Cancer Creative Juices Life Transitions Mindfulness Paying Attention

A vision unfolds.

September 28, 2017

Perhaps you have had the pleasure of enjoying the world of air travel with me.  If you have, you know that I have a guilty pleasure of buying a stack of magazines at the airport.  These magazines have a multi-purposed destiny once they connect with me.  Together they form a {female} triumvirate surrounding me on my trip across the sky.

My magazines of choice are currently Oprah, The Harvard Business Review and either The New Yorker or People, depending on my mood.  But always The Harvard Business Review and always Oprah.  I stuff my new friends into my already overflowing carry-on and we set off on our journey together.  Mmmmmm, when I settle into my designated seat, I sit with the weight of the genius on my lap for a little bit.  It astounds me really, when I allow myself a moment to think of how this magic happens.  A one-inch pile of paper on my lap contains the collaborative idea generation of a small army.   Writers, graphic artists, editors, photographers, etc., etc., and that doesn’t even touch on the many humans involved in harvesting the trees for the paper, the ink, or the processing of the actual magazine!  Not to detract from any of the supply chain genius (I bow in thanks), but my focus here is on the fact that from these publications, the ideas and genius of multitudes are released to spark the ideas and genius of multitudes.

I love, love, love the physical version of the Harvard Business Review magazine.  I wish it had a different title because I realize it sounds a bit pretentious.  Let’s call it HBR – everyone else does.  These are my people!  I love their collective genius.  Organizational management, leadership, corporate strategy!  I strive to understand how to connect a company with their vision and employees with the mission of the company they work for.  I understand this is an element of my genius that has been neglected since I retired.  Maybe this is why I have such a strong affinity to my physical copy of HBR.  I take furious notes when I comb through this brilliant magazine.  Hopefully their ideas, funneled through me, will someday be of greater benefit.  So many sparks!

Who has not had at least one simple ah-ha moment while reading a magazine?  Ideas just manifest, don’t they? (We have discussed this before click here for a refresher.)

What do these sparks bring to you?

  • Exposure to a different side of a story that you had not previously subjected yourself to.
  • Expansion of your thinking?
  • A health care regimen that speaks to you.
  • Empathy for a cause you were not previously aware of.
  • A financial practice that resonates with you and your savings goals.
  • Solution to a problem that has been plaguing you at work.
  • Do the writer’s words invite you down a positive thought path, empowering you to take a breath, be grateful for what you have, maybe see the world in a different way?
  • Are you comforted with a feeling that you are not alone in this world with whatever it is you are struggling with?

Magazines are like sparklers in July – madly spitting sparks of light into the darkness.  It is my humble opinion that this is the fundamental purpose of these paper treasures. This is our first female triumvirate, standing guard.  She sits to my right.

The second female triumvirate, standing to my left is the more voyeuristic, marketing driven purpose that unfolds in our ritual of lazily turning pages, chasing articles and catching up on the latest fads, ideas and even gossip.  Those brightly colored, sexy covers with the perfect words beckoning us to lift them from the shelf.  Well, we know that it is not just lipstick on a pig.   Sell.  Sell.  Sell!  The advertisers are counting on you to ingest this purpose. (Right… advertisers… I forgot this class in my acknowledgement of genius above. Bow.)  As I page through, I admittedly get sidetracked.  I’ve been known to rabbit ear pages, rip them out, or/and maybe even subsequently purchase items from my magazine binging.  Yes, advertisers, you are still effective! At least in the printed version.  I don’t rabbit ear online, instead I take a picture or put an entry in the notes of my phone. I will honestly share, these notes/photos rarely see the light of day and certainly are unlikely to result in a purchase.  (The effort is more a practice in doing my part in cluttering our collective iCloud.)  Suffice it to say, I do take part in this traditional (sinister) purpose of magazines – to sell us something.  Anything.

A necessary diversion…

During my flight I will read these physical magazines from cover to cover, in one sitting.  A luxury that is only attained while trapped in a piece of flying metal.    As I slowly drift through each one, I fully participate in these paper treasures.  Sadly, the new normal is accessing a plethora of magazines online via our virtual shelves like Zinio.  Ick.  Ick!  I really do not enjoy reading magazines reflected in the backlight of my laptop.  Just call me tactile.  I love the methodical right to left movement as I turn the pages with my freshly licked finger.   My eyes take in the words, colors, pictures, from left to right.  It is a simple pleasure to follow a story from beginning to end and not have ads flick in front of my eyes and even frustratingly shift the articles position!  I don’t miss my email taunting me from the top right corner of the screen.  Left to right I am not cyber diverted to a different section, lost, unable to find my way back.  In physical life if I am directed to page 101, I can then return to page 80 and pick up where I left off.  The most horrible virtual feeling of all is the feeling that with all the diversions, I never finished the magazine.  Satisfaction lost.  Terrible feeling, right?

Thank you for your attention.

The final purpose… the third beauty in my female triumvirate.  Front and center!   I call her recycling.  This, as you know is usually done at the end of our time together with a magazine (at least I hope you recycle); however not for me, not yet.  I have a different form of recycling… a unique version between me… and Oprah.  There is an alignment between Oprah’s goals and my own.  I create a collage.  Of course you may have already surmised this from the photo I used at the onset of this blog post.  A collage may seem straight forward but I feel it requires further explanation because I really wish for you to grasp this concept!

As I shared, the collage is exclusively made from pieces of Oprah’s magazine. (I’m aware my other magazine choices may have great illustrations and titles; however, they do not currently lend themselves to the grounding of my travels.) Now. I’m sure Oprah did not intend for her magazine to end this way, ripped to pieces and left unreadable, but I think she would actually approve.  Secondly, for the record, I want to be clear that before any ripping I do read the magazine!  In fact, as I read through Oprah’s masterpiece (humor me) I begin to read between the lines, the different typesets catch my eye, the fonts dance in front of me, the colors and the illustrations pull me across the page.  Like magic, these elements begin to form a story. My story!  THE story I desire for my destination.  It works like this.  If I am travelling with a group of friends and the purpose is to reconnect and celebrate our reunion and maybe a few birthdays, as I turn the pages… words and images leap off the page to support this story. As I let go of the world outside of the airplane, my mind is quiet enough to see the story unfold.  I feel a gratefulness come to me as this visual story forms.  The process connects me to the reason why I’m on the trip and reminds me to be thankful I have the means, the friendships, the freedom to be doing what I am doing.  This practice allows a focus that literally (sorry, could not help that!) grounds me for the next precious few days. Does this make sense??

I guess it is a way to invite the space of presence between my life at home and where I am going.

The photo above is the collage of my next 10 days in California and Seattle.  As I planned this trip, I wanted it to be the beginning of a new phase of my life.  But how did Oprah know that?  It’s like she lined her magazine with the breadcrumbs I needed to find my way to the clarity of this trips purpose.   Perfect connection.  If Oprah only knew we had this synergy.

Prior to leaving the city, I signed my divorce agreement.  The emotional cloud that lifted to the sky was physically palpable. (It was for me anyway, not sure if you felt it?)  I am insanely grateful for this time, for the beautiful souls that have supported me in every imaginable way possible, for the human capacity to forgive and for the grace of being able to stand in my heart and value my radiant self.

As Oprah reminded me with the breadcrumbs she left me…

I will “discover better”, “greener pastures”.

I have been given the “permission to speak freely”, “talk the talk” and “live my best life” and that I am “shear genius”.

It is me, “the mindful nut” who is going from “awww to awesome”.

“I want to spend my days maximizing happiness.”  With “tiers of joy” even if I ask myself daily “where are you going?”.

And finally, “what I know for sure” is that “there are no shortcuts”, it is all about “connections”, “healing is by design” and “strong is beautiful” as is “curl power”, “making myself clear” and knowing “what makes me happy is being in my own skin.”  Oh and I am “flat and I’m proud”. That one was a tribute to all those women (some of them my dear, dear friends and family) who have slayed breast cancer.

One last thing.  Once you rip your words from the soul of Oprah’s magazine, you must fit it to the size of the tray table in front of you (of course, not right before landing or during turbulence when tray tables must be stored in the seatback in front of you).  Then you must snap a picture of it.  Finally, gather these paper whispers and deposit them in the recycling the next time the stewardess comes along the isle asking for trash.  Yes.  Yes.  Let it go.  Out to the Universe it goes!

On your next trip, grab the most recent Oprah magazine and get to work.  Find the clarity in your trip.  At the very least it invites human connection with the people sitting around you.   I made two new friends today.  These connections are familiar from my travels.

“Hmmm, what you doing there??”

I reply, “Oh, it’s kind of a thing I started years ago where Oprah tells me why I’m on this flight.”

This part fascinates me.  I can almost hear them thinking – “Ok, I’ll never see this girl again.” And then they say something like “Really, how does that happen?”

By the end of our time together I believe I might have inspired another magazine destroyer who defines their destination with a little help from Oprah!

Gauntlet thrown.  The Oprah/collage/presence challenge is on!  I dare you…


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