It Happened Today

“Don't wish me happiness
I don't expect to be happy all the time...
It's gotten beyond that somehow.
Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor.
I will need them all.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea


Sunday, September 20, 2015

THIS DAY

Just like every day, I am grateful for this day.
I am...
Grateful for the people who make Brownie Brittle.
Grateful for the program people from Showtime for scheduling to play "Four Weddings and a Funeral"  today so I had a good reason to put off doing the laundry.
Grateful to the Washington Redskins for giving me a reason to watch football today, and another reason for continuing to put off the laundry.
Grateful for E! network for showing a mere four hours of Red Carpet prior to the beginning of the Emmys and for timing the beginning of their coverage to coincide with the end of the football game.
Grateful to the Chinese Food Delivery man for arriving during a commercial break.
Grateful to my husband for not judging me and for watching all afore mentioned shows with me.
Grateful to my husband some more for knowing when to stop eating the Brownie Brittle.
Grateful to the people who choose the presenters for the Emmys for choosing John Stamos to be a Presenter. (Oh c'mon admit it he is easy on the eyes)
Grateful for the DVR because there are three other shows I am missing to watch the Emmys.
Grateful for tomorrow.....which can be, will be, more productive than today! (But may not be as much fun.)

Gratefully,
Magda

Sunday, September 13, 2015

GIFT FROM THE SEA

As summer draws to a close I find myself thinking of ways to keep its pace and promise alive until next June. My favorite summer activity is to be near the sea. For decades our family returned to the same beach. Falling easily into routines in a place where we felt at home.  A place full of happy memories, favorite people, delicious food and the ever calling sounds of the ocean.

This summer we went to a different beach in the same state. There was a little trepidation. Beyond feeling grateful to be able to get away there was a feeling of wonder and excitement of what this new adventure would bring but also a feeling of longing for our familiar haunts and faces. Quickly we realized how happy we were to just be together that it didn't matter that it was in a new place. We fell into new routines and began feeling at home.

I attribute most of this to the sea itself. As my sister and I went to the beach the first day we realized it's not so much where you visit the majesty of the water but that you visit it.

Every summer at the beach I read the same book, Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. It recalls her reflections on life, its stages and its states, and compares them with the natural treasures of life at the sea. This book was written in 1955 but it's message is timeless.

Admittedly, I have always been mildly obsessed with the author. She was married to one of the world's most famous men. Her life was thrust into celebrity status which she despised but handled with grace. She was herself an accomplished aviator and navigator having flown alongside her husband on many of his flights. She was an accomplished author. Gift from the Sea was written on Captiva Island, a quiet retreat for the author where she gazed inward at life, marriage, and family. 

I share these excepts from the book with the hope that you too can capture a little bit of it's message and carry it with you until it's time to return to the sea.

Excepts from Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"I began these pages for myself, in order to think out my own particular pattern of living, my own individual balance of life, work and human relationships. And since I think best with a pencil in my 
hand, I started naturally to write...

The Beach
The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach — waiting for a gift from the sea.
Channeled Whelk
But his shell — it is simple; it is bare, it is beautiful. Small, only the size of my thumb, its architecture is perfect, down to the finest detail. Its shape, swelling like a pear in the center, winds in a gentle spiral to the pointed apex. Its color, dull gold, is whitened by a wash of salt 
from the sea. Each whorl, each faint knob, each criss-cross vein in its egg-shell texture, is as clearly defined as on the day of creation. My eye follows with delight the outer circumference of that diminutive winding staircase up which this tenant used to travel.
My shell is not like this, I think. How untidy it has become! Blurred with moss, knobby with barnacles, its shape is hardly recognizable any more. Surely, it had a shape once. It has a shape still in my mind. What is the shape of my life?
Moon Shell
We are all, in the last analysis, alone. And this basic state of solitude is not something we have any choice about. It is, as the poet Rilke says, "not something that one can take or leave. We are solitary. We may delude ourselves and act as though this were not so. That is all. But how much better it is to realize that we are so, yes, even to begin by assuming it. Naturally," he goes on to say, "we will turn giddy."
Naturally. How one hates to think of oneself as alone. How one avoids it. It seems to imply rejection or unpopularity. An early wallflower panic still clings to the world. One will be left, one fears, sitting in a straight-backed chair alone, while the popular girls are already chosen and spinning around the dance floor with their hot-palmed partners. We seem so frightened today of being alone that we never let it happen. Even if family, friends and movies should fail, there is still the radio or the television to fill up the void. Women, who used to complain of loneliness, need never be alone any more. We can do our housework with soap-opera heroes at our side. Even day-dreaming was more creative than this; it demanded something of oneself and it fed the inner life. Now, instead of planting our solitude with our own dream blossoms, we choke the space with continuous music, chatter and companionship to which we do not even listen. It is simply there to fill the vacuum. When the noise stops there is no inner music to take its place. We must re-learn to be alone.
Double-Sunrise
We all wish to be loved alone. "Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me," runs the old popular song. Perhaps, as Auden says in his poem, this is a fundamental error in mankind. For the error bred in the bone/Of each woman and each man/Craves what it cannot have./Not universal love/But to be loved alone.
Is it such a sin? In discussing this verse with an Indian philosopher, I had an illuminating answer: "It is all right to wish to be loved alone," he said, "mutuality is the essence of love. There cannot be others in mutuality. It is only in the time sense that it is wrong. It is when we desire continuity of being loved alone that we go wrong." For not only do we insist on believing romantically in the "one-and-only" — the one-and-only love, the one-and-only mate, the one-and-only mother, the one-and-only security — we wish the "one-and-only" to be permanent, ever-present and continuous. The desire for continuity of being-loved-alone seems to me "the error bred in the bone" of man. For there is no "one-and-only," as a friend of mine once said in a similar discussion, "there are just one-and-only moments."
Oyster Bed
Yes, I believe the oyster shell is a good one to express the middle years of marriage. It suggests the struggle of life itself. They oyster has fought to have that place on the rock to which it has fitted itself perfectly and to which it clings tenaciously. So most couples in the growing years of marriage struggle to achieve a place in the world. It is a physical and material battle first of all, for a home, for children, for a place in their particular society... In these years one recognizes the truth of Saint-Exupery's line: "Love does not consist in gazing at each other (one perfect sunrise gazing at another!) but in looking outward together in the same direction." For, in fact, man and 
woman are not only looking outward in the same direction; they are working outward. (Observe the steady encroachment of the oyster bed over the rock.) Here one forms ties, roots, a firm base. (Try and pry an oyster loose from its ledge!)...
I am very fond of the oyster shell. It is humble and awkward and ugly. it is slate-colored and unsymmetrical. Its form is not primarily beautiful but functional...
But is it the permanent symbol of marriage? Should it — any more than the double-sunrise shell — last forever? The tide of life recedes. The house, with its bulging sleeping porches and sheds, begins little by little to empty. The children go away to school and then to marriage and lives of their own... What is one to do — die of atrophy in an outstripped form? Or move on to another form, other experiences?
Argonauta
Intermittency — an impossible lesson for human beings to learn. How can one learn to live through the ebb-tides of one's existence? How can one learn to take the trough of the wave? It is easier to understand here on the beach, where the breathlessly still ebb tides reveal another life below the level which mortals usually reach. In this crystalline moment of suspense, one has a sudden revelation of the secret kingdom at the bottom of the sea. Here in the shallow flats one finds, wading through warm ripples, great horse conchs pivoting on a leg; white sand dollars, marble medallions engraved in the mud; and myriads of bright-colored cochina-clams, glistening in the foam, their shells opening and shutting like butterflies' wings. So beautiful is the still hour of the sea's withdrawal, as beautiful as the sea's return when the encroaching waves pound up the beach, pressing to reach those dark rumpled chains of seaweed which mark the last high tide.
Perhaps this is the most important thing for me to take back from beach-living: simply the memory that each cycle of the tide is valid; each cycle of the wave is valid; each cycle of a relationship is valid. And my shells? I can sweep them all into my pocket. They are only there to remind me that the sea recedes and returns eternally.
The words of Anne Morrow Lindbergh are as true today, in 2015, as they were in 1955.

So I will wait patiently for the time when I can return back to the sea. In the meantime I will remember that life ebbs and flows, that sometimes a storm comes and angers the waters unsettling the foundation but the calm will return. With the calm will come a resettling of things into new places and maybe even uncovered a hidden treasure to add to the collection.

Wishing you calm waters,
Magda

Monday, September 7, 2015

LABOR OF LOVE

"Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country." dol.gov

Since June 1894 Labor Day has been a legal holiday thanks to Congressional Legislation. The day is typically observed by parades, picnics, and rest from the very labor of which is being celebrated.

Martin Luther King once said, "If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures. Sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”

We probably all know the saying, "Do what you love. Love what you do." 


I am blessed to work in a profession where the rewards of the labor are far greater than imaginable. They are not monetary. They are personal. The physical, emotional, and mental toll the job requires are vast but worth it. It is a twelve month, seven day a week labor of love. It has to be. 

Yes, there are perks. The business is closed on federal holidays. There is ample time off for winter, spring, and summer vacations. Inside the buildings there is always a good amount of playing, laughter, and singing. There is also always things to be learned. Every moment of every day people are learning. 

My business is education. My building is a school. The people I work with are teachers. Our Labor is done with great love.

" Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, "They don't pay me to like the kids." Her response: "Kids don't learn from people they don’t like.’” A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level." Ted.com

And I bet that today, Labor Day, the people that I work with will be working, planning, and preparing for another day, another week, another moment where their labor can be felt by the people they work for, the people for which they care. For it is with the love and care of what you do that one can really make a difference. 

Happy Labor Day,

Magda

A truly inspirational TED talk by Rita Pierson


Saturday, August 29, 2015

BORN TO RUN


Bruce and The Big Man
Forty years ago this past week Bruce Springsteen released the album BORN TO RUN.  The actual date was August 25, 1975. I was a mere 12 years old and going into the 7th grade.


One day in September 1975 I was home sick from school and listening to the radio. Probably not interested in what was happening on "Ryan's Hope" or "All My Children". The radio station had an album give-a-way and if you were the 101 caller you would win.  I dialed, and dialed, and dialed - rotary dialing - so you know I was determined. Busy, busy, busy until the phone rang and lo and behold I was the 101st caller (true story).  They told me the album I won and I was bummed.  I had never heard of the album or the singer, I thought I was going to win an Elton John album with the song "Rocket Man" on it. Oh well, I gave my address and thought maybe one of sisters would like the album.

None of my sisters wanted the album - they were too hip and into way cooler music like Cat Stevens, Genesis, and Emmy Lou Harris. So I was stuck with the album.  I gave it a try.  I slowly became obsessed with it and all things Springsteen.

In 1977 I started High School and BORN TO RUN was THE ALBUM!  From that moment on it was played at every party and we all sang all the songs at the top of our lungs.  It has probably become the anthem of my life with a couple of other Springsteen songs from other albums, "Rosalita", most songs from Darkness on the Edge of Town and The River. Actually any Springsteen song is my favorite with the exception of "Pink Cadillac". not sure why I just never liked it. Although I love "Cadillac Ranch."





Admittedly, I listen to a lot of music and am not picky.  I still sing songs at the top of my lungs and with three children aged 18, 19, and 22 I feel that I am up on most current songs, songwriters, bands, etc..  I have seen my fair share of Taylor Swift Concerts over the years (my youngest is a girl) and my current running playlist consists of Imagine Dragons, Rachel Platten, Bruno Mars, and Walk the Moon.  I even went to see O.A.R. in concert with my 22 year old son last weekend. I love musicals and have the entire Les Miz original London Cast recording in my iTunes library.

BUT nothing, and I mean nothing, can make me as happy as when I hear a song from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.Certain songs can bring me to a specific time and place circa 1977 - 1986 with some of the best people I have known in my life.  I have always felt blessed to have had the friends I had in High School and in college and the shared experiences we had.  I have seen many a Springsteen concert over the years and they have always been my favorite shows. Even in my adult life when I meet new people I know we will have a special bond if there is a shared love of all things Springsteen.

It may seem crazy and I promise it's not a creepy obsession it is simply a chance to experience joy!  The simple joy that comes from feeling young, walkin in the sun, with the wind blowin in your hair....

"Baby We Were Born to Run!"

Magda

P.S. Thank you Bruce Springsteen, Little Stevie, Big Man, Danny Federici, Max Weinberg, Garry Tallent, Roy Bittan, Patty Scialfa, and my Hometown Man Nils Lofgren

Enjoy this video
Born to Run 

Would love to hear your favorite song, lyric or concert experience, especially if it's a Springsteen story.