Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Father

It's not Father's Day.  It's not his birthday.  It's nothing but a Wednesday.  However, I felt inspired to write about my father today.

My dad is someone most of my friends consider their second dad.  To a lot of people his presence is comforting as he provides a warm feeling that comes with a welcoming smile and open mind.  He's gifted that way and I'm grateful because let's face it, I have some wack-a-doodle friends.  I say that with love!  But throughout he years and everyone I've brought to his doorstep, he has shown them kindness and hospitality and considered them as much of a part of his family as own of his own children.  And he isn't kidding.  If they were to need something, Charlie is there to ask how he can help.

For some reason today I can't get Dad off my mind.  And I want to tell him how much I love him and how much it means the he accepts me for who I am and will love me for who I will become.  For his entire life, he's been one to sacrifice. Many times he worked 12, 16, even 24 hours straight but if there was something important Dawn and I were doing such as an Orchestra concert or singing at some event, Dad would show up without sleep just to be there.  And recently my parents came to Tulsa to see a gig I did and my poor father was exposed to a lot more than he probably cared for, but he did it with a smile.

See, he's always around sometimes in the background, never in the spot light.  And with all the things he's come out to support for my sister and I, (including helping us both with our European travel expenses) and now for my mom's poetry book, I felt he deserved some attention.

I love you, Dad.  Thank you for your sacrifice.  Thank your for loving us and our "extended" family.  Thank you for driving half way across the country to fulfill two little girls' wildest dreams.  I'm sorry you don't always  get the attention you deserve, but speaking on Dawn's behalf here - thank you.  We love you dearly, Dad!

Friday, August 17, 2012

And This I Will Share

I have something to share.  No, it isn't the all site seeing details of my recent trip to Italy.  Yes, of course I had an amazing vacation.  I spent time with dear people, I saw things that blew my mind, and I ate food that cannot be reproduced.  All of that is true.  I don't intend to post every photo I took to various social medias.  Mainly because a lot of the photos I took this time were very personal.  Reminders of a moment shared with  a dear friend or sister.  And moments that will not translate when speaking on a vacation.  For me, this was a time to escape and to relax in the beauty of something entirely outside my American life.  It wasn't a time to live behind a camera, but in a moment.

Getting to my original point, the thing I'd like to share.  Before I left I had some serious working through to do.  I wanted to land in Italy with little weight on my shoulders.  So, the weeks leading up to my departure I began heavy meditation, trying to clear my mind of things that may be taking up space while I should be enjoying myself.  And when I finally arrived, I felt ready to relax and be away.  I didn't realize I'd come back with a completely renewed sense of life quality.  A renewal that I would bring back to the states, and live each and every day since I've been reintroduced in to reality like a baby gorilla being released back into the wild.

This flash of awareness, if you will, happened on a drive.  My friend and I were having a very deep, philosophical conversation when silence fell, I heard my heart tell my mind to be quiet and be still. It was at that moment I looked out of the passenger side window to see the Mount Vesuvius.  Yes, one of Italy's active volcanoes.  In a matter of seconds I felt a strange sweeping peace and sudden enlightenment.  As if what I had been searching for was finally found.  Looking at the volcano made me feel detached from pointless ramblings in my head, and 100% connected to the bigger picture.  I felt the moment of release.  I buried something there, something that I can't find because I left it in the moment when I decided "live, and then live some more" was the only truth I could reside within from here on out.

The next few days I was quiet in one part due to my limited Italian vocabulary.  But, I was also quiet because I had nothing to say.  Instead, I had plenty to listen to and plenty to gaze upon.  And this, I believe, was the purpose for me even being there.  And for whatever reason , I knew it was meant to be that I was far away from home and my reality.  The location was necessary as I am naturally tactical.  For a complete change of focus, I had to feel it in my hands.  And I did.  I felt it when sand slipped through my fingers on the beach.  When salt water stuck to my skin, and when I soaked in warm volcano water days later.  Renewal.

They day I left, saying goodbye to my friend, whom I don't really even know when I will see again for sure, and to my sister as she left to return to Houston, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself content.  I wasn't sad and I didn't even cry when I said my final farewell.  Instead, I smiled ear to ear.  Knowing I was equipped to bring back this peace I had found and work to share it with those I love. And that's exactly what I did.  Each day I have found myself feeling joy and calm and letting go of useless hurt feelings and negative thinking that keeps me bound to an unfulfilled existence.  It's just not worth living in a wounded state on thinking.  My life is precious and my time is limited.  What is the point wasting my own time with things that are either out of my control or issues that do not generate the outcomes I seek?

Everywhere I go I'm told I seem lighter, friendlier, happier, even that I look more attractive.  Someone even told me I was glowing.  Well, joy is impossible to hide and it is also contagious.  And I desire to be a light in someone's life.  I choose to be a positive spot in someone's day.  And I choose to keep dreaming for myself even when I haven't the faintest clue how I'm going to accomplish some of the goals I've set for myself.  The important part is that I'm trying to accomplish them.

I did manage to take time to write a few things that I wanted to remember and reflect on later.

To be encouraged, be encouraging.
To be peaceful, let go of that which binds you to fruitless sorrows.
To be wise, learn something new every day.
To find mercy, be graceful.
To be beautiful, find the beauty in each day.
To be heard, take time to listen.
To be seen, take time to gaze.
To receive kindness, give without expectations.
To be loved, love someone deeply.