Beach Messages

This morning on the beach I noticed an unusual piece of junk.

The sea had given back this rusted, antique Remington typewriter.

Oh, the curiosities that came to mind!

Maybe a writer had tossed it overboard in a moment of frustration.

Maybe a storm swept it in from a foreign land.

Maybe it was Hemingway’s.

The typewriter was in recognizable but poor condition.

There were only a few keys left, but by some mysterious coincidence, the two initials that held the most significance to me. What are the odds!

I plucked them off and put them in my pocket.

It seemed to be a message from the universe: keep on writing. Or keep on loving. Or both.

I promise I will.

PS – If your name is Owen or Oprah, there is still the ‘O’ key left.

A Year’s Worth of Happiness

One of the best things I did last year was keep a Happiness Jar. The intent was to capture small moments of joy, as an exercise of appreciation and gratitude. Some people keep a journal, but I liked the idea of filling an empty jar.

Last night, during the final few hours of 2015, I emptied the contents onto the dining room table to see what a year’s worth of happiness meant to me.

Readng Jar

The first thing that struck me, as I unfolded the first few slips of paper, was how many moments I’d already forgotten. Fleeting moments of happiness, flowing past in the stream of life, thankfully captured.

The first one said simply: “Hail!” I smiled wide. Now I remember that day! It was April 1st, I was working in my office, and suddenly the window panes started rattling with a spring storm. A memory reclaimed!

I unfolded the rest of the papers, one by one.

As it turns out, nature brought me an abundance of happiness. Bright stars, beautiful clouds, the luminous moon. Birds singing, gulls crying, hummingbirds zipping past. Cherry blossoms floating down from the trees. Flowers emerging in the garden. In these simple moments of connection with the natural world, I felt joy.

Sometimes, there were whole days of happiness.

image

Sharing life with others brought me great happiness.

Valentine’s Day: “Hubby sent me upstairs to fetch something on the printer he ‘needed right away.’ It was a love poem.” My husband wrote me a poem! How could I have forgotten this? I must go upstairs and find it.

Random strangers also made me happy. There was the day I was flying home, gazing out the window at the snowy Rocky Mountains, when the man sitting in the row in front of me, poked his head between the seat headrests and exclaimed to me, “Isn’t it amazing?”

Yes. The mountains, and chance encounters with strangers, brought opportunities to experience le p’tit bonheur (the little happiness). As did warm visits with friends, family, and unexpected handwritten letters that came swooshing through our 100-year old mail slot.

I couldn’t help but wonder: Would I be inside anyone else’s happiness jar? I hope I created moments of happiness for others, through things I may have said or done last year.

With all my slips of paper unfolded, I thought about the great wealth of happiness that never made it into the jar.

The whole of our family reunion: meeting relatives from Finland, playing the mandolin with my father, visiting art museums, hiking trails along the Potomac River. All high points of the year; none of them captured. I had not written a single entry in either June or November. However, I do remember many times sitting at the kitchen counter, seeing the Happiness Jar in the corner, but not making the effort to write. If only I had overcome my inertia!

Perhaps, during our happiest times in life, we are fully immersed. And those experiences impact us in a more permanent way. They become our life stories, no note required.

Empty Jar

In total, there were 68 little time capsules in the jar: 60 happy memories; 7 contributions by family; and one fortune cookie message: “A windfall is coming for you.”

Indeed. One insightful project delivered this to me. A year’s worth of happiness arrived, exactly as predicted.

Becoming Finnish

It’s been 165 days since I last shared a post.

The whole of summer has gone by, and almost all of spring before it. The garden emerged, thrived, settled and is now resting. There was a lot of change at work, which required my focused attention. Still, the pup and I took many walks on the beach. And I had the opportunity to travel to the east coast and met some of my Finnish family for the first time.

Which brings me to this post. Something new has emerged from these 165 days and all the golden hours within them. Yesterday I finally gave birth, in a sense, to a companion writing space to A Golden Hour:

This blog was born in an airport lounge, when the universe handed me five unplanned hours.

My flight home from a short trip had been delayed, so I found a cozy spot in a quiet place where I could relax and pass the time. I listened to music, read the newspaper, sent a few emails, and ate a small dinner. Then I settled deep into my chair.

Gazing out the window, an idea surfaced that had been stirring for a while. I think perhaps it has been gently rising for more than a decade, ever since my grandmother passed away.

I hope you will share in my journey, becoming Finnish (and enjoy the rest of this post).

And I have many new Golden Hour thoughts to share in the days ahead. I appreciate you being here!

Source: Humble beginnings.

I am here.

For the longest time, I wasn’t here.

I have always loved to write. A long held dream of mine has been to write publicly and share personal essays, to uplift or inspire or maybe just offer a little levity. But for many reasons, I just haven’t been ready. A person can be so confident, decisive and even fearless in certain aspects of one’s life, but unsure for something so deeply personal. I am only human afterall. And in my uncertainty, the dream has been postponed. One day I will start a blog (when I come up with the right niche, the perfect name, a compelling first story). I just need more information, more advice, inspiration, and of course, much more time.

But the other day, as I was being my contemplative introverted self, quietly reading my Twitter news feed, a random tweet commanded my attention and held me spellbound.

It was philosopher Alan Watts. He looked me right in the eye, and spoke to me directly across time and space.

“Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.”

I was stilled by his message.

Words have the power to do this. They can transcend time, travel through space, and arrive at the most exquisitely perfect time, kicking you right in the pants.

This was the kick in the pants I needed, coming from a wise old friend I never knew, who wasn’t afraid to tell the truth. Stop trying to find the perfect title, and the perfect words, to be shared publicly at the perfect time. Stop waiting to learn more about WordPress or copyright, or sorting out what picture you want to feature on the front page.

I don’t really know what I’m doing yet, but I took Alan’s advice to heart. Stop aspiring and start writing. I registered the first good name that came to me, and wrote this post tonight, with the first imperfect words that came to me. The rest will undoubtedly work itself out.

So, I am here now. I am finally here. And it feels right and good.

Perhaps one day, my words will speak directly to another person across time and space. And something really good will happen afterwards. But in this moment, if I haven’t saved anyone else, I have at least saved myself. The writer in me will not have to perish from the regret of dreams unfulfilled.

Sharing in this space was easier than I thought. Thank you, Mr. Watts.

I am Here Mirror