Today is the first year anniversary of my brother Benjamin's death - 11-03-2016 - and I miss him. Benjamin's favorite color was yellow, he had a special place in his heart for cats, and enjoyed all kinds of music, He was an expert chess player and played daily. His sense of humor was so dry that most people missed it. He was one of the youngest to receive Eagle Scout, an honor earned by only about 4% of Boy Scouts. He loved his country and served in the Navy and later in the Marines. Benjamin graduated from the University of Texas in Austin and kept his love for all things Texas in his heart by watching westerns, listening to country music and cheering for any sports team within the Texas borders. He was often seen in a cowboy hat and boots, carrying a walking stick in later years.
Benjamin loved numbers. He kept notebooks filled with the numbers the way I keep journals filled with words and sketches. He assessed life through numbers, daily listing dates, temperatures, check book balances, stock figures, and some I can't decipher. When I would grumble about math or balancing the check book, he'd grin and say, "What's the problem? There are only 10 of them." My dad, who passed on his fascination with numbers, was a calculus professor at an engineering school. His death anniversary was yesterday - 11-02-1963 - twenty days before President Kennedy was assassinated. That's another post.
They both viewed the world numerically, a skill I've never quite embraced. If you look at the categories to the right on the side bar, you'll see that I have at times attempted to give them more attention. They've been on my mind more than usual lately since I'm keeping a daily word count for NaNoWriMo and keeping statistics on on my website.
In an attempt to keep my brother's memory closer, I'm committing to paying more attention to the numbers in my life.
One of my most powerful lessons on creative thinking was my aha! when I realized that half of eight was O!
I was in an arithmetic class in elementary school and as I looked at the number 8, I realized that "half of eight equals 4" wasn't the only right answer! This discovery thrilled me and I immediately raised my hand to share this with my teacher and the rest of the class. The teacher was neither impressed nor pleased. She was visibly annoyed.
By the time I got home, my dad, a calculus professor at an engineering school, had received a call. He sat me down at the dining room table to have a conversation. His face was expressionless (my dad had made a considerable amount of money in the Korean War playing Black Jack and unlike me, had an enviable poker face).
He told me that my teacher had called and given her perspective, quite negative, on my discovery, and he asked me to explain mine.
"Well, I just realized that half of eight can be zero," I said quietly, my head down.
"Can you prove it?" he asked, and I saw a grin cross his face. He knew I could!
So I drew an eight, and covered the top. 0!
My dad was not angry. He was pleased! And as I looked at the 8 I realize it could be an E or a 3! And if I turned it on its side, it could be an m or a w!
It was then that I realized being creative in school might not be well received. Over the years, many teachers wanted me to memorize and regurgitate. Thankfully my dad, a Calculus professor, wanted me to think.
My life would have been very different if he has scolded or reprimanded me as my teacher had. I have often wondered over the years as I've worked with young people, how many times their creative ideas and potential contributions have been squelched. Seeing things in new and different ways adds such joy to life.
Just this morning my daughter Mycala came up with an idea that i could see changing everything in her life, and have a humorous and joyful impact on others! I've been smiling since and thinking of how blessed I was to have support in my life for looking for more than one right answer!
I recently read a story about a man who dreamt he was a softly moving beam of light floating through a crowd.
The dream prompted him to consider the impact he had on others as he moved through his day. He made the decision to literally be a 'beam of light'. He made a commitment to bring warmth and light to his personal '10 foot zone".
There are people who light up the area around them naturally. We had a coordinator's meeting today and watching the crowd dynamics was fascinating. We have a couple of people whose positive energy radiates well beyond 10 feet! (Linda, Roy and Kathryn, to name a few!)
Wouldn't it be phenomenal if we would all become aware of the warmth we can extend to others, whether in an increasingly long line at the post office, a traffic jam or passing a neighbor? A smile and a kind word can make all the difference. If they don't smile back, we shouldn't take it personally. We never know what is going on in people's lives. But most of the time people will be receptive, and they'll probably pass the warmth along to others.
We can't control what is happening in the world, and the media makes us very aware of the ugliness and injustice. Yet we are much more powerful than we realize. Extend a warm smile, a sincere compliment, gentle reassurance - it doesn't cost anything to use our boundless source of love and energy to make the world a kinder, gentler place. We all have the power to impact our own 10 foot radius. If each one of us commits to that small area, and all of the circles connect, the impact would be immeasurable.
“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing
Have you noticed a pattern? My last numerical post was the number 12, and today's is 12,000. This wasn't planned. It's the result of a story a friend shared. Her husband decided to plant marigolds. A lot of marigolds. 12,000 to be exact. He planted them in a relatively small area - a few feet wide by about two car lengths. - I'm guessing about 12 feet. I found myself smiling for the rest of the day, elated at the thought of the excessiveness.
What a creative, grand gesture! Large numbers can lift what would be a rather mundane, every day event to extraordinary. Memorable moments can be achieved quickly through multiplication! Amethysts are the treasure most likely to use excess and exaggeration in memorable gift giving. Scroll down to the section on how each of the treasures use roses in gift giving for examples.
Those of you who have been following my posts probably know that I am enchanted with the legends, lore and history of plants. You may also know that I visited India where the extravagant use of marigolds is a daily occurrence. So there were a number of things about the marigold planting that delighted me.
I arrived in India in the early hours of a full moon night. Even though the hour was late, the traffic was still memorable. It was shortly after my ride through the streets of Delhi, weaving in and out of patternless traffic completely amazed that no one hit anyone, that I learned that marigolds were credited with protection. Strands of marigolds were draped from rear view mirrors, piled on dash boards and draped across laps as unsecured seat belts. This from Article VI of Peter Hughes hilarious 12 rules of the Indian Road. (The number 12. There is it again. None of this is by accident).
Article VI - "in the absence of seat belts (which there is), car occupants shall wear garlands of marigolds. These should be kept fastened at all times."
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
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