Category Archives: Sj’s Musings

Opus, Tigger, Precious, and Cuddly Blue

I just now got it.

Yes, I just now got it that . . .

 

I am the most important person in my life.

I am the most important person in my life.

I am the most important person in my life.

 

I got that for the first time today.

As in REALLY got it.

 

Down to my core, got it.

To my toes, got it.

In my throat.

Gut.

And fingers that are now typing, got it.

 

I am the most important person in my life.

 

Not that old lady who needs help crossing the street.

Or my Mom who has trouble walking now.

Or some other person who’s frantically crying out for help.

 

No.

It’s me.

Only I

Get to be the most important person in my life.

 

Wow.

 

I thought I knew that before.

 

And maybe I did on some level.

 

But today I hopped on the express elevator to the moon.

And from here it’s very, very, clear

that I’m the

most

important

person

in

my

life.

Pedrata airport with skillet

You’re Only Ever Where You’re Meant to Be

Think about it. If you were meant to be somewhere else, you’d be there.

And yet we stress and stress about getting through traffic, rushing to get somewhere, and we miss the point that we’re already there – where we’re meant to be.

Today Pedrata and I got to the airport nice and early so we could begin our return journey home (thanks Mark for the ride!).

There was quite a long wait as the clerk tried to figure out why they wouldn’t let her ticket my last leg of the flight. After a few phone calls, she found out that the other carrier had slightly altered the departure time of the flight.

“Okay, no big deal.” I thought, “That’s why we come to the airport so early.”

Then we waited to board our flight. After a bit, I realized that there wasn’t the standard action. As in the standard, people with small children, business class, blah, blah blah . . . “Okay, what’s up?” I thought.

Waited in line and the nice guy named Alan assured me that I’d make my connection.

“Okay, Alan, I’m going to trust you on this” (knowing that it’ll all work out as it’s meant to).

After another half hour went by, and I only had an hour between flights at my next destination, I once again approached the booth.

“I think I’ll be booking you on that other flight route,” he said as he called the others to come up to the gate.

“Got it. Thanks Alan.”

And as the plane was being boarded, he called me over to another booth. Another phone call was made. My bag was taken off the plane. And Pedrata and I just watched it all thinking to ourselves, “Wherever we’re meant to be is where we are.”

Click, click, click. I heard the new tickets being issued.

“Okay, I’ll see you in about 2 hours,” Alan said.

“Okay. Hey, any chance I can get a voucher for a coffee?” (realizing that the 2 hour nap I had planned wasn’t going to happen.)

“Sure,” he replied, “I’d be glad to. Just give me a minute.”

So we rested our dawgs and set down our heavy pack that is carrying a rather LARGE cast iron skillet that my mother graciously gave me when I happened to mention sometime that I think I’d actually like to use one. It cracked me up how she remembered that (I didn’t remember telling her that), but then will forget other things that can seem so important to me.

No matter. If she’s meant to remember anything, she will.

. . .

Fast forward to being on the first plane of three.

I’m chatting it up with a woman sitting beside me . . . and lo and behold, it ends up that she knew my Dad. LOVED my Dad.

“I LOVED your Dad,” she gushed. “And my husband too; he really misses him. Your Dad used to help my granddaughter with tennis tips.”

Yup, sounds like my Dad.

Thanks Dad for that little shout out and hello.

Thanks for reminding me how you’re always keeping an eye on me. Ever present in my life.

I love you too Dad.

Boy, do I ever love YOU!

 

: )

✫ Sj out ✫

School with Nora

“What’s been happening?” you ask.

Or not. But in my little head that’s what I hear.

“What’s been happening, Sj? You’ve been in Spain three weeks now. You told us that it was a mind-+&^%$#k moving into another language. You sent us a short video of street music, but that’s it! Are you still alive? Still engaged? Still learning?”

y

“Kay, but what’s been happening?”

Loads. Bunches. Heaps. Muchas. All KINDS of things!

But what I’m finding is that what I most enjoy is simply being.

Being in Spain.

Being in Europe.

Being on this planet.

A walk to school is an adventure.

Turn here? Or there? Haven’t been on this street yet.

I stop. I look up. I love the architecture. The little balconies. The high windows. The clothes hanging on the accordian-like clothes lines which protrude from the base of random windows. The donging of cathedral bells. I love the city gardens. The green tomatoes I pass as I go down about 5,000 stairs when leaving the villa I’m fortunate enough to be living in while I’m here (in San Sebastián).

I love the random hazelnut in my muesli that I’m currently eating.

I love the view from this extraordinary top floor flat. That I can say hey to Jesus across the way. That I can watch storm clouds gather. See sailboats on the horizon. Barges. Rain upon the window panes. And lots and lots of green all around the mostly terra-cotta roofs to my right (which faces another hill where there are amazing hiking trails).

Yes, it sometimes makes it hard to get things done when all I want to do is stop and be silent. Observe. Feel. Smell.

But I’ve come to realize that that is what we’re really here to do. To be. To experience. To feel.

Sure, we have to do those odd things like go to school, get a job, and then work to earn money to feed and clothe ourselves.

But

But

But

The BEING, I feel, is the absolute most important thing.

The awareness of who we are.

That each and every one of us is a walking miracle.

A walking act of grace in the shape of skin and bones.

Each and every one of us.

So . . . Sj, what’s been happening in Spain? you ask.

Loads.

Heaps.

Mountainous piles of everything.

Next time I’ll fill you in with some particulars.

But for now, enjoy wherever you are. Feel the air on your skin. Notice your breath.

Ain’t it delicious?

xoxoxoxoxo

✫ Sj out ✫

p.s. Muchas gracias Silvia por los photos!

Josephine

She caught my eye. 

Last week Saturday

around 2 p.m., after wandering around Lyon and ending up in Croix Rousse (one of two collines in Lyon, the one where people work btw), I realized I was hungry. Just then I saw a pizza joint and decided to check it out.

Below you can see what I ordered.

What I ate.

What I enjoyed completely. : )

I sat next to the window at a high two-top where I happily chomped on my pizza while observing the world outside.

That’s when she caught my eye.

Sitting alone. Also watching. Observing. Looking like a force of nature itself. Confident. Comfortable. Curious.

Three awesome Cs of uniqueness.

A woman with a presence.

In our world, youth and vitality is most often idolized. The absence of wrinkles. The presence of chic clothing. An air of not caring. And yet, in my experience, that very persona revolves around caring so very much what others think. Caring so very much that their very presence mirrors everyone else.

But here she sat with her hat and fluorescent sun glasses, looking like she didn’t have a care in the world. And looking like no one else. Uniquely herself.

When I left the restaurant, I started to walk past where she sat when something inside me called me to stop. To turn around. Approach her. And say hello.

In much less time than it takes to spill ones coffee and then clean it up, I was sitting with her at her table having a lively conversation.

Was she confident? Curious? Comfortable?

She seemed to be. She certainly wanted to know all about me and why I was in Lyon.

Each one of us is so very important. To ourselves. To our families. To our friends. But mostly, to the world.

Because each of us creates a ripple in the world. Whether we realize it or not. Whether we want to or not. We do.

Last week Saturday, Josephine sent a ripple my way. A tap on my heart to stop and say hello. To listen. To simply be present with someone who an hour before I didn’t even know existed.

Josephine et Sj

She reminded me of the protagonist in The Elegance of the Hedgehog (L’élégance du hérisson) by Muriel Barbary. Someone who’s enigmatic. Not at all as they appear. Someone who is completely oneself.

And yet, isn’t that who each of us really is? At our core? Uniquely ourself?

I think the answer to these rhetorical questions is a resounding, “Yes.”

And so for perhaps the millionth time, I feel the need to throw out the call to BE YOURself. In whatever way feels right to you. For no one but you can possibly know how it feels to be you.

So please, wear it proudly, that skin of yours. And if not for YOU, then for the rest of the world.

We need you.

Exactly as you are.

✫ Sj ✫

Sj and Josephine.jpg

Every single person

is important.

Every

single

person.

That means

YOU.

That means

me.

That means

the person

who flipped you off.

That means

the person

who last gave you a hug.

Every

single

person.

Every

single

person.

How are YOU

going to show the next person you meet

how important he or she is?

How are YOU going to let them know you care?

I want to know.

I want to see.

I want to hear

how this call to open our eyes

and hearts ripples across the world.

Because each kind word,

each smile starts with

YOU.

Be the light that you ARE in the world.

It’s time to shine so brightly

that darkness has no choice

but to disappear.

Pedrata makes a great study companion. 

Not sure how much she’s learning; she may be waiting until we get to Spain since Spanish is her native language, but she definitely helps keep me on track. 

For example, she just reminded me to set the timer on my iPhone so I don’t forget to stop and go for a bike ride. 

Merci beaucoup, Pedrata! 

Will do!
Sj et P out. 

What a meal!

Un peu d’observations


Bonjour Everyone!

I hope that all is well in your world.

The other evening while dining in Paris, I made a few observations.

First of all, as I sat there at the window alone, I happily watched the world go by. There was a man on the telephone on the other side of the street; he wore very large black headphones, and talked and talked and talked. But at another glance, I noticed that he listened, listened, and listened.

I saw a woman dressed very elegantly being pulled down the road by two little dogs.  Little French dogs. Classically so. A matching pair of fur on tiny little dog bodies.

I saw a strikingly beautiful woman with midnight dark skin carrying bags of groceries.

I saw . . . I saw . . . I saw . . . ***

And then the cute, tiny waitress with black hair carefully clinging to her head as if it was afraid to stray came to my table with a stack of magazines.

? Quoi? J’ai pensé? Why is she bringing these magazines to me?

But of course . . . it makes others uncomfortable to see others alone.

Of course not EVERYone, but those who prefer not to be  alone themselves.

That’s how we humans are. If we hate something, we think others do too. If we love something, we think others do too.

But is that true?

Of course not. Each one of us lives in our own little world privé. And in this private little world of ours, we see things, experience things, interpret things based on our conditioning, experience, etcetera.

And on this particular evening, when this cute, adorable, kind, and considerate person brought these magazines, I was grateful.

Porqué?

Because it gave me such a clear view of the world from others’ eyes. For I realize that as my world view has changed, as I’ve gone INside and been alone with MYself so very often in the past view years, I’ve changed. I’ve dropped so many things that used to weigh me down. Things that were important to me then, but aren’t now. Things that I carried on my back like a very heavy a sack. A backback of obligations. Things that I gladly carried then because i wanted to be a good girl, someone who was an active participant in this life as I knew it then.

But after she set those magazines down and quietly walked away, I smiled. Content. At peace. Recognizing the change and appreciating the change. And then . . . my eyes returned to the window on my left. The window view that I chose at a table for two. And but of course . . . said with a French accent, it was a table for two. For Pedrata was there with me. ;-)))

And  . . . before I close and return to class, I think of a friend who’s a wonderful writer. And I imagine that she MAY be bothered by my use of incomplete sentences. Things like: content. Not, I was content, but just content, at peace.

But pour moi . . . it’s somehow more fun to write like that. To write as I think. As I speak. (that was one! ;-) And so I shall. For as I let those things drop to the ground, (or even rise to the sky), they simply disappear. Evaporate. Become no more. And I feel a peace that was previously unimaginable. But now there’s no need to imagine it. For it’s here to stay. A peace that’s absolutely unshakeable. And for that, I give thanks. Thanks with ALL of my heart and soul.

Alors, la clase va commencer . . .

A bientot et bisous xoxoxoxox

***

. . . a young girl running and laughing as she moved quickly down the sidewalk while winking at a man who strode confidently down the middle of the street . . . a man who I presumed to be her papa . . .

a man carrying two heavy packages of water, so heavy that his arms were extended by at least a foot for there was barely a centimeter between the bottom of the bottles and the cobbled sidewalk . . .

a black taxi which stopped right in front of the restaurant, just to the side of me . . . a foot that slipped out from behind the door finding the ground slowly and hesitantly . . . a sandeled foot on a woman who wore a trench coat tightly closed . . . the very same woman who removed the coat once in the restaurant exposing an elegant black dress with a V at the front that revealed even more . . . and a husband (presumably) with a paunch that extended well over his belt and a smile which stretched from ear to ear . . . ahh . . . I think he was also content, at peace.

Et vous? Qu’est-ce que vous pensez? What do you think?

Sj out

Turkey with numbers

For a moment, time stood still.

Magic shows itself in so many ways.

On this particular day, it came so unexpectedly. I picked up my two Kindergartners and even before we were out the gate, the one who tends to make a wild child seem calm, was living up to his reputation.

“You cannot be the leader because you’re not behaving. Samuel is now the leader.”

He then hung back and pouted as Samuel and I continued on, counting all the way to 100, with prompts from me whenever we got to a new set of ten (i.e. THIRTY, thirty-one, thirty-two, he’d continue, FORTY, forty-one, forty-two he’d then say, each time we made a shift in tens, a beat was dropped by him and then picked right back up, like he was simply making a stop so he could dosey-do his partner).

And as we approached our classroom (I pick up these boys from their regular classroom and walk what feels like about five football fields to my corner in a regular sized room shared by four part-time teachers) with the pouter still lagging far behind, I gave thanks that the idea had come to me to set up cardboard dividers so that each boy worked in his own space AND that I’d set out the number cards (1 to 10) and dot cards (also, 1 to 10) by each boy’s work area, so I could simply tell this first boy who was being a pleasure to work with to go to his chair and match the cards.

“No,” the other boy said as I asked him to also match his cards. He pushed the cards under the cardboard holding pen and gave his all to the topic of pouting.

“You can do it,” I said. “Which one has more dots? This one or that one?” And somehow his arm didn’t get the memo that he was on pouting and not cooperating duty, and the cards gradually started to be arranged in the correct order from smaller to larger.

“Very good! Now match them with the number cards.”

And by golly if that boy didn’t do.

But that’s not the miracle. The miracle was of such epic proportions that I didn’t see it coming.

In this little dance we performed together, I played the part of observer going from one boy to the other.

“Good job, I’m so proud of you. You got all the numbers right. Now, write out 1 to 10.”

The cooperative boy was maintaining his lead in terms of getting his work done, so he played this game a few times. Cards in order. Write.

“Great job!”

But . . . the pouter did manage to match them all correctly. Yeah! 🎉

“Great!,” I said thinking it was so amazing that he’d managed to stay in his seat long enough to pair the number cards to the dot cards. “Now, let’s do it one more time.”

And this time he struggled. Hmm, I thought to myself, maybe it was a fluke the first time.

He pondered, he rumpled his brow, he even rubbed his forehead, BUT he continued thinking, pondering, and that other hand that also hadn’t gotten the memo, shot out and put them all together in the correct order.

“Great! Now write the numbers 1 to 10.”

I gave him his clipboard and marker, stepping away to check on his classmate. When I returned, I found that this little boy who rarely sits longer than 3 seconds, was fully engaged in his activity. And not only was he writing the numbers, but he was writing the box that represented the card AND the card with the various number of dots on it.

A part of me wanted to say, “You only need to write the number;” but then the smart part of me, the part of me that takes a breath before speaking, the part of me that can just observe what’s going on without getting involved, pulled me back and said, “Whoa, down girl! He’s doing it how he needs to in order to learn it. Really learn it.”

Kay, I get it. So I watched. Took a step to the right and looked at the other boy who was also deep in concentration as he wrote his 1, 2, 3, 4 . . . with matching dots beside each other.

And now with a step to the left, I see that pouty boy is no longer pouting. Instead, he’s lost. Lost in the magic of numbers, writing, solving, figuring out.

Step to the right.

Still working.

To the left.

Licking his lips in concentration.

And I sat down and marveled at the silence that had reigned for at least three minutes, maybe four. And by the time they’d each finished, at least six minutes had gone by, maybe even seven.

The hush was so pronounced that the world shifted a bit on its axis. And then, the world literally stood still. Completely and unequivocally still. So still that Trump’s mouth couldn’t move nary an inch.

When they’d finished, I called out, “Great job boys! I’m really proud of you both.” And turning to the left to pouty boy who was no longer pouting but rather standing looking a bit disoriented by the concentration and focus he’d just experienced, I asked, “Do you think you can be the leader now?”

“Yes,” he nodded not making a sound, in a fog of such deep thinking that I think his world too had shifted off its axis.

And with a quiet I never would have thought possible, each boy lined up, placed his arms behind himself and walked away to re-join their class and have lunch.

“That’s great you only had one boy today,” my co-worker called out when I returned.

“Oh, I had both.”

“Really? It was so quiet that I figured little-lad-difficult wasn’t here today.”

“Oh, he was here. Come take a look at what they did today.”

And my co-worker walked over and stared in disbelief. She could feel the momentous moment that it was. Perhaps her world had shifted too, so startled did she look.

“I’d take a picture of that, if I were you.”

And I did. I took shots of both of the boys’ work. As a celebration of their success, of the quiet that had reigned for around perhaps 8 minutes, 10 or even 2. A silence that can’t really be measured in time but rather by gravity, for the earth’s pull lessened for those full moments as each of us, in our own way, took flight, loosed our footing but somehow stayed grounded all at the same time.

image

Success! Yeah!!! 🎉

Our breath is the miracle.

Our BREATH is the Miracle

Sj Daisy Flyer

She looks like you!!!

Today the most amazing thing happened

at the Lihue public library after reading to the kids.

(I’ve been doing this on Monday afternoons since August).

Sj Daisy left, and I returned to the main area in her stead (i.e. sans overalls and hairdo). I was speaking with the young adult librarian when a little girl came up to me and said, “You look like Sj Daisy!”

“Do I?” I replied.

“Yes!” she said with enthusiasm.

We went over to the flyer posted on the wall.

“She’s my cousin,” I explained.

“She looks a lot like you!” she said again.

 

LOL. So cute!

This little girl’s name btw?

Daisy.

: 0

For real.

Life is full of such wonderful surprises!!!

: )))

 

~ Sj ~