Today's treasure was a conversation with my best friend from seventh grade! When I moved out of the state in 1963 after my dad died, we didn't have e-mail or Facebook, and phone calls weren't affordable. We wrote for awhile, caught up at one point, but then lost touch again until a couple of weeks ago when I found her on Facebook. It felt as though no time had passed and the conversation flowed easily, filled with memories, laughter and catching up! What a gift to find her again after all these years!
I've had this photograph of Julia with me for decades! I knew when the time was right I'd find her again.
We have both taken different paths, yet our perspectives on life are very similar. It is refreshing and reassuring to know that the basis of our friendship is still strong and we are hoping to be able to see each other before the year ends. I'm feeling very blessed this year - another blessing to add to my gratitude list!
Two quotes caught my attention today - both about the importance of journaling. One speaks to journaling for the sake of processing your own life. The other addresses the need for solitude in order to find inspiration. My aha came when I looked up more information on each author and found they were both deceased. If they hadn't written or journaled, their words would have been lost.
"There are many good reasons for writing that have nothing to do with being published. Writing is a powerful search mechanism, and one of its satisfactions is that it allows you to come to terms with your life narrative."
William Zinsser, writer (October 7, 1922 - May 12, 2015)
“The development of sensibility is the most important thing for children and adults alike, but is much more possible for children…. Adults are very busy, taught to run all the time. You cannot run and be very aware of your inspirations.”
Agnes Martin, writer (March 22, 1912–December 16, 2004)
When I journal, thoughts come to me that would not formulate if I didn't take the time to process through heart to hand writing. My thought process is much more fluid and intuitive if I'm not using a keyboard. My pen often surprises me with unexpected thoughts, insights and inspiration!
Each of us has a unique perspective based on our experiences and perceptions that will be lost if not captured. We all have stories to tell and insights to share. If you haven't journaled, you might want to begin by simply making a list of 10 places you'd like to visit, or 100 things that make you grateful. Which leads me to a quote by another writer who is no longer here.
"We like lists because we don't want to die."
Umberto Eco, semiolician, writer (January 5, 1932 - February 19, 2016
This weekend we traveled to the Millennium Music Festival in Harrisburg, PA. There were 300 groups performing over the course of 3 days. There was a wealth of talent from all over the east coast and beyond featuring folk, rock, blues, jazz and more.
One of the highlights of the weekend was a stop by the Forum to show Nancy where our symphony performs. The Meyerhoff in Baltimore is spectacular and i wanted her to see our Forum.
We fortuitously stopped by just as the symphony was doing their final run through of Ivan Stravinsky's Petrushka. We listened to the entire performance under the spectacular star studded ceiling!
"To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing."
When people are born they are gentle and soft.
At death they are hard and stiff.
When plants are alive they are soft and delicate.
When they die, they wither and dry up.
Therefore the hard and stiff are followers of death.
The gentle and soft are the followers of life.
Thus, if you are aggressive and stiff, you can't win.
When a tree is hard enough, it is cut. Therefore
The hard and big are lesser,
The gentle and soft are greater.
- Yi-Ping Ong, from the introduction, Tao Te Ching
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!
Turtles are one of my totems. They have been significant twice in my life, both having to do with homes. When we purchased our 1820s farm house years - decades - ago, we made an offer equal to that of another couple who wanted to purchase the home. The owners accepted our offer because our girls had mentioned how much they loved turtles!
In April of 2011, when my home was flooded, I was planning to rebuild, and in the process waiting to move some place permanently. Dear friends came to the rescue, not just for me but for Zippy, my Puggle, and Rocky, my Main Coon cat. I will be eternally grateful! Rebuilding didn't work out and I eventually moved to Baltimore and lived in an apartment for several years until I purchased a home.
During that time, it seemed that turtles were everywhere - on walks in the woods or by the river, in the park, in cards and designs, on jewelry. They reminded me that I had everything I needed and I should go slowly and not rush into anything.
Today's treasure is an exquisite turtle pottery box from my dear friend Nancy. It reminds me of my journey and helps me remember the things I really need are on my back and in my heart. It also reminds me not to rush. The universe unfolds its miracles at the perfect time, and they are always much more miraculous than I could have imagined! Thank you Nancy!
"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."
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!