A New Year’s Soliloquy

Life is not fifteen minutes of fame. Life is the hero’s journey.

Joseph Campbell identified what he named “the hero’s journey” as the one constant myth throughout all cultures and societies. It is the individuation process of becoming who we are and fulfilling our destiny within our greater community. So-called  “primitive” societies have marked this coming of age with rituals that are, for the most part, missing in modern society; but the need is still the same—to find out who you are as an individual and within that, where you belong. Rituals validate this growth, making it more palatable since growth, by definition being outside of the comfort zone, is not a comfortable process.  But if the urge to individuate is not honored—if we numb it with drugs or alcohol or inattention—it will come back, and even stronger.

Life is only growth, and to that end, challenges are presented to facilitate this growth. Behaviors that prevent us from moving forward stall growth, but the challenges continue.

So face your challenges, embrace your individuation process. There’s no one else like you in the entire world, and your voice has something to say. Find out what that is and present it.

Leave home, find your power, bring it back to your community and share it. Then the circle is complete.

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Of Friends

There is a man I first met through my husband, who immediately embraced me with the same trust and love that embodies his friendship with Richie. Several times a year he sends gifts—wine, fresh fruit from Florida, chocolates, jams and jellies. He always  ‘likes’ what I say on Facebook, and he always adds something supportive.

He has not had a charmed life. He was sent to Vietnam to fight and there he witnessed, first hand, the horrors of that war. But it didn’t harden him, rather the opposite. His life experience in Vietnam gave him the opportunity of turning mean and cynical, but instead he chose another way. Knowing at some deep level that to hate, was to hate oneself, he turned to humanity, having witnessed inhumanity.

He lives his life to connect to others with love and he does it perfectly. He—and the ones like him—the ones who choose love over hate, trust over fear, compassion over cruelty, they are the great ones.

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Robin and Me

I was at NAHBS—the North American Handmade Bicycle Show—and Robin Williams was there. He had a bike on order with Dario Pegoretti, the renowned Italian custom bike builder and I guess he wanted to meet him in person as well as tour the show. Dario’s booth was across the aisle from ours and when Dario came in that morning, fresh from Italy, he pulled out, from the voluminous folds of his overcoat, a bottle of Italian wine. “This is for you and Ricardo,” he said in his wonderful Italian accent, “for a romantic moment.” That’s Dario—the consummate romantic and artist. I just love him.

So Robin Williams toured the show with an entourage of fans, and you could always tell where he was by the hive of people buzzing around him. (Not that I was looking.)  FINALLY, he got to our booth, but two people were talking to me (endlessly) and despite my frantic glances over to where Robin was talking to Richie (who didn’t at first know who he was: “Hi, I’m Richard,” he says holding his hand out. “I’m Robin.” Not that I was spying.) Then Richie called me over. “Sweetie,” he says, “this is Robin,” (well, duh.) “Robin this is my wife, TLD, The Lovely Deb.”

Robin shook my hand, and started to do his thing, which was an amazing riff on TLD—my very own Robin Williams riff, just for me. It went on for about, oh maybe thirty seconds, while I stared in amazement, grinning. Then he shook my hand again and walked off.

I felt like one of the anointed. He had riffed on me. We were connected. Which was why I did what I did next. As the show was closing, Robin, exhausted, was sitting in Dario’s booth, which, remember, was across from ours. I stopped my packing-up, and walked over to ask a question that had been nudging at me. “Why haven’t you ordered a bike from Richie?” I asked (but in a nice way) genuinely curious, since Richie is so well known in the bike-building world. Robin looked up at me, “I will, when I’m older,” he said, probably sick of people. “If you order it now, you will be older,” I quipped.

And Robin Williams LAUGHED.

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Slathering on the Face Cream

It came to me while I was slathering on the face cream—a cream made by my local farmer of beeswax so unprocessed that it smelled like honey—that what my society values in women is innocence, or the appearance thereof. We slather on the cream to hide the wrinkles that, god forbid, make us look like we have lived a life. It seems society prefers their women as girls. Untouched, inexperienced.

The United States is still a macho nation, alas, and so while wrinkles and grey hair in men are “distinguished” and “powerful”, the same look on women is viewed with aversion. Because what our culture wants in its women is not their power, but their fecundity and helplessness.

Well, it’s time to challenge that viewpoint.

We women are not powerless, and we’re not the inexperienced, innocent creatures society would like us to pretend we are. We have wrinkles. These wrinkles ARE our beauty. Wrinkles are the physical manifestation of a life lived, and what could be more beautiful than that?

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