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STREET Smarts–Detroit Taught Me Well

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Today,  I am feeling very appreciative of my mom and the freedom she graced upon her kids.  She gave us so much space and exposed us to more than the average person, I’m sure of it now.

When I was a young girl, we would go and visit my Grandma and Grandpa in the Cass Corridor, Downtown Detroit area.   The Cass Corridor is where the riots broke out in the heart of Detroit in 1963.

It was a real raw city, indeed. 

My Grandpa would walk us to the park downtown where we would feed the pigeons.  He was in a very sick phase of his life, and there were many times that he would have to lay down on the side of the street and take a nap.

My sister, Valorie,  and I were about 8 and 10 years old.  We would just sort of linger there while grandpa napped.  We were harassed by all sorts of people.

We learned the subtle art of knowing when to speak and when not to pay any attention.  There is a huge difference. 

If you look someone in the eye that should not be looked in the eye, you learn quickly what you did wrong.  When you ignore someone that you should have spoken to, you learn quickly what you should have done.  Trust me, it’s a big deal.

Most of the people I know are afraid of going to areas that seem unsafe.  Quite frankly, most people just don’t go.  When I was  a teenager and driving, I would drive my friends to downtown Detroit.  There were some amazing ethnic festivals at The Hart Plaza down on the riverfront.   Talk about a place to party and meet people from all over the metropolitan area, this was it.

If my friend’s parents knew they were down there, they would have thrown a fit!

To me, being downtown was not a big deal and it was not dangerous.  My Mom worked downtown all of my young years, my Grandparents lived downtown, and it was part of my vibe.   

If you aren’t exposed to the diversity at a young age, when will you be?

That, I believe, is the problem with most people who are filled with fear about going to certain neighborhoods.  If they’ve never had any experience carrying themselves down a city street, you’d better believe they’re going to show it. 

Body language and posture is everything. 

If you have no confidence, it will show and you will be an easy victim if anyone were interested.

Just the other day, I was in an area in Los Angeles that I would not necessarily  choose to go to.  I had bought a Living Social deal and I wasn’t sure of the area it was in.  Sure enough, as I drove toward the address, things weren’t looking all that fabulous.

It was a run down neighborhood and the people were definitely diverse and,  in the words of Jerry Seinfeld, “not that there’s anything wrong with that”.

I had a voucher and it expired TODAY.  Since I was juice fasting, I was going to get my full supply for the day and take them to go–all juice.  As I handed the cashier my voucher to pay, he announced that it was dine in only.

Shoot, I had no choice so I decided to sit there and drink a couple hours away.  I needed my computer which was in my car.

I walked to my car, which incidently had my bicycle on top of it, and grabbed my laptop and walked back.

There were people of all sorts out there.  Some in their yard, some on the street, some lingering in the old garage business on the corner.

They were diverse and it did feel like I was on the streets of Detroit from my childhood. 

The beautiful thing, though, was that  they were not at all offended by my presence.  The tough chick walking by was one of those you just don’t engage.  The older woman, who seemed a bit out of sorts and maybe a little intoxicated,  was pleasant and a simple smile worked with her.

All I can say is, I am so appreciative of my upbringing and the example my mom set for me.

I appreciate her for exposing me to all the neighborhoods, not just the suburbs. 

Fear just wasn’t present in my body when I was out there.  All was well.

I guess if you are already an adult and you  weren’t prepared to navigate in such neighborhoods, you probably should stay out of bounds until you learn the art of posture.  Or, come with me and you’ll be fine.

All is well and it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood–wherever it is!

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Thank You–It’s A Miracle

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This morning when I awoke, I took a deep breath and silently said, Thank You (it’s a miracle).  I had attended a Japanese Master’s workshop on Saturday.

He explained that in ancient Japan, the phrase “Thank You” was filled with revery and awe and it meant, “it’s a miracle”.

He said, they once lived each moment as if they would die in 5 minutes–especially the Samurai.  Today, the phrase is just used as a polite business catch phrase.  He encouraged us to use it as it was originally intended thousands of years ago–we could die in 5 minutes.

As I thought about my breath and felt the miraculousness of it, I remembered the pregnant woman I had massaged yesterday with the new life ready to emerge.  Really, we’re all a miracle every day!  I slept through the night again, after all these years, and I have new life in a whole new day.  The baby is new life and we recognize that with more clarity because it’s new but when we really look at it, we are all a miracle.

We are, in every moment, new!

I have noticed it with almost everything: puppies, kittens, babies,  relationships.  When we look at the young animals and kids, they are refreshing and as cute as can be.  Somehow, as they get a little older, we begin to take them for granted.

Relationships are the same–whether they are relationships with others or ourselves, we take them for granted and just expect that they will be here the next day.

The Japanese Master told us about his grandmother.  At the age of 70 she started rock climbing and at the age of 80 she started downhill skiing.  Everyone tried to stop her and convince her she was too old, but she did it anyway.

She lived as the ancient Japanese did–fully alive and present with every moment. 

Then, tragically–she was hit by a truck.  She is gone from this realm but she was an inspiration to her grandson on how to live life.

She lived fully!IMG_0508

I am cultivating a new practice and that will be the practice of taking that first deep breath and saying “Thank You (It’s A Miracle)”.

As much as I can be present to the miracle that I am, I will be. tara-and-the-coastline.jpg

I will not take you or me for granted because every minute in life is a miracle!  Thank You.

Outstanding

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As I am becoming more and more appreciative and grateful for everything in my day to day living, I am noticing more and more people in my midst who are extremely appreciative and considerate.  It is so fun to watch the unfolding as it occurs.

It’s good news to me, since I am a firm believer in the law of attraction.  When we vibrate a certain signal out into universe, it is then magnified into our experience.  I do feel as if I’ve been getting better,  nicer, more considerate and more compassionate.

I am meeting some outstanding people, that’s for sure.  I went in to start working on a massage  client and the first thing he said was, “I just want to thank you in advance for doing what you do”.  That was a first, I had never heard that before!

This was the second time I’d worked on him but I’ve been seeing him here and there when he comes in for massages from different therapists.  He is always with his wife and the love he has for her oozes out of him.  He is a happy human being.  He is doing what he loves and treating himself and others well as he goes along.

I can’t think of a better scenario for which we should all be living our lives.  I was just so curious about him, though, I had to ask him, “Were you born this nice, how did you get this way”?  He replied, “Fire, coming up against struggle, and more fire”.  That is good news for us all.

That means, the more aware we are of where we are, the more we go to work on ourselves.  As we are aware of where we are and know where we want to be, we become more vibrant and alive.  We grow, expand and evolve into something new and expressive.  We become inspiring to others just by being joyful.  This man,  and many others I keep bumping up against in my daily activities,  are so inspiring to me.  They see the best in everyone and everything and treat everyone around them with love and respect.

We just need to keep moving forward and do whatever it takes to train ourselves into that supreme state of appreciation.  I’m sure you’ve heard it over and over again–when you are grateful and appreciative of everything in your life, you will get more and more to be grateful and appreciative of!