Daily Inspirations

Museum Wisdom

 

Yesterday I took my grandson to a new museum. It was one of those crazy, Chicago-style windy days that would blow him off his bike, so even though we both have spring fever, being inside was the smart choice.

 

Some friends here who’ve already spent winters in every possible museum or bouncy house told me this SciTech Museum might be a little advanced for a four-year old, but of course I smiled, knowing that “MY grandson” was exceptionally bright and it would be just fine. So off we went, steering my car back onto the road, fighting hurricane-force winds.

 

After taking our jackets off, and my pulling out a small rake to restore my hair to something other than a the “Back to the  Future” look, he headed straight for the chase car on the first level. Yep, they really do chase tornadoes out here in the Midwest.

 

Then I spotted the large pool-like table with two holes and a ball about the size of a tennis ball resting in one of the holes. Instructions asked, “Which hole will the ball roll into?  “Me first!”, he said as he dropped the ball into the bowl of the table. Seemed pretty obvious to his 4-year old mind and pretty obvious to me (my age shall remain with me) which hole the ball would drop into. As it rolled down and around the curved terrain, it looked as if it were going to settle right into the logical  hole. Our mouths dropped open as it then moved back up a few inches, toward the second hole. Surely, that’s where it would end up. No dice! In and out and back to hole number 1, where it finally found some peace. Wow! He’s four, and wonder was enough to make him happy. Not Grammie. She just had to make sense out of it. It was “supposed to” land where I thought it would. There was some part of me that felt a little out of control, wanting the outcome to match what I thought I knew to be true.

 

We moved on to watch a machine that replicated a tornado, a skeleton that talked, and trying to dodge 85 kids there on a field trip. My mind was still thinking about that table. It didn’t make sense.

 

So often we go through our lives thinking things will end up a certain way, that people will behave in just the way we think they should. That our bodies will always act and be the way we want them to be. That our friends and partners will be who we want them to be. That life should be what we were led to believe… ordered, predictable and understandable, if we just put our minds to it.

 

It’s taken most of my life to finally get it. Life, bodies, relationships, plans, goals, expectations are completely unpredictable. Our need to control, to be perfect, and to hope beyond hope that we will avoid pain, disappointment, sadness and heartbreak if we just do the “right thing”. That success will come, money will remain in our retirement accounts, and we will be happy if we only work hard. It only takes living long enough, watching those myths dissolve and finally knowing that life is, as the Buddhists have been saying for thousands of years, unpredictable and filled with mystery.

 

We headed out of the first floor exhibits a few hours later. Walking by that curvy bowl of a table, I couldn’t resist picking up that ball and dropping it into the bowl again . As I let it go, I saw the title of that exhibit…”CHAOS”.  Yep, that’s life. Make the best of every moment and enjoy the ride!

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big RED Chair

www.donnasbigredchair.love

510-817-4242  donna@donnasbigredchair.love

Big Red Chair

The Real Meaning of Valentine’s Day

 

Big Red Chair

I have had the honor and joy of living near all my grandchildren since they were born. Living now where the Polar Express roars through my life is a bit more challenging than alongside the San Francisco Bay, but one thing is the same. The amazing unconditional love between their little hearts and mine.

 

Reading a library book with my 4 year old grandson yesterday, while working on my animation in trying to do the voices of a cave boy and a wooley mammoth, he laughed, threw his arms around my neck, closed his eyes and without any questions or hesitation simply said, “Grammie, I love you SO much.” I felt as if nothing in the world mattered or was more important than the feeling of warmth that flooded my body and soul. And, that was the truth.

 

I caught myself, feeling suddenly afraid. I didn’t invite the thought into that place of sheer delight. It came on its own…”What is he going to do when you die?” And, then a voice that said, “Maybe you’d better not love him too deeply. It’s going to hurt.” Ahhhh…there it is. The thing that often keeps us holding back, holding on to the piece of us that we believe we can keep from being hurt by loss of love. We all have it. Our brains are working on their own to keep us safe. And yet, truth is, for so many years, we’ve held back truly loving, perhaps even our sweet selves, for fear that we will lose something and it will hurt.

 

You know the real regret that I fear now in this life? That I will not notice just how much I do love and am loved and that I am so incredibly lovable. Always have been. Others just made it hard to see. And truth is, you are loved and lovable too, just exactly as you are. It’s how life sets it up. Now, to do whatever it takes to believe it.

 

How will this little one deal with the loss when I pass? He will be sad, wish I were here, feel sad some more. Mostly, he will remember all the love, the time spent, the books read, the caves explored and those times when one or the other of us suddenly stopped what we were doing, looked each other in the eyes and said, “You know, I love you SO much.” Those memories will be the best legacy I can leave them all.

 

This Valentine’s Day, I hope you will remember what and who matters in your life. Tell them how you feel. Put it all out there. And, if there are people who aren’t able to love, or love you, have compassion for them, but, find those you can trust with your precious heart and love. Then, just love…beginning with yourself. 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day to You and All My Love Coming Your Way!

 

Donna Bailey, MS

Dating and Relationships Coach for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big Red Chair

510-817-4242  donna@donnasbigredchair.love

www.donnasbigredchair.love

 

Big Red Chair

How Roses Can Teach You What You Need to Know About Love…Getting and Keeping It

roses and a book

 

 

I’ve been told this post was the most important one I’ve ever written…it certainly was a critical life lesson for me.  I’m reposting it for you this Valentine’s Day…

 

FTD must have been the original St. Valentine, or the Saint was a hell of an entrepreneur.

 

Roses are synonymous with The Big Red Heart day. Thanks to the media, not a man alive escapes the message that your sweetheart will give you ANYTHING if you remember the roses. And, according to Valentine’s Day rules, the ones in buckets at the local grocery store don’t count.

Well, I certainly believed that my husband knew that, but in case he didn’t, as we strolled by the downtown florist I “oooed” and “ahhhed” over those “roses in the window”. Now, I was SURE he got the message!

Enter V Day in rural Maine. The year, 1983. It was the same year we had purchased our first desktop computer and Dell became a household word. I was like a kid playing in the mud about that computer. A burgeoning writer, the idea of never again using carbon paper and easy editing was almost orgasmic.

I woke up to the second day of a Nor’easter. The lake in front of our house was frozen solid, the roads plowed during the night were now piling up with snow once again. My first thought was that those florist delivery trucks would make it no matter what. So, the titillating wait began.

My husband dressed and shoveled his way to the car heading for the hospital where he worked. I guessed he was preoccupied with weather when he didn’t mention Valentine’s Day, so I let it go. The roses would mend everything.

Not only were there no florist delivery vans on the road that day, but it was hard for a snow plow to stay upright. As darkness came and it was time for my husband’s return from work, I put on a little black dress, opened a bottle of wine and put the kids to bed. On the counter was a lovely crystal vase just waiting for those roses.

The door opened and brushing off the snow, he said, “What’s for dinner?” What???  OK, he was going to surprise me. The roses were in the car and I began to worry that they would freeze, but poured us both a glass of wine. Since he hadn’t said those magic words, “Happy Valentine’s Day, darling.” I took the initiative (It was the era of feminism after all).

He then pulled a brown paper bag out of his briefcase and handed it to me with a smile and a toast. I couldn’t believe what I pulled out of that bag…a book! Are you kidding me, I thought. A book! It was an early version of Computers for Dummies.  That is second only to a blender for your anniversary. I was surprised, disappointed and really pissed and it all came rolling out of my mouth. “You got me a BOOK for Valentine’s Day?” I said. And then I saw his face lose all signs of life and joy. As he walked away, I felt so ashamed and yet, I was still filled with disappointment and confusion.  How could he not know I wanted roses for Valentine’s Day? Remember the walk by the florist window?  Any man with a brain should know his sweetheart wants roses.After what seemed like hours, he reappeared and we sat down to a cold dinner, half a candle and a Golden Retriever who had retreated under the table. “Donna, do you know what I went through to get you that book? I wanted you to enjoy the computer because I know how important writing is to you, so I drove in a blizzard all the way to Boston (almost 200 miles) to get this book for you. I thought you would appreciate it, but I can see you don’t.”

My heart sank. I knew that all the apologies in the world could not make up for the words I could never take back.

That day my life changed in ways that were profound and permanent. For the first time I knew that men want to make us happy. That they have their own ways of showing love. That they cannot read our minds. That our expectations of them are based not on their world, but on our preconceived notions of what love looks like.

That Valentine’s Day love came from Barnes and Noble, not from TeleFlora. It came with such beautiful  intention and thought. All I had to do was be open to what HE called love. It changed me forever and though I am still waiting for those roses, I know that one day a new love will bring them my way.

Please post this on your social media sites if you think it will bring a better Valentine’s Day to those you know and love! Thank you.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

If you are tired of spending Valentine’s Day alone and ready to find someone to share this next amazing chapter of your life, let’s talk about how to get yon there!

Call 510-817-4242 or email me at donna@donnasbigredchair.love and I’ll send you my Love Readiness Quiz!

Donna Bailey, M.S

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”

Donna’s Big Red Chair

www.donnasbigredchair.love 

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