Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (… or thank you Dr. Seuss)

I can’t believe how quickly time passes these days, but won’t complain about a thing because life’s busy and filled with lots of stimulating activities and marvelous moments. Most recently I’ve:

~listened to inspiring, informative ‘free calls’ & ‘paid for webinars’ online
~taken copious notes to help me remember powerful ideas shared
~made time to write for my own reasons each day
~dined out with friends & taken myself out for meals alone with my journal
~bounced ideas off of fellow writers on the phone
~walked & played with Molly
~shopped for groceries & cooked delicious meals at home
~enjoyed gardening and sitting on my front patio reflectively
~devoted time to ‘decluttering’
~responded to comments left by visitors & sent emails too
~published at each of my old blogs
… and kept up with my sidebar gratitude list at Small Reflections

Of course I’ve done other productive things as well in a light-hearted spirit of creative play. Most importantly, I’ve begun to …

~figure out who might be my ‘ideal client’
~clarify just what my ‘niche’ is
~identify my own gifts and talents specifically
… and create a ‘vision’ of possible futures for myself.

I’d like to be able to create and share MP3 files of me reading ‘flo po’ pieces regularly here and in email. I’ve used Google to do some preliminary research into how to begin but found choosing among the multiple possibilities a bit confusing. After devoting time to considering whether learning to do this myself is a ‘distraction’ …(as in a minimum wage job I could delegate to free up my time for more important tasks) or not … I believe this could be a necessary basic skill worth cultivating since I’d like to create regular ‘flo po’ posts with audio accompaniment. So, tomorrow I plan to call the folks at the Adult School to see whether anyone might be able to point me in the right direction and/or ‘mentor’ me.

What follows here today is a piece I wrote about my brother on May 8th of 2008 and shared at Small Reflections in response to a ‘prompt’ to write about a ‘hero’ in my life.
I offer it here to continue setting forth ‘ground work’ revealing a context for the ‘places I’ve been’ thus far in life while exploring the ‘places I’ll go’ next.’

My brother was 9 when I arrived on the scene in 1945 … so he would have been in 4th grade. Having taught kids of that age who experienced ‘a baby entering the family’ gives me a ‘frame of reference’ to understand what that must have been like for him from his perspective. I suspect he took it ‘in stride’ without being ‘interested or involved’ any more than necessary.

I recall watching (and eventually helping) him fold newspapers to deliver each morning before school. He was an ‘asthmatic’ kid who tried not to let ‘breathing problems’ slow him down … and in those days we had no ‘medicine’ to assist … so he learned ‘mental methods’ on his own and kept going no matter what. It was ‘the family way’ of dealing with life … do what you can with what you have where you are and never give up.

Dave was smart … but ‘bored’ with school most of the time. He did ‘enough to get by’ … earning Cs unless he was intrigued by the subject matter (or teacher). Then he ‘excelled’ earning As. As things had been for my dad, there wasn’t much ‘middle ground’ in his view. Issues were ‘black & white’ and his ‘positions’ on them ‘clear-cut’ with no room for ‘shades of gray’ … leading to many a ‘heated’ discussion with others (including myself until I developed some perspective of the ‘process’ and ‘disengaged’ emotionally during such ‘academic’ discussions).

When I was 12, he taught me to play tennis and to water-ski … mainly so he’d have someone to retrieve the balls on the court and to ride ‘observer’ in the boat with his friends; however that’s how we became ‘friends’ for life. I’ve written before of his experiences in the Air Force at the age of 17 which compounded his ‘health’ problems and his adult life … (#61-64 in 101Things About Me). He married in his 30s … had two boys … moved to Arizona for his health … worked as a Civil Engineer even though his education focused on Electrical Engineering … and eventually returned to Southern California in the mid 1980s.

Throughout our lives we spent ‘quality time’ together on a regular basis … because ‘family’ was important to us all. His presence in my life helped me become who I am today … doggedly determined in the face of adversity … undeterred by ‘distractions’ when I maintain my ‘focus’ … doing my best consistently and always trying to improve. Of course, I’m still ‘who I am’ … the eternal optimist looking for the good in all things … but in a bit more ‘grounded way’ because of his ‘reality based’ approach to life and living. I miss him every day … even as I’m grateful he isn’t ‘suffering’ any longer.

As a post-script, I’ll add that Dave died 15 days before his 65th birthday. My brother outlived everyone’s expectations (except perhaps his own) through sheer determination
& strength of will and is survived by his widow, two sons (both married with families),
5 grandchildren (all born after his death), my sister and myself.

Thought for Today
“Remember pain. You pain is your key to freedom…and when we speak, the pain dissolves into a river of tears where it belongs.” SARK

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4 Responses to Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (… or thank you Dr. Seuss)

  1. Sharon Martinelli says:

    It is so wonderful to be an observer, able to sit in the stands and watch as one of my most favorite people in the world takes her big bold steps firmly onto her own path. You are so able to share with us the tender spots of life. I love SARK’s quote, but I would love it even more if we could skip the pain part, but we, who have survived the pains of life know that there is always something new and freeing on the other side.
    Thanks for sharing this story and here is to more “looking for the good in all things”.

    • Virginia says:

      How lovely for me to find your supportive and encouraging words here this afternoon! I understand & relate to what you mean about part of you wishing to skip the pain … while another part realizes that the act of moving through (or surviving) pain brings us to experience unexpected gifts. One advantage to having lived mid-way through my 6th decade is a clear understanding that allowing myself to lean into the pain (rather than avoid it at all costs) brings a greater recognition of and appreciation for the easy to overlook simple joys of life. One reason why I love SARK’s quote is because I’ve learned through experience how HEALING tears can be.
      Hugs and blessings,

  2. Gail says:

    “splitWhew, Virginia, you amaze me with your virtuosity both with words and all things technical. Up until now, I have kind of been an “email and Facebook” person only — and felt I was spending too much time on the computer anyhow. Your persistence in following your dreams and getting your work out there is an inspiration. Somehow I thought you had only posted a couple of things and now that I came back to your site, I am astonished with how much work you have poured out. As for specific responses, I am going to quit turning my laptop in circles to read your labyrinth pieces, take your advice and print out some of it to read with more introspection. I am going to have to put you on my calendar to even begin to pierce (yes I know teachers hate split infinitives [oh, ha, I just type”split infinities]) Be back soon! Gail

    • Virginia says:

      What a pleasant surprise to discover your comment here today. Earlier while writing in my journal, I berated myself for not adding something NEW … since it’s been quite some time since I published ‘Embracing Chaos’ piece. However reading what you’ve shared and looking at Giraffe Journal from YOUR perspective lets me see how much I’ve accomplished and relax into that awareness … so THANKS Gail!!! I can’t help but LAUGH aloud when I picture you turning your laptop around to read these pieces. The newer ones have orange AudioAcrobat buttons and if you double-click on ‘play’ you can listen to me read the pieces. I have written new labyrinths to share but haven’t had time to record them … and that’s why there’s nothing brand new. I suspect if I had your darling grandchild to play with, I wouldn’t spend nearly as much time online!
      Hugs and blessings,

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