Posts Tagged ‘compassion’


August 2014

these are my doodles as I dream about bike riding in Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii on my 60th birthday


I’ve been thinking lately about what it takes to create a memorable summer. Seems like the sort of thing Adventure Barbie might enjoy though, don’t you think?

If asked to pinpoint the best summer of my life so far, I’d be weighing carefully the summers of 1967 and 1984. Both deviated from the norm; each changed my life in important ways.

Go Lite Travel TrailerNo more than two days out of 7th grade, Mom and I packed the Go Lite camping trailer, hitched it to the back of an International Harvester pickup truck and headed for Indiana, the farm country where my mother was raised. We spent four weeks visiting my aunts, uncles, and cousins before heading back to Nebraska so that Dad could join us for the next leg of the journey.

We spent the entire month of July exploring Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah. I swam in the Great Salt Lake and hiked in the Grand Canyon. I waited impatiently for Old Faithful to erupt and enjoyed playing cards with new groups of kids as we changed campgrounds nearly every night. I wrote post cards to my friends at home and learned many ways to entertain myself during the long drives between sites.

Go-Lite0002In August, Mom and I traveled alone once again. I remember visiting Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, my uncle’s candy store in northern Michigan, and my twin cousin in Minnesota. On my 13th birthday I was diagnosed with pneumonia, and I struggled to prepare for my impending demise. No, I didn’t feel THAT bad, but I was convinced it was a terminal illness and that people were just being kind by saying I would be okay.

Thirty years ago this week in 1984, I voluntarily left employment as a secretary in corporate America. After Memorial Day I officially began full-time as the owner and operator of Happy Fingers Typing Service, the first secretarial service in our city to offer cutting edge “computerized word processing.” That, too, was a summer of adventure as I took on the many challenges of self employment.

The experiences of both of those summers are important to the person I am today. In 1967, I had plenty of time to imagine what I wanted for myself as an adult. I believe many of my ambitions and dreams were planted during that summer of discovery. I’m also immensely grateful to my 29-year-old self for her determination, courage, and resourcefulness as she set out on her own. My life has been shaped time and again by the challenges and opportunities of owning my own business.

Now, as I count down the weeks to my 60th birthday in August, I’m determined to make this summer memorable, one with ample doses of discovery, challenge, and adventure. This summer I am committing to stepping outside my comfort zone; to making choices that will boost my levels of courage, compassion, and creativity; and to allowing you, my readers, to hold me accountable for Creating The Best Summer of My Life (so far). Stay tuned for Regular (dare I commit to weekly?) Progress Reports.


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White Kitty

As I closed the cottage door behind me this morning, I heard a noise inside. When I looked, I was stunned. Oh, no! White Kitty on the floor in a hundred pieces!

A very young part of me began to cry. The three-year-old who had received it as a gift from her Daddy, was in shock and overwhelmed with raw grief.

As I swept the floor, I remembered the many shelves upon which White Kitty had been displayed over the decades. Never packed away for safe keeping, she went from my childhood dresser, to my teenage desk, to my newlywed hutch. She watched over Baby Britain from the changing table, spent several years on the living room fireplace mantle, and did a stint in Mom’s sick room.

After Mom passed, I took White Kitty to the cottage to join several other memory-filled treasures. The grown-up part of me knows nothing lasts forever. She is sad but ready to move on. The three-year-old, though, is really struggling.

So I allowed that part of me to dig through the trash and put White Kitty’s head and the tip of her tail back on the shelf. Later, I got the urge to retrieve the rest of the big pieces and put them in a box. It just didn’t seem right to throw Kitty away like that. She needed to be honored, to be acknowledged for the 56 years of faithful service. A nice box, a few words, and a friend or two to help say goodbye.

Good grief! The three-year-old wants a funeral! I want to say, “Get real, girl! It’s just a ceramic figure!” But I would never say that to an actual three-year-old in pain. So, I am choosing not to say it to myself either. The fragile part of me deserves compassion, understanding, and most of all, some time to let go of a lifelong treasure.

So, I’ll leave the head on the shelf for a while and the rest of the pieces in the box. Showing compassion, tenderness, and love toward myself is a new practice for me. I’m not sure how this will unfold, but I do know, there’s no hurry. I will trust my heart to lead the way.

White Kitty's Head

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