Friday, November 7, 2014

A Conversation with My 16 Year-Old Self

This summer, one of my cousins had this great idea for her daughter's 16th birthday. She asked her family and friends to write her daughter a letter. The letter had to address two things. The first thing was what you wished someone had told you at 16 and the second, was advice to a brand new 16 year old. When I first saw the request, my mind went bonkers. What would be the most important thing I could share? After all, it had been decades and lot of life experiences since I was 16.

Of course, I waited until the day before her birthday to actually sit down and write something. I tried to keep it short. But, what do you say to a 16 year old without raining on her parade? Or, without sounding like 'life is a box of chocolates' sappy about the future? We all know there will be trials. I know I had so many I couldn't even bear to start counting. But, the good thing is, I got through them. Most of us get through them. And, the other thing, would I have listened if anyone had given me the play by play book to succeed in life? Ah, probably not.

Well, I could tell you what I wrote her, but my imagination kicked in, and I decided to play act the whole thing instead. So here's my version of my conversation with my 16 year old me!

OLD ME:  Dilsa, Dilsa, Dilsa. You are a very talented young woman. And what's so great is that you have so many talents. But, the problem is, you have so many talents you are scattered. Have you given any thought to what you would like to do with your life?

16 YR OLD ME: I want to dance.

OLD ME:  Okay, you are good at that.

16 YR OLD ME:  No, I want to be an artist.

OLD ME:  Yes, you are a very talented artist.

16 YR OLD ME: No, wait. I like to tell stories. I want to write. I want to become a writer. No, no. Maybe a singer.

OLD ME: I have heard you sing. You can carry a good tune.

16 YR OLD ME:  No, an actress. I'm creative. I have a creative soul.

OLD ME: Hmmm. Sounds to me like you a scattered soul. See what I mean. Out of all those things, what is it that stops time for you? What is it that you really, really love to do, can't live without?

16 YR OLD ME:  I don't know.

OLD ME:  Think about it. How do you feel when you do each of these things? What makes you the happiest?

16 YR OLD ME: When I dance I create stories in mind. The same thing when I paint and draw. I see a story setting that I’m painting for. And, when I sing, I see the song’s story really clear and I can actually feel the emotions of the song.

OLD ME: Sounds like a trend or pattern going on. Don’t you think? Storytelling. Why don’t you focus on storytelling?

16 YR OLD ME: Not a lot of storytellers make a lot of money. I mean not all writers are like Stephen King and Barbara Taylor Bradford. Most writers are like most artists, poor, broke and hungry.

OLD ME: Where did you get that idea?

16 YR OLD ME:  My parents mostly. They think of the artistic type as loose, druggies, poor, broke, and well just not something not to aspire to.

OLD ME: And what do they want you to be?

16 YR OLD ME: An accountant or a teacher. Something like that.

OLD ME: I know you don’t want to disappoint your family, but what do you want to do?

16 YR OLD ME: I know I don’t want to be stuck in a room filled with kids all day, that’s for sure. I would go insane. And even though I’m good with numbers and stuff, accounting is BORING.

OLD ME: Can I give you some advice?

16 YR OLD ME: Sure.

OLD ME: Listen carefully. This may make the difference between being happy and successful, or broke and poor-spirited, okay?

16 YR OLD ME: Okay.

OLD ME:  Number One. Follow your dreams. If writing or anything else you choose stops time, or eliminates time from your perspective, HOLD onto it. Now when I say stops time, I mean when you get so caught up in what you are doing in that moment, that time becomes irrelevant, you have found something that sparks your soul. You have found something that you love.

Number Two. It’s real important that you remember this. You can’t make other people happy by not following your dream. You are afraid you are going to disappoint your family. I get that. But, their disappointment won’t begin to cause the emptiness inside you that your own disappointment will. You have to ask yourself, which would you rather live with?

Number Three. Beware of empty spaces. Yes, there will be an emptiness created, a void, that life will do its best to fill with something if you don’t follow your dream. Just like a weed fills the empty crack in the sidewalk, life will try to replace your joy with something else. That something else can pose a real danger to you. It could be something really bad or something that is just as bad for you. Some people fill voids with alcohol, drugs, or the wrong, negative people. Others fill those voids hiding behind their work becoming workaholics. So AVOID the VOID. Follow your dream.

Number Four. Stay focused on your dream and prepare for it. A wise man and many after him said in so many ways, you become what you think about. So you should stay focused, think about writing, learning as much as can about writing, and then write, write, write. The world will unfold a writing career just for you. Be careful though, you will have to make a decision on the kind of writing you want to do, or the universe will decide for you.

For instance, I have said so many times I can’t count, that I want to write for a living from home. So guess what I do, I write policies, operations manuals, and twenty million emails a day from home, that is when I am not on the road to do the same. It occurred to me a couple of years ago, my dream of becoming a writer was actually fulfilled. Just not exactly how I imagined it when I was your age, because I really had no focus on what kind of writer I wanted to be. So whether you want to write stories, become a journalist, or a blogger, stay focused in that direction; and never stop being prepared for the opportunity to write.

Number Five. Last but not least, and probably the most important tip I can give you. Always listen to that still small voice inside you. For it is your guide to great things. Hang in there kid.

Happy Belated 16th Birthday to My 16 Year Old Self!!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Almost Broken in A State of Perfection

I try to fill every day with gratitude for all my blessings great and small, and even for those things that don't appear to be blessings at the time. My arm is healing, but still sore and its movement still limited to a degree. However, this experience has made me so thankful and appreciative of my body and its capabilities. It has also made me even more empathetic with those who deal with chronic limitations, especially those who deal with those limitations by not allowing themselves to be limited.

Each day presents a new challenge, but less challenging than the other. This situation reminds me that God watches over us, and is with us always. Nothing in this Universe is almost broken, like my arm was. Everything is in a state of perfection always working toward our good, whether or not we are able to recognize it or whether or not we know the outcome for ourselves or someone else.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Being Happy, Being Healthy, Being Loved

What else could anyone want out of life except a state of being happy, being healthy, and being loved? Sure, we fool ourselves into thinking it’s wealth that we want, and some of us even crave fame. There is no denying wealth makes it easier to be happy though. You don’t have to worry about bills, housing, or food. A wealthier you could even mean a healthier you by making it easier to afford the best medical care.  But, can wealth bring you love? No, love is so basic and so naturally evolving, nothing else matters. The impoverished is loved as much as the wealthy by spouses, children, friends, and family. That would make love the true source of wealth and our very existence. There is something or someone so Infinite, so immense in nature that It created love through the mere radiance of its existence. This Infinite power, most of us refer to as God, has powered within each of us that most prevalent and easily shared emotion called love. Okay, this may sound sappy or not, but love is the resolution to all of our worldly problems. Love can connect us, create harmony, and establish peace with our neighbors and in the world community. Imagine world leaders caring so deeply for their constituents and fellow world dwellers that they would not wage war. They would share the philosophy of “do no harm.” Imagine no one becoming a terrorist because of whom or what they hate; instead they would become peacemakers by loving and respecting others’ differences. Imagine waking up in the morning and hearing the last evening’s news repeating over and over how great and wonderful the world is. There is an abundance that is available to everyone. All you have to do is open your arms and your hearts. Being happy, being healthy, and being loved could turn our world into a true heaven on earth. So spread some love.

“A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love.” Max Muller

“We've got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can't just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it's going to get on by itself. You've got to keep watering it. You've got to really look after it and nurture it.” John Lennon

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Your World, Your Words

Sitting here next to my new grandson, I wonder what his world will be like when he grows up. I wonder what words will define his future. Who will speak words to him that will inspire him and make him feel invincible? What words will he hear to make him feel less than he is? As a writer, I know the power of words in a story line. However, as a human, I know the power of words in our lives.  Words have the power to create or to destroy, to unify or to divide, and to build foundations of success or failure, even happiness or misery.
Looking back on my life, I can remember words spoken to me that made me doubt myself and words spoken to me that made me feel like I could do anything. In many instances, I can even remember who spoke those words. That’s why as I look at this innocent life, I pray the words I speak to him will never cause him to hurt, to doubt, or experience pain, but only cause him comfort, joy, and inspiration. 

Growing up as children, we believe every word spoken to us and our worlds begin to develop around those words. For instance, if we grew up hearing how wonderful and how beautiful we are, we have more confidence than the children who grew up hearing nothing positive about their attributes or characteristics. Thus, these words affected the outlook and reaction to the world they live in. 

The creation of our worlds doesn't stop there. As we all mature and become adults, words continue to shape our worlds: past, present, and future. Since our worlds are shaped by our own minds, thoughts, and beliefs, we have the responsibility to ourselves and to others to use our words wisely. Always remember the power of words and remember words become thoughts, thoughts become actions, and actions create outcomes that design your world.

So for the sake ourselves and our little ones, live by these words: Happy Words! Happy World!

Monday, June 10, 2013