Like an old gold-panning prospector, you must resign yourself to digging up a lot of sand from which you will later patiently wash out a few minute particles of gold ore. ~~ dorothy bryant
We’ve all seen the images of the Gold Rush prospectors heading into the uncharted territory of the American West based upon the rumors that “There’s GOLD in them thar hills!” It was hard, back-breaking labor but the prospectors thought it would be life-changing if they could discover these valuable, shiny bits.
As I am now a middle-aged woman –goodness that’s painful to say — I find the plunders of the Gold Rush prospectors to be a lot like life. Mine anyway.
Since striking out in my own at 19 into the unknown territory of adulthood based on the rumors of a better life, I’ve spent a great deal of time on and off of therapists’ couches. Each time I dipped my hile-punched tin pan into the muddy waters of my mind in the hopes of finding golden nuggets. I always did. At times there was so much muck that they were nearly impossible to see. If only relying on my eyes, I would have stopped searching. There was no shiny objects to see there. But like the Gold Rush prospectors, in my gut told me it was worth it to keep digging. It was.
Now the mud is still there. In abundance. The gold is too. In less quantity for sure…but isn’t that what makes it infinitely more valuable?
Dig deep in your soul. Don’t give up. You are sure to create your own personal Gold Rush.
I believe that true identity is found…in creative activity springing from within. It is found, paradoxically, when one loses oneself.
~~ anne morrow lindbergh
When I immerse myself in words, there are times I feel as if I am drowning. As I put pen to the page, the flood gates are opened. All the thoughts I’ve kept inside all day so I can wear the face and walk the walk my roles in the civilized world dictate wash over me.
But when I am alone in my quiet place and allow myself to float downstream on the waves of recollection of events, I feel the swell of the waves of emotion. At times it’s overwhelming…but it is always a thrill.
My words become a surfboard. Sometimes I keep my balance and ride the waves. Sometimes I wipe out. Sometimes I dig the wipeout more than riding in the barrel. It makes me feel alive. It makes me feel closer to me. It makes me better equiped to deal with real life’s dry land.
Find your creative outlet. Build your surfboard. Get lost in the tidal wave so you can find yourself.
Mama used to love to go to the movies. She used to take me on the Q13 bus to the Quartet 4 on Northern Boulevard when I was very young to see all the Disney pictures. I thought they were first run. Little did I know a lot of them like Snow White were new when Mama was my age. When I got older we walked to the RKO Keith. That’s where we saw all the orignal Star Wars films. We kept our movie-going tradition into my adulthood. We saw epic films like Schinder’s List and Good Fellas together. So many wonderful memories of Mama and the movies. But my fondest ones were from decades before I was born.
My best Mama movie memories were those when she told me of the all-day experience it used to be when she was a child. Her eyes lit up when she would explain that you’d get the cartoons, B-pictures, serials, news reels then the main feature. Mama used to collect bottles and newspapers to turn them in to recycle to get the nickel to buy a ticket to the movies. It was her escape from the Great Depression bleak tenament life. In the dark of the theater, it was a completely different world.
One weekend when Mama escaped to the movies, the world found her. An announcement was made that our Naval base in Pearl Harbor was attacked. American sailors were dead. It was further announced that all servicemen who were present on leave needed to report back immediately. The movies went on as usual but it didn’t provide the same escape. It was darker in the theater that day.
The radio is what gave Mama hope in the days the followed. I had such a hard time as a kid wrapping my head around the notion that the radio was the main source of daily news and entertainment instead of TV. Decades later, as Mama told me about how FDR’s fireside chats used to give her ease and confidence that everything will be all right, her voice softened and her body became more relaxed.
Her weekly adventures to the movies once again became means of escape but they also took on a higher purpose. The news reels became the windows to the war. With every clip, Mama’s pride in America grew and wanted to do all she could to help the Allied Forces in the war effort. The news reels showed her what to do. And whole on the streets of Brooklyn after emerging from the theater, no matter where anyone came from before, they were all Americans united to claim victory and behaved as such.
Today, Mama is gone. Only five Pearl Harbor survivors will assemble at the Pearl Harbor Memorial 75 years to the day later. They were truly The Greatest Generation. Children of The Great Depression who had nothing but their pride in being American and gave more than all they had, domestically like my Mama and in battle in tje form of valiant soldier who were often no more than teenagers barely out of high school. They sacrificed not to protect materials things but for the intangible idea of FREEDOM. God…I hope that in reflection of the Day of Infamy, we don’t let that passion die out once the last survivor passes away.
While time is infinite, each of is mortal. During our finite time on earth, we each want to make our mark.
Mercifully, humans are built to push the thought of our impending mortality to the back of our minds in order to allow us to experience the joy of the present. However, we humans also tend to swaddle ourselves in the blanket of complacency. When the alarm sounds to take the actions needed to achieve goals, we all too often hit the snooze bar and roll over for just a little more time in the comfort zone.
But just like when we hit that button once too many times in the morning we are left scrambling, sacrificing and putting off until tomorrow what we couldn’t accomplish today.
Inevitably, though, someday tomorrow will not arrive.
And then the question becomes…What are you comfortable leaving undone when you depart this place for the next?
Today…rip off that blanket, pick up that guitar and learn to make your music with it…reconnect with that old friend and tell her how much you miss talking to her…take one of those ideas bouncing around your brain and write that f*ckin novel already!
Here for a limted time only…YOU! Make it a big deal.
WOW…what a week it’s been so far! We made history in multiple ways. We will continue to do so in the days to come.
As Americans, we have the freedom to express our opinions and engage in discussion when we have a different point of view.
Where else but in America could I, a woman of Hispanic and Jewish discent, pour my thoughts out onto this blog then broadcast them to any number of the millions of others out there in cyberspace? My greatgrandmother Lily was denied the opportunity to read or write when she grew up in Europe. It was useless to educate a female…let alone a Jewish girl. Oh my…how far our bloodline has flowed with her arduous journey to America!
With all the current passionate disagreement, the one thing we can agree upon is that it is our US Armed Forces that protect that and all other freedoms for all Americans.
Today, please exercise your freedom of speech and thank a Veteran for his or her service.
God bless every soldier, sailor, marine and airman. GOD BLESS AMERICA!
Prince came into my life at a very painful and confusing time. At 14, we’re somewhat obsessed with finding out who we are and where we fit in. My pedigree is not the best and thought it would forever define me. I self-identified as a misfit…still do…and believed that it put limits on me. Inside I was weird and dark and retreated into ink on pages, whether the words i wrote myself or ones i read written by others while listening to music.
I my adolescent self felt instantly connected with Prince when Purple Rain came out. Not only was the album filled with funktastic tunes with a sound i never heard before but the lyrics…they were trippy and poignant and raw. And Prince, the artist himself, was among the first to show me that a person is more than his/her pedigree. That the only limits on me were the ones I put on myself. That it’s okay to be quirky if that’s who you are. That retreating into your creativity can emblazon your mark on this world. That being diminutive in stature doesn’t mean you can’t be larger than life when you find your passion.
Most of all, Prince showed me that you can and should fly your freak flag freely.
It’s been a really long time since I’ve listened to Purple Rain or any Prince songs. But I think the most enduring artists leave you with more than just their artistic creations. They resonate with you at the core of your being.
Tunnel Vision. This is one of the key components of depression. It is the disease’s way of not only keeping you in its grips but strengthens its hold on you. The problem (and to the depressed mind that it often oneself) and its misery are the only things that exist.
But that’s not true. There is an entire world that can be drawn upon to help you make your way out. You just have to allow yourself to see it.
Often it feels like an impossible struggle to simply lift your head. Do it anyway. It’s worth it.
Easter is the celebration of the sacrifice. We are reminded that Jesus died for our sins. As a mother, i think i get that. If i could, i would take any punishment to spare my baby girl from suffering. But that is not always a good idea. I think that we need to be willing to face our own sins a little more often and accept their consequences. After all, being human it is a given that we are sinners. Being repentant celebrates humanity. Is there a more noble way to honor the life we have been given than to accept our frailties and find strength in one another for it?
Be kind. Remember, we are all in this life together.