Diva Stretch!

No, it’s not a yoga move or some sort of dance-Pilates-aerobics maneuver. It’s FAR more scary than that! It’s time to do what you think you cannot do – and I don’t mean touching your toes.

You and I are, as Carl Sagan wisely noted, made of star stuff. No, really. The very iron molecules in our blood, the nitrogen in our unique-to-us DNA – all of these elements came from collapsing stars. We are the universe trying to know itself. What can possibly stop something created from the very stars that light up the night? Exactly.

It’s time to quit saying “no” to the things you want desperately to say “yes” to. Your entire life – right up to this very moment – has aligned to bring you right here, right now, so say “yes” to something big today.

For me, saying “yes” started small, and that’s okay, provided you keep the forward momentum going. For example, in February of this year, I said “yes” to a two-hour watercolor class.

Fast forward to this past weekend, when I sold my paintings at my first-ever arts festival. To get to that point, I said “yes” to a great many things. I watched and I tried new techniques. I learned about brushes, paper, and paints. I copied different styles to find out what I enjoy most. I asked for help and then I said “yes” when it was offered. And – above all – I found joy in my life. Once I found that, it got easier and easier to keep looking for it and to carve out time to devote to it. (By the way, go to the “River of Cream” tab to see some of my paintings! The name comes from the idea that I was oblivious to the wonderful gifts I have been given in my life – that I was living a skim milk sort of life while I was standing in a river of cream.)

Also, I dyed my hair yesterday. It had been a while since I’d gone crazy with the hair color and I realized that I had started listening to other voices than my own to determine how I should live. That’s always a mistake.

If you sit very still and very quietly, you’ll eventually hear your own voice and in my experience, it seldom steers you wrong. But you must sit still and quiet to hear it over the clamor of other voices telling you to be seen and not heard, to be small,  to be (ick) practical.

So I have a gorgeous head of four shades of pink to celebrate October and to commemorate the journey I started on five years ago that walked me through a diagnosis of breast cancer, complete with surgery, radiation, and post-surgical treatment protocols. None of it has been a barrel of monkeys and I firmly believe that if laughter and pink hair makes it a smidge easier, well then, that’s what I ought to do. I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be and I’ve been gratified at how supportive everyone has been. One or two people even used the word “brave,” which I’m not sure really fits – I dyed my hair, I didn’t run into a burning building to rescue anyone.

I think we’re so used to living according to other voices that we think it’s a type of bravery when we see someone living according to their own lights.

And I want to be that person.

There’s a marvelous story told by an Orthodox Rabbi that goes something like this:

Rabbi Zusha claimed that he was completely ready to answer the question “Why were you not Moses?” in the afterlife. However, he claimed that if the question was “Why were you not Zusha?” he would have nothing to say.

Today, be sure you’re living up to your own potential, rather than making yourself small to make someone else comfortable.

Sparkle on, Diva!






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