Failing and Flying

Jack Gilbert, 1925 – 2012

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It’s the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.

Impact

The trouble with being the Prime Minister’s sister is, it does put your life into rather harsh perspective. What did my brother do today? He stood up and fought for his country. And what did I do? I made a papier maché lobster head.” – Love Actually

If you have watched the movie as many times as I have, you will probably remember Emma Thompson’s character say the above to her husband.

As I was browning some pork shoulder chunks in my new Instant Pot to make some chile verde, this quote struck me. It’s always been something that made me think, that somewhere someone is doing so much more and making such a difference in the world. Here I was, making a pot of stew. It’s not that it won’t be delicious or that my family would not enjoy it. I simply feel these days, that I need to make an impact, a difference with this one life that I have. Some days, I don’t feel like I am doing “all I can” to make lives better.

It’s not about being famous, I’d be happy to do it anonymously. I think it’s about making the most of one’s talents and time.

I’m sorry if this seems to be a sort of ramble. I felt like this was the best place to say this. To send this out into the universe so that maybe, it will be echoed back at me often. To remind me of this desire.

Who are we, if not measured by our impact on others? That’s who we are! We’re not who we say we are, we’re not who we want to be — we are the sum of the influence and impact that we have, in our lives, on others.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

My Favorite Daddies

This is very much belated but every day should be a day when we appreciate the fathers in our lives.

You know that I can easily go on and on about my da (gosh, I miss him all the time), about his great stories and his infectious laughter and his big heart. I was sad that I couldn’t tell him how much I appreciate all he has done for me so I let Father’s Day slip by for me.

I wanted to post this because I think today is as good as any to be thankful for the dads in my life.

mikeanda

I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us.
We are formed by little scraps of wisdom
.” ― Umberto Eco

Ask or Know

“If you have to ask, you’ll never know. If you know, you need only ask.” – J.K. Rowling

Fear

What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? – Robert Schuller

Last Sunday, when I had tweeted my first time on a rock climbing wall, my good friend D replied that I had been attempting a lot of new and scary things lately.  The truth is, I have. I have had a lot of epiphanies in the last year. Small discoveries that have led me to rethink my view on life. Maybe it’s the milestone birthday that is quickly approaching but all I know is that I am making it a point to try more things, to get out there and challenge my comfort threshold.

I have to admit it, being up on that vertical surface and reaching up to 65 feet in the air, my fear did not lessen with the knowledge of the harness around my hips. I felt my heart race and my palms moisten but I kept going. The fear was mine to face. But at the end, I felt such satisfaction from pushing myself past my comfort zone.

Indoor rock climbing was just one of the many new things I will attempt this year. I’m not going to become an extreme sportswoman anytime but let’s just say that there are a few other adventures penciled in for the year.

I encourage you to try something new, out of your routine, just for the fun of it. It doesn’t have to be anything big, maybe a different walking or bus or car route, a different place for lunch or perhaps skydiving. You will be surprised what it might bring you.

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not the absence of it.” – Mark Twain

Courage

Heroics are often about putting our life on the line. Courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line. If we want to live and love with our whole hearts and engage in the world from a place of worthiness, our first step is practicing the courage it takes to own our stories and tell the truth about who we are. It doesn’t get braver than that.

Brené Brown


2012

Goodbye 2011! You were good to me most of the time. I wish that I didn’t have to live through most of your days but I did. For all of it, I am stronger. My prizes are more than worth it. You know what I mean. I made a leap and found such joy in something I was afraid to want. I found something else that I had ignored for a while. Something so precious that I almost let go of.  And through it all, I have now discovered what happiness I had all along with me.

For all my family and friends, I wish you a wonderful new year. Whether 2011 has been good or bad or mediocre for you, I ask that you bid it farewell. Look forward to better days and hope for more happy discoveries. Be brave and go with the flow of life. Breathe in and out, pick yourself up and see yourself through. You owe yourself that much. I don’t have to remind you that life is precious. So cherish it all.

I’ll leave you with this:

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
-T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

Happy New Year!

Tidings

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”

– William Shakespeare

As we grow older, the holidays at the end of year seem to become such a whirl of nostalgia.  Every adult I know, speaks of Christmasses gone by, how good it used to be and how it will never be the same. I became that adult some years ago when my teenage cousins and I started seeing less of each other and more of their friends. I don’t blame them. It was a path we all naturally took as we got older.

We had such wonderful Christmasses, with caroling around the neighborhood, dancing around the tall Christmas tree we had in our front yard (dad lighted it with such patience), self-hosted lucky dips of little prizes we bought with our “club” fund (oh, do you remember those little styrofoam balls people used for fake snow? the vacuuming mess after!) and late night suppers after midnight mass. I barely scratched the surface of those good times and we are forever indebted to our folks who made our holidays together so memorable!

Things will truly never be the same again. The 8 of us have added partners and offspring and we live on 3 different continents. Who knows when (or where!) we will ever get back together again to celebrate Christmas and the holidays.

I miss you DCG but this year, I’m excited to celebrate Christmas and the New Year. Sagan’s arrival into this world has made each day worth celebrating. I constantly remind myself of how lucky I am. If I had a chance to ask Santa for what I wanted last year, I don’t think I could have dreamt him up. To me, he is perfect.

And so, my dear loved ones, family and friends, near and far, our little family would like to wish you a most wonderful Christmas and a New Year filled with many moments of joy.

Melancholy? Bubble & Squeak

I wanted to share this piece that Sophie Dahl read a bit from one of her episodes of The Delicious Miss Dahl, a piece by Sydney Smith to Lady Georgiana (Duchess of Devonshire) in 1820.  I find it particularly useful this time of year especially as the clouds and cold take over for a bit.

Sydney Smith to Lady Georgiana Morpeth. 1820.

Dear Lady Georgiana, …nobody has suffered more from low spirits than I have done – so I feel for you.

1st. Live as well as you dare.

2nd. Go into the showerbath with a small quantity of water at a temperature low enough to give you a slight sensation of cold, 75º or 80º.

3rd. Amusing books.

4th. Short views of human life – not further than dinner or tea.

5th. Be as busy as you can.

6th. See as much as you can of those friends who like and respect you.

7th. And of those acquaintances who amuse you.

8th. Make no secret of low spirits to your friends, but talk of them freely – they are always worse for dignified concealment.

9th. Attend to the effects tea and coffee produce upon you.

10th. Don’t expect too much from human life – a sorry business at the best.

11th. Compare your lot with that of other people.

12th. Avoid poetry, dramatic representations (except comedy), music, serious novels, melancholy, sentimental people, everything likely to excite feeling or emotion, not ending in active benevolence.

13th. DO GOOD, and endeavour to please everybody of every degree.

14th. Be as much as you can in the open air without fatigue.

15th. Make the room where you commonly sit gay and pleasant.

16th. Struggle little by little against idleness.

17th. Don’t be too severe upon yourself, or underrate yourself, but do yourself justice.

18th. Keep good blazing fires.

19th. Be firm and constant in the exercise of rational religion.

20th. Believe me, dear Lady Georgiana, Very truly yours, – SYDNEY SMITH.”

from: Hesketh Pearson, The Smith of Smiths, Hogarth Press, London, 1984. p.164.

Oh and those bubble and squeak cakes on this episode look so enticing, no?