Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Never Forget

19508678_BG1

I was just settling down to start my workday as a property manager for a Long Island Rental Community. The Office manager was standing in her office with the TV on when my coworkers began wandering in to see what was going on. We shuffled around in shock over the next few hours, solemnly trying to do our work for the day and at the same time absorb what was happening. Needing to connect with those closest to me, as others did, I called them one by one, even though I knew they were not near the Twin Towers, nevertheless I needed to talk to them. First Keith at work , who was in Queens and was able to tell me what he and his coworkers could see from the rooftop of their building. Then my children and extended family and friends, checking to see if anyone had been in the vicinity and in danger. This was happening in My city. I was a New Yorker. A native, born and raised. I worked at that location in my younger years. I remember watching the towers being built. Later that day I hosted a coworker of Keith’s in my home overnight who could not get home to his own family. Delayed, stuck somewhere and displaced as so many were that day. I remember being glued to the TV all evening. And the next day and the next. But as things like this often are, it was surreal and it took time for the full impact of what had happened to sink in. Every year since then, I watch the documentaries, the factual accounts of that fateful day, the personal stories of the first responders who survived and of those who perished, those who saw the towers fall first hand right in front of their eyes, those who heard a few desperate last words from loved ones on the highjacked flights , and on and on. Every year I learn more about that day. Every year I try to understand why we live in a world where human life is worthless to some people. Every year I cry, and every year I remember, to “NEVER FORGET”.

Maple Leaf

 
autumn-maple-leaf-wallpaper-3
For everything, there is a season, it has been foretold. When I was young and green, securely clinging to the branches of my family Sugar Maple tree, I thought it was the best I would ever be. But  here, now,  in the Autumn season of my life , rich with vibrant color that represents the wisdom of my age, I see what then,  I did not know.   Green to yellow to orange to red, I have graced this landscape with the glory of my aging, and have brought pleasure and beauty to my Mother Earth.  I release my grip from the branch on which I was raised, and flutter slowly to the ground with grace, knowing that returning to the earth from whence I came is my destiny in the cycle of life, and I will return, in season. 

evolution-of-technology

Every day I see another rant, post or meme, from the older generation, knocking technology, particularly smart phones or social networking, claiming the development of these things has produced a generation of antisocial idiots. I for one am 60 years old. I grew up having to get my information from encyclopedias, dictionaries and telephone books. If a question arose, or we needed information, we had to wait until we could get access to these resources to find out what we needed to know.

We preserved our memories with snapshots taken with cameras that required purchasing film, and then turning in the film to be processed into photos. There were no selfies or unexpected moments captured instantly. If you did not happen to have a loaded camera on you, the moment was gone only to be preserved in your memory. We never knew how the photos turned out until we paid for the batch and got them back.

We escaped our mundane lives, by traveling to far away places, or living an adventure, through books that we borrowed from the library. We were allowed a limited number of books, and when we returned them on time we could borrow more.

We had transistor radios that we carried around waiting to hear our favorite songs when the station decided to play them. If we wanted to listen to music we loved anytime we wanted, we had to purchase records and tapes, if we could afford to, that is.

When people we loved moved away, we could only keep in touch through writing letters, mailing them, and waiting for them to write us back. Or talk on the phone if it was not a long distance call. We could only talk as long as someone else in our household did not want to use the phone. We could only hear their voice, or read about their lives in a letter.

I could go on and on, but let me fast forward to my life today. I do not think I was any worse for the wear growing up this way. But I also do not think I am any worse for the wear living my older years in the technology age either, if I embrace it and do not close my mind to its endless possibilities and its potential to enrich my life in a positive way.   Actually this shift has made me much more informed and knowledgeable about the world around me. It has also forced me to keep my mind open and always learning.

I have had access to the internet at home, through a desktop computer for about 13 years now. I currently own an ipad, a kindle tablet and a Smartphone. If I need to know something no matter where I am I have instant access to endless sources of information at my fingertips. I can capture any unexpected moment with a photo, and can review that photo instantly and retake it if I need to, then instantly share it with loved ones.

I love to read. And I still visit the library, and new and old book stores occasionally, because I love the charm and nostalgia. But I also have a wealth of books available to me at my fingertips on my portable wireless devices, whenever or wherever the mood may strike. I used to love to listen to audio books on tape or CD in order to read while riding a bike, or running or even housecleaning. But back in the day, it required, again, purchasing or obtaining these audio books from the library, and playing them on a cumbersome CD or tape player. Now I have any book I want to listen to at my fingertips on any of my multiple portable devices.

My children, grandchildren, parents and siblings all live in other states. But I can see their faces every day if I choose, through a Facetime call, or Skype, or a social network status that just informed me that my Grandson got a base hit in his game today, complete with photos of the special moment or even a video. I can play a game with a friend, relative or stranger from anywhere in the world. This would not have been possible in my youth.

I carry my Smartphone everywhere. Yes it is my phone and people can call me on it anywhere but oh it is so much more. It is a portable connection to my world. It is my camera, my video camera, my books, my dictionary, encyclopedia and history book. It is my telephone book, my US mail service, my portable bank, newspaper, television, radio. It’s my writing paper, stationary, journal and my game board. It’s my access to an instant coupon while standing at the register in a store. It’s a long-awaited correspondence from a friend and a reconnection to an old friend. Most importantly it’s my connection to loved ones I don’t see sometimes for months.

I have only scratched the surface. But I think I have made my point. Balance makes a healthy life. Although I can instantly pull up a beautiful high-definition photo of an autumn forest scene and post it on my Facebook page along with an inspiring quote, by no means does that take the place of an actual walk in that forest hearing those words of inspiration rained down on my spirit by my creator. It has not replaced these moments of walks in nature nor face to face conversations with people, nor real hugs rather than cyber hugs. It has only added to these life experiences, making connections with people and the world around us possible despite obstacles. One of the most loving families I know today are a high technology family. But they also hug and talk and play together even more than I remember doing in my childhood.

My fellow older folks. Please lets not label and generalize about an entire generation because we as humans obsess a bit too much over things that are new and exciting to us. Every generation has that challenge. Remember the weird girl in school who always had her nose in a book, a physical book? We called her a bookworm. She was antisocial because she did not know how to balance what she loved with what she needed. She is not much different from the 15 year old girl with a smartphone today that has to be reminded about balance. Remember being so obsessed with your favorite band that you walked around with your radio or tape player to your ear and did not socialize with the relatives when they came by, or how your parents complained because you spent too much time in your room listening to your records instead of hanging out with the family. My grandmother used to always comment on how music in her day was something the whole family shared together. In her day, every child learned to play the piano, every household had one, and each evening after dinner the family would sit around and listen to one another perform. This family tradition had died or was dying when I was growing up in the age of musical recordings. We didn’t grow up stupid, untalented  or antisocial because of it. In fact we raised the genius kids who invented all this technology that some, like myself enjoy in my Golden years. It would be narrow minded to presume that because this generation learns differently than we did, they are not smart.  The tech savvy people I know are pretty brilliant. Have you ever had a five year old show you how to download an application to your phone ?

I know there will still be some who will disagree with me, and by no means am I suggesting that  everyone should have a smart phone. If it’s not your thing, do without it, but I will end by saying this. Technology is by far, not the enemy of our grandchildren’s future. There are much worse threats out there.

daydream_sky_by_pagihari

People who write don’t normally sit down and say, Ok I am going to write now, as if turning on a switch. Writers talk to themselves a lot. Their inner dialogue leads to inspiration that can strike randomly at any time and anywhere. 

So, I am in the airport waiting on a delayed flight, just thinking about stuff. I like what is going on inside my head and want to write it down while it is fresh in my mind, so, out comes my iPad. 
The following is just that: My random thoughts about stuff. And pretty “spot on” to the thoughts I often entertain.
I think that love is the cure to all that plagues the human race. Others will argue, no, God is. The fact is, I agree, since I do believe that the concept of God and Love are synonymous with one another.
Peace and harmony are high up on my list of must haves for my life. I would rather move on with my life than waste time and energy on negative situations. 
With that being said, I do not necessarily run from challenges. I often find myself compelled to play a role as peacemaker, problem solver or voice of reason. However, I choose my battles wisely, avoiding conflict when I do not feel it is worth the effort and risk to my own balance. When I do feel a conflict is worth the effort, I take special care not to allow the negativity to suck me dry of my energy. I wear a sort of armor, a shield against the negative forces that can rob me of my peace. 
I do believe however that I cannot change people. And that love and the desire for peace needs to be a two way street. When I fail to enlighten people, or bring clarity to a situation enabling others to break free of their bondage, that’s when I decide to move on. The turmoil will not serve me well. I am saddened by people who are prisoners of their own hate, bitterness and  jealously. But I will go my own way with a prayer in my heart for them rather than be infected by their disease.
Some would say, “wouldn’t suffering alongside the suffering be a more loving  thing to do rather than abandoning a sinking ship ?”Well misery does love company. That is true, but the world of negativity is far from a  lonely place, as miserable as it may be.  Sometimes the true peacemakers are the lonely ones, misunderstood or dismissed as idealist dreamers of fairy tales and happy endings. 
I don’t mind being described this way. I just journey on trying to preserve the love of the life I have been given, the people I live with and the world we all live in. 
There is a better existence beyond  this life, where love will prevail and peace will reign. I am certain of that. 
JLE

Dream

1.1283432742.1_sleep-on-the-beach

I had a dream  the other day,
When all reality fell away.
All those I hold dear in the here and now,
were fading into the background somehow .
Not awake, not asleep, yet a clear state of mind,
I journeyed, another place, another time.
A thousand years from now yet a thousand years ago,
as time had no meaning, this I did know.
In my heart there was singing, but all the notes were not there.
Half were missing inside, yet they hung in the air.
As I knew I had done in lifetimes before,
I fled to the earth’s magnificent shore.
And there in the moonlight as it shone on the sand,
stood the singer of my heart song holding out his hand .
As I took it, the earth began it’s great symphony,
and our souls sang in perfect harmony.
And we walked and sang to the ocean wave song ,
for or 1000 years or forever long.

The little colored lights in Miranda’s bedroom window twinkled in the dark as she dozed off dreamily clinging to the warm feelings about Peter, her adolescent crush, and Christmas. Miranda always put up a string of lights in her bedroom. This way she could have Christmas in her room all December long. She loved to lay in the dark in her room with the lights twinkling, listening to her radio when the stations were playing Christmas music. As she floated off in that first stage of sleep she was suddenly startled by a loud bang. She sat up sleepily as her heart thumped and the knot gripped her belly. She felt the familiar warm rush of anxiety overtake her and held her breath to listen. No voices, no shouting. Just that horrible sense that something bad was happening and that awful silence. BANG, again, louder than before. Now whimpers and muffled cries. It is happening again, Miranda thought angrily. He was hurting her Mother and there was nothing she could do about it but hide under her pillow until it went away. BANG, BANG. What was he doing to her ? Miranda could hear her Mother crying now and the muffled angry voice of her stepfather. Miranda ? A small groggy voice could be heard behind the door of Miranda’s bedroom door. As it opened Kara the oldest of her younger siblings came in rubbing her eyes, followed by Kelly. “I am scared”, they whined as they moved toward Miranda’s bed. “It’s ok”, she reassured, knowing it was not. You can sleep here on the floor. She put down blankets for them and told them Christmas stories to keep their minds off what was happening behind the adjacent wall to where they huddled. It was at least an hour before the awful sounds of some unknown horrors behind her Mother’s bedroom door seemed to pass. Eventually the younger Joan had wandered in as she woke from the noises in the night. Only Cindi and Baby James had slept peacefully through it all. After the girls in Miranda’s room dozed off on the floor and all seemed quiet and safe again, Miranda started to drift back into slumber. Again she was awakened by a sense of someone’s presence and noticed the shadow of her Mother in her room. She opened one eye, but pretended she was still asleep. She saw her Mother cover Kara and Kelly, and lift Joan into her arms. As she quietly tiptoed out with Joan in her arms she closed the door behind her. Miranda drifted back into sleep as the Christmas lights twinkled on, like some contradictory symbol of “Peace on Earth” in the aftermath of a battle.

Colors and Contrasts

Color
I always used to grapple with the answer to this question. What is your favorite color? I always hated that question because coming up with an answer is like a task to me. I cannot, no matter how hard I try come up with just one answer. Truth is. I love color. All color, and never has any one single color remained my favorite for long. I have a preference to certain colors and shades from time to time, depending on a variety of factors. My mood, the time of year. Am I wearing the color ? Decorating my house with it ? But to name one favorite ? Cannot do it.

Contrast.
I love it ! In all it’s glorious forms. Contrasting sights, sounds, smells and tastes. Black on white, crunchy and mushy, sweet and salty, Hot and cold, loud and soft.
I like crunchy nuts in my creamy oatmeal and cold ice cream on my hot fruit pie.
I like to sleep in a chilly room with a cozy warm blanket or out on cold night in front of a warm fire. I like a cold frozen snow scene with the glow of warmth and life in the windows of a home.
I love the Twilight time of day, when the trees and buildings look pitch black against a sky that is still lit by the sun set over the horizon.
JLE

The Stages of My Life

the-path-of-life-carrie-bennett

1:Birth to Twenty
These were the years of growth and discovery. Here I learned to dream. I learned to hope. I learned I could find comfort in my hopes and dreams. I learned I could cope with difficulty by drawing from a strength within me, when there were no resources from the outside. I learned there was more, more than what we could see with our eyes, or touch with our hands. I discovered magic and miracles and secrets that not everyone knew about. I learned there was more to me than a body and a mind. I learned I had a spirit/soul and that it was very special. I learned I had power that no one could take from me. I also learned that not all people were good, And that there was a lot to fear in this world. That I had to protect myself because there was no one else I could depend upon on to do that. I also learned that I could fly. In fact I could soar to great heights if I so chose. I learned that nothing was really impossible if you wanted it bad enough. I learned to believe.
2: Age Twenty to Forty
Here I chose a path that took me on a journey away from my true self. In my deep need for love and acceptance I followed romantic love on a march to the beat of someone Else’s drum. All the dreams and hopes and wishes of my youth were put away in a box on a dusty shelf as I lived to please others and seek my self esteem through the roles I played in the lives of others . My spouses opinions were mine, as well as my preferences, tastes, and all manner of things. I was a mere extension of someone else. As for my soul, I turned to organized religion, shrinking my innocent spiritual freedom into a list of do”s and dont’s to follow the crowd, and again, gain the love and acceptance of others. Until I faced hurt and betrayal and lost all that I thought was important to me. It was then that I discovered what was truly important. The Spirit inside of me. And it was the best thing that could have happened to me. The darkest hours really are just before dawn .
3: Age Forty to sixty.
Here all the things I learned in childhood I finally was able to put into practice. I returned to pursuing dreams . I resumed my youthful practice of hope. The strength I learned to draw from within as a child served me well at the start of this stage and I was more fearless than ever. I realized I still believed in miracles and magic. During this stage I have discovered who I am. In body mind and spirit. I found my own opinions and tastes and preferences as an adult me. I discovered skills I never had the chance to develop. I accomplished things I never knew I could. I learned to nurture myself. I weeded out the things that help me grow and the things that do not. . What serves me well in this life and what does not. What is healthy for me and what isn’t. I have learned balance. I have learned that I am on this life journey for a divine reason. That I will make mistakes along the way because I am not perfect and am not expected to be. And my creator loves me unconditionally. And that the best way I can love my creator in return is to love that which he loves so dearly. Myself. I have learned that forgiveness of others and oneself is tremendously freeing. I have learned that what others think of me is not nearly as important as I thought it was in my youth. I have discovered that good relationships are all about balance. If you make them all about you, you will lose people eventually. If you make them all about other people, you will lose yourself in the process. I believe that love fixes almost anything but people don’t always know how to define love correctly.
As a child I learned how to fly, and I do that regularly now. I soar to great heights in my spirit. Because I am truly free.

So here I am at another twenty year mark. Will this be the beginning of yet a new stage ? I cannot wait to find out.

Peace

There is a great Chasm of darkness on each  side of every human conflict. We must be careful not to travel so far to the side of an issue lest we lose sight of truth in the darkness. The only place where peace and love reside is balanced in the center where the light is brightest and we can see both sides clearly in all directions. JLE

Winter Fairies

 fantasia-winter-fairies

They Fly on wings of paper thin ice,

that sparkle in the blue glow of moonlight.

Swift and free they fly at night.

In frosty flights,  their tinkling songs of pure delight,

crystal clear, clean and pure and bright,

but only on a winter’s night.

BY: Janet Lynn Egan