The Kinks, Over the Rhine, Beethoven, Big Band music – ETC – 12 notes sound limiting, but you know music – it’s expansive. Then there’s the alphabet. There are only 26 letters, but think about words and how we connect them – song lyrics and how we convey thought and feeling – through just 26 letters. That’s pretty amazing how we have the power to wield that sword through communicating. So why should we limit ourselves in what we do and are passionate about? There is no limit. Just because someone else does what you do, there is no one who can do exactly what you do because of the unique stamp you put on it. BE limitless. Be creative. Be passionate. Be about what you do and shine it out. Write, sing, paint, draw, create, dance, cook, love. Whatever it is you do, just do it and do it with gusto. The world needs your particular flavor. Speaking of flavor, what’s your favorite pizza?