Monthly Archives: September 2016

Reinventing Ourselves

How often have we been asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  Some of us pondered and wavered while others knew right off the cuff and answered immediately.  Some of us found our way into our fields of choice but those who have lived for a few seasons know that they may not last for a working lifetime.

Today, few of us will stay in one profession long enough to get a gold watch.  We may do a job for multiple years and become burned out and need a change. Or, the type of work becomes obsolete and no longer exists.

Then, we must upgrade our skills by taking some college courses or by getting more training so we can move on to a new dimension.  We fall into another profession, so to speak.

Sometimes, the old and the new jobs mesh together and one serves as a totem pole to reach a new height.  Other times, the jobs are totally dissimilar; but if we are wise, we continually reinvent ourselves.  We do what is required to keep it moving.

Over time, we may move back and forth like a river.  We take on a new persona until we come to the end of a road.  Then, we may find that a skill previously used, has become lucrative again.

We change hats! We may pull out the old hat, take it to the millinery shop and have it dusted and reblocked.  It is now ready for use.  We resituate our newly refurbished chapeaux on our heads and carry on.

In order to keep the dollars flowing and the skills shared, we switch it up like we shuffle a deck of cards.  The bottom line is to hear that wondrous sound, “Cha-ching, as the green money fills our coffers. Times changes and so must we.

The other day I asked a group of first graders the proverbial question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  Several of them had the foresight to roll off a list of about four or five professions.  Either their parents have been teaching them to not put all of their eggs in one basket or they are simply wiser than we were as children.  The Scripture reminds us that, “a small child shall lead them.”

We need to latch onto their wisdom and realize that we must be able to interchange and exchange professional choices.  We should gain as many skills as we can muster along our journeys and put them in our knapsacks. Then, we can pull out that skill that is signaling a beaconing light and hit the “Apply” button so we can cheerfully laugh all of the way to the bank!

dollar-sign

Lynn M.                                                                  September 25, 2016

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Shared Stories

Have you ever thought, “Woe me or why me when faced with some disconcerting situation?”  You stand alone or you think you are standing alone as you wallow and sink into deeper despair.  You feel as if you have descended into the pits of your own perceived dungeon.

And then, a  light bulb goes off.  You run into friends, colleagues or acquaintances and you connect with each other.  They begin to share their stories and tales of woe.  And just for a minute, you put your own monsters to rest as you listen to them.  Light shines just a little as you realize that you are not alone.  Others are experiencing their own private hell zones as well.

So you tune in and come up a few floors as you two converse. They spill their own shocks, disbeliefs and things that are currently consuming them.  You feel for them as they give the sordid details and automatically, you offer them words of encouragement. The healing balm begins for both of you because oftentimes, getting it out into the open is half of the battle.

The stories flow and flow and flow like water rippling over a giant rock.  The exchange is a great form of release. Yes, you hear the other person, but you also hear yourself.  Mysteries begin to unfold and the puzzle pieces start to fall into place.  You understand those things which once baffled you.

You walk away from those discourses feeling more empowered.  You know that you are not alone in your suffering.  Everybody is going through something. Soon, a definite course of action reveals itself and you say, “Okay. I know just what to do.”

It’s wonderful when you have the opportunity to talk with others who can identify with the challenges of the moment.  And yes, it is for the moment, because these shared stories offer new points of view.  Like rearranging the furniture, you move the pieces around to emit more light.  You create a little feng shui in your world and  there is a returning sense of calm and order.

More positive energy  floats around as you exhale and get rid of the stale outlooks.  You inhale the new possibilities as you  fall back into alignment with Spirit. The imbalance disappears and you feel like going on.  You silently or audibly thank those who listened to you and helped you get back onto the yellow brick road.

The Buddha said, “No one can save us but ourselves.  No one can and no one may.  We ourselves must walk the path.”  However, sharing stories truly helps us to locate that path and step onto it as we ‘Ease on down the road!’

yellow-brick-road         

Lynn M.                                                                           September 18, 2016

Cooler Heads!

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We have heard of the phrase, cooler heads prevail.  Well, the humidity has subsided and the cool, breezy weather has gently moved in to help us prevail.

The hot, sticky days that made us feel as if time  was standing still are over. They presented a real test as we walked through the summer months.

But now, it is the thinking season and one of my favorite months of the year. The air is thinner and the thoughts flow with a special ease.  It is an effortless process as clarity and resolve hold hands and reappear on our paths.

The muddled, hazy thinking has been lifted like a heavy blanket. The sweats are fewer and the comfortable temperatures have returned to bring a greater tranquility.

It’s time to do those September things like, ‘get back to basics,’ or ‘get down to business‘ or ‘tackle those tasks at hand.’  We think more clearly and methodically.  Positive thoughts resurge and clear visions return in sharper, panoramic views. 

We pick up where we left off before the stifled thinking came with the heat wave.  We  see victory ahead because we have held on and remained as poised as possible.  Now,  we venture towards those new, fresh shores of opportunity.

Lynn M.                                                         September 12, 2016

 

 

 

Book to Film: A Writer’s Dream

ink pen fancy

I looked at the movie Legends of the Fall this weekend.  I know. I know.  It came out a long time ago, but this was my time to take in every line like sipping on a cool soda.  I thought, “Wow!”  This is every writer’s dream to have his or her work understood, selected, magnified and displayed on the big screen.

I immediately started researching information about the author, Jim Harrison.  I saw that he passed earlier this year and had written this novella in 1979.  It covered over 50 years of the lives of one Montana family. He was fortunate enough to work with the director Edward Zwick to get it right.  The movie won an Oscar for Cinematography and was nominated for three other Academy Awards.

The result was undoubtedly a masterpiece. Together, the director and writer combined their visions and this epic tale was simply awesome.  The cast was also well-chosen for  this lengthy and powerful piece.  Jim Harrison was indeed blessed to have lived and enjoyed the fruits of his labors during his lifetime.  Unfortunately, many artists do not get that honor.

Most writers have a story to tell but it is truly a wondrous event when a film crew decides to take on their work.  Novels have often been used as springboards for showcasing memorable movies.  Sometimes the writers get the credit they deserve but oftentimes, they do not.  Jim Harrison had to be pleased to see his work on the big screen knowing that he helped to write the screenplay.

I can think of a few wonderful movies that were based on great books.  The list is endless, but here is a short list:

  • Legends of the Fall– Jim Harrison
  • The Color Purple– Alice Walker
  • Gone with the Wind– Margaret Mitchell
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls– Ernest Hemingway
  • Waiting to Exhale– Terry McMillan
  • Matilda– Roald Dahl
  • Dr. Zhivago– Boris Pasternak
  • The Thorn Birds– Colleen McCullough

The magic begins when a writer puts pen to paper and publishes a book that is picked up by a cinematographer who reads it and says, “Aha!”

Lynn M.                                                                       September 6, 2016

Smooth September!

September leaves

Tinted leaves flutter to the ground,
Trees shed as autumn comes around.

September, a smooth month and, mild,
As we rake those leaves in a pile.

Kids are returning to the schools,
Using those lessons as life tools.

It begins with Labor Day fun,
But soon, there will be much less sun!

Lynn M.                                                                                                                           September 4, 2016

Southside With You: A Review

Southside

My sister and I went to see the new movie, Southside with You about Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date. I was struck by so many things because I have Chicago roots as well. The places, scenes, sights and sounds helped me relive the year and era of 1989.

His old car with the hole in the floorboard showed his bravery all the way back then. I don’t recall him making any apologies for it as he drove Michelle around to various memorable spots. They went to the Chicago Cultural Center for an art show. Its brilliant dome in the ceiling was recently refurbished and brought back to its original glory. I remembered going there a lot as a teen when that beautiful building was Chicago’s Main Library.

While there, they enjoyed Ernie Barnes’ art depictions of black life in the inner city. Barack talked about the importance of art and how J.J.’s art was supposed to help him get out of the projects on the hit television show Good Times. Ernie Barnes’ pieces reminded me of Annie Lee’s works as well. Both artists were uniquely able to capture blacks simply enjoying everyday life.

Parker Sawyers, the actor, truly captured Barack’s essence. He had the tall, lean height, the gestures and the voice intonations down pat. After a while, I felt as if I was looking at Barack Obama, as he took Michelle to a variety of venues in one day.

They later went to the South Shore Cultural Center where there was an African drumming session going on. He had an opportunity to observe Michelle dancing with a little girl and he saw her in a more relaxed mode. Tika Sumpter also did a fine job of portraying The First Lady as she kept reminding him that this was not an official date.

They worked at the same law firm, and she did not think that their dating was a good idea. But he used his smooth ways to show her the many aspects of his personality by keeping her busy. They talked about a lot of things and he could immediately see that he had a thinker on his hands.

He drove his jalopy out to Altgeld Gardens which is out pass 130th Street. The Gardens, as they are affectionately called, are located quite a distance from the city and it was clear that he was out to impress her. He had driven to her house, the Loop,  South Shore, to the Gardens and even further as their long non-date continued.

Michelle had a chance to see him in another light while in The Gardens. The people loved and trusted him because of his former work there as a community organizer. She saw how he interacted with his admirers and she heard him speak and move his listeners for the first time.

Their date continued as they talked over drinks, went to see Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, talked on the Lakefront and enjoyed her favorite flavor of ice cream. They shared a lot about their families and he saw early on that he definitely had a sparring partner. Dr. Maya Angelou, says, “Equals can be friends.”

One review said that the actors lacked chemistry and I was somewhat swayed and had decided not to see it. But I am so glad that my sister insisted that we see it and judge for ourselves. The movie was short, sweet and thought-provoking. It ended with each of them quietly reflecting on all that had transpired in one day, once they had reached their individual homes.

One woman in the washroom complained that it was too slow and that she had gone too sleep. I silently thought, “Too bad.” She had missed a lot of deep conversations that set these two deep thinkers onto a historic path.

John Legend produced the film, wrote and performed the song, “Start.” Here are a few lines:

“Leave your house of mirrors, hear me out…

Fear no consequence, forget your doubts.

I don’t know where the road leads

And we won’t go unless we start.”

 

Lynn M.                                                                September 2, 2016