Thursday, August 16, 2012

Prodigal Perseids and Other Generosities

--As I listened to various people talking about Julia Child, again and again people mentioned her generosity, especially in terms of her time.

--When I was younger, generosity wasn't one of those traits I aspired to, or even thought much about.  I wanted to be a great artist (an actor or a writer) or I wanted to change the world like Martin Luther King did.  But generosity?  Now that I'm older, I see how important it is--and what a great agent of social change it could be.

--For those of you who want more about Julia Child, Diane Rehm did a great interview with Bob Spitz, who has just published a biography of Julia Child.

--This bit about another generous soul, Richard Simmons, is also quite intriguing.  I already knew about his work as minister by way of being aerobics instructor.  But I didn't realize he got his start by saving a 18 months worth of tips from his work as a waiter--that's how he bought his first aerobics studio.

--I love these stories of how people reinvented themselves and went places no one would have expected them to go.  I need that message these days.

--Our stairwells at work have a variety of graffiti.  We're an arts school, of sorts, so that doesn't surprise me.  But a week or two ago, this message, in tiny print at my eye level, appeared:  "Dream big and go for it."  Another message I need these days.

--It shouldn't be surprising that I see messages from the universe everywhere I go.  I'm the woman who used to say, "If this radio station plays a U2 song in the next 15 minutes, God is telling me to move back here."

--I have a vision of leaving my most hopeful poems in places where people might find them.  I'm not brave enough to paint them on the stairwell walls--although that does give me an intriguing idea towards all sorts of installation art shows.  No, I have a vision of leaving them in desk drawers in classrooms, and where else?  Hmm.

--It's not the generosity on the scale of Richard Simmons or Julia Child.  But it doesn't have to be my only method of generosity.  I suspect that the next 6 weeks/months at work will offer me many an opportunity to be generous--and to practice being fully patient and present.

--Last night, I glimpsed another strange generosity.  I was trying to help one of my direct reports navigate the payroll system to update her timecard.  To get to her timecard, I went to my list of direct reports.  I had 8 new names!  I've never heard of these people before, so I let the HR department know that something strange is happening.  But hey, if the computer is adding hires instead of taking people off the payroll, maybe that's hopeful.

--And this morning, as I slogged through a summer run in the hot (82 degrees), breezeless pre-dawn by the Atlantic Ocean, I saw a shooting star.  Doesn't that sound more poetic than to say I saw a meteor.  I tried to remember whether or not it could be a Perseid.  We didn't have much chance to view those meteors--it was very cloudy.  But this morning, the universe sends me a prodigal Perseid.

--Once upon a time, I had a friend with small children.  If they saw something wonderful in nature, they'd shout out, "Great show, God!"  This morning, I wanted to shout it.  But I didn't want to startle the other pre-dawn exercisers.

--Of course, those of us who exercise early are used to all sorts of strangenesses.  I once saw a woman runner softly singing the Mass in Latin.  I've seen people walking cats on leashes.  A few weeks ago, I saw a couple who stood up and made gestures.  I prepared for conflict.  Instead, they said, "We just got married."  I said, "May you have a century of happiness!"

--May the universe send more generosities to us today than we can hold in our hands!

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