reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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maria, tennis and tow trucks. [merely-a-thought monday]

i wanted to be maria. who wouldn’t? the lead of ‘the sound of music’ was a coveted role and every girl wanted to try out for that part.

i was cast as sister berthe. reading the sheet of paper on the wall outside the music room at harley avenue elementary i was not reassured by the fantastic job that portia nelson delivered as sister berthe in the 1965 film; i wanted to be maria and i knew in my heart that julie andrews would have agreed. sigh.

but i held a double role. i was also in the chorus. and mrs. lafayette took no prisoners. she was charming and beautiful to the eyes of all of us elementary school artiste wannabes but she was also deliberate, purposeful, and intentionally firm about making sure we understood the role of the chorus. “singing together in unison,” she’d tell us, encouraging us to listen to each other and match our timbre to that of the choral line, admonishing anyone who tried to stand out. “it is a chorus together,” she’d tell us, “and there is no ‘i’ in ‘chorus’.” it was humbling for all of us, striving to be tiny stars. and yet, it was the moment during which we understood that that we, indeed, became tiny stars.

driving hours to tennis matches was a big part of my life when my son was in college. he played singles and i would sit on the sidelines, my breathing shallow when i wasn’t utterly holding my breath altogether, my adrenaline racing, making tiny motions with my hands as if i could help move the tennis ball down the court or slice at the ball with the racket in his hand. he was a good tennis player – passionate and strategic. i was an anxious mess watching but i was often lucky to be watching with another mom and, together, betty and i forged our way through. although our sons played singles and we clearly wanted them to win their matches, i was always struck by how the team came together. instead of simply zeroing in, each on his own performance, the team cheered each other on and it was how the team did – in an overall sense – that really mattered to them. that doesn’t mean that disappointment didn’t exist for individuals, but they were encouraged time and again to remember that they were on a team and there was no ‘i’ in ‘team’.

the show ‘highway thru hell‘ is kind of a masculine show. big-rig tow truck drivers in the mountains of canada pull wrecks out of ditches, out of snowdrifts and from all kinds of precarious situations drivers find themselves in. before you roll your eyes at the thought of watching this kind of show, let me just add that it is fascinating. the mathematician in any of you will revel in the geometry and physics of it all; these tow truck operators are highly skilled and often put their lives at risk doing recovery alongside icy highways. egos are definitely rampant – each wants a little piece of stardom – but in the end they never hesitate to call each other for help, for another rig, for the rotator to show up. as kevin, one of these diligent heavy rescue workers, said, “there is no ‘i’ in ‘team’.” they are all part of the milky way on those dangerous roads in british columbia.

real life doesn’t cast us as maria each and every day. real life doesn’t grant us wins every day. real life places obstacles in front of us, calamities to sort out, heavy rescue needed. together, in chorus, as a part of a team, foregoing the ‘i’ in self-agenda, the ‘i’ in selfishness, the ‘i’ in narcissism, the ‘i’ in division, we are all stars.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

happy birthday, my beloved son.


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play to play. [d.r. thursday]

0006a copy

when i asked d for a summary of this children’s book he wrote and illustrated called PLAY TO PLAY he told me that the gorilla teaches the little girl the value of playing simply to play, not to win.

my son played tennis.  after growing up playing competitive baseball and soccer he decided, as people who are gifted athletically can, to “take up” competitive tennis.  he didn’t just go hit the ball around.  he dove in.  he was persistent and worked hard.  i drove him to lessons, individual and group, to high school team practices, to tournaments.  when he was in college i drove to his matches, regardless of where they were.

not familiar with the psychology of tennis, i, too, dove in, in my own way.  i read articles and books, asked questions of his various coaches.  an individual sport, tennis is a mind game and i needed to understand a little bit of what was going on inside my zealous son out on that lonely court.  indeed, sometimes it was hard to watch, hardly breathing in the stands.  when wendy wrote to me the other day that she just wanted her son’s hardworking football team to win and that she was unduly stressed, i could totally relate.  it’s your heart out on that court, out on that field, out on that diamond.   so much pressure.

a couple years ago we had the opportunity to once again see the boy play softball.  on a league in boston, that team, and another he played on, traveled all over the place to play, including paris.  they were all adults, all working hard and playing hard.  the thing i loved most about watching him now was watching him laugh.  laugh.  teasing and laughter were a part of this ball-playing.  they were playing to play.  winning was a bonus – and they actually did that often – but playing seemed to be the point.  it did my heart good.

we often forget the point of play.  we often forget TO play.  in days of great stress, days of worry and sorrow, play seems so far away.  it seems unlikely and unworthy of our time.  but i suppose it would do us all well to remember how invaluable to our well-being playing is.  how giggling or fun and games, teasing and laughter make us feel.  and how they do our heart good.

the illustrations in this little book are dear and the lesson important:  just play to play.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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birdy feet website box

PLAY TO PLAY ©️ 2006-2019 david robinson


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free is not free. [flawed wednesday]

FREE2-4yearOlds

i went back. we had passed this on the street while taking a walk. when it registered a moment or two after we passed it, i had to go back.  out of context, it made me laugh aloud.  i showed it to jen and she and i both decided on a 3 year old.  i mean, it’s a FREE 3 year old!!!!

now….everyone knows THAT’S just not true.  i think wryly about the lifestyle difference between people i know who have never had children and people i know who have had 2-4 olds (who grow up into snack-devouring-soccer-playing-music-lesson-taking 8 year olds who grow up into gatorade-guzzling-granola-bar-munching-tennis-playing-nike-sneaker-loving-makeup-wearing-hair-dying teenagers who grow up into university-tuition-paying-care-package-receiving-ramen-noodle-eating-dorm-room-paraphernalia-moving-apartment-sharing-car-driving college students who grow up into….. )

you get the picture.  free is not free.

but i can’t think of anything more priceless.

 

read DAVID’S thoughts on this FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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two artists tuesday

MASTER be relentless big copy 2i don’t have to look further than my two children for examples of being relentless.

The Boy decided, early in high school, that he wanted to change his attention from baseball to tennis.  now, most of his classmates who were tennis players on the varsity team had played since earlier childhood.  The Boy had only hit the ball around on the court a few times with his very-best-growing-up-friend-miles or pierre-who-hung-out-here-all-the-time-in-high-school but his decision was made and he pursued it with zeal.  a part of the jv team, he practiced and took individual lessons, group lessons, worked with his coaches.  i, on the sidelines, sweated and watched, trying hard to be quiet as he pushed himself.  he, a natural athlete, was moved up to the varsity team and doubled-down on the hard work of tennis – a “game” possibly more psychological than physical….ridiculously tough on a mom.  he went to a university that welcomed him on their tennis team and, for years, i spent the better part of tennis season (and tournament season) driving all over the state and beyond, proud to see his skill on the court, proud to see his drive and, mostly, that it paid off for him.  now he applies the same strategic tennis-approach to his life, his career.  he was – and is – relentless.

The Girl decided, upon moving to the high mountains of colorado, that she, having never been on skis or other propelling-downhill-snow-gear (other than a sled), wanted to snowboard.  she was working in a professional (indoor office) position out there, but she spent every spare moment on the slopes, striving to learn.  every now and then she’d report in about her experience on copper mountain or keystone or breck or vail or ….  she broke her arm, she twisted limbs, she broke her helmet.  she persisted.  time passed and she traded up for better snowboards, more equipment; she asked more people for advice or pointers; she was a learner beyond compare.  she boarded in aspen, in snowmass, in patagonia.  she dropped off ledges and split-boarded up vast mountains.  fast forward just a few short years and she, no longer in an inside office doing the piece-of-paper-from-the-university-of-minnesota-work-she-was-trained-for, has taken the learn how to learn, learn how to persevere, learn how to dream – from life, from college, from her own purposeful heart – and is a snowboard instructor and a snowboard coach for a team in aspen.  she offers more than snowboarding to those around her; she is the picture of excited zealousness.  she was – and is – relentless.

so i………who read to them as little ones and tucked them in and drove them to music lessons and sporting events and played with matchbox cars and dressed barbies and ran alongside two-wheelers and crossed my fingers as they sat behind the wheel of the car and tried to instill a little appreciation of beauty and respect, and helped with homework and stayed up all night while they worked on last-minute-projects and rocked them to sleep at night with a well-loved-tattered ‘goodnight moon’ falling off my lap……..now learn from them.  to be relentless.

there is this adorable couple from mississippi on hgtv these days.  erin and ben star in a show called Home Town and they are working to restore their tiny town of laurel one beautiful home at a time.  my favorite moment, as they run commercials for this very popular show, is erin passionately looking into the camera saying, with the most charming southern drawl, “get up and DO it.”  you can tell she means this about every single thing.  and to her call to action, i just might add – and be relentless.

BE RELENTLESS MERCHANDISE

 

BeRelentless METAL WALL ART copy

metal wall art

 

BeRelentless LEGGINGS copy

be relentless leggings

 

BeRelentless coffee mug copy

be relentless coffee mugs

BeRelentless square pillow copy

be relentless throw pillows

 

 

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

 

read DAVID’S thoughts on this TWO ARTIST TUESDAY

 

be relentless ©️ 2016 kerri sherwood & david robinson