I’m stuck not knowing how to react to the city in which I live. I walk, daily, past people who subsist on very little. They live on 1 000 000 Rupiah (that’s $100 US approximately) a month, sometimes less, sometimes more. I walk past open sewers that are sometimes smelly and sometimes revolting. I walk past mansions that exist next to shacks. Mercedes driving past men pulling home-made carts.
What does all of this have to do with a flower? There are no parks but lots and lots of green. There is asphalt and trees, and because it’s always summer (or seemingly) the blossoms on trees and vines bloom and die all the time. I’ve been here a month and I’d almost gotten used to it. Leaves fall off trees all the time, but it’s never Autumn. I wonder if I’ll get used to all of it. I hope not. I hope that I’ll always be shocked, saddened, enraged, curious, and hopeful.
I feel like it’s an affirmation of all that is good in the world when people find each other. I’ve recently been trying to focus on all that is positive and, when I can’t, at least look for positive solutions to things I want to complain about. I think I often focus on what is negative because it’s easier. Complaining is easy. Bitching about all that is bad in the world is easy.
Coming up with solutions is not easy.
Which is why seeing people holding hands makes me smile. When I hold my wife’s hand, I think of nothing else but what is good. I don’t criticize the world. I don’t complain about other people. I say silly things. I laugh. I smile. I feel affirmed and postive and…
I’ve got it! We should just all hold hands. World peace might be achievable, people! Hold hands with someone near you right now and tell me you don’t feel better about the world. I dare you!
This is the lead singer of the band Hedley. They performed at We Day in Vancouver. I met this guy a few years ago, long before he was as famous as he is now. He was riding high on the opening enthusiasm of being in a band and had all the attitude to go with it. He can sing. He can perform. He’s got the energy of a cocaine-addicted squirrel.
Here’s where the possibility kicks in. A few years ago, he and his band connect with Craig and Marc Kielburger and their foundation Free The Children. He goes to Kenya and becomes a spokesperson and performer for them and their “We Day”.
It reminds me that there’s always a possibility for change. From ego-centric to selfless. From “into me” to inspirational.
There’s a possibility in everyone. We should tap into that.
Ever since getting this tattoo it has been a source of constant reminding and explaining and inspiring.
Reminding because there are days in my life when I think it would be peachy to live for myself only.
Explaining because there are a remarkable number of people in this world who have such miniscule vocabularies that I have to explain what “vain” means. Also, there are a remarkable number of people who think that because the word “vain” is near a VEIN that I might have misspelled it. Ha! Ridiculous. Why would I want to remind myself not live in a vein?
Inspiring because when I look down at my left forearm I’m inspired to be more than my base instincts, be more than average, be more than myself.
I think I need a few more tattoos. I might be superhuman with just two or three more.
These words are on a chalkboard in the entrance to my house. I don’t look at them often enough. I’m an English teacher and words have been my mistress for a long time. I love the feel of certain words when spoken; I love the sound of a word when it meets my ear. I love when I learn a word in another language and have to move my tongue in an awkward way to make it sound right. What I love most, however, is when words can evoke a pure, inspirational emotion in the heart of the listener.
“I am proud of you.”
“I love you.”
“You make me happy.”
I bought a bunch of Magnetic Poetry kits – one for my fridge (I’ve made my kids write a poem each to be excused from the table); one for the entrance of the house; one for the vintage fridge door I have in my classroom.
What’s funny is that I wrote these phrases, in the photo above, but they still inspire me and start my day in a more positive way.
What inspires you?
BTW, Happy Birthday Mom!
My friend Ian Tyson came to my school this week and spoke to the students. He’s a great speaker and the kids were captivated by both his humor and his personal stories. The best part is that he’s a geek like me. When we met it was like the universe brought a brother for me who likes comics, movies and superheroes as much as I do.
Here’s the plug. Check out his website: iantyson.ca. If you’re a school teacher, check him out and hire him. He’s great.
Pentax K20D; Sigma 70-210mm; f8; ISO 1600; 1/30 sec.