Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Blindness Blindness.

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I’m a visual person and so grateful for the gift of sight. Something happened recently that served as an exquisite reminder of what a wonder it is to be able to see. I mean really see the world around us. From the miniscule to the monumental. From the fine grains of sand beneath our feet to the infinite stars that dust the midnight sky above our heads. And every extraordinary remarkable astonishing breathtaking thing in between.

What was the catalyst for this reawakening?

Recently, my Big Sis (aka BS) had a cataract removed from her right eye, the worst of the two afflicted by the disease. Her ability to see had grown increasingly dire over the past several years. Both close-up, and from afar, things were cloudy with a slight chance of rain.

Needless to say, our family was delighted, and quite frankly, relieved when the first cataract was removed. She was halfway to having her vision fully restored. Her eyes had been revised and she was given a shot at second sight.

Despite the challenges of our relationship, I love BS dearly and couldn’t wait for her to see things. But what I quickly realized was that her vision might have been restored but her ability to see had not. Her eyes were functioning physically but she could not see.

At a family dinner a few days after the surgery, she gushed exuberantly about all the things she could now see so well, the unbelievable things that her cataracts had kept hidden from her these past few years. It was such a marvel, a revelation beyond revelations.

The list was endless and exhausting. Dust on furniture, dirt in corners, scratches on vehicles, wrinkles on faces, blemishes on skin, grey in hair, cracks in walls, nicks on floors. On and on it went.

At first I found it rather humorous. But humor quickly changed to dismay, as this list appeared to be growing with each day that her vision improved.

And right now, as I write this, I just feel sad.

We live in such a lavish and graciously abundant universe. There is so much to see. So much awe-inspiring wonderment surrounds us. Although this particular wake-up call and reminder from BS, whose focus these past few weeks has been off-kilter and categorically on all the wrong things, was disturbing I cannot point the finger at her without pointing three back at myself.

In searching the darkest crevices of my heart, I know I’m just as bad. We’re one and the same, and not because we share DNA. We both lose sight of the big picture sometimes, and that has nothing to do with being sisters.

Far too often I have indulged in focusing on the flaws, the imperfections, the defects and deficiencies. I’ve been on faultfinding missions of epic proportions. I’ve only seen the lack and scarcity. Not enough. Half empty. I’ve squandered my vision carelessly. Recklessly. Audaciously.

And worse yet, I’ve taken it for granted.

I’ve chosen that impaired perspective over seeing the bounty and the plenty. The cornucopia. The beautiful. The splendor. The kind.

And most importantly, the good.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Wayne Dyer, You Changed My Life.

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Facebook really knows how to deliver the news. Whatever is going on in the world, it ends up there in some way, shape or form. Guaranteed. So much of it is bullshit baffling brains. It’s a crazy-ass stew of hilarious, hysterical, heavenly, helpful, hurtful and harmful.

And every now and again, it’s gut-wrenchingly heartbreaking.

This emotional gutting happened to me a year ago when I opened my Facebook newsfeed, only to learn that my dear one and soul sister, Mary Frances had died. Then it happened again on Sunday, August 30. Wayne Dyer has left his body, passing away through the night. My first reaction to both death announcements was, “how’s that even possible?”

Initially, my entire being was thrust into abrupt and swift shock. Then, my soul struggled to fathom such an impossible notion, such a far-fetched and preposterous declaration. Surreal doesn’t even begin to describe what I was experiencing in that moment. Then panic set in. If Wayne Dyer isn’t in this physical dimension, then where do I go in times of fear, sorrow, anxiety, trouble and confusion? Who will comfort me? Where will I find solace and courage, strength and grounding? Who else can provide such powerful profundity and candid commonsense? For this is what his words and wisdom had provided me for the past three decades.

Then I just felt sad. Deeply. Profoundly. Fervently. Utterly. Completely. Every fiber, every cell, every piece of me went into mourning.

I was sad for everyone who loved him, his family and friends, his followers and devotees, those who were lucky enough to know him personally, and those like me, who knew him through his books, audio recordings, PBS appearances, his website and social media.

Like many, I “met” Wayne through his first book, Your Erroneous Zones. I say I met him because that’s exactly how it felt. And as I read more and more of his books, I felt like I was not only learning and growing increasingly aware of my interior and exterior worlds, acquiring a deeper understanding of this life and the one beyond the mist, but that I was also getting to know the man. And this man was extraordinary in every way.

Marvelous and wonderful. Magical and mystical. Intelligent and wise. Witty and entertaining. Mentor and teacher. Inspired and an inspiration.

And I am going to miss him. I’m going to miss reading his words. I’m going to miss listening to his voice in the truck on my way to work. I’m going to miss watching him pace the PBS stage, rolling his hands rhythmically in tune to the cadence of his lyrical voice, as he explained the power of intention and how to make our wishes come true. You’ll see it when you believe it, one of his many mantras. I’m going to miss all those too. I’m going to miss his inspiring quotes in my Facebook newsfeed. I’m going to miss meditating with him. I’m going to miss the “ah”.

So what does the student do when the teacher moves to a different realm?

Take the lessons learned and do something good. Something meaningful. Something kind. Something loving. Something compassionate. Something generous. Something optimistic. Something courageous. Something big. Something small. Something simple. Something profound. Something gentle. Something fierce. Something funny. Something intelligent. Something memorable. Something ordinary. Something peaceful. Something wise. Something imaginative. Something beautiful. Something human. Something divine. Something infinite. Something everlasting.

Thank you Wayne Dyer. You changed my life. I am eternally grateful.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Follow Your Passions.

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Girl Warrior. Follow your passions. Therein lies your love affair with life. Be curious. Channel your inner Curious George. Do things that you love to do. Be enthusiastic. Keen. Overflowing with zeal, zest and gusto. Embrace new ideas and ways of doing the things you already know. Be creative. Imaginative.

Take the magical mystery tour. Expand. Grow. Cultivate. Hone. Set your heart on fire. Grab a handful. Then another. And another. Gush about the things you love. Take risks. Embrace the failures on the way to your successes. Learn and get on with it.

Dive in with your whole heart Girl Warrior.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: We All Want to be Liked.

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Last week I watched an episode of Frontline called Generation Like. It was an enormously compelling, at times inspirational, but ultimately for me, a disturbing look into the desire by teens to be “liked” on social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

On the one hand it was inspiring to see the accomplishments of some of these young social media “stars”, especially the ones with real talent. As the show illustrated, it’s a whole different world of connectivity, where a poor kid with buckets of personality, who also happens to be a crazy-ass gifted skateboarder, can achieve fame on YouTube, and maybe, just maybe, a fortune as well. This kid is a head-to-toe living-breathing billboard for Big Brands, all featured brightly on his YouTube videos. I say, good for him and all the others like him, who are using Social Media and these Big Brands to promote themselves and possibly transform their lives for the better. Of course, the darker side of all of this is that these kids are also being used and perhaps exploited. But that’s a whole other story, for another day, another blog post.

What really resonated with me in this documentary was the insatiable desire by all these kids to acquire the coveted LIKES, the currency of self-worth. There’s a wellspring of elation and euphoria if the LIKES are high for a particular post, but should the LIKE count dip, distress and despair follow. This is the tragic roller-coaster rise and fall of self-esteem and value in Social Media Land.

But here’s the rub. It’s not just teenagers who feel this way. I’m a fully-formed adult with a lifetime of experience in my rear view mirror, and at the risk of full disclosure, I understand how these kids feel. I get it. I was a teenager who was tailored made for Social Media, had it been around back then in the prehistoric days of dinosaurs and diskettes.

Truth is I wish I didn’t get it, that none of this made sense. Like the weirdness of Alice in Wonderland or Ozzy Osbourne. All this exhausting vying for attention, the begging and pleading to be noticed, acknowledged, complimented, desired and admired. The persistent popularity contest. The trendy or trending. The endless sharing. The viral. The cool. Fashionable. Commercial. And ultimately the marketable. It’s all so consuming.

As a writer, storyteller and blogger I’d be lying if I said that none of this mattered to me, that I was completely oblivious and above the fray. Yet every time I post one of my stories on Facebook, Twitter, Cowbird or Tumblr I say a small silent prayer that it will resonate with at least one person in cyberspace. And because I’m not a complete narcissistic ass, I also pray that my words will do some good. Serve humanity. Push the conversation towards optimistic, positive, hopeful, encouraging and promising places in the hearts of others.

But there are times, many times, when nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, happens. It’s like no one is out there. There’s a moment afterwards when I feel disappointed. Discouraged. Disheartened. Dispirited. Depressed.

I feel UN-LIKED.

When this happens, I’m plagued with self-doubt and insecurity. My Nasty Nelly inside-voice shouts, “You are not now, and never will be, among the great writers of your time. You are invisible and no one gives a shit what you have to say. So shut the fuck up. Quit.”

Then I brush it off. Like the dandruff on my shoulders. Or the dog fur on my pants.

Because I can. Because I won’t quit. And because I know better. None of this has anything to do with my self-worth. Or my ability to tell a story, for that matter. I gently and kindly remind myself, that I write because this is what I love to do. This is my big fat stupendous and spectacular passion. My magnificent obsession. I remind myself that this is one of the reasons I was put on earth, at this unique and particular time in history.

So I give it another shot. I kick the can down the road one more time. I write another story. Because in the end, when I drill down to the core of what motivates me. I write because I love the art and the process and the doing of it.

These days, I’m working on not giving a shit about the outcome, or how my stuff will be received. Good bad or otherwise.

The LIKES or HEARTS or THUMBS-UP are like the extra toppings on the Sundae. Nice. But not necessary.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/generation-like/?fb_action_ids=10152966835316644&fb_action_types=og.recommends

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Be Someone’s Blessing Today.

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Girl Warrior. Be someone’s blessing today. A glorious Godsend. Wonderful windfall. Lucky penny. Look for all the ways you can make someone else’s life easier or more meaningful. Lighten their load. Lift their spirits. Ease their burdens. Dry their tears. Make someone’s day.

Listen attentively. And look deep into their eyes. Extend a helping hand. Wrap your arms around the one in need of a hug. Calm the trembling shoulders. Hold the door open. Be of service. Give someone a leg up. Or save their bacon. Do favors and expect nothing in return.

Be someone who can be counted on, trusted, relied upon, and the wind beneath the wings. Most importantly, just be there when needed.

This is the perfect paradox. Bless and be blessed.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Dream Big.

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Girl Warrior. Dream big. In ultra-high-definition. Of epic proportions. Beyond the beyond of the beyond. Without brims, borders or boundaries.

The sky isn’t even the limit when it comes to your dreams Girl Warrior. That’s just for starters. Your little aspiration appetizer. Amuse-bouche. Take these dreams of yours to the moon and back, from here to infinity, and then some. See what happens.

And don’t stop at just one. Have so many dreams your heart and mind and spirit cannot contain them. Break all the rules here. There is no magic number. You are not born with a finite quantity. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Dreams are designed to be an embarrassment of riches.

These sweet dreams are the beautiful seeds that grow the beautiful you.

And always remember that you are the star of your dreams. They belong to you. They are the essential element of your blockbuster kick-ass tale. And absolutely crucial to your never-ending life story. These supernatural keys unlock every door of opportunity. Every possibility, promise and potential begins here. And the best thing is, they are yours to shape and mold and refine in any way that pleases you. Plus the bonus bit is, you can change your dreams at any time you choose. That’s the beauty of it. Nothing’s ever really locked in.

So start dreaming Girl Warrior. And blow the roof off this place.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Fairy Dust and the Heartbeat of Oneness.

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Do you ever wonder why some things in life appear as though they’ve been sprinkled with the enchantment of fairy dust? Why do some people, places or things touch our hearts in a way that is utterly ethereal, inexplicable and mystifying?

What causes this heart connection?

It could be anything or anytime or anyplace when this connection occurs. You’re watching one of those ubiquitous television programs like America or England or Japan’s Got Talent and some awkward kid comes on stage and starts singing like an angel. At that moment, we’re touched by the kind of grace that only The Divine can deliver. Not only is our heart affected, but our spirit as well. Our emotions are fully engaged. Quite simply, we feel like better people for the privilege of witnessing this singular moment in time. We know intuitively that we are part of something much grander than ourselves.

We are all breathing in tune to the Heartbeat of Oneness. This is the transcendent flash. Our knowing. The sudden awareness that our prosaic humanness is also magnificently divine. We get a glimpse into the soul of another. And what an honor this is.

You can’t force or manipulate these things either. You can’t define them. Direct, determine or describe. There are no words that are truly adequate. Impossible to articulate, communicate or enunciate. For if you could, then the magic would turn to vapor and disappear. There would be no fairy dust.

For this is the beautiful inherent intangible, the essential enigma, the precious paradox.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Be Honest.

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Girl Warrior. Be honest. Speak up. Speak out. Speak your truth. Express yourself. Whatever that means to you. However that looks. Tell it like it is. Or how you wish it was. Be bold. Audacious in your speech. Intrepid with your message.

But don’t use your words to slaughter. Use your words to empower. Elucidate. Illuminate. Exalt. Demystify. Take ownership of what comes out of your mouth.

Make it good.

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