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.
This week, Brené Brown shared with us “What Toni Morrison Taught Me About Parenting”. I warmly invite you to read it. There was a specific part, Brené quoted from a Toni Morrison’s interview, which drew my attention: “Let your face speak what’s in your heart. When they (kids) walk in the room my face says I’m glad to see them. It’s just as small as that, you see?”. These words resonated with me on many levels, as a kid, as well as a parent.
I was raised under the vigilant lenses of “not enough” of a soviet time. My school socks were not white enough, my hair was not well enough braided, my voice was not loud enough in pioneer marches … My parents got in the spirit of “not enough” and kept a faithful devotion to it at work and at home.
“Let your face speak what’s in your heart” reminded me of my grandmother. She was the only one who looked with wonder every time she saw me. Her face would light up, regardless. Mismatched socks or not. Braided hair or not. Scratched knees or not, dismissing with a smile my parents’ worry of “how would you look on the school play pic?!” Who cares 10-20-30 years later? Back then, pictures were black and white anyway.
When I became a mother, some family members would almost demand that the baby smiles at them. They probably thought babies come with a smile button on their back or that I have it on a remote control. My response was and is “she brings joy by her mere existence. She does not need to do anything special for anyone”.
I know that she knows that today, as well as she did when she was a baby. Because when I put shoes’ laces first, she does not hesitate to remind me of what’s important in parenting, with love.
One of most beautiful pieces I read in a while, written humbly, soul-touching:
https://onbeing.org/blog/the-gift-of-presence-the-perils-of-advice/ by Parker J. Palmer.
I have a black dress with a beautiful flower print, three quarters sleeves, midi length. I call it my 90s dress. As in “a dress to wear in my 90s”.
I picture myself in my mid ninetees wearing it with an orange scarf, a flirtish small purse, mid heels, by my partner’s arm, heading to my daughter’s house for an afternoon picnic.
This is my pledge. A pledge to a long, healthy, happy life, surrounded by people with whom I share a commitment to nurturing. I love the feeling this pledge gives. It makes me grateful and wise about how I use my life resources.
I once met a psychiatrist who cautioned me about the way I use my resources, in a period I worked for five big clients simultaneously, under tough tight deadlines. A did not know the word No at that time. From an Yes person, I turned into a robot. The psychiatrist asked me to pay a visit to her hospital. Seeing Mentally alienated people was an wake up call. It showed the bottom which brought in the salvaging perspective. The mind is a servant. Put it to good use and it will serve you. Make it run endless, meaningless errands and it will rebel. Payback time will get tough. The bottom will be quick to hit. Regaining balance will be challenging.
Back to my dress. It was on my “to donate” list. Until its orange flower print gave me that sense of perpetuation. Was it its stand-out orange pattern, with its energising sunny colour? Was it the contrast between black and orange as in a competition for a bet on the bright side of the life? It can be both. It regained now a prominent place in my wardrobe. This pledge is printed out, folded and kept in my diary, as a claim made with an open heart and humility to a long, healthy, prosperious, loving, fulfilling life for the good of all.
I am stuck. Which road to take? Which step to take? Whom to turn to? Why do it? Is it worth it?
Questions, questions, questions springing and spinning in my mind……
And then here is the answer:
Oscar Pistorius has already inspired a generation with his 400m performance, despite being a double amputee. Ellie Challs is the young girl he is racing here.
Look at her face and body laguage. It is a lively expression of ‚I can do it!” today and everyday. This is how drive, perseverance and joy of being alive look like! I could not take my eyes of her for hours!
The only limits we have are the ones we place on ourselves.
That’s it. My mind has no more questions. This image lifted my spirits to a place where I am able to deal with whatever comes my way.
Back on road! A happy ride, dear!