Baby, take a bow

Yesterday was an unimaginable red-letter day.   Who knew when Saturday dawned that Sunday would be utterly WOW?   Then Opportunity stepped in.

Background:  It was my pleasure to plan & prep & prep for yesterday’s Bryn Athyn Community (B-Act) late afternoon cast party, but a delightful spanner was thrown into the works when a special friend extended an invitation for Sunday lunch.

On 10/15/17, my reality was that things were organized enough that by I could drop by all the paper goods & stock the Green Room fridge at the Mitchell Performing Arts Center (the play AND party site) with sodas, barbequed meat balls, baby potatoes dolloped with sour cream/bacon/chives, dozens of deviled eggs, chili, guacamole, salsa, veggie dip, cheese balls (blue -and- cheddar), sliced veggies with ranch dip for dunking, cream cheese with cocktail sauce & mini shrimp, pumpkin dip with apple slices, apple pie spread, grapes dipped in melted butterscotch bits & rolled in crushed pecans, cookies & cream puffs.  All DONE by 10:30 a.m., leaving John & I free to get to Tom Rose’s 11:00 a.m. investiture service, stop at York Diner for a nibble, arrive at Trish’s out in the far western reaches of Montgomery County for what both of us agree was the MOST fun lunch & extended gab & gaggle of new friends EVER.

I am as proud of yesterday as any accomplishment in my life.  Things were well organized & work was advanced enough that, when opportunity knocked we could answer YES without leaving anyone in the lurch. The party foods were packaged in service-ready containers, labeled with the contents, if it contained nuts, & a recommended cracker or dipper.  If there hadn’t been room in the fridge – which, praise be, there was – the foods that required refrigeration until the 4:00 p.m. party would have been fine, packed in our big ice chest, chilled with the well-sealed bags of ice atop the stacked containers.

That would have been unthinkable four years ago.  It was the culmination of a grand plan – getting to yesterday took years of  intention, determination, focus & follow through.

For three years, I volunteered to put on every B-Act cast party.  Doing a long line of parties let me figure out what worked best, plan & execute menus that provide maximum satisfaction for minimum effort & minimal expenses, are easy to set up & clean up.

Everything completed & stored by 10:30 a.m. for the late afternoon party,  without a  suggestion of stress.  Even the pick up of left-overs et al was as easy peasy as it gets – picked up around 9:00 p.m. (we were at Trish’s until 8:00!) at the B-Act president’s home, all chilled in our trusty Igloo ice chest.

That might not seem like a major accomplishment, but it is epic.  Its planning involved years of preparation, of learning & applying the lessons, REMEMBERING what worked & doing more of that -and- eliminated the sub par & gosh awful, doing things at the best time & in the most effective manner, at the most effective time (instead of finally) & in effective ways.

All of which went against an upbringing that drummed into me the opposite of everything that went into yesterday’s triumph, lifelong messages extolling creativity as springing from spontaneity (“stodgy planning is so bourgeois”), celebrating winging it as the mark of true genius, putting personal gratification above others’,  painting last-minute dramatics as conducive to great final results, & presenting stress strain unhappiness as conducive to the creative process.

Yesterday, being ABLE to accept a last minute invitation because I’d already overridden really dumb ancient messaging, turned out to be a personal performance worth several curtain calls.

Baby, take a bow!

 

 

Even Hitler

Marianne Williamson introduced me to the reality that when we take down our masks, we discover how alike we are.  That seems to tally with my believe that the grand end of life is 5, or 5th – when we fulfill the 5th Commandment, when we see our parents as what they truly are, as fallible humans with stories we don’t really know because they don’t, then we embrace the flawed humanity within which is the Divine.  Getting to see, to accept in our heart & express in our lives that core-est of core truths is what our time in this place, at this moment is all about.  Coming back to where we began – reflecting resonating reverberating Divine Love.

This is true for EVERYONE – we don’t get to pick & choose.  It’s either true for all or for none.  On that point, many of our nation’s evangelicals sound to me far more like pharisees than disciples of Christ.  The Divine doesn’t run an exclusive, excluding club.

My mother used to tell us that we could not judge anyone, no matter what they did.  We could – and should – have judgement around what they do, never around their intent.

“Even HITLER?” we asked, thinking we got her with that one.

“Even Hitler,” she answered, to our shock.

When I set aside my mask, it’s easier to see my spirit kinship with EVERYONE.  Everyone’s heart touching, in this time & place, around the world, transcending place & time.  Even Hitler’s.

Innovation & all that lies ahead

An advantage of growing older is racking up enough experiences to spot the same old issues, whether the usual suspects pop out in the usual way OR get sneaky & attack under different guises.

Although it was a jaw-dropper when this was first brought home to me five years ago, I am an innovator, a problem solver.  Never saw myself that way – the first manager of our local farm market mentioned it, as if it was obvious.  To her – yes.  To me – nope.

Oh, I knew about being a problem solver.  That was my unacknowledged but essential family role.  But the innovator part caught me unawares, although looking back over 60 years shouted out the truth of her comment.

For 41 years, my #1 problem-solving energies were directed at getting a better sense of mental emotional spiritual balance in a life that had been & continued to be…  I can’t describe the indescribable.  Trying to make sense of whackadoodle dynamics that seemed to make sense to everyone BUT me.

Which is where Susie’s “innovator” description comes in – for 41 years, I’ve reached for different perceptions of “reality,” different spins on events, different WHYs behind what this person or that did.  I upended entrenched views of myself, my family, my teachers friends colleagues, disrupting assumptions with “what ifs.”

Although it didn’t hit me until today, that’s innovation at its core – seeking different views, fresh understandings.

I am always seeking a new take on old problems.  I am willing to jettison what is messing me up, even if it is something I’ve held onto for decades.  (Our resistance to do that is a blog posting all on its own!)  I hold my image of what HAPPENED in any given moment with light reins – 65 years have shown how many times what I was SURE happened turned out to either be off-kilter.

Being an innovator got me to this flat-out terrific now.  It zooms me, even at a glacial pace, to all that lies ahead.

And it drives a lot of people nuts.

Life IS Good – Podcast Tuesday

Delighted to discover The Art of Charm team – speak to me, guys!  People think of me as a social smoothie – in some ways, yes; in others – oh brother, am such a fledgling!!  Having a blast as I work my way through the 30-day challenge, taking me upward & onward to a glorious upbeat, optimistic FABULOUS forever!

Here’s the link to BERT JACOBS’s interview with the AoC guys – great info at ANY age. Bliss!

https://theartofcharm.com/podcast-episodes/bert-jacobs-life-good-episode-502/

 

2-timin’ Willie Nelson

No, HE’s not 2-timing ~ here’s just two times he’s gotten dandy press coverage for his still roaring career.  At 84!

First, a Daily Beast post from March about the scheduled drop of a new album, God’s Problem Child. ~ to quote Rolling Stone, “Listening to a new Willie Nelson album with a set of fresh ears is almost impossible to do in 2017 – and Nelson knows it. Hovering over all news regarding the Red Headed Stranger are worries about the health of the country icon, who turns 84 on April 29th. So he decided to make the elephant in the room – his own mortality – the focal point of his new LP, God’s Problem Child**.”

Now, he’s back on the press circuit, promoting an album – Willie Nelson & the Boys – made with his 20-something sons, Lucas & Michal, due out on 10/20/17.  So Daily Beast dropped a video of the three of them discussing music & performing Send Me The Pillow You Dream On.

Willie Nelson – 84 & going strong… with a little support from his boys.  Speaks (sings?) volumes!

 

**I did the best I could do
Or the best I could tell
The higher I flew, the farther I fell
Born in the mud,
Raised in the wild
Washed in the blood,
God’s Problem Child
I feel the shine, following me
Not far behind, that’s where I wanna be
A little out of town, fine by me
Darkness may fall
We still got a light
Keeping us all
Safe through the night
Heaven must love
God’s problem child
Heaven must love
God’s problem child
Heaven must love
God’s problem child

TONCHE – Mindwalker1910 10/30/00

Mom’s participation in the Tonche Women’s Weekend was a high point of her closing years & a high-water mark for showing her at her most KRL-ish.  By the next October – 2001 – she was gone, reunited with her O! Best Beloved.

Subj: Tonche
Date: Mon Oct 30 08:32:43 EST 2000

Almost a month without a posting from me. All is well. In fact, all is beyond the beyond. I think that the reason I haven’t written is because words are inadequate to describe what I have experienced this month.

Miracles do happen.

Earlier this month, I attended the Women’s Weekend at Tonche (outside of Woodstock, NY. I wanted to go last year, had planned on going, but could not make it because I was still recuperating from my “episode.”

This year, I got there.

It is awful, the way that words fail me when I am most deeply, deeply moved. My vocabulary does not include the words to describe what I saw and felt over that remarkable weekend. I felt totally wrapped up in love.

It was a weekend filled with old and new friends, renewed energies, and an unexpected chance to get in a good visit with my older daughter, Mim. I do not know which of us was more surprised to see the other person there! My age made it almost unthinkable that I would actually get there and keep going under my own steam for the whole time; Mim’s lack of transportation and own physical challenges make it equally challenging for her. What a blessing that we both overcame any obstacles to be there, in the heart of caring women.

Elsa was informed right off the bat by Deanna Nelson Odhner that she and the others would take care of me over the weekend. I felt like a mountain woman version of the Queen of Sheba, with my every wish and want taken care of. So much love, wonderful homemade food AND a view of the Catskills that would knock your socks off.

The one thing that I am going to share is a realization that came during ”sharing” time with the small circle of women I met with in the morning and evening. I had, over the two days, discussed bits and pieces of my life. I think it was on the second evening – or maybe it was on the last morning – that I mentioned that life had been easy on me. One of the young woman looked at me in disbelief and blurted out, “Mrs. Lockhart, from what you’ve described, your life has been anything but easy!” That got me thinking – it feels like the right word to describe my life is “easy,” but I can see what she meant. Perhaps “fortunate” is better.

One of the key blessings to come out of the weekend has been the gift of seeing things in a new light, with a richer awareness and a deeper appreciation. For 2 ½ days, I basked in the happiness of being there with both of my daughters. I developed new friendships, especially with Julie Conaron, and increased the depth of old ones, particularly with Deanna.

I was up every morning bright and early and down to Danna’s house in plenty of time for breakfast, and I stayed up until the end of each program/discussion group. I felt strong mentally, spiritually and physically.

I said I was going to go and I went!

If only I could share all that was in my heart, all the images in my mind – what a glorious posting this would be!

Love to one and all, especially to my fellow mountain women – The Queen of Sheba (aka Grammie)

 

surREAL

John & I are happily caught in surREALity  ~  facing down financial challenges that would daunt our earlier selves, confident in the knowledge they’re the ONLY things weighing us down.  Every other aspect of our lives gives us wings to soar over a tangled landscape, discovering new vistas & overgrown paths;  beckoning others to find the ancient, too-often forgotten awareness that ALL of our life is designed for wholeness & joy.

Quite the turn around from earlier this week, when I was uncharacteristically bummed.  Our newest client decided that, at 90+, she wasn’t up to the rehab we whisked her to & from. What stung, more than feeling the loss of income we NEED, was the loss of connecting with a remarkably active older woman.

We’ve lined up three clients since May; each one has said good bye (in addition to our most recent opting out of rehab, one family decided that enrichment, not covered under Medicare, was too $ while another went with a service offering more care options).

The Universe is sending a message – move on, this option’s been shut down.

I’m used to the Universe’s modus operandi of introducing me to new experiences, new lessons by throwing my life into an uproar.  If it means tossing me out of a job – teaching, public relations, marketing support – so be it.

Learned long ago that the Universe focuses on the end, not a fleeting moment.  The third time it happened, being tossed out of comfort no longer fazed me.  That time, the shock lasted a scant hour before it hit me that something BIG was in store, so best to get with the unknown program.

That’s how it feels now.  Yes, there are moments it feels scary.  Face it – most people under value what we offer; a shocking number flat-out dismiss the importance – at all ages – of spontaneous play, of experiencing joy.

We understand.  The average person caught up in the speed & stress of the age can feel dubious, even daunted, by the idea that playfulness is as essential to a healthy life as vitamins & other nutrients.  What was true when we were kids, when play came as naturally as breathing, is still true today – a sense of unfettered, open playfulness is  essential to our well-being.  Way too many adults have gotten so used to the base note of stress underscoring modern life & don’t realize how dangerous a lack of regular FUN is to their  health well-being prosperity

Our society focuses on work, on production, on racking up tangible results that can be measured calculated quantified.  Aka, the opposite of play, which requires a sense of the unfettered, the freely done & freely received.

Someone has to stand for getting more play into everyone’s lives, to infect our older friends with glee & laughter & a light heart.  The Universe tapped us.

My reality is that every time I find work that provides personal satisfaction, a decent income & serves others, the Universe ultimately yanks me out, tosses me into a void awaiting structure.  “Okay, you learned the lessons this work can provide – onto the next,” it seems to say.

The first time, I went from a teacher to a balloon seller to a editor/public relations maven.  The second, the shift was from public relations & advertising to account executive.  The third lead me to elder care.

None of them were places I would ever have predicted, ESPECIALLY the last.  All of them provided essential lessons that will serve me – us – well in being eldercare (r)evolutionaries, set on disrupting the current woeful culture society uses to straitjacket too many oldsters elders ancients.  I didn’t set out to do this work.  If I’d had my original druthers, I be winding down a wonderful life as a junior high teacher.

The Universe has other plans.

While that sounds whackily New Ageish to a lot of people,  experience taught me long ago that there is reason to what could appear calamity.  Surreal?  Yes.  As in phantasmagorical.

Phantasmagorical – “changing or shifting, as a scene made up of many elements.”  Yes, that sums up how my life has turned out.  “As something in a dream or created by the imagination” – that works, too.  I’ve come to have complete faith in the unforeseen, the out of left field.

When it comes to stuff – to school tax & ancient cars, cat food & weekly groceries – we admit to being in a temporarily dicey place.  When it comes to everything else, all is awesome, beyond the beyond.  In ways other than the material, the here & now, the temporal, we push pursue put the REAL in surreality!