Tag Archive | gift

3:00AM

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“Let’s cherish every moment we have been giving; the time is passing by…” ~ Kool & the Gang

Hello,  My name is Henry Bins and I have Henry Bins. Lol jk That’s an inside joke to myself. ;-D

I read a fiction book called “3:00AM” about a man named Henry Bins and he has a very rare sleep disorder which was named after him because he is one of three people in the world to have it and he was the first to be diagnosed.

He says “My name is Henry Bins and I have Henry Bins!” lol

It’s like a mixture of comedy, suspense, thriller, adventure, drama, love, mystery…I guess you can say. I love it!

The disorder causes him to sleep 23 out of 24 hours a day. It’s beyond his control. He wakes up every morning at 3:00am then just drops wherever he is at 4:00am and goes to sleep.

He had this disorder his whole life. It’s no walk in the park for him but he learned to live with it. He learned to adjust and cherish every moment he has awake.

His mom left him and his dad when he was a child and his dad brought him up and loves him unconditionally. He always wanted Henry to be as normal as possible and he made sure he was educated and well socialized. He would teach him reading and writing and he would bring children to their house at 3:00 am to play with Henry. Henry is about 36 years old in the novel, I think, and he’s as “normal” as can be.

He uses the Internet and goes out running and listens to music. But every single minute, literally, has to be planned out so he can get the most out of his life and be home safely in bed before he drops.

It’s also a murder mystery, this book. One morning just before 4:00 he was in his bedroom and he heard a woman scream like she was being murdered. Because she was being murdered. 

They live near Washington D.C.

He looked out his window at her house across the street and saw Connor Sullivan,  44th president of the United States, walking out and the president looked up and saw Henry! Then Henry dropped to the floor asleep. And woke up all stiff and injured. He doesn’t drift off to sleep around 4:00am, he will literally drop and sleep with absolutely no control. He already ended up in an emergency room occasionally because of dropping to sleep and being injured when he was out places too late.

He learned to make sure he’s in bed right before 4:00am.

There’s no known cure for this (fictional) disorder.

Because of knowing his time is limited, he carefully plans to make the most of literally every single minute he’s awake. He is mindful of all the ways he can have fun, of all the beauty around him. He cherishes each and every moment he’s awake. He knows at 4:00am he will be asleep until the next day. He had a few girlfriends at different points but it never worked out because they couldn’t handle his disorder. He says the only thing worse than being or having Henry Bins is being in love with Henry Bins. 

He plays video games, listens to music, runs for fun, reads books, checks out online dating websites, plays cards with his dad, has a stock business, a cat, and is generally happy. He pretty much has a full life. He sometimes wonders what it would be like if he did not have this disorder. He wonders if he would be married with kids but he knows he can’t be wasting minutes sulking or wondering “what if…???”

Henry says:

“I force myself to stay in the moment. I don’t have time for the past or the future. My life is the present. For many years I played the what if game. What if I had a normal life? Where would I be? Would I be married? Would I have kids? But then twenty or thirty minutes would be gone. Wasted. Thinking about things that I can’t change. That are unchangeable.”

See how this can apply to most of us to some extent? Who doesn’t at least once think “What if….?” We may think what if we were different or our lives were somehow different…what if we made a different choice, weren’t struggling with things beyond our control, looked different, were married or married to someone else, chose to go to school instead of certain jobs, did not have to put up with certain people, had more money…..

But all we have is now and what we currently are. It’s good to work to better ourselves but not fret or obsess over what we can’t change, what could have or should have been, or negatively compare our lives to others. 

He doesn’t have much but what he does have is enough. He has one hour each day and he knows how to make the most of it.

Henry wakes up and he says, about the green numbers on his electronic clock,

“The glowing green embers also tell me it’s 3:01am. 
One minute gone.” 

Three minutes later after going online and checking his accounts, he says:

“3:04. 
Four minutes gone.”

There is a profound revelation here.

“One minute gone.”

“Two minutes gone.”

“Three minutes gone…”

(he doesn’t count down like this throughout the entire book – that may be kind of annoying lol)

Henry, because of his disorder, only has a limited amount of time so he knows not to waste any of it at all. 

Every single moment is important and worthy of being embraced. 

For every minute he must decide what he wants to do that minute, what is worth it. Does he want to read, listen to a song, play a video game, masturbate(lol he decides that at this moment it isn’t worth it)…? Each minute he does something he doesn’t really care to do is a minute wasted, a minute he can never have back. 

But guess what?! It’s not because of his sleep disorder that he only has a limited amount of time! This is true for all of us! His case is just more dramatic than most of ours but none of us has an unlimited supply of minutes awake!

One day, just like Henry Bins, we will drop except we won’t get back up again.

Henry was forced to realize this because of his condition. We are not usually forced by life circumstances to realize this to the depth that Henry is. Some people diagnosed with terminal illnesses or ones who have a near death experience see this much more deeply than probably the average person.

In some ways, his disorder allows him to even live more fully than a person without a disorder like this. What we may see as life hindering actually sets him free. To live more deeply, more completely, more sweetly than the rest.

He says

“…I spend a perfect minute watching a trawler sucked downstream by the sweeping black current. I used to wonder what it would look like during the light of day, how the water would look under a burning sun and puffy white clouds, but day didn’t exist in my world. Only night. Only darkness.”

I love this statement for a couple of reasons. It shows how much many people take for granted. The simple beauty we too often overlook.  The beauty of day and night. It shows us how we have access to mundane things we overlook everyday that some people long to have and never do. Like daylight. Some people are always in the dark. 
The next morning you wake up to the light of day, look around you and pretend you are Henry Bins finally seeing the light of day. Look with new eyes like you have never seen beauty in the sun. Isn’t it lovely?
 This statement also shows acceptance. He can’t have day where he lives in his position and he just cherishes what he does have.

He knows it’s not wise to spend his moments being concerned over stuff he can’t do much about currently. 

“The corpse of the woman continuously creeps into my thoughts as I run, but each time I am able to ward it off with a tight squeeze of my eyes and a gaze up at the starry sky. This is my time. Not hers.”

Sometimes we have to practice self-care and not put too much time and energy into other people’s problems and stuff we can’t change. This is especially poignant when we realize our time is limited. I think we all, or most of us,  grow up with the knowledge we won’t be around forever. But knowing and realizing/feeling it are two different concepts. Once we feel it to a certain depth, we may be more motivated to change our ways to live in the present moment mindfully, with gratitude.

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Since Henry’s time is especially limited, he checks his cell phone a lot for the minute. He has to so he can get back home safely and plan out how much of each thing he would like to engage in.

Since he lives near a murder scene, he is questioned by detectives. 

The one detective wonders why he almost  constantly checks his phone. She says,

“What’s one minute to the next at three in the morning?”

Henry is infuriated.

This detective does not know of Henry’s condition and he doesn’t care to explain it to her. 

Also, he made a big mistake and he does have something to hide.

He says to the reader,

“Those minutes are my life, I nearly scream. Those minutes that you take so much for granted because you get a thousand of them each day are priceless to me. Your life is measured by title, wealth, and status. My life is measured in grains of sand, trickling from one teardrop to the other.
My nostrils flare when I’m angry and I wonder if Ray feels a small gust of wind. Taking a calm breath, I ponder telling her that I’m Henry Bins and I have Henry Bins. I don’t.” 

(Ingrid Ray is the homicide detective – it’s cute because Henry and her have a little crush on each other! Lol)

At one point Henry says,

“It’s like Christmas, each minute a beautifully wrapped gift just waiting to be opened. Should I allow myself an extra minute in the shower? Could I read three more pages of my book? Run another quarter mile? Watch a YouTube video? Watch the swimming pool scene from Wild Things, twice?”

Isn’t this beautiful? Each minute of his life is a beautiful gift. Each minute itself. Every minute to him is full of wonder and possibility. If only we would all think this way quite often! 

After reading this novel I noticed a change in me even without trying. I came to have an even deeper appreciation for my minutes and became even more mindful after just reading this book once. Then I began to apply the concept consciously and intentionally even more than I used to, the concept that each minute is a gift. A perfect gift. A minute is brief, fleeting. But it’s something. And every minute matters. 

Have you ever wasted minutes? I sure have. Have you ever waited for a bus or train and just keep anxiously looking up the street as if it will make it appear or keep looking at your watch? Or keep thinking where in the hell is this bus or train? Or have you ever waited somewhere for someone to pick you up to go somewhere and when it’s nearing the hour the person should be coming for you, you don’t just sit and be peaceful, instead you feel like just getting it over with and like there’s no point in starting anything like reading or watching a movie or anything because you will be leaving soon, in just a matter of minutes?

But even five minutes is enough to be some kind of productive. One minute is.  You can read a few pages of a book, meditate, write in a journal, a draft for a blog post… If you’re waiting for a bus I don’t think I would recommend deep meditation or maybe not reading and definitely not listening to music with earphones. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings for safety purposes. I do read and listen to music while out and about, occasionally, but I don’t recommend it to others. But you can take in the scene around you or think more productive thoughts than “when is this bus coming?!” or “let’s get this over with!!!”

Those few minutes are minutes that will be lost forever. Let us cherish them completely.

I try not to waste any minute now. The thing that really got this concept to sink in is in the beginning with the “one minute gone…two minutes gone…” That’s so true. For all of us.

I’m not Henry Bins and I don’t have Henry Bins. Lol 
But just like Henry Bins, I do not have a limitless supply of minutes. I can fall asleep at 4:00am and never wake up.

It’s not likely but not impossible. I’m sure I will live to be old, old, old and hopefully indefinite life extension will be a reality and we will all live much longer. But we all have something in common with Henry Bins. 
Each minute is a gift.

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I was careful not to give away any big spoilers. This is a murder mystery but with a deeper message. I strongly recommend it. 
I made it seem really cheesy and sappy here(I’m really into cheese and sap…) but it’s really not. The sappiness is all mine. Lol It’s a fascinating work of fiction both about a murder mystery and a very rare (fictional) disorder and how the man copes and lives with it. But it also has this deeper message. 

This reminds of of a teacher I had in high school, Dr. Zhender. He always told us in every class that no amount of time is too short. 
We can learn something of value in just a few short minutes. At the end of class instead of letting us talk or stand by the door, he would make us sit and watch part of a movie for the last five or ten minutes insisting that we never waste a minute.

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And it reminds me of a professor I had in college for Sociology. Professor Grasmuck. She did the same exact thing. In college when we have an exam we can leave whenever we turn our paper in and when class ends early we often are allowed to leave. If it only takes us ten minutes to complete an exam, we can leave or if a lecture ends early, but never in her class. She made us sit there and told us to read or something or listen to her music. At the end of every class she made us listen to music saying it would do us good. If a student tried to walk out, she would yell “sit back down now!” as if we were children! Lol But I liked it; to me it seemed like an act of caring and I missed high school when we were under the authority of the teachers. In college that’s not how it is. Professor Grasmuck was always very sweet and friendly, very caring and passionate. I have always loved that about her, how moved she would be over the stuff she was teaching us, she really feels it. She was always deeply touched over injustices and the misfortunes of others and how they would help each other.  She just did not want any time wasted in her class. She wanted us to learn and take in all the music and information we could in her class. Every minute counted. Every minute counts. 

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Dr. Z, Henry Bins, & Professor Grasmuck know that every minute is a gift and a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow and cherish.

This is a great lesson to us all!

😀

Xoxo Kim

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Love Out Loud

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“Always leave the world a little better than you found it.”

To me, one of the greatest joys of living is helping others, making things go more smoothly for anyone I can.

There are many simple ways to help people all throughout everyday. Simple things that have a great impact. We don’t have to have a certain job or anything to help out. There are endless opportunities in every day. ❤

There are ways to help people that will go unnoticed by everyone but the person helping but if these simple things are not done, it will be noticed.

You may think something along the lines of “Why even do this when no one will even know? Not even the person being helped will know!” But if you don’t, people will be affected in an unpleasant way.

For example, seeing milkcrates or boxes in the middle of a street with no one else around. If you move those crates or boxes away so people in cars can more easily drive by, there’s a very good chance no one will ever know someone was kind enough to move them. They never knew they were there in the first place. They’ll just drive by without ever knowing. They can’t bask in the joy or gratitude of knowing someone helped them because they don’t know someone did help them.

But if we don’t help by moving those boxes or crates, they will know they’re there. They’ll have to stop, get out of their cars and move them themselves. Or worse, they’ll crash into them, not paying attention. They will feel the impact of the hassle they have encountered. So there really is a purpose to doing simple things that will go unnoticed when the tasks are completed. If they’re not completed, they will be noticed so why not make things easier for people in general whenever we can?! We’re generally under no obligation to help make things easier for people, and if you don’t it doesn’t make you a horrible person, but it’s still fantastic to help anyway!

I don’t need credit or to be paid back in anyway whatsoever. Helping people is enough. I was thinking about this concept one day at work, recently, and it always brings me joy to think this way but I’m always unprepared for the immensity and the depth of the joy that hits me and flows through me, tingling in my bones when I think this way. It’s breathtaking.

The thrill of all the possibilities we have, all the chances we can take, to help anyone we
 can in big and small ways. It’s exhilarating!

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Even if it’s just eye contact with and a pleasant smile to a stranger, giving someone your seat on a bus or a waiting room, not judging distressed and overworked parents with screaming kids in a crowded place when everyone else is repulsed and giving them disgusted looks, actively listening to someone with a genuine interest in understanding instead of just listening to deliver an appropriate sounding response, being a loyal friend, adopting a pet and giving him/her a loving furever home, paying for someone in back or in front of you in line at a store, writing little love notes with inspirational quotes or messages and leaving them in random places for anyone to find, being extra patient with the stressed cashiers in busy stores, holding your tongue when you feel like lashing out at someone, trying hard to understand someone else’s situation that you never experienced for yourself, the opportunities are infinite.

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Sometimes I think of all the ways I may have been helped by some kind stranger through the years, never even knowing it, never saying thank you because I never had the chance. All the puddles I never sat in on busses because someone dried them before I had a chance to sit in them, all the gum that never got stuck in my long hair on public seats somewhere because someone cared to remove it before someone’s hair or clothes got destroyed, the objects that were removed out of aisles of stores, off of pavements, and out of streets before I tripped over them not paying attention, I think of the houses and stores that never got broken into, the people who never got snatched off the streets because someone cared enough to call the police and scare the person away/catch the suspicious person.

I remember one day I was texting while crossing a bus terminal to get onto a bus and stepped in front of another bus, speeding at me, not paying attention. It was more than just a “close call.” I was nearly hit. And so was one of the men who saved me. The bus driver hit the horn but couldn’t stop fast enough. And it was speeding fast. Two men yelled and risked their own lives to save mine. Men I never saw before that day and never saw again. They did not know each other or me. They saw it turn and coming my way when I did not. They both jumped out into the street, one pulling me, the other pushing me. The one actually put his body in front of the bus to push me out of the way, almost falling on top of me to get us both out of the way. If they weren’t at the bus stop that day I probably wouldn’t be here today. Or I would be physically damaged. They did not know who I am but they know that I’m someone. They never knew my name, my values or opinions, my story, my personality, my interests or anything about me other than the fact that I exist. But they clearly valued my life that moment as much as their own, disregarding anything else about me.

Because of that I never look at my phone or anything while crossing a street. Ever. Not once since that day a few years ago, have I even briefly glanced at my phone while crossing even small streets with no traffic. Even when I’m really into something on my phone when I get to a street I act like the phone doesn’t exist. I honor their heroic act.

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While I felt immense gratitude I was mortified. It was so stupid to be texting while crossing a busy street/bus terminal. I put not only myself in danger but others. On the bus that day it’s all people could talk about, how lucky I was, how close it was to a tragedy…Luckily no one said out loud how stupid I was. I couldn’t get off that bus fast enough.

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(this is the bus stop But on a different day lol! I was looking for a pretty picture to put here and coincidentally this is one of the first to show up on my phone which is broke so all my pics aren’t showing up…)

But if I wasn’t texting that day crossing into the street, I would still be doing stuff like that days after that and maybe another day I wouldn’t have been so lucky to have two Earth angels so close to me. So they saved my life that day and possibly days after. I think of all the days I wasn’t hit by a bus because two heroic men taught me a great lesson. Texting while crossing or driving is a dumb thing to do. It’s dangerous. It’s deadly. To the one texting and the ones around that person.

There are so many blessings we don’t even realize we are living or have lived because they’re the things that go unnoticed when they are done by someone but their absence would be noticed if they weren’t done by someone.

We can give thanks to and for all the Earth angels and heroes out there and those no longer with us by paying it forward. Always being the one to leave the world a little better than we found it. By loving out loud.

Xoxo Kim


The Beauty that Stalks the Darkness

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“Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.” 

I saw this quote today, attributed to Buddha. What a gem! It’s so true! This is a habit that can be developed. It may not always come so easily but it can be developed and ingrained deep into our brains. Every experience, pleasant, unpleasant, neural, trivial seeming, fun and light, can teach us something! There’s a little spark hidden somewhere in each of our experiences, that can be ignited to enlighten us, teach us a lesson, strength, wisdom, greater empathy and understanding for others, and inspire us.

There is potential for some kind of growth in every occasion.

Maybe you’ll learn who you want to be or don’t want to be, how strong you really are, ways to teach or help others….maybe you’ll learn something you can’t really put into words, just a feeling of deep knowing, true enlightenment. The lessons and wisdom and things we learn and come to know won’t be the same for all of us. Only you can really know what your experiences are capable of teaching you and how receptive or in tune you can be to the messages. Some people can help guide you along the way but it’s ultimately up to you to pay close attention.

It’s helpful, while experiencing an unpleasant or difficult situation of any sort, or even a pleasant, positive one, to stop in the midst of it and think “What is this teaching me? What skills or wisdom or knowledge am I being equipped with by experiencing this?” It may not come to you right away, maybe not even until the situation is long over. But it’s great to ask yourself those questions. It will get your brain in gear and directed at finding answers.

Sometimes your only lesson may just be developing deeper compassion to help others later in a similar situation or inspiring others by sharing what you have come to know. And that’s beautiful! 

Your situation can even just be reading a book or a poem or mindfully listening to a song. It can be wildly entertaining and fun but underneath there’s always some beautiful lesson to be learned.

I think this is what it means to “live life to the fullest.” You know that old cliche, right?! 

When I think of that I often think of people skydiving, partying it up, traveling the world, bungee jumping and shit but “living life to the fullest” is another thing that’s different for each person. To some people that stuff is boring and “living life to the fullest” is sitting on a sofa every night watching funny TV shows. And that’s great too as long as you’re getting the most out of your own life and not interfering with others.

To me, living to the fullest, is being in tune with the life all around me, living in the moment, seeing what it’s teaching me, savoring the splendor I am blessed to experience. 

It’s truly being alive and active “listening” to life, not just mindlessly floating through each day.  

Everyday I keep myself in tune to the wisdom all around and within me, I try to learn as much as I can and I meditate upon it and write about it and share with anyone who wants to know about it! I find wisdom and beauty in books, poetry, songs, blogs, essays, and everywhere. 

Xoxo Kim

P.s. I found love today in my backyard with my dogs:

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;-D

30 Days of Lists – Day #1 Inspirational Songs

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I have been working on this post for a few days now.

Recently I came across an interesting blog challenge called “30 Days of Lists.” I can’t find the source now but it’s a challenge where everyday we compose a list for any topic we want. They provided some examples like: things about yourself, words you really dislike, places you want to visit….and you can make up your own lists.

Today I’m going to do a list of some of my favorite positive/inspirational songs. I have so so many and I will list some now. I love all kinds of songs, happy, sad, sappy, romantic, friendship, fast, loud, slow, death metal, Oldies, country….but my absolute favorite ones are sappy, about love romantic and platonic/friendship, loving everyone…, Oldies and country.   And inspirational, uplifting ones. I think it’s important to have a special play list of just uplifting ones along with all the others, either uplifting in the message or the tunes.   

Songs that will uplift you and not make you sad.    Sad songs are beautiful too and sometimes it’s good to listen to a song that matches your current mood. But sometimes it’s better to listen to a more uplifting song that will inspire you to be happier.

So here’s my list(many of them are country songs) There are twenty – Six here:

1.) Cherish – Kool and the Gang

This is a romantic love song but it can be applied to life in general.   It doesn’t matter if you’re single or taken, in love romantically or not; you can’t take the lesson to heart, applying it everyday. It’s about being incredibly grateful for THIS life right NOW. You never know what will happen in the next instant, what or who will be taken away, what dramatic changes will occur….”Let’s cherish every moment we have been given, the time is passing by.” Remember this life you have currently, the current state you’re in now, it won’t always be the case. Things can and will change for better and for worse. Health changes, life changes, situations change….take right now to feel blessed.

2.) You and Me – Alice Cooper 

Another romantic love song but can be applied to life in general. The message is about realizing what we have IS beautiful. We ARE enough just being us. We don’t have to have some big extravagant job or be financially rich or have some busy, glamorous life to be RICH, happy, and so in love with life itself.

“But you and me ain’t no movie stars.
What we are is what we are.
We share a bed,
some lovin’,
and TV, yeah.
And that’s enough for a workin’ man.
What I am is what I am.
And I tell you, babe,
well that’s enough for me.”

“What I am is what I am.
And I tell you, sweetheart
that’s just enough for me.”

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6ur55juZ4Og

3.) The Chain of Love – Clay Walker

Not a romantic love song but a love song just the same. About reaching out in love to those in need whether or not we know them. Strangers are still people, still someone. At one point, we will all be in need of a helping hand and we should all keep that chain of love going.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mVQGQ0wh7eY

“You don’t owe me a thing,
I’ve been there too
Someone once helped me out,
Just the way I’m helping you
If you really want to pay me back,
Here’s what you do
Don’t let the chain of love end with you”

4.) Happy Girl – Martina McBride 

This is a lovely song about a girl who used to be frequently miserable and in a constant state of hopelessness. She walked through life with a heavy heart. Then one day she realized it doesn’t have to be this way. She can be happy. Life can be good. Great.   Beautiful. Amazing. She realized that complaining wasn’t changing the world for the better. So she chose to change for the better. She let’s herself be sad, be happy, feel whatever she feels but she is generally a HAPPY girl now! I love it. I can relate so much to this song! It’s like it was written about me. I was that depressed, sad, lonely, hopeless girl for so long until I chose to change and be happy.

5.) Come Monday – Jimmy Buffett 

I read that one day many years ago Jimmy Buffett was in a hotel room, on tour, I think, and he was in despair and contemplating suicide. But instead of killing himself, he wrote this and it saved his life. I’m so grateful that his life was spared. This is actually a positive song about Monday! About how there’s something to look forward to even when we’re suffering emotionally, in immense pain. When Monday comes, it will all be alright. 

 
“Come Monday, it’ll be all right
Come Monday, I’ll be holdin’ you tight
I spent four lonely days in a brown L. A. haze
And I just want you back by my side

I can’t help it honey
You’re that much a part of me now
Remember that night in Montana
When we said there’d be no room for doubt

I hope you’re enjoyin’ the scenery
I know that it’s pretty up there
We can go hikin’ on Tuesday
With you I’d walk anywhere
California has worn me quite thin
I just can’t wait to see you again”

http://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PLA3CF6E96E781FE63&v=1DnBwdBhS3c

6.) “If the World had a Front Porch” – Tracy Lawrence 

This lovely song is how we should treat everyone as if they’re our own family and friends. We should act lovingly with each other no matter what. It wouldn’t solve all our problems but we would all be friends. It’s reminiscent and nostalgic with the singer remembering how his family would sit on their front porch years ago and all just love each other. I love the warm loving feeling that wells up in me just thinking of this beautiful message.

“If the world had a front porch, like we did back then
We’d still have our problems, but we’d all be friends
Treatin’ your neighbor like he’s your next of kin
Wouldn’t be gone like the wind
If the world had a front porch, like we did back then”

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Y38h55EaHL0

7) You’re a movie. – Alice Cooper

This song is about having amazing self -confidence. Confidence enough to take on the world and give other people strength just by them being in our very presence.  

“Bullets repel off my medals
And my men are in awe when I speak
All chaos my strategies settles
My mere presence gives strength to the weak

For me it seems really alarming
I’m really just only a man
With five million sheep in this army
I seem to be the only one fit to command”

“Another day, another victory
Another gold stripe, another star
Really quite boring sometimes
I wish they’d send someone equal to my strategies

What a guy
I’m really quite a guy”

8.) Every woman has a name  – Alice Cooper

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mVQGQ0wh7eY

This is an amazing, beautiful, sweet, slow song with an incredible message. The message is that every woman is someone. Someone important. Someone with beauty, pain, struggles, a life. No matter how rich or not, no matter what her job or life situation is like. A waitress, a queen or debutante, a Housewife, a girl with a broken heart and struggles. It doesn’t matter, every woman is lovely.

“And even when your world was shakin’
Even when your breath was taken
Even when your blue eyes turned to gray

Small town debutantes and queens
Every woman has a name
Cocktail waitresses with dreams
Every woman has a name
And every girl whose love survives
A broken heart to stay alive
You signed your picture in the frame
Every woman has a name

You had your love affair
Some were perfect but most of them were pain
Seems a hundred years ago
It took you to the highest hill
Left you standing frozen in the rain
But you still feel the afterglow”

9.) 5:00 somewhere -Jimmy Buffett & Alan Jackson 

This song is just really funny and uplifting. He’s stuck at work on a slow summer day and his boss is being an asshole and he decides that even though it’s only the early afternoon he’s getting out since somewhere it is 5:00! Lol

“Pour me somethin’ tall and strong
Make it a hurricane before I go insane
It’s only half past twelve, but I don’t care
He don’t care
And I don’t care
It’s five o’clock somewhere

Jimmy: What time zone am I on?
What country am I in?

Alan: It doesn’t matter

It’s five o’clock somewhere”

10.) Help Me to Heal – Olivia Newton John

Olivia Newton John was tragically afflicted with breast cancer but she survived! And with an amazing attitude!   She chose gratitude. And she wrote and sang songs to help her heal and stay strong. I am so so thankful for her stunning, beautiful songs of hope and healing. To me, they are so delicate but so strong and just like they help her, they help me heal. Since I have depression which comes and goes, it can be difficult to choose gratitude when depression overwhelms me. I don’t like feeling depressed but when I’m depressed, I’m often tempted to just let it consume me. It takes strength and motivation, and so much energy to battle it and not let it really suck me in like a vacuum like it used to, where I would be suicidal and just hopeless for months year after year. I still have severe episodes but I now more often than not remain hopeful without serious suicidal thoughts/urges/contemplation. I can cope so much better when I’m hit with an episode.

“I know I’ll find the strength to fight
If I can trust I’m gonna be alright
So walk me through my darkest fears tonight”

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4jfDm3RKXWc

11.) Learn to love yourself – Olivia Newton John

This song is so beautiful about loving yourself. Self-love is very important and it’s not about conceit or arrogance. It’s about being full and compassionate and loving. Self-love is so healing. No matter how many people love you, you won’t truly be fulfilled, probably, until you truly love you. Other people’s love for you is definitely healing to a certain degree but it’s not enough. Your self love is enough.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CUO4-y-z-Gg

“Youre hurting, uncertain
Alone again
Still searching for someone
But so afraid

And youll try for love
And youll cry for love
Til you learn to love yourself
And youll lie for love
And youll die for love
Til you learn to love yourself..

The answer is sleeping
Inside your heart
True love that you long for
Thats where it starts”

“Breathe it out and breathe it in
Trust the light that shines within
Let it burn til you learn to love yourself
Breathe it out and breathe it in
Trust the light that shines within
Let it burn til you learn to love yourself”

12.) grace and gratitude – Olivia Newton John

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VMCrHv81kgg

“Thank you for life
Thank you for everything
I stand here in Grace and Gratitude
And I thank you …

Seasons come and seasons go
No matter what we choose
A thousand names
A thousand roads
All lead to one simple truth

Thank you for life
Thank you for everything
I stand here in grace and gratitude
And I .. I thank you”

Gratitude is crucial for healing and happiness. It doesn’t cure all problems and doesn’t always take away all pain but it does ease some pain, help us cope, and be happier in general. It shall become a way of life, not just a fleeting attitude. There are different degrees of it. You can be thankful for something you know is a blessing or you can feel it deep into the marrow of your bones, tingling in every bodily cell, Dwelling in your essence. With practice and meditation this can become a frequent reality and help us cope tremendously with anything, loneliness, grief, loss, 
depression, physical pain, anything.

It doesn’t matter what you believe or not, you can believe in a god and thank it or just give thanks to the universe, the world, life.

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13.) Life’s a dance- 
JOHN MICHAEL MONTGOMERY

This is a song about just accepting life as it is. Going with the flow, good, bad, painful, beautiful. We learn as we go along. We can’t force life to always be a certain way and always go smoothly so let’s take it as it comes our way. Not just be passive and accept bad things that can be changed.   But accept that life can’t always be controlled.

“Life’s a dance, you learn as you go.
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow.
Don’t worry ’bout what you don’t know,
life’s a dance, you learn as you go.”

14.) King of wishful thinking – Go West

This song. It’s a breakup song.   A sad one. But it managed to make my inspirational song list! Why?!?! First of all, the tune. It’s uplifting. It’s not sad, dreary, mellow, heartbreakingly devastating. It’s pumped up.  But also the lyrics. As the title of the song shows us, it’s not about positive thinking exactly but wishful thinking. There is a slight difference.   He’s denying his pain over his lost love. I typically do not promote denying our pain. But sometimes, on rare occasions we may just have to fake it til we make it.

“I refuse to give into my blues, that’s not how it’s going to be.”

“I’ll get over you, I know I will. I’ll pretend my ship’s not sinking.” 

Yeah, There’s definitely something positive about this! 

15.) If you’re going through hell – Rodney Atkins

This song is very encouraging! It reminds us to keep going no matter how low we feel. Things get bad. So bad that they just can’t get any worse….but then…they DO get worse! Then we learn the truth that we just keep going!

“Well you know those times when you feel like
There’s a sign there on your back
That says I don’t mind if you kick me, seems like everybody has
Things go from bad to worse
You think it can’t get worse than that
And then they do

You step off the straight and narrow
And you don’t know where you are
Used the needle of your compass, to sew up your broken heart
Ask directions from a genie in a bottle of jim beam
And she lies to you
That’s when you learn the truth

If you’re goin’ through hell keep on going
Don’t slow down if you’re scared don’t show it
You might get out before the devil even knows you’re there”

16.) I’m alive – Willie Nelson 

This is a fantastic song about being thankful for simply being alive.

“It’s so damn easy to say that life’s so hard
Everybody’s got their share of battle scars
As for me, I’d like to thank my lucky stars
That I’m alive and well.

And it’d be easy to add up all the pain
And all the dreams you sat and watched go up in flames
You were on, on the wreckage as it smolders in the rain
But not me, I’m alive

And today you know that’s good enough for me
Breathing in and out’s a blessing, can’t you see?
Today is the first day of the rest of my life”

17.) When the going gets tough – Billy Ocean

“I got something to tell you
I got something to say
I’m gonna put this dream in motion
Never let nothing stand in my way
When the going gets touch
The tough get going

18.) I hope you dance – LeeAnn Womack

This song reminds me to keep going.   It’s about cherishing every single moment we’re blessed to be alive, never taking one breath for granted.

My absolute favorite line is “When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider.”
It’s a sweet song.

“Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’,
Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’,
Don’t let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider,
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.”

19.) Something worth leaving behind – LeeAnn Womack 

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HqTT59h9aLg&list=PLfqg3Gb_txbQjUvGzl9Qcl6rJKsDDUGX-

This is a beautiful song about how we don’t have to be famous or have some impressive skills or talents to impact someone’s life in a positive way and to be remembered. All we have to do is love. It’s simple but profound.  

20.) Choices – George Jones 

This song is about a somewhat controversial topic, the fact that we do have choices in life and much of where we are is because of choices we made. Even the choice to do nothing is still a choice.   We can’t always choose what happens to us or what other people do. But we can choose how to react, to overcome pain and obstacles, to heal, and to move forward.

” I’ve had choices since the day that I was born
There were voices that told me right from wrong
If I had listened, no I wouldn’t be here today
Living and dying with the choices I’ve made

I guess I’m payin’ for the things that I have done
If I could go back, oh, Lord knows I’d run
But I’m still losin’ this game of life I play
Losing and dying with the choices I’ve made”

Here is a great quote along similar lines:

“Life is like a game of cards. The hand you aredealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will.” – Jawaharlal Nehru 

21.) The Gambler – Kenny Rogers

This song is of a similar concept. It’s not really about gambling but knowing how to get along in life. It’s about learning how to choose our attitude and what to keep in life and what not to keep. Every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser. This means that every life no matter what can be viewed as good or as bad. It’s all how we look at it. This message inspires me deeply.  

“Now every gambler knows the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away
And knowin’ what to keep
‘Cause every hand’s a winner
And every hand’s a loser”

22.) Every storm runs out of rain – Gary Allan 

This song is so very comforting. It reminds us that pain heals and we can move forward. Pain and heartache comes and goes and may never go away completely but it can heal and doesn’t always have to be overwhelming and raw.

“Every storm runs, runs out of rain
Just like every dark night turns into day
Every heartache will fade away
Just like every storm runs, runs out of rain.”

23.) She’s got a way- Billy Joel

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=p0iOEOtSyB0

I love this sweet song!   About a girl with love and beauty that can touch people’s lives and inspire greatness in the people she comes across.  

“…I don’t know what it is
But there doesn’t have to be a reason anyway 

She’s got a smile that heals me
I don’t know why it is
But I have to laugh when she reveals me
She’s got a way of talkin’
I don’t know why it is
But it lifts me up when we are walkin’ anywhere

She comes to me when I’m feelin’ down
Inspires me without a sound 
She touches me and I get turned around 

She’s got a way of showin’
How I make her feel
And I find the strength to keep on goin’
She’s got a light around her
And ev’rywhere she goes
A million dreams of love surround her ev’rywhere”

I just melt.

24.) Raindrops keep falling – BJ Thomas

I love this song! It’s about how even when things seem wrong we can still have hope to keep going knowing that eventually happiness will eventually fill our hearts again.

“Those raindrops are fallin’
On my head, they keep fallin’

But there’s one thing I know
The blues they send
To meet me won’t defeat me
It won’t be long till
Happiness steps up to greet me

Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head
But that doesn’t mean
My eyes will soon be turnin’ red

Cryin’s not for me ’cause
I’m never gonna stop the rain by complainin’
Because I’m free, nothin’s worryin’ me”

25.) Eye of the tiger – Survivor 

Some people think this song is too pumped and needs a good toning down. But not me! That vigor is perfect.   I love how pumped it is! It’s perfect with the lyrics and message. A song about doing whatever it takes to survive and keep those dreams alive.

“Risin’ up straight to the top 
Had the guts, got the glory 
Went the distance, now I’m not gonna stop 
Just a man and his will to survive “

I love it!

😀

26.) Livin’ In The Sunlight, Lovin’ In The Moonlight – Tiny T

I don’t worry!
Worrying don’t agree,
Things that bother you,
Never bother me!

Things that bother you,
Never bother me
I feel happy and fine!
AHA!
Living in the sunlight,
Loving in the moonlight
Having a wonderful time!

Haven’t got a lot,
I don’t need a lot
Coffee’s only a dime
Living in the sunlight,
Loving in the moonlight,
Having a wonderful time!

I hope you have found some songs here that inspire you deeply and uplift you like they help me! I have so many more also but as you can see, the list is already long!

Much love & inspiration to you!

Xoxo Kim

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While the music lasts

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“You are the music while the music lasts.” ~
 

I took this pic of the wind chimes in the backyard of my house. Then I edited it putting this quote on it.  (I slipped n pasted the wrong source though opps! )
I like the quote. It’s lovely and inspiring. As are all Rumi quotes
And someone recently brought my attention to the fact that it can be interpreted in a sad way or a more cheerful wway.

I at first took it as a positive Or more cheerful thing. To be music is quite amazing. To hear music, to listen to it, to feel it is one thing and it’s a beautiful thing but to become the music, to BE it, well that’s something else. Something beautiful. Something wonderful and enthralling and mystifying and fantastical, out of this world, powerful, amazing. Wondrous.
When you become one with music, you can feel it vibrating through every cell of your body, speaking to your bones, caressing your essence, breathing to your being, beating in perfect synchronicity with your heart, venturing through your veins, flowing through you, basking in your blood, the fluid of your llife.
It dances upon every pulse that throbs in you, sinking into your ppores.
And you can be music. Even when there is no music.
Someone commented to me that it’s a sad but great qqquote.
That’s
when I realized it does have a sad tinge to it. Sad but beautiful especially when it’s placed with my pphoto.
My photo, which also has a kind of sad beauty to it. It’s dark and a bit hazy but pretty and deep.
The line “while the music lasts” reminds us that it’s not forever. It will eend.
But, while that’s sad, it can make us appreciate things even more. When we know something is fleeting and will eventually be out of our grasp, this knowledge and realization can make us appreciate things more deeply and take advantage of the gift of being alive.

So go ahead and be that music.

While it lasts.

Xoxo Kim

Pain & my gratitude list for today

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“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

I am struggling hard with a somewhat severe flare up of my facial pain disorder. It’s not as bad as it tends to get sometimes but it’s bad. I had difficulty sleeping last night because the Throbbing pain kept me awake. My jaw locked shut and I couldn’t open my mouth wide enough to even fit my soda bottle into it.  The chronic pain disorder that I have (TMJD) sometimes causes sufferers to experience the locking of their jaw either locked shut or open.  

It’s literally physically locked and can’t be forced open/closed until it decides to on its own. There’s no known cure or definite effective treatment. Most of the best treatments seem to be home remedies such as heating pads and cold packs, facial massages, stretches, avoiding certain things like gum chewing and hard food, avoiding stress because that tends to aggravate it…

My pain disorder is the most physically painful experience of my life. I’m not constantly in severe agony like some people but I am in pain more often than not and it flares up every now and again to severe agony that is debilitating and seemingly unbearable.  

I struggled with this since I was a little girl but I had no idea what it is or that all the symptoms I experience are connected. I thought it was a sinus/ear condition complication since I used to have recurrent ear and sinus infections and my pain disorder affects those parts of the body. I was always afraid to tell my mom about my weird, confusing symptoms.

My left arm goes dead/weak, I experience sudden and temporary deafness, searing pain like a very severe tooth/ear/sinus ache all over my face, jaw, ears, around my eyes, temples, and now my neck, shoulders, head, and down my left arm. It used to only be on the left side of my body, now it’s on my right side as well.

My condition got worse and worse through the years until a couple years ago it became unbearable to me. I would scream out loud for hours through the night into the early morning until my throat was raw and sore and my mouth tasted like blood.   Sometimes I couldn’t even scream or cry, all I could do was squeeze the bars on my bed with one hand and hold my throbbing face in the other and writhe in agony.  

Physical pain frightens me when it reaches a certain point. I begin to panic. I have always been this way and I don’t know why. So when it flares up really bad, I am scared out of my mind. Every year I develop another symptom. When a doctor told me what this condition is I struggle with, it was one of the worst moments of my life. It felt like my life was shattered to pieces. That was around when my depressive disorder was really starting to get better in general. I was happy and hopeful.

Then my mysterious physical disorder flared up. It physically paralyzed me. I stayed wide awake for four days straight. With not a second of sleep. I screamed night after night til I lost my voice. I contemplated suicide.  Not because of depression, for once. I wasn’t depressed.

I thought I would die because of not sleeping day after day.

I thought about buying or stealing drugs to help me stop the pain. Someone gave me prescription pain pills illegally.   I was desperate. I took them. I took one. It wouldn’t work. I took a few more at once. They only took the edge off but I began feeling like myself again and was able to sleep.

When I thought it was a sinus/ear condition I believed that can always clear up but when the doctor told me it’s a chronic and currently incurable pain disorder that really has no professional treatment, I was absolutely devastated. It took everything I had not to crumble right there in her office.

Doctors often don’t like prescribing pain pills for pain disorders because they think people just want drugs and the chronic pain conditions can’t always be seen objectively with tests and sometimes pain pills don’t even work anyway. And I wouldn’t want to live on pain pills in general or take them frequently.

I had no idea what to do or how I would go on living. She gave me suggestions for how to ease the pain and prevent severe flare ups, like facial massages.  I never knew I can touch my face because I thought that would make it worse. Just the mere thought of touching my face horrified me. Many nights before the diagnosis, I would lay in bed and imagine a human hand stroking and massaging my face wishing desperately that someone could do that for me but never knowing it can really be done without exacerbating the pain.

I would imagine the hand in different skin colors and sometimes imagine it invisible.   When the doctor told me it’s not only ok but necessary for me to massage my face I was doubtful and terrified.   That night I kept thinking about it, trying to get the courage up. I would put my hands to my face then lose the courage to touch it. Then one moment I touched my face. Then I pressed on it and massaged it and I couldn’t believe it actually mitigated the pain. It wouldn’t take it away but made it almost bearable.  

The more I massaged it each day, the less my pain would become. Now that’s one of my greatest techniques. 

The thing that helped me cope with my physical pain disorder is my depressive disorder.   Because of years living with a depressive illness and learning ways to cope with it, I was already used to making myself better with personal development techniques and positive/optimistic thinking.  So this prepared me for the worsening and diagnosis of this physical ailment. I knew I am strong enough to handle this.

One of the many great things about struggling with a severe depressive illness for years and working hard to get better is, it can strengthen us beyond belief and prepare us for anything, if we allow it to. I always thought of my depression as a “curse” for the most part, for many years, but it’s actually one of my greatest blessings, as horrific and agonizing as it is.

It made me so much of what I am today.  

Suffering with severe pain of any kind can be excruciatingly lonely. When I’m suffering with a severe flare up of TMJD pain, I see everyone around me going on like usual not even realizing how incredibly blessed they are. So blessed. To be able to go on like nothing ever happened, having fun or not, laughing, eating, planning, talking, sleeping…

Not in severe anguish or despair. It’s like that with depression too.

But depression and physical pain can also open us to realize the simple but profound blessings all around. When I’m in too much pain, either physical or emotional, to do much of anything, I often see things in a way I overlooked before the pain flared up.

I see the moistness on cold soda bottles, the vibrancy of the colors in Nature, the texture of food…and I would do just about anything to go back. Back to where I was before.   When the pain wasn’t so bad.

The good thing is that we can strengthen or develop the habit of seeing the simple greatness surrounding us so even when we aren’t in agony, we can bask in the simple treasures of life. I often do this more now, even when I’m not in pain.  

That’s the good thing about pain. It can teach us so much. But not everyone will experience pain to that degree and depth and I hope they never will.   I want to teach “ordinary” people without pain disorders to be constantly and consciously grateful for not being in pain, for all the simple things, the beauty of life.

Many people will say they’re thankful for everything when the concept arises but I believe we should think about it more often than just occasionally. 

I don’t want tragedy to have to hit to make people awaken to the beauty and gratitude and abundance we are blessed with.

I will admit, sometimes I feel sorry for myself when I’m in too much pain. Especially at night when I’m in my bed or pacing back and forth in my bedroom while all the world around me is asleep and I’m in my own hell suffering beyond belief.   And I believe that’s ok. Ok to feel sorry for myself on seldom occasions.  But I don’t make a habit of it. Instead I make a habit of being strong and thankful and optimistic and positive whether or not I’m in pain.

My heart goes out to all who are suffering or struggling with pain of any kind, physical or emotional, whether it’s chronic or temporary.   When I’m having a severe  flare up, I hurt for myself but all I can mostly think about is the ones who have it worse and my heart breaks for them. There are people living in constant agony and not just occasional flare ups. And some people’s situations makes it harder to handle or live with. Since I myself have pain disorders I thoroughly understand what it’s like. Even if I never experienced chronic pain or severe agony I would be compassionate and understanding for people who do have it but the fact that I have it makes me understand more what it must be like for people always suffering.

Whenever I have a severe flare up, I try to make it a point to list a few things I’m thankful for. I have a choice to either sink into despair and focus on the pain all around or focus on beauty and hope. Today I choose Hope & Beauty.

Here’s my list:

1.) I’m thankful for the books and plays I’m blessed to have come across.

2.) I’m grateful for the songs I’m blessed to know.

3.) I’m thankful for personal development/self-help techniques

4.) for posting here

5.) for the people I have met on and off line

6.) for my body that functions very well

7.) for everything I have learned

8.) for the cold weather

9.) the beauty outside my window

10.) for blogs

11.) for animals

12.) for life

Pain is real. So is hope.

Much love, blessings, & strength to you all.

Xoxo Kim

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Until It Is Carved in Stone

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(second photo not mine)

Hello darlings, I’m here to knock your socks off this lovely morning.   It’s just after 12:00am. Yup! ;-D

Have you ever read a play called “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder?  I have and it’s amazing. It’s beyond amazing. It was produced and published in 1938. It won the Pulitzer Prize.
It takes place in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s.

I first read it when I was twenty – six years old. And whoa am I so beyond pleased that I did. Thank You to Sarah Ban Breathnach for mentioning this play in her book “Simple Abundance”!!!! Sarah Ban Breathnach is another one who has one of the biggest impacts on me with her beautiful writing.

The play is about a young woman, Emily, who dies during childbirth. She’s twenty -six years old.  It starts out when she’s a young girl and it’s all about her and her family and friends and all the people in their small village of Grover’s Corners.  It’s so small everyone knows each other.

The girl dies at age twenty – six years and she “wakes up” in the afterlife where she meets again, all those who she has known during their living years.  The girl, Emily, is freaked out, grieving, and just devastated that she lost her life and can never again have it back.   She was always a happy girl with a wonderful life while she was alive, but just like most of us tend to do, she usually took most things for granted. Never stopping to just be and allow gratitude, wonder, and awe to surge through her at all the simple joys like the white fence surrounding her house, coffee, flowers, the way people look at each other, the simple ticking of clocks and folded laundry…

Other than people dying throughout the play, the play is extremely uneventful and has received criticism for that fact but the very essence of being uneventful is the whole point of the play. It is the heart, the gut of it, if you will.

Mr. Wilder intended to show people through his wonderful play, how beautiful, wondrous, amazing, lovely… life IS even when it’s so simple, monotonous, agonizing,  and lacking in big events.
While this may seem like a play depicting an idealized view of American life, it actually is not.   The message is that life is good while being painful, it’s heartbreaking but breathtakingly beautiful.  

One character in the play, Simon Stimson, is a pivot of this message. He struggles with alcoholism and is known as the town drunk but he serves as a message to people . He is a tortured soul who constantly cries out for help but people refuse to help. They are steeped in denial and overlook his desperate pleads for help.  He eventually dies by suicide. The message here is that society, friends, family, people….we ignore, deny, repress, overlook so much of life. Even when one of our own is desperately pleading, screaming out for a helping hand.

   In the version I have, there is a beautiful forward by Donald Margulies.  

Donald Margulies states, “You are holding in your hands a great American play. Possibly the great American play.”
He goes on to say if you have read this play many years ago, perhaps in school as a requirement for some class, you will greatly benefit by reading it again.  But now, read it more mindfully, soak up the incredible message this play conveys.  Draw on your own life, your own experiences to really receive the deep wisdom of this play.

Donald Margulies admits that he is envious of any person about to begin reading this play who has never read it previously. He loves this play passionately but reading it again isn’t the same as reading it for the first occasion, he says.   But he is a teacher/professor and gets to watch others experience again and again which he loves.  

The title of this play “Our Town,” itself, is a pivotal message. The town in the play, “Grover’s Corners” is a representation of human life everywhere.   It can be extended to all of American life and beyond, all around our world.  We are all human and we all share basic human traits no matter our culture, country, society, nationality, religion, skin color, sexual orientation, political views, experiences, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, opinions…

“Our Town”, as Margulies states, is a “microcosm of the human family…”. It is all towns.  Everywhere.  This play captures the universal experience of simply being alive.

Act III of this play is breathtaking. Mr. Margulies states that he was shattered by it and that is how I feel as well.  Shattered then put back together once again but not without a few scars, a few breaks, a deep enthralling sense of enlightenment and compunction.

You know someone is a good teacher when that person can slap you with a truth so profound it brings you to a sense of ruin, leaves you with a sense of pudency, remorse for old ways, living and never knowing.   But it’s good to have someone or something break you down to the bone, pierce you to the core, punch you in the gut , knocking the wind out of you,   shatter you just to build you back up with a new sense of life, a new philosophy, a newfound strength, rebirth. 

Let it rip your heart out, shatter it to pieces, almost beyond recognition then let it glue it back together and move you forward with some scars to remind you to be mindful of the wonders of being alive.   The wonders we ignore, overlook, and slap in the face day by day.

Now I will leave you with some poignant quotes or lines out of this play.

In the play when the stage manager is interviewing one of the main characters, Mr. Webb, about their town, Mr. Webb says this:

Very ordinary town, if you ask me.  Little better behaved than most. Probably a lot duller. But our young people here seem to like it well enough. Ninety percent of ’em graduating from high school settle down right here to live-even when they’ve been away to college.”

Mr Webb: “…No ma’am, there isn’t much culture; but maybe this is the place to tell you that we’ve got a lot of pleasures of a kind here: We like the sun comin’ up over the mountain in the morning, and we all notice a good deal about the birds. We pay a lot of attention to them.    And we watch the change of the seasons; yes, everybody knows about them. But those other things – you’re right ma’am, – there ain’t much….”

When Emily died and found herself in the afterlife she insisted on looking back at her previous life.  The other dead people strongly advised against it as it would be too agonizing and despairing to see a life we once lived and can never , ever return to , but sweet, innocent Emily just had to see for herself.   They urged her to choose an “unimportant” day as opposed to one she viewed as very important.  One dead woman told her to choose the “least important” day of her life as it would be “important enough.”  And it would still be incredibly painful.

Emily chose her 12th birthday.

Here are some things she said as she looked back, as if watching a movie.

Emily: “Oh, that’s the town I knew as a little girl. And look, there’s the old white fence that used to be around our house. Oh, I’d forgotten that! Oh, I love it so!…”

Emily:(softly, more in wonder than in grief.)  “I can’t bear it. They’re so young and beautiful. Why did they ever have to get old?  Mama, I’m here. I’m grown up. I love you all, everything. – I can’t look at everything hard enough.”

Emily: “Oh, Mama, just look at me one minute as though you really saw me.  Mama, fourteen years have gone by. I’m dead. You’re a grandmother, Mama. I married George Gibbs, Mama. Wally’s dead too.  Mama, his appendix burst on a camping trip to North Conway.  We felt terrible about it – don’t you remember?  But, just for a moment now we’re all together. Mama, just for one moment we’re happy.  Let’s look at one another. “

When asked if she was happy looking back, Emily responded, “No…I should have listened to you.  That’s all human beings are!   Just blind people!”

Here is what Simon, the suicide victim says after death to Emily:
Yes, now you know.  Now you know!  That’s what it was to be alive.  To move about in a cloud of ignorance; to go up and down trampling on the feelings of those…of those about you.   To spend and waste time as though you had a million years.   To be always at the mercy of one self – centered passion, or another.  Now you know- that’s the happy existence you wanted to go back to.   Ignorance and blindness. 

Emily:
Good-bye , Good-bye world. Good-bye, Grover’s Corners….Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking….and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths….and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth,you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you.  Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every,every minute?
Stage Manager: No. (pause) The saints and poets, maybe they do some.”

Think back to days in your life, maybe a birthday, a holiday, a special event, a graduation, a wedding….what was important to you then?  The perfect napkin patterns?   The perfect gift?  Being a perfect entertainer? Spending a certain amount of money?  Looking good?  Getting gifts?

What was really, truly important?  Napkin patterns and “perfect” gifts?  Or looking into each other’s eyes.  Really looking. Hugs.  Warm embraces.   Really tasting that hot tea or coffee. Looking up at the sky and feeling awe surge through you.  Genuine friendships. Tucking your kids into bed.   Really listening as we speak to each other.  Stopping to see the flowers, to feel the sunlight, to hear the cars on the expressway, the birds chirping, to feel the warm blankets at night.  Cuddling with your fur friends.   To smell the honeysuckle and the roses and the warm cookies baking, to feel the rain on our skin , the soil beneath us.

Think of any “ordinary” day. What about clocks ticking?  What about the refrigerator buzzing?   What about the cars parked on your street? What about the concrete beneath your feet? What about the feel of air on your skin? What about the walls in your house? The ones you look at every single day. Do you ever stop to notice them?   Or are they so mundane you don’t give them a second thought?   What about when you’re making your coffee or tea? The sugar and cream going into it?  Look at that. Really.   Just look.   When you brush your teeth, get a shower, wash your hands, inhabit your body and your life.  What if you died but were allowed, for a few minutes to look back on this life, wouldn’t you miss all this?  Miss it ALL with a passion so potent it can knock the stars and the sun into oblivion?

It’s not just the big things, the holidays, the birthdays, the weddings, babies, and graduations.  It’s not just the pretty things, the sky, flowers, sun, butterflies and birds.   It’s everything.   All of life. The cars screeching in the streets, getting out of bed. Walking, driving to work, standing in lines, paying bills, stress. Wouldn’t you miss all that?  
What if your life changes dramatically?   What if someone dies on you?   What if you are stricken with a long term illness or chronic pain disorder?   What if a close family member or friend, a pet becomes terminally ill?   What if you become paralyzed tomorrow or something else drastic happens and your life doesn’t look like this anymore?  Oh, how you would long for the mundane, your old monotonous ways, your old stress and concerns.

It’s too late for them, but not for us. We are still alive.   Still so blessed with this gift. THIS life.

And now with this awareness.

We can wake up and do all the things alive people can do. You can die at any second whether or not you realize or believe it.  

Isn’t Thornton brilliant?  Isn’t he still touching people long after his own death with this wonderful play? His beautiful, profound message?

You can die right now.

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So what are you waiting for? Stop reading this and go make eye contact.  Go smile at a stranger.   Go embrace someone.  Go look up at the sky.   Hold hands.  Sit in a warm, cozy cafe with a friend and truly listen.  Go listen to people. Listen to what they say. Listen to what they don’t say. Take advantage of your senses, of being alive, Share a banana split with your mom, sister, or best friend, hold a door for someone and really want to, buy someone coffee or tea, And if you plan on getting married, forget about the napkins if they don’t turn out right, if you plan on celebrating the holidays, forget the “perfect ” material gift.  The true gift is your presence and your love and care.
I am a blessed girl. Truly.

Now.

Xoxo Kim.

P.s. And oh, yes, go read “Our Town” please. Ty

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day, I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.” ~ Mary Jean Irion 

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“There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day.” ~ Alexander Woollcott

“Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.” – Rosalind Russell

“So the sidewalk is crowded, the city goes by
And I rush through another day
And a world full of strangers turn their eyes to me
But I just look the other way

They roll by just like water
And I guess we never learn
Go through life parched and empty
Standing knee deep in a river and dying of thirst” ~ Joe Cocker (and other singers)

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” Oh the wild joys of living! The leaping from rock to rock … the cool silver shock of the plunge in a pool’s living waters.” ~ Robert Browning