On a Saturday evening, as I was waiting for my friend, I noticed a jolly trio – a French grandmother with two boys. “Mamie, mamie!”, spinning around her with joy and a blissful ignorance of the world around them. She was their world. They were her world.
Their chatter was incessant, questions followed by affirmations, without any need for answers. They had the confidence of someone who is loved, cherished and treated on an equal footing. I knew why, the moment she kneeled down.
She appeared so well-grounded. Being well-grounded is the greatest gift a parent and grand-parent can make to a child. Something tells me these two boys will turn into well-grounded adults and one day they will kneel down to talk to their kids.
Kids only mirror and give what they receive.
When I was little, year 2000 seemed stellar years away. And now I say “Hello 2020!”
As I finish this year in my kitchen with crème patissière under my nails, I choose a moment of solitude to write down a few thanks to the passing year.
Thank you 2019,
for my new motherhood experiences. It is a 3D of past, present and future. Kids are unattainable teachers. We just have to open our hearts.
for a magic encounter with a new painter – Conny Famm from Sweden at his “Nordic Grace” exhibition. His “State of soul” is divine.
for my privileged and intimate friendships, which are untouched by distance. You know who are.
for my great professional relationships, which evolved into friendships. You know who you are.
for a new and growing sorority of spirits, regardless of our genders and age. We know who we are.
for many brilliant books I read this year.
for “Angel” by MyiaGi, my song of the year.
for a few small traditions I helped create, which continue to benefit those who need it most.
for my Grandmother’s traditions I sacredly follow on our special family occasions. It is my way to keep her in our hearts. Some of them fill our stomachs just fine, which she also loved doing for us, just like this cheese pie.
for the patience of my hubby when he fights his unspoken “You bought again so many!?, as he knows that I will support all forms of women’s entrepreneurship.
for new wisdoms I discovered and share with my daugthers. Here is a selection of my favourites:
- The story you tell yourself is by far more important than the story other people tell you.
- There is no truth in suffering.
- Patience is a virtue few have, and those who have it gain it all.
- What others say or do is about them. If you internalise it, you make it about you.
- There are two basic emotions: fear and faith. The choice is yours.
- Your behaviours demonstrate your values. Choose what you show to the world.
- Age does not register with those who are busy with good deeds.
- People who say that they will do it and then actually do it are rare. Be one of rare ones.
Thank you, 2019! Hello and welcome, 2020!
I was on a 4 hour train ride.
– How are you, Madam? It’s ok, not too long?, asked the conductor, as we approached our destination.
– Thank you, it is just right. And how are you? You are the one working all these hours. I am only giving a massage to the seat 🙂
– Oh, thank you very much for asking, a big smile lighting up his face. I adore it. It’s the best job in the world! When all goes well.
– I wish you that it continues to stay well, in all its ways.
– Thank you very much, Madam. A pleasure to see you again on our trains.
A one minute dialogue with a thousand riches in it. People find meaning in serving others. People are opening up when asked with autheticity how was their day/duty trip/behind-the-cashier day. A grateful customer can give meaning to someone’s work. Be kind.
Coffee mug courtesy of Courtyard by Marriott – my kind of coffee fortune telling.
– How old is she? i was often asked about my kid while strolling and playing in the park.
– Why? i would ask. The faces of inquires would get usually very puzzled.
– Hmm, to compare her with my daughter/niece/cousin’s kid…, would be usually mumbled in response.
– Do they need your comparison? would be my usual good-buy.
At school, my best friend’s mom would use two rulers to follow the marks on her daughter and my rows in the teachers notebook. I can only imagine the talks they had at home. As a result, our friendship suffered. My now ex friend has a PhD and i hope she did it for her professional fulfillment.
Comparison leads to wanting more, consuming more, spending time and effort on others ideals. We rarely spend time and effort on comparing where we are now to where we started from and analysing how much we achieved.
“Comparison is the thief of joy” said Theodore Roosevelt. I realise we cannot escape comparison fully though. Social media and glamorizing TV do not help with endless status updates, instagrams, tweets and alike. We see the surface and our brains make conclusions. It often does so from perceived weaknesses on our end.
I was raised in soviet union and even that “egalitarian” regime had a built-in competition. “Better”, “faster”, “more” were teachers and trainers favourites. In my grandmother’s village there was a competition for fastest growing trees. How can you make trees grow faster? They grow depending on their roots and need for light. They do not grow to compete with the neighboring forest.
I missed many joyful moments in life because of comparison, imposed or self-imposed. I also learned that Comparison can still be a friend when applied with care and in line with own intrinsic philosophy, values and aspirations.
I care now to make sure my kid learns to apply comparison when it benefits her growth. And it also helps me grow. The same way a tree does 🙂
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” — Mahatma Gandhi