Wicked

“Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better. I do believe I have been changed for the better. And because I knew you I have been changed for good.”

Ok, humor me. I am on a Broadway run through this pandemic as I find it makes me happy especially when I’m singing along and dancing. Yes, I look ridiculous but no one else is here but me and where I live is social distancing heaven so my neighbors aren’t disturbed. Believe me, being home so much can be trying in the best of circumstances. I’m so grateful for having my home.

The latest hurdle is when to open schools. The quote from Wicked is for the teacher or teachers who came into my life and saved me. In high school, I had William Penman as a drama teacher. He was so passionate about the arts so much so that he arranged for the drama class from a Cincinnati, Ohio public school to see Marcel Marceau. Marceau was undisputedly one of the best mimes who ever lived. He created an entire world on an empty stage challenging our imaginations far beyond our world.

Mr. Penman knew he needed to expand our minds past what we thought was possible. That’s what good teachers do. They show us what is possible and then let us decide where we need to go in our lives. That is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. Our teachers are this world’s future so yes I will get up on my soapbox as much as possible to defend them.

I taught university for seven years and it was some of the happiest days of my life. Not only did it give me the opportunity to learn what I needed to teach but also knowing that I was hopefully helping my students create their future world. I know they helped me create mine. They gave me the hope and courage to take chances I didn’t believe I could do on my own.

I still use the lessons my teachers taught me and love the fact that I am still learning. It gives me the energy to move through each day. To be able to sing, dance and studying. To create and listen and watch all of the amazing teachers that are available right now.

“I’ve heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason bringing something we must learn. And we are led to those who help us most to grow if we let them. And we help them in return. Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true. But I know I’m who I am today because I knew you.”

For Good. Wicked

Loretta

In all of this pandemic, I am always looking for something that is uplifting and makes me smile. I love the New York Sunday Times book review where I learn so much information about people I would least likely read about.

Last week I read about Loretta Lynn in the By the Book section. It’s a very popular column where they ask the author out of the ordinary questions about their writing. The column definitely has its pretentious moments which makes this interview with Loretta all the more enjoyable. And finding being too pretentious myself when it comes to writing, I found her real refreshing.

It was discussing Loretta Lynn’s new book “Me & Patsy Cline Kickin Up Dust”. I am not a big country-western music fan and would probably never in a million years pick up this book even though I know about Loretta Lynn. But in reading about her philosophy about life I think I may have to git me one.

When asked how she organizes her books she replies, “Heck if I know. They’re all over the place.” Sounds like someone I know. Very well…

Her favorite booK? “The best book I ever got was my family Bible my husband Doo gave me in 1966. It means the world to me. My daughter downloaded a dang vampire book on my Ipad. It was nasty as heck and rated X. I made her remove it.”

Gotta love a country girl who speaks about the Bible and a dang X rated vampire book in the same thought. My kind of gal.

Asked which three writers, dead or alive, would she invite to a dinner party? She said she wouldn’t. “You build people up in your mind. I want to keep the stories as is and not know the ins and outs of their work.” How many times have we built someone up to be disappointed when they are nothing like what you thought they would be? Much like in life.

But my favorite quote was this when asked what book you were supposed to like and didn’t? In that matter of fact, down-home, pure and simple country way, she replied, “Self-help books make me crazy. Seems like everyone wants a quick fix. My advice is to go outside, hug your child, and thank God you got to see another sunrise!

Yep, I’m becoming a country-western fan after all. As one country-western song says, “There’s dust on Mother’s Bible.” Not in Loretta’s house. Her Bible, I’m sure, has a special place all by itself and she knows exactly where it is.

Hope

I have taken a long time to write this blog. Every time I sat down to write something I couldn’t seem to think of a topic or what to say. I mean what do you say that hasn’t already been Facebooked or tweeted or Instagrammed? How many videos can you watch or sayings can you read to make this pandemic go away? We are social animals who thrive on physical and emotional connection, so this social distancing is really hard.

It has only been about 5 weeks since I’ve been quarantined and I have it much easier than others because my son is grown and on his own and so I only have myself to take care of. I had all kinds of plans to finish projects that I had been putting off for, well, years and then I tore a ligament in my ankle. I had to put my foot up and stay put. I mean stationary. For someone who never stops moving that is torture but when you are in the middle of a pandemic it’s definitely a sign from upstairs.

So what was I going to do besides read? I have many books and get the newspaper every day but that doesn’t last all day. Or let’s face it I couldn’t do that all day. Then I came across an online course called The Science of Well Being offered by Yale University. It has become the most popular course in Psychology taught at Yale by a Harvard Ph.D professor. It deals with the scientific study of human behavior and what it takes to make humans happy. That would be scientific. And free of charge.

It includes all of the things that come to mind with happiness such as meditation, savoring, gratitude, kindness, social connection and on and on. I know these things and I tell myself I should make this a daily routine all the time. But then life gets in the way and I start to doubt how all of this will really make me feel. Not mentally but emotionally. Really get in there. I’m good for a while but I have to say I start to forget what my priorities are. I have issues from the past and know it’s not enough to talk about dealing with them. I have to rid myself of the demons that sneak in when I least expect it.

Taking the time to practice especially when I have all the time and opportunities now to put those studies to work gives me no excuse. I have seen so much kindness since this horrible virus has taken over our lives. From my neighbors checking in to the acts of kindness I’ve seen on the news every day. I know I have to stay in a mindset that allows me to follow the path. Not only for kindness to others but kindness to myself. We are our worst critics. I know I am. I want to feel what it is to be happy. Not just talk about it. And that brings me to what this blog is really about.

Hope. That in whatever life throws at us there is always hope. This is our time to believe, desire and trust. The true definition of hope and happiness.