Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Saturday, July 30, 2011

No, I don't think I can dance but I like the show

Some tv shows aren't that inspiring.  I'm thinking of reality shows like Hoarders, Storage Wars, Pawn Stars, Pawnathon, American Pickers, and now Canadian Pickers (I'm just hoping the Pickers shows stop proliferating before we get to Nose Pickers.  Although My Strange Addiction already exists so that topic could be covered there).  These are just ones that I've watched.  I doubt that Big Brother, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, and Swamp People really lift one's sights to higher levels either.  Maybe I'm wrong.

One show that would also fall into the reality tv category I suppose, to the extent that any show on tv depicts reality, is So You Think You Can Dance.  Happily, I find this show inspiring.

On this show, young dancers perform many dance routines in familiar and very unfamiliar genres with the hope of progressing to the end of the show's run and, ideally, being judged the best dancer.  I find it unfortunate that it is a competition, as they are all wonderful dancers, but I suppose this motivates them to try their absolute best.  And as I watch them in their pursuits of excellence, I am inspired to try my absolute best too.  I expect that other viewers are also so inspired.  I believe this is a positive thing.

For me, I will not be pursuing excellence in dancing.  That's never really been an option for me.  My passion is for writing and when I see those kids giving everything they have to their dancing, I want to give so much of what I have to writing.  They help me understand what it means to love something.  I am grateful for that show.

Maybe people find inspiration in some of the other shows on tv.  Maybe they provide relaxation and enjoyment.  Those things are good too.  For me, I don't get a lot out of them and I don't want to spend time watching.  But I will watch something that inspires me, that makes me want to do more, to dig deeper, to be better at what I love to do.  I find that a good use of time.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

On Cheering and Caregivers

I went bowling today with my son.  It's something we enjoy doing together, especially when we knock down pins.

Today there were 2 lanes near us that were occupied with bowlers who were physically and/or developmentally challenged.  I noticed that there was a big difference in what was happening at those two lanes.  I didn't like what was happening at one.

I admit that I am an outsider and maybe there is a lot more to know about the situation but this is what I saw.  In the lane to the left there was a man who, while he talked very slowly and deliberately, functioned very well and bowled well.  He had a caregiver with him.  The caregiver showed no enthusiasm for the man or his bowling.  His body language and his activities with his phone conveyed that his interests were elsewhere.  The man talked to him some but I don't know how much the caregiver said.  When the man got strikes or almost got strikes, there was no recognition.  It didn't stop him from bowling well but it would have been nice if there were some cheers for his accomplishments.

This contrasts sharply with what took place in an alley to our right.  There were a lot more people bowling and I think there were two caregivers.  The caregivers watched and reacted to the bowling.  They smiled.  They were engaged.  All of the bowlers at that lane were engaged too.  It looked and sounded like such a lot of fun.  Those people, all of them, were part of something wonderful.

The vulnerability of the man in the left lane struck me.  While his actual care may be handled well or at least adequately, I wish that he was working with someone who, well, was nicer to him.  He deserves it.  I hope that he has some people in his life who encourage and cheer him on now or in the future.  It is a joy for me to think of the fun and camaraderie the other bowlers and caregivers were experiencing.  Hopefully his caregiver noticed those things too.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hmm, I don't know

I woke up from a nap the other day and the words "What do you want?" were in my head.  I pictured them framed in a rectangle.  I wrote them down quickly.  I felt a need to capture them.

Since then, I have worked on the question but not fully answered it.  I'm finding it surprisingly difficult.  Is there something that should be obvious but I'm not seeing it?  Was the question just something random that entered my thoughts?  Maybe the only answer required was "A glass of water - yes, that's what I want"  I don't know.

I wonder what other people want.  What are they hoping for and working towards as they interact with people, work, play, have their quiet times.  What are you hoping for?  Do you know?  Is it only me who can't come up with an answer?  Was there a page missing in my instruction booklet?  Another one?

I'm not going to spend hours and hours on this question but I will think about it.  Maybe the answer I find will help me focus my attention and live more purposefully.  Or maybe I'll just decide I want to repaint the living room or buy new shoes.  I don't know.  All I did was take a nap and come up with a question.  It's fun to think this is profoundly meaningful.  But new shoes are fun too.


PS - I always love to hear what you're thinking!  Comments are most welcome.  Joanne

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ambitions and Anne of Green Gables

I am reading the book "Lucy Maud Montgomery:  The Gift of Wings."  It is an incredibly well-researched and apparently thorough biography of the woman who wrote Anne of Green Gables, 19 other novels, and 500 short stories and poems.  It is long but the quality of the writing and my interest in the subject keep me moving through it.  I am glad that I bought this book.

Montgomery's childhood and adolescence were difficult, sad times for her.  She lost her mother very early, her father lived far away and her maternal grandparents raised her.  She did not get along with her grandfather.

Despite all of the difficulties in Montgomery's life, she was a creative and intelligent girl.  And despite her creativity and intelligence, she faced a battle to get an education to develop her talents.  She was a girl and at that time, girls were actively discouraged from pursuing higher education.  But still she had dreams.  Luckily, she also had her grandmother and she was willing to help out with tuition costs.

While Montgomery had a difficult family situation, I don't know that a girl who had her skills and ambitions would have fared a lot better in many families at that time.  Female teachers were paid less than male teachers although they had the same responsibilities.  Women were supposed to get married and if they didn't, there were limited options for them.  Those were society's rules and women were expected to abide by them.

The thing I don't understand is why, if it was nature's intention that women not pursue their dreams and realize their ambitions, women would have dreams and ambitions.  But they did have them then and we do have them now.  They're part of us.  So, how can it be wrong to make them come true?

A lot more recently than in Lucy Maud Montgomery's lifetime, girls' career aspirations have been handled differently than those of boys.  In Afghanistan, the right of girls to get education was revoked.  It is being returned to them now, hopefully.  Girls and boys have often been treated differently.  And yet, both can dream, both can aspire.  And both can contribute.

I don't think it does women well to discourage them from full participation in the world.  Frustrated, neglected ambition can lead to problems.

In addition to the problems for women themselves, and those are serious in my estimation, by not allowing women full particpation, the world loses out on the gifts that women can share.  If Montgomery had followed society's rules strictly, we would not have Anne of Green Gables.  It is awful to think of how many women never did develop their talents, offer their gifts and make a difference in the world.  I wonder how different the world would look if it had received all of those gifts.

As for the rest of Lucy Maud Montgomery's life, I don't know that it will be a much happier tale.  I hope that she had happy times.  She deserved them.  She brought much joy by sharing her gift and writing Anne of Green Gables and so much more.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Making People Happy - Maybe That's Enough

Last evening, my son started asking questions about the role of the British monarchy.  I guess he hadn't given it too much thought until Prince William and his new bride, Kate, came to Canada.  He wanted to know if the King and/or Queen make decisions.  He wanted to know what they do.  It was hard to explain.  I don't know a lot about what they do. The Queen has always been there, doing her job well it seems, and to a child of the world today, the roles may seem strange.  We didn't even start to discuss the financial issues of it all.  That might have really perplexed him.

I have questioned the role of the monarchy.  Logically speaking, there doesn't seem to be a lot of need for it.  But I don't think that logic has to rule the world.

Throughout their visit to Canada William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have made people happy.  How many people travel around the world and do that?  Perhaps this alone is a good reason to continue the role of the British monarchy.  I wish this young couple the very best.