LUGGAGE Lady

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

Archive for the category “Greater Good”

Timeless Souls Plucked from the Spring of Our Days

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💞 💞 💞

A high school friend recently asked me to write something for our upcoming reunion. I struggled for weeks. Then, I thought about the plans being made to honor those classmates who’d left our world far too soon. Several of these losses occurred while we were still teenagers. The impact on our young minds was profound.

As I began writing, however, I realized this wasn’t just for the Class of ’84. This was for every courageous spirit who has endured unimaginable tragedy and found the strength to move forward, anchoring families, friendships, and communities with awe-inspiring perseverance.

I dedicate this to you with Love and Admiration.

♥, LL

(Photo from our journey to De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, 2009)

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Interacting Impeccably

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With every word spoken

Opportunity unfolds

A magical mechanism

Weaving the story of our days

Intent

Feelings

Dreams

Who we truly are

An unparalleled energy force

Powerful seeds planted in fertile minds

Yet, a profound choice exists:

Engage the world with integrity

or

Dampen the spirits of each soul we encounter

♥ ♥ ♥

Imagine the exhilarating, cumulative impact

If we chose to:

Vanquish negativity

Shun gossip

Eliminate needless emotional poison

Harnessing this uniquely human gift

By honoring our word

Sharing only truth and love

Leaving hearts full

And smiles wide

Infusing glee

Interacting Impeccably…

 

♥ ♥ ♥

Inspired by Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements — an absolutely brilliant read I cannot recommend highly enough! 💞

Love Letters to Malaysia Airlines

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I wrote these words some time ago (https://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… 💞

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Luv

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…

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

They were wrong.

Jon rolled down the jetway in a motorized wheelchair, which allowed him to stand upright, looking like Robert Downey Jr. in the Iron Man movie. His megawatt smile and larger-than-life personality swiftly amplified my superhero impression. When I asked where he was headed, he proudly informed me that he’d been selected as one of only 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, and 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 isn’t 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 they really just need to constructively connect with 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, 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 before dragging me out to visit 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, fingernails sinking into my palms to keep the tears at bay.

“Anyway, like I was saying,” he continued, “happiness boils down to how you choose to interact with the world. A perfect example occurred just this morning coming through security. When the TSA spoke to my travel assistant, their tone was totally normal. But when they turned to me, their voices slowed and shot up several decibels, as if they were speaking to 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 finished scanning all my metal parts, I’m pretty sure they saw me as someone not all that different from themselves.”

He shrugged. “And that’s my secret to happiness. When others treat me with indifference or disrespect, I surprise them with a story, a joke — whatever I think is going to dispel the negative cloud the quickest. 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!”

Together We Flourish — Divided We Flounder

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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

Has 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

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?
 



Knock Only if Expected!

 

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Strolling down my street recently, I noticed a sign posted on the cheery red door of my favorite house:  Knock Only if Expected! it implored, rattling my senses.

Now I understand not wanting to be heckled in your home, but what about the neighbor dropping by with freshly baked cookies or glorious bottle of wine, who simply wishes to make your acquaintance? How much is lost when social parameters are cordoned off so rigidly?

This question reverberated around my brain like ice water hurled into a steaming shower, leaving me to contemplate the times I’d carefully tweaked my external shell only to greet the public with “do not disturb” placarded across my demeanor. What breath-whisking scenarios swirled swiftly past, while I staunchly plodded forward with such a limiting disposition?

Of course no one wants to resemble a jack-in-the-box, head bobbing to-and-fro, and life demands a certain degree of focus — but surely I could peel back my blinders enough to welcome fortuity.

Because I’ve dwelled behind that shuttered door, and it was gregarious individuals extending hands without hesitation who resurrected my faith in humanity. Thanks to them I shall forever aspire, even if my knocks go unheeded, to maintain a boundless heart.

Knock Any Old Time!” I hope my body language proclaims with every step taken…

Bounteous Spirits Populating My Journey

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With each venture

The globe magically reveals herself

Pearl after generous pearl

A trend emerging

The fellow traveler’s warm disposition

Exchanging secret paths

Recommending hidden treasures

Gesturing down cobblestone alleyways

Eager to share establishments ripe with local flair

Extending genuine invitations

To be their guest

Halfway around the world

Kindhearted souls

Connecting in a manner

Seldom afforded in everyday life

Comrades in adventure

Life-enhancing encounters

Bounteous spirits populating my journey

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