Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bright and Shiny

I was sitting on the gym benches watching my daughter's high school winterguard perform. Now if you haven't seen a winterguard performance, I highly recommend it.  It is a cross between modern dance and colorguard. Various teams compete and are judged on a variety of criteria:  the "architecture" of the show - how it is choreographed, the tools involved and the skills in using those tools, the expressiveness of the dancers and technical aspects of the show - including the preparation portion.

It occurred to me that we all were once bright and shiny like these high school performers.  Remember the time - possibly back in High School, when we believed - really believed that we could (and should) do anything?  Remember when we could focus on our talents whether it was music, dance, sports or poetry and we received praise for our abilities?

As I thought about this I felt a sigh well up within me.  "I want to be bright and shiny again" was the cry.  I realized that all these years of life had tarnished me.  Of course, tarnish can be a good thing - patina and all.....  I became introspective as the performance continued.  "How am I shiny now?  What am I doing now that will give me that sense of not only accomplishment, but 'shiny-ness'?"  The melancholy that had gripped me had begun to loosen.

While I hadn't picked up my clarinet in a couple of years, and my fingers hadn't tickled a piano in three times as many years, I had found other means to shine in my own way.  For example, I have a passion for Relay for Life; I connect successfully in the local community; I'm in the process of writing a book; my partners and I founded a successful connecting luncheon five years ago, and I consistently look for ways to make the world a better place.  Of course, I tend to not see it - in fact, in writing this right now, I'm questioning myself.  Hmmm.  Maybe I AM shiny.

I came to believe that maybe we just have to really look at our lives and find our own shiny-ness.  Shiny can take all forms.  In my case, it was my life work:  creating community.  For others, it could be music, magic, creating laughter in children, preserving the environment - shiny is where passion lies.

If we can't find the shiny, then maybe it's time to create it for ourselves.  Perhaps we need to redefine what "shiny" means to us.  Sometimes when we adjust our perspective, things become clearer.  Maybe success isn't the big house on the hill and the fancy car.  Maybe it's simply the love of our family and friends.  Shiny is an inside job.

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