When I Grow Up

photo 1I want to be like Cleo Kocol or Neil Diamond. Cleo’s recent picture (above) shows her joie de vivre. She gave a presentation, which she does a variety of regularly, about Fanny and Robert Louis Stevenson. Cleo’s 88 and I can barely keep up with her. Her novel, The Good Foreigner, was named one of the best books of 2014 by Amazon. I must say I agree with them, I love that book. Cleo always has a project or event she’s engaged with.

Neil Diamond: I still swoon listening to ‘Play Me,’ and sigh when I hear ‘Morningside.’ Neil’s music changed the world, or perhaps more accurately, how we moved through it, for millions of people. He’s 74 and off on a world tour. Mercy, I think I’m all that when I make it to Seattle and back, which is an hour away.

Finding our way in the world is about choices. Another one of those concepts which I understood the words yet the real meaning only settled truly into me within the last few years as I started to connect what I had done ten, and twenty, okay thirty years previously with the circumstances I currently had. The Good Foreigner also showed me the consequences of choices, so many irrevocable. Most of mine have been irrevocable, too. I sure did not think about that at the time I made them.

I want to move through the world with energy and grace. Hope and optimism. Kindness and compassion, and releasing the blame. Rejoicing in the gifts of age, and accepting of it’s limitations.

As Neil sang in 1969, “And the seed, let it be filled with tomorrow.”


Fear is a Thief

Fear is a Thief
Photo Beijing 2009 By Mary Dessein

Fear is a thief.

I remember reading that on a tee shirt as a young adult, thinking it was rather clever. Yet, I had no idea the power of that statement. And it’s connection to change. Change: cleaning out the closet of the clothes I haven’t worn in five years to a new haircut to ending an unhealthy relationship. Yeah, change.

What’s all the fuss people make about not liking change? That speaks to our brittleness: we are afraid we’ll break if we change. Break our comfort zone, break our habits, break our closed minds. The egg is not much good inside the shell either.

Fear crowds to the front of the line and says, “Here, I’ll make that decision for you.”

Fear and caution are two different things: staying off the railroad tracks when we hear the train whistle, looking both ways before we cross the street, calling 911 when we see flames next door are appropriate caution responses. When fear tries to boss us around, it wants us to live small, to be less than we can be.

After 16+ years, ‘Global Griot: stories & music from around the world,’ the radio show I have co-hosted and loved, ran its course. A new show has surfaced: The Writery with Mary Dessein. What? Change! Why?

My mentor and friend, Marcia Glendenning, used to tell me, “You’re either growing or you’re rotting, there is no staying the same.” Change is moving me forward when I had become comfortable. Change is teaching me new skills when I knew how to do what I’d always done. Change is keeping me resilient when I was getting rigid around the edges.

The Writery with Mary Dessein will be available on www.kser.org in the listings of the SoundCloud, right under the banner photo, hopefully around the end of April.

Thanks to Jon, The Writery has a Facebook page. www.facebook.com/thewritery
Check us out – so many stories, so little time!