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  (ARCHIVES)Back to Current
Other places....different vibes (05/30/2004)
By Janet Lewis Burns


     
To be or not to be...that is the conundrum.

Between a rock and a hard place is not where one would likely choose to be. Some individuals have an inborn capacity to overcome any obstacle. Others sit tight waiting to be rescued. "More rope please." If you're one of those "P" (pessimist) people, you may start crying, "Stop the world and let me off!"

Woman overboard! Everyone, especially young mothers who have no time for themselves, should create their private "sitting on the dock of the bay" place for retreat. Personalize it with charm and serenity...the fiber optic Bonsai (its tiny multicolored lights winking from wispy leaves on a dwarfed tree), special aromatic tea and fetching tea things, a favored music tape, your personal journal, or inspirational booklets.

Knowing in the gut that you are "where you truly belong" fosters lifelong "home sweet home" attachments. I've held onto this 1919 Somerset Maughan book quote for years, from one folder to another.

He writes of persons misplaced, living in limbo. Here, in part, is his eerie suggestion: "I have an idea that some men are born out of their true place. Accident has cast them amid strangers in their birthplace, and the leafy lanes they have known since childhood remain but a place of passage...Sometimes a man hits upon a place to which he mysteriously feels that he belongs. Here is the home he sought, and he will settle amid scenes that he has never known, as though they were familiar to him from his birth. Here at last he finds rest."

"When in Rome..." Spontaneity is a wonderful, freeing place to be, discarding inhibitions and following your bliss. The skittish and fragile need not apply. To walk a mile in another's shoes, to experience something entirely new, may broaden the mind to a keener understanding of "the others" on the planet. Knowledge is stifled by narrow-mindedness.

I remember, sorta, a Perry Como ditty that teased, "or would you rather be (a bird) (a fish) (a pig)." Well, it could be worse, "wasting away in Margaritaville," or "on a slow boat to China." When mid-life marriage gets testy, in that doghouse built for two, remember, you don't get what you don't give.

I existed in a world of "trust your fellow human being," back in my twenties and thirties. My belief (and my "I told you do!") were rewarded through an incident on a Caribbean cruise Pat and I took in 1979, in a southerly winter's generous sun.

It was our first jaunt on foreign land, from our cruise chip SS Calypso. The neat and ruggedly handsome young man, who dubbed himself our "guide" on the island, made way for us through the crowds on narrow streets. I had admired a braided belt of multicolored strands at the open market. Since I was hesitant to haggle, we moved on.

When I expressed my regrets that I hadn't gotten that belt, our escort eagerly offered to run back and get it for me. I nonchalantly handed him the money and sent him on his way. Pat insisted that we'd never see him again, and no belt, sucker! Our wait was brief. Proudly beaming, our "guide" handed me the belt and the change to boot.

After the bronze, grinning young fellow had ushered us back to the boat's bon voyage call, Pat gave him a generous tip. No more was said. Sadly, the world of business has thrust me into the maelstrom of mistrusting and suspicion of others, an uncomfortable frame of mind.

Music can take us away, a mood-altering placebo. "I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener" can stay with a person for hours. "Green Acres is the place to be," a TV rerun chortles. "My baby is American made, born and raised in the USA." The Statler Brothers remind us of where we came from. Where you belong is your call.

A plaque in our camper makes me smirk every time I glance at it. "I don't suffer from insanity - I enjoy every minute of it." To each his own. Be well. 

 

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