LUGGAGE Lady

Contemplations about Life, Love, & the Pursuit of Meaningful Existence…

Love Letters to Malaysia Airlines

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I wrote these words some time ago (http://luggagelady.net/2012/12/16/we-are-one/) but reposted the piece on my facebook page after last week’s heartbreaking airline tragedy. What happened from there was magical. A dear high school friend contacted me, asking to embed my poem onto her exquisite jewelry website. I replied with a resounding “YES!” and promptly added her lovely creation to a flight attendant networking site:  https://www.facebook.com/aflyguyslounge under “Love Letters to Malaysia Airlines.” (Please take a peek if you’re able as I believe the gracious sentiments from airlines worldwide will put a smile in your heart.)

Whether united by wings, artistic endeavors, or sheer compassion — we traverse this globe together — hearts overlapping… 💞

 

 

 

Redefining Happy

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The greatest privilege of being a flight attendant is crossing paths with passengers who completely transform your day life…

🌻🌻🌻

Jon was born three months early and diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The doctors told his parents the deformation in his brain’s frontal lobe was such that he’d likely never be more than a vegetable.

They were wrong.

Jon rolled down the jetway in a motorized wheelchair that allowed him to stand upright, looking like Robert Downey Jr. in the movie Iron Man. His megawatt smile and larger-than-life personality amplified my superhero impression. When I asked where he was traveling, he told me he’d been selected as one of seventy college students nationwide to participate in a five-day leadership conference. He’d be giving several motivational speeches.

“I love talking. Put a tree in front of me, I’ll talk to it.” He laughed. “My plan, once I get my master’s, is to be a motivational speaker. I’ve already produced a few short films, and I’m writing a book.

“What’s it about?” I asked, thinking I had a fairly good idea.

“It’s about how the definition of happy is completely inaccurate,” he said, upending my presumption. “Happiness is not a single emotion. It’s the ability to appreciate all emotional states, learning and growing from both positive and negative experiences. People buy all these self-help books on how to be happy when what they need to do is engage the world around them. Happiness isn’t an adjective — it’s a verb.”

“Impressive wisdom coming from a college kid.” I winked.

“Well, I wasn’t always so smart.” He fidgeted with his cell phone. “In high school I got a little depressed, you know, focusing on all the stuff I couldn’t do. Fortunately, my mom is a very smart lady. She let me wallow in self-pity exactly three days. Then, we visited a kid born with my same condition. There I was staring into the eyes of a boy roughly my age, except he can’t move, can’t speak, can’t feed himself — nothing. He wasn’t as lucky as me!”

I nodded, digging my fingernails into my palms, trying in vain to keep the tears from pooling.

“Anyway, like I was saying,” he continued, “happiness boils down to how you choose to interact with the world. A perfect example of this occurred coming through security. When the TSA spoke to my travel assistant, their tone was totally normal. But when they turned to me, their voices shot up several decibels, addressing me like a kindergartener. Was I going to let that ruin my day? No way, Jose! I started joking around with them until they were clutching their bellies. By the time they were done, I’m pretty sure they saw me as someone who wasn’t all that different from them.”

He shrugged. “And that’s my secret to happiness: When others treat me with indifference or disrespect, I show only kindness. Most people are so accustomed to confrontation, they don’t even know how to process this. Then, something shifts, and their entire disposition changes. That’s super cool to watch.” His smile illuminated the cabin.

“You’d make a great flight attendant.”

His eyes lit up. “I’d even sing!”

🌻🌻🌻

Dedicated to

💔 Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 💔

We will hold you in our hearts — always…

 

Might We Dance Again?

IMG_7582  Pouring heart and soul upon the page

Unmasked for all to judge

At times, feeling inconsequential

Misunderstood

But you opened your arms

With unimaginable support

Erasing those fears

Swaying and twirling

Generously sharing your own inspiring insight

Our introspective dance drawing us close

Pouring heart and soul upon the page

In pursuit of meaningful existence

Hand-in-hand

Might we dance again?

♥♥💃♥♥ 

Oh, how I’ve missed my WordPress World!!!! Thank YOU ALL — from the depths of my wandering soul — for not abandoning Luggage Lady during my lengthy hiatus! I very much look forward to reading your beautifully uplifting, thought-provoking blogs once again. And for my cherished readers, it is my sincerest hope to publish something of value here at least once a month. 😘

 

Together We Flourish — Divided We Flounder

Dolphin Always! (5)

Sensationalized reporting

Sweeping generalizations

Inflated sentiments

Morph into disconnect

Isolation

Bitterness

Fear…

Channel after channel

Each attempting to eclipse the other

Competing soundbites trying to sway

Yet, in the real world

I observe a much different story

I see

Folks joining hands

Working tirelessly

Building cohesive families

Earning honest livings

Looking out for their neighbors

Volunteering

Mentoring our youth

Goodwill extended every step of the way

And my admiration skyrockets

The camaraderie of upstanding citizens

Impassioned spirits merging with loving intent

Have always been the glue binding our communities

We don’t need anyone to decipher this for us

It’s ingrained in the very fiber of our shared humanity

Together We FlourishDivided We Flounder

Life is a Painting, Enjoy the Brushstrokes

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Dear Readers — After achieving my one-year blogging goal, I planned on powering down the old baggage carousel — but two lovingly persuasive people gave me pause.

So, while I contemplate the future of my little blog…

Please welcome Luggage Lady’s first-ever Guest Blogger:  Airline captain, home remodeler, chef, adventure planner, & co-seeker of meaningful existence — my husband.

🌻🌻🌻

Why do we walk life’s slippery steps?

We will surely skid into the abyss

Life continues its incessant attempt at overwhelming us

Unfriendliness

Hopelessness

Sorrow

24-hour news

Day in, day out repetitiveness

Surely we must concede

Cower

Surrender

***

A bright spot in your day

A friendly gesture

A wife’s smile

A purr or lick from your family pet

A fantastic sunrise

Sunset

Your favorite song on the radio

A heartfelt laugh

A please

A thank you

Sincerity

Lifelong friends

A family that has your back

A joke you’ve heard a hundred times and still enjoy

A hero’s story

A good book

A day at the movies

Love

***

When you look at a painting

Do you study the miniscule imperfections

Or just relish the artist’s expression?

As with art, so is life

There are many more positives in this world than negatives

The question is this:

Which would you rather focus on?

Life is a Painting, Enjoy the Brushstrokes

🌻🌻🌻

Dedicated to my Dear Friend at sirenatales.wordpress.com

Elevating Tomorrow by Eclipsing Yesterday

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The only person you need to be better than is the one you were yesterday.”

🌟

Gracefully intent

You tango

Enviable posture

Unflinching

On life’s populous dance floor

Melody and motion seamlessly unite

Snappy maneuvers building momentum

Heightening experience

Crescendo nearing

Until…

Scheming arms stealthily encircle

Partnering you with self-defeat

Incessant comparisons truncating potential

A plethora of privileged souls sashay along the promenade

Born inanely gifted

Bearing silver-spooned advantage

Society’s favorites

Slated for success

Gobbling all the prizes

Why bother?

Apathetic legs lock

Rhythm

Lost

🌟

But the stars wait…

Yearning for the brush of your fingertips

As you reach skyward

Remembering

To foster your own dreams

Rather than covet another’s

Chance after gutsy chance

Digging deep

Summoning your song

Mastering its unique beat

Toppling your best

And still

Ascending…

🌟

Elevating Tomorrow by Eclipsing Yesterday

How Lucky Am I to Call You Dad?!

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To Male Role Models Everywhere: What YOU Do Makes a Lifelong Difference

***

Exemplifying strength, security, and wisdom

Your jovial ambition buoyed all who gazed into those steel-blue eyes

A man with boundless know-how

You were educator, innovator, mentor, entrepreneur, comedian, athlete, handyman, storyteller — and moral beacon

I believed in you

And you instilled tenacious courage in me

Exhibiting integrity in every facet of your life

You demonstrated the importance of preparation, sacrifice, faith, and hard work

Cushioned by your tireless guidance

I stumbled

I blossomed

I made choices that surely left you wincing

Still, my gallant cornerstone remained in the wings

At-the-ready

Yet intervening only if solicited

A consistent male presence enhances the well-being of every child

But paternal dependability fortifies a little girl’s heart beyond measure

Shielding her from pathetic sorts who prey upon the vulnerable

A flourishing confidence that protects her long after she grows up and moves away…

♥♡♥

Thank YOU for

Bestowing a love I never doubted

Safeguarding my reputation by imparting self-worth

Anchoring our family in your committed embrace

Being the first to volunteer and the last to quit — bettering every community you touch

My heart swelling with pride at the mere mention of your name

For loving my mommy over fifty years and counting

Towering valiantly as the grandest role model I’ve ever known

How lucky Am I to Call You Dad?!

Mind Over Mountain

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The mountain looms. Ignoring the “I can’ts” lobbing across my mind. Altitude accentuating the agony. Hammering heartbeat. Inferior lungs. Exhaling in a humiliating whoosh. The peak well above my comfort zone. Weighted legs. Stalling. A gulp of metallic water from my canteen. Sun and wind chaffing. A flicker of reverence launching untapped stamina — I’m traversing a portion of the intricate 25,000-mile Inca road system! 

Santos, our Inca Shaman darts by. He’s hiking in sandals (!), playing a wooden flute-like instrument. I wonder what he thinks of this out-of-shape gringo gasping for air? He pauses in the distance. Incapable of speaking his native tongue, I ask for a picture in Spanish. He smiles, waving me over.

Later, he leads our group of twelve in a ceremony at the edge of a luminous glacier lake. He distributes symbolic coca leaves and we cling to their divinity as he begins chanting in hushed Quechua. Our Peruvian guide translates:

Release your negativity. Leave it here in the wide embrace of the Andes. Be free of debilitating thoughts. Let them go. They drag you under. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Disappointment, grudges, and bitterness destroy. Know in this moment, you have all you need: the sustaining sun, soothing air, purifying water, guiding stars, protective mountains, and exalting skies. The moon’s pull to keep you centered, the soil to nourish. Mother Earth always provides, ready with healing hand. Use this restorative energy. Envision family, friends, those suffering you’ve never met. Lift them up with your compassion. We have nothing more valuable to give the world — or each other.

We clutch hands, stitching our circle tighter. Snow loses its grip on a nearby cliff, triggering a small avalanche amidst our tranquility. A Condor swoops gracefully. Both men intensely engaged in their sacred ritual. Who am I to be standing in such a surreal natural sanctuary? I close moist eyes and picture the Southern Cross dancing in last night’s sky, wondering how I’ll ever translate such marvel to another. I tuck the memory into a deep pocket of my brain, hoping I’ll find a way.

Back home, I study our photographs, trying to recapture the rush of accomplishment, to harness the spirited Inca drive. I mean — who possesses such moxy as to erect cities and trails upon alarmingly precarious territory? I observe people all around me facing everyday mountains, trouncing obstacles with unparalleled grit, and I ask:

What’s the magic ingredient that propels an individual to exceed mediocrity — striving for excellence in every pursuit?
 



Soulfully Awake…Standing in Awe

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Just a blip on life’s stage

Passing through history’s dense corridor

Lost civilizations mocking

Whistling my insignificance across snapping winds

Footprints gobbled by swirling dust

Was I ever even there?

The sun bores into my heart

Exposing my humanness

Yesterday’s drama devoured by thunderous waterfalls

I scrounge uncomfortably

Clamoring for excuses

Why do I succumb

To living so small

When I’m nothing but a speck in time?

My tongue thickens

Leaves me to swallow words unformed

But in subsequent muteness

Tears of determination cleanse my scope

And slowly I rise

I may be but a flickering flame against a ravenous night sky

Yet

Wherever the trail leads from this step forward

I have gleaned the dauntless spirit

Of all who have pummeled this path before

Teetering on possibility’s edge

Soulfully Awake…Standing in Awe

***

I return with brimming heart, Dear Readers, from a journey that afforded mesmerizing glimpses of Peru and Alaska. Blessed to experience the magnificent natural wonders of our planet, but also to lay a hand across the pulse of hardiness, innovation, and unyielding gusto coursing throughout our human lineage — I can’t wait to catch up with everyone and appreciate your patience so…

Not Goodbye — Just So Long for Now

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I remember lugging my backpack around Europe in the summer of ’88, enviously eyeballing the tour operators in their air-conditioned buses and thinking, must be nice. Soon though, it became clear that those peering from behind the fancy tinted windows were limited to staged visits at predetermined sites — extemporaneous exploration excluded. At twenty-one, immortality remained a reality but a wisp of doubt lingered: Perhaps bucket list pursuits came with a use-by date?

When I met my husband, he sported a fused ankle bone with a few steel screws drilled in for good measure (a youthful act of…let’s just say a lapse in judgment he’ll never forget). Besides triggering airport security (ever spy that airline captain standing spread-eagle?😜 ), the impeded mobility continues to challenge. Therefore, we never squander opportunities that may prove impossible tomorrow.

Blessed to work in an industry that allows generous vacation time and travel deals, we’re off to hike Machu Picchu — an itinerary that has us traipsing some forty miles through the Andes at altitudes exceeding 15,000 feet. We’ve been training, but I’m more harvest hen than spring chicken and hope I haven’t overestimated my prissy-girl parameters to my own detriment. Just praying I’m not the one they strap atop the poor rescue mule.

As this Bag Lady vanishes from the grid for a while, I wish you renewed celebration of life’s true fortunes: Smile ’til your cheeks ache, laugh readily with wild abandon, love yourself and all you touch whilst delighting in your every aspiration! I’ll be hyperventilating beneath celestial Peruvian skies…

Not Goodbye — Just So Long for Now! ♥♥♥

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