Sometimes the universe gifts you with the most exquisite of surprises, and I was thusly blessed one spring morning a few years ago as I drove along the Rhode Island coastline with a dear friend on the anniversary of the day she had lost one of her children. Our hearts were heavy, and we decided to pull over and sit on the seawall, the sun to our faces and waves crashing on the rocks a few feet below. Just as she was saying, ‘I want to remember all the good, and not that we lost him,’ a car pulled up to the curb across the street, and an elderly couple stepped out onto the bustling sidewalk.
To our astonishment, they started dancing, lost in some kind of magical reverie; twirling and spinning away as they’d clearly done a million times before, just that today they had decided to dance here – no date night, no dance floor, no music.
I fumbled for my phone, hoping to be lucky enough to catch a few minutes of this exquisite scene, when my friend leaned over, smiling, and said, “I know what their song is too.”
You can watch the clip here. Then go grab someone you love and throw abandon to the wind. Watch the sunrise. Dance on the sidewalk. Remember the people you’ve lost. Then watch for the tiny gifts you might be receiving right here, right now, this Thanksgiving day.
When I spoke at Living Room Stories v5 “Wisdom For My Younger Self” my message was “Don’t Believe Every Story You Tell Yourself,” because I’ve come to know it as truth. My story was my musical journey from precocious 2nd grader at a spinet piano, to teenaged girl terrified of failure who decides to bury her musical self 6 feet under, only to rediscover it years later, but with new eyes and a kinder heart.
My 7 year-old self didn’t know that 7 would become a lucky number, so I gave her these 7 pearls of wisdom. What I know now, and wish I’d had the courage to know then.
1. Do not believe the story that tells you ‘you can’t do anything.’
2. If you’re following your heart and the story you’re telling isn’t making you happy, it’s probably because you need to reach inside of yourself and find a key to a new door that is waiting to be unlocked.
3. Learn to push fearlessly toward the edges of wherever you are.
4. You will have many muses in your life. And they will speak to you. Listen to every single one of them. Plant your gardens, shoot your photos, write screenplays, heal the wounded. Do it all. But be sure to seek out your tribe. You’ll know when you’re where you belong and the right people will always be at your side.
5. Sometimes the best collaborations you will ever have will also be the most difficult to bring to life. But they may well become the most beautiful and meaningful ones you have – especially if they’re with yourself.
6. Always, always seek to love who you are – and where you are – right in this very moment.
7. It’s never too late and you are never to old to become what you might have been.
So very grateful to have shared the stage with 4 other remarkable storytellers: Dennis Bucco – “Make the Decision to Make Your Own Mistakes,” Betsy Fenick – “The Power of Glinda”, Kristen Girouard – “Success by Design: The Importance of Vision” and Carolyn Dalgliesh -“Embracing Chaos”. Read and watch their stories here.
Day 14 is for paying it forward. For deeply acknowledging your journey with all its plot twists, surprises, delights and demands. And for appreciating your traveling companions – be they allies, mentors, guides, jesters or tricksters. Your life is this story – your grand experiments with truth, as Gandhi called his. Enjoy every page. Expect good things. Be the hero.