Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Get Swept Away

Yesterday, I sat by the kitchen window and looked out at the wind. Not the wind, itself, of course, but the tall trees bowing low, the clothesline shuddering against an unseen force.

The world seemed out of control, the normal balance upset – a mirror of how we sometimes feel when our lives are torn apart, or we're just feeling 'out of sorts'.

The windstorm gave me an excuse to revisit my favourite place in the house. I like to sit at the table, sipping my morning coffee, my to-do list on the back burner, at least for a while. I haven’t been doing enough of this lately. And by ‘this’, I mean taking the time to merely observe. Listen, watch, and bask in the moment. Deer, chipmunks and raccoons have been visiting us, enticed by the carrots and corn strewn over the ground. But the animals have wisely stayed home – the wind’s sound and fury sending them scurrying for cover.

The white noise of the wind buffeting the house was oddly comforting, and it lulled me into a peaceful state of mind. I closed my eyes.

I wanted to think about a long stretch of beach. Toes buried deep in powder white sand and cloud streamers scrolling across a cobalt blue sky.

Instead, my ‘shoulds’ reared its collective ugly head:

Stop wasting your time...You should be writing! You have a blog post to work on, and it’s not going to write itself…

Lately, whenever I pick up my pen, it feels like the words have a weight of their own, unwieldy and cumbersome, they fill up the page but like the wind are all “sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Or, at least that's how it seems.

I went back to the beach, in my mind, and thought about Susan Boyle. The woman who was not afraid to stand on a stage – in front of an unsympathetic audience and less-than-thrilled judges on the TV show 'Britain's Got Talent' – and belt out her song. She belted out her truth, her dream, and her vision. If there were any doubts, shoulds, or what ifs, they were left in the wings.

Why are we drawn to this kind of story? Never mind that we loved seeing various shades of shock and awe on the faces of those who had just derided her, or were entranced by her undeniably beautiful singing voice.

Is it because we like to live vicariously through people like Susan Boyle? She embodies everything we'd love to be, and her message to the world is powerful and life-altering: never mind what people think about you; ignore your own inner demons; and, most importantly, never give up on your dream.

That’s especially good to know on those days when you feel swept away by events in your life. When the storms hit and you need a sanctuary, a place to go where nothing else matters but the high of living out your dream.

What about you? Where do you go when you feel overwhelmed, swept away, and not exactly in control of things? Do you paint? Sing, dance, write poetry?

(P.S. If you write poetry, take the plunge and submit your work to Ideal-Way. The IDEAL Poetry Contest opened on April 1st and ends June 30th. Any persons with an intellectual disability living in Canada at the time of entry are eligible for the contest. There, you’ve just taken your first step towards shaking off your doubts and fears!)

Here's another inspirational story:

Photo credit: FotoRita [Allstar maniac]



Terri said...

Wonderful post, I can feel that wind and that weight. Thank you for the inspiration to be brave!

Danny boy said...

An inspirational post. Most of us automatically rule ourselves out before we even get started.

Evelyn said...

Boy oh boy could I ever relate. Thanks for giving me permission to do what it is I want to do. And, thanks for the tip about the Ideal Way Poetry Contest. Canada wide. WOW!! I have a cousin in BC with Down syndrome. Thanks so much.

Jay Bird said...

Wow, very powerful post! Seems to be how I have been feeling lately, very 'swept away' with all the choas that has been going on.

Addie said...

Wonderful post, Maureen! As usual your writing inspires us.

I love the comments from everyone. Terri, I visited your blog and found it to be very interesting and well written. Tell all your friends in New York know that Ideal Way will be heading to the U.S. soon.

Cheers, Addie Daabous
Executive Director, IDEAL WAY

Ronny said...

ideal-way heading to the U.S. soon is good news for our Pittsburgh guys and gals who will be really excited to enter your contests.

Casdok said...

Lovely post which has made me think.

Maureen Lee said...

Thank you, all, for your kind words. Yes, giving ourselves permission to get swept away is the first step to living out our 'big dream'.

Danny boy said...

Great blog. Much good food for thought. The video clip of savant Brittany Maier provides very touching proof that we ALL have worth … merely different worth.

Maureen Lee said...

Great point, Danny. I agree, and I also found the video of Brittany Maier very moving. She reminds us that each of us has worth, and although we each express our creativity in different ways, we all have something of great value to contribute to the larger community.

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