Shaping Your Life

Until very recently, I thought of my life as being linear. Birth, growth, death… aren’t we all on that inevitable path? But that makes life sound way too much like a treadmill. (All you’d have to do is look at me once and you’d know that I hate treadmills.)

Now I think of life as being three dimensional. That allows room for a lot more options. It more accurately reflects the diversity of the thousands of lives being lived on this planet. We each shape our lives. We are architects. We are sculptors.

We can be smooth and calm and uniform. We can be rigid and boxy and rough. We can zig and zag and branch off in wild directions. We can embrace. We can repel. We can circle back upon ourselves, or we can shoot forward like an arrow. We can take inspiration from others, or we can set out on our own. We can be steady and solid, or we can wobble unpredictably.

Don’t restrict yourself to a linear life, unless that’s what you truly want in your heart of hearts. Create something beautiful. Only allow others to influence that creation if you can look upon them and see the beauty within. (And don’t forget to thank those who help you shape your life in a positive way.)

When all is said and done, your life will be what you make of it. So make it special.

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Let Reality Be Beautiful

Things are good. Almost too good. So good, in fact, that sometimes I panic. That annoying little voice in my head whispers, “This is too good to be true. It can’t be real. You’re overlooking something. Or all the great people around you will finally see you for the inherently flawed individual that you are and disappear. Or a meteor is about to crush you dead. Or something. Because you can’t have the good things.”

If a pep talk like that doesn’t send me into a panic attack, surely it will cause me to dive headlong into a pint of Häagen-Dazs. Neither outcome is optimal to my health. But if I get to choose (“You never get to choose.”) (“Shut up, annoying little voice!”) I’ll take the ice cream.

I was talking about this to my dear friend Anju, whose blog I highly recommend. Of everyone I know, Anju is one of the ones I’d be most likely to consider an authority on this subject, because from what I can tell, she leads an amazing life. She takes risks. She sits down at the world’s table and she feasts of life like a fat kid in an ice cream parlor. No apologies. No prisoners. Her life isn’t always a bed of roses, but it is uniquely and undoubtedly hers. I admire her. I’d love to be her.

After listening to me grouse, she simply said, “Let reality be beautiful.”

Wow. If that doesn’t strike a chord in you, then you are tone deaf.

And you know, why the hell not? If things are good, then I should enjoy them. I need to live in the now, because the now, right now, is awesome!

I may not have any control over the meteors heading my way, but I certainly don’t have to poop all over my own party. I deserve as much beautiful reality as the next person. And so do you, dear reader.

Thanks Anju!

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Credit Where Credit Is Due

If you were told that someone had a talent that only a handful of people on the entire planet had, wouldn’t you be impressed? Wouldn’t you be even more impressed if you knew that person was also a free speech advocate, had been in a few films, organizes for street performers, is a storyteller and has a radio show?

Meet Abby the Spoon Lady. This woman is talented beyond measure. She’s also intelligent, well-traveled, and dedicated. That should be all anyone needs to know about her.

But that’s not how the world works. If you check out her Youtube channel or Facebook page, both of which show you dozens of amazing performances, you’ll be enchanted. Unless you start reading the comments. Then, if you’re like me, you’ll be infuriated. While many people recognize her talent, trolls abound. They criticize her looks. They criticize her clothes. They criticize her lack of teeth.

It seems to me that if Abby were a man, she wouldn’t get this type of feedback. But being a woman in the music world, you’re supposed to be glamorous and perfect in every way, or you can’t be taken seriously. I don’t find Willie Nelson particularly attractive, but you don’t hear people discussing that to the point where his talent gets forgotten, do you?

Give Abby a break. I think she’s beautiful. I think her talent is also beautiful. I think the world is a much more beautiful place because she’s in it. I hope I get to see her perform live someday. And if I do, I hope the trolls stay home.

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Beauty?

I’ve never considered myself to be beautiful. It was not the kind of compliment that was given out in my family. Intelligent, yes. Pretty? No.

Because of that I have allowed myself to be intimidated by beauty over the years. As if good looks had some sort of additional value. As if it makes you a superior person. How silly.

In fact, on more than one occasion, I’ve seen people who appeared attractive at first glance, but then seemed forever ugly to me once they opened their cruel or ignorant or self-absorbed or racist mouths.

Now I actually feel sorry for beautiful people, because beauty fades. It must be quite upsetting to have something that you set great store by, and then have that thing slowly slip away like sand through an hourglass. And if you are used to certain advantages, such as more attention from the opposite sex, and therefore haven’t made much of an effort to work on having a pleasing and attractive personality, when your looks diminish, you’re left with nothing.

There’s also a number of problems on the opposite end of the spectrum. Perhaps you are beautiful and are also blessed with a great deal of personality and intelligence. The problem with that is that many people aren’t going to take the time to look past the surface. They’re not going to take you seriously. That’s got to be frustrating as well.

And you’d always wonder if people like you for you, or because you look good on their arm. That’s a concern I’ve never had to have. I also don’t have to worry about being seen in public without makeup, or gaze anxiously in the mirror at my crows’ feet. I’m not even sure if I have them. I have much better things to do with my time.

So, yeah, it was painful when I was young to not get asked out to the prom, but in the long run, I honestly think I came out on top. Life is what’s beautiful. Friends and loved ones are what matter.

Inner Flames Inner Beauty by ClareMaria Vrindaji Bowman at fineartamerica.com
Inner Flames Inner Beauty by ClareMaria Vrindaji Bowman at fineartamerica.com