Just when we all thought that getting through February was the biggest hurdle we’d face, through snow storms and chaotic debates, made it in and out of long work days and navigated shopping centers in frigid temps and facing winter challenges, we made it into March and ran smack into the hysteria and misinformation of COVID-19. Not that The World Health Organization isn’t doing what they can to spread truth, but we’ve been well-schooled to distrust the truth, repeatedly, and ad nauseam, so much so that doubting everything we hear or read from our reporters is the new normal. So, what to do in a crisis when we are several years into a reign of doubt? I’d like to suggest that we all take a deep breath, right now, inhale and exhale, and press play to watch the waves roll in and out. Just for a few seconds. Let’s start with that.
Los Angeles is crowded and busy and overwhelmed by its own populace, a city drowning in its own promises, but to this east coaster, traveling from a monocratic winter white, this California blue sky meeting an expanse of aqua ocean is all the elixir I need to refresh. Color therapy.
Flowers too. Brilliant blooms fluttering along vines, crowding through hedges, even in doorway pots, all singing the same happy tune. Hues encourage life. Pushing you to do the same with your short years.
Even in paradise I can still hear the faint trail of fear racing from media sites to newspapers and back, but for now, I’ll keep that crazy at bay, and soak in azure and magenta and teal. No filter needed.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”– Harriet Tubman
These inspirational quips are easy to find as they roll along our feed like waves, but can easily hit the wall of our own stupid shit. I mean, do we honestly believe we can live out our dreams? Sure chosen folk like Oprah and Kobe seem to, and possibly my mother did, but what about you, or me? Can we push away doubt? Acquire a room of one’s own where we dare those dreams into action? I’ve known plenty of people with talent and possibility who crashed right into a waterfall of negative behaviors and let their own potential rush away. Maybe it’s the demons in their head, maybe it’s just their crap circumstances, regardless, they let their internal passions subside to a trickle. They put down the paint brush. They stop dancing. They quit imagining and believe something less about themselves, something more tragic. They’ve heard the sad tale so long they write one of their own.
What do you believe about yourself? Can you just pretend for one sunny moment that you are all that you envision you are? That the job you do is one that utilizes your full creative potential? That your future is in your own hands? Quite a mission if we feel tossed from day to day. But here’s the thing: why not choose to believe in the best outcome? I mean, seriously, what do you have to lose? Life is spinning by fast and then faster, so why not harness that rotation into your own glowing projection on this earth?
I know what you are up against. Whispers of “women can’t write, women can’t paint” have been heard even before Woolf penned those words in 1927. But even timid Lily defied that sentiment, right? Regardless of gender or age we can get trapped by societal misconceptions, from being the fat one or the stupid one or the talent-less one or just plain lazy and unlucky, we play out those limiting roles. Instead, how about we stand up to our own self-doubt as magnificently as Lily does in To the Lighthouse? “Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision.”
Flying away from the City of Angels is never easy for me. My children live down there. And, besides the strings knotted between us, the city is built on dreams. Uber drivers write good screenplays. Waitresses are ready to hit the airwaves. Surfers design apps to cure loneliness. Seems everyone in Los Angeles is joined in believing in a vision beyond their current limitations. Over time, West Coast magic can break even hardened East Coast Northerns. Truly. Beyond Hollywood, there are garage bands making harmony and coffee shop plot lines and glittery dreams aplenty crisscrossing freeways. Even with Trump’s fatalistic fire and fury, one can reach for the stars here, believe in a better tomorrow, and let his improvisational rhetoric fall flat below. Maybe it’s the sunshine and palm trees, maybe it’s just a collective Los Angeles agreement that everyone should have the chance to change their world.
How about just for today you suspend your cynicism? The desperate voice in your chatter? Imagine something grander for your tomorrow. Be willing to turn off despair. Count your blessings. Start speaking out loud what you hold locked within. Believe we each have the ability to transform our dreams into reality if we follow our joy. Put that in your mind. Remember when all seems impossible. Joy. Latch onto that with me and together let’s dance right into a better world.
Soaring atop state after state
from east to west coast chasing the Sunset the whole way just makes me Smile
from my dark space
chase chase Chase like birds on the Warm current lifted off the gravitational pull
mundane Daily grind to diamond
This photo was captured on my last afternoon with both my mother and my godmother, and it will be a precious memento for years to come. We stood on a balcony in the Palm Beach sunshine and did nothing but smile in that embrace. Now, they are both gone, but I count myself the luckiest of girls to have been with them for six decades, for their love is an epic tale.
Please don’t start this post unless you are willing to finish it. It is a twisting ramble that may seem to be heading straight down into a black darkness; but I promise to get somewhere lighter, together, by the end. So trust, and read on…
Two weeks living on the ocean’s edge, the only constants in my day was the sound of pounding surf and sand on my feet, a morning swim and bike ride to get milk or meet the ferry as more family arrived, filling the wagon with luggage and boxes of food, a walk along the shore, beach volleyball, afternoons riding the waves, beach yoga, shucking corn, beach dance music, eating peaches, beach runs, ice cream, laughing, moonlit swims, and letting the clock hands fade for a brief time-less span. Our only agenda, unwind and restore.