Waving at Strangers

by Kee Kee on September 8, 2014

in Inspiration,Texas

crossing guard

I’m working on a couple work projects that are taking up all my mental bandwidth. I’m not complaining because they are insanely fun film projects and I’m having a blast. However the deadlines are such that I find myself working pretty much every waking moment in my home office. When I’m not on the phone, I’m either sitting at my desk on my computer or I’m laying awake at night brainstorming ideas (which is actually kinda fun, in a twisted sleep-deprived kind of way).  Unfortunately I’m having a hard time turning my brain off right now. When I am out and about doing other things, such as the movie I went to with a friend last night, I find I’m still thinking about these projects.

I realized how lost in my head I’ve been when I was driving on auto-pilot through my Austin neighborhood today to do errands. I did a double take when I noticed a stranger smiling big and waving at me. She was an older woman sitting in a folding chair, wearing an orange crossing guard reflective vest and had a hand held stop sign sitting in her lap. I hesitated for a split second, and then found myself smiling widely and happily waving right back.  The surge of “feel good-ness” that her wave gave me left me smiling for the next block. I began to wonder what it would be like to wave like she did to strangers. So I did just that. I drove past a teenager walking her dog and I waved. I drove past a guy out for a run and waved at him. I drove past a man on his bike and rolled down my window, stuck out my arm and waved like mad at him. Each person did a little double take, and then waved back at me while returning my smile.  By the time I waved at the last person on my drive home, I was actually laughing out loud as I did it. It wasn’t until I returned home and sat down at my desk that I realized that by waving at all the strangers, I actually completely and totally stopped thinking about work.

I’m not sure how often I’ll do the wave at strangers from my car thing, as I’m sure I could get pegged as the neighborhood weirdo. But for today anyway, it sure made me feel good.

 

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Behind The Smile

by Kee Kee on August 26, 2014

in Inspiration

Robin Williams has died. Those four words still ring in my head. Yoda and I are spending August at my parents’ lake house in Wisconsin. My parents were watching the CBS Evening News and I was curled up on the sofa deeply engrossed in a book. I wasn’t at all listening to the TV, consciously anyway, when I heard that statement from the news anchor as if he were standing next to me screaming it in my ears.  I jumped when I heard it, so much so that Yoda was jolted out of his nap and sat up next to me looking around with alarm.

In the two weeks following the news of Robin Williams’ suicide, I’ve been really reflective, slipping easily into heady private thoughts. But the interesting thing is I’m not contemplative about what you may think I’m feeling melancholy about. Yes, it’s truly heart crushing that someone as iconic and talented as Robin Williams took his own life. I came of age being entertained by him, and I’ve often thought of him as one of the few well-adjusted Hollywood A-listers who actually had it all.  I never would have thought that behind his smile he was hard at battle with such violent private demons.  But just as his public persona fooled so many of us into thinking he had life all figured out, so do the faces and personalities of so many non-celebrities in our lives. That’s the part that has me a bit sad, a bit reflective, and a bit lost in thought about the journey of life.

I’ve been looking at people during the past couple of weeks wondering what is behind their smiles:

  • The Toyota service guy, smiling so brightly as he handed me my keys after giving Princess Leia the Prius an oil change.
  • The checkout clerk at the grocery store, who handed me my receipt while commenting on how glorious the weather was that day.
  • A man who lives in my parents’ neighborhood, who eagerly showed me the flowers in his garden when Yoda and I chatted him up while on a mid-day walk.
  • The barefoot Amish lady at the Amish bakery who cheerily said in her Pennsylvania Dutch accent, “Have a nice day” as she sold me a cherry pie.

I even searched the internet for a photo of the Dalai Lama and stared into his happy twinkling eyes, wondering how much of the ebb and flow of human emotion he experiences on a daily basis.

All these people smiling, as if their lives are perfect.  But I know their lives aren’t perfect. That’s because it is completely and totally impossible for a human being, whether rich, poor, ugly, beautiful, famous or not, to have a perfect life.  Not even the Dalai Lama.  Something is always off. Everyone is always fighting some sort of personal battle that we know nothing about. 

first day in carLook at this photo of me that I use as the profile photo on my blog.  I find it strange that I look really happy. I wasn’t.  In reality I was at one of the darkest, unhappiest points in my life.  This picture was taken by my Santa Monica neighbor moments before Yoda and I piled into the car to spend the next five months on the road seeking happiness and inner peace.  

It’s now almost four years later on my quest for shama, and I finally think I’m starting to understand.  Life isn’t perfect.  There’s always likely some sort of struggle behind our smiles.  The closest we can get to a perfect life is to understand and embrace the simple truth that life is not perfect. Once we do that, then somehow life’s challenges become easier and even start to make sense. At least they have for me. I really believe that life is about energetic balance. You can’t have one extreme emotion without having the opposite emotion eventually appear to balance things out. When I go through a rough patch, I remind myself that nature’s law is on my side – things WILL get better. And they always do.  So I will keep smiling, and I hope you do too.

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The Huffington Post – An Enchanting Road Trip to New Mexico’s Hot Springs

July 11, 2014

I love road trips and I love hot springs. That means my recent road trip to explore New Mexico hot springs was pretty much a win/win.  This was one of my favorite road trips to date. If you are wanting an off the beaten path summer getaway, this one is calling your name! Read about [...]

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I’ve long subscribed to the Japanese view of wabi-sabi. Or at least I’ve aspired to subscribe to it, which isn’t always easy. Wabi-sabi loosely translates as seeing the beauty, or perfection, in imperfection.  Think about how you would probably walk over a single blade of grass growing through an old, cracked uneven sidewalk. It’s easy [...]

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My twenty-year friendship with Holly began with a Post-it Note. I had recently started my first post-law school job in Madison, Wisconsin, and Holly was a co-worker.  I was struggling with my new boss’s demands, and my lack of experience left me without the courage to voice my frustrations with the situation. I must have [...]

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Goodbye Little Blue House

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The mailman really was my Santa Clause, as I surprisingly waxed prophetic in a recent blog post. It all started in mid-December when my landlady sent me an e-mail to tell me that she and her daughter were going to move into the sweet, magical, healing little blue house that I have rented from her [...]

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An Open Letter to the New Year

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Dear 2014, I’m late writing you the annual letter that I’ve written to each new year since 2011. The fact is, I didn’t want to write you. I was pissed off at 2013, and some of that anger was unjustly carried over to you. Although 2013 was overall a pretty good year, it really didn’t [...]

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