Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lessons From My Bed

This weekend I received a lesson on life from a bed. OK, from two beds. Let me explain.

Last year, I was appalled when I discovered I had bed bugs. After I got over the fact that these things were feeding on me and I deciphered where I may have picked them up (a hotel in Virginia), I set about removing all traces of the pests from my home. I called the exterminator and got the ousting plan in action ... this included washing and severely drying every piece of clothing (and stuffed animal) in the house, steam cleaning all the carpets and having the whole apartment treated with pesticide in two sessions. I was not advised to dispose of my bed because the exterminators determined I had a very mild infestation and I caught it in time. Of course, I was pleased with this because 1) a new bed was not in my budget and 2) I LOVED my bed. I mean I really loved this bed. It was this big monstrosity with a mattress that looked double the size of an average one. Comfortable? I never knew such bliss. This bed of mine was so large, I had to use a step ladder to climb into it after I had abdominal surgery so that I wouldn't strain myself.

Well, let's fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and I, once again, found that these nasty little buggers were feasting on me during the night. My guess is that they laid eggs in the wood frame and they subsequently hatched. My first thought was that I should get rid of the bed. My next thought was that I really loved the bed and didn't want to part with it. My third thought was really a vision of bugs falling off while the bed is being carted away and me having a full blown infestation. Upon further thought, and nudging from others who pointed out the faults in my reasoning, I decided to get rid of the much loved bed.

Now, here is where I gained the life lesson. Because I read somewhere that the bugs can not attach to a metal framed bed, I searched for that type of furniture. Not many choices but enough that I was able to purchase something I liked fairly well. I called the junk pros to seal and remove my old bed (who, by the way, noted how comfortable my mattress looked!). After the carpet was cleaned, my new bed was delivered. Although it is also a queen size, the frame is noticeably smaller than the old one. This bed is also not as high; I'm not sleeping on the floor, but I wont have to climb into the bed. What I realized after it was dressed with linen was that I now have more space in my room. I can see more of my wall, I can move about more easily and I feel lighter.

I was holding on to an item that was clearly not benefiting me anymore just because I was sentimental. I had an attachment to a piece of furniture, long after it was useful. What is more, I was subjecting myself to physical and mental discomfort, because I was afraid of making the situation worse. How often in life do we stay in situations that have run their course and no longer edify us? This can apply to jobs, relationships, living arrangements, unhealthy eating habits ... whatever. We look back and remember the good times and think those are the only good times. We fear change even when we know that we must move on. We stunt our growth to stay where we are comfortable, even if it is draining us. OK, maybe you don't, but I can see where I have done these things. When I decide to move forward, I find what I did with the bed, that things can actually be better than I imagined.

Today, I encourage you to take a step. If your spirit is telling you that it is time for a change, listen. If you best friend says your excuses are a bunch of crap, at least think it over. If you can see that something is detrimental to your well being, do something about it.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

When a Man Loves a Woman

While I was at the exhibit yesterday, I saw a picture that moved me deeply. It was a print of a charcoal drawing titled "When a Man Loves a Woman" by Fedrecia Hartley, who in addition to being a talented artist, is the director of Zion Gallery. If you click the title, you can see the picture and learn more about the gallery and their vision. Ms. Hartley graciously discussed this piece with me and as I gazed, I was overwhelmed with a sense of powerfulness.  I know there are songs and movies with this title, but I felt the need to write out of it as well. I thought about how it feels when a man loves a woman. In particular, how I feel being loved at this stage in life.

As always, I am thankful for the inspiration and hope something you read or see resonates with you.

when a man loves a woman
how does she feel?
what does it mean to her?
more powerful than an outward attraction
a spiritual connection
no conditions
no restraints
time and distance become inconsequential markers

when a man loves a woman
she is naked
yet always safe
she stands taller
more fortified than without him

when a man loves a woman
he engages all of his senses
he sees her
his love lets her believe
all that she knows is true
that she is unique
no one can do what she does
the way she does it

when a man loves a woman
he hears her
dreams, thoughts, concerns
are treated with the weight they deserve
never ridiculed
or blindly cosigned

when a man loves a woman
he touches her
former wounds are healed
tensions are released
she is invigorated

when a man loves a woman
he tastes a new phenomenon
the substance of life
flows from her with rekindled vitality
she explodes with a zest
that catapults her to further heights

when a man loves a woman
he smells victory on the horizon
with him she defeats all opposition
together, they represent a united front
everything is possible

when a man loves a woman
she understands
why we were not created to be alone

Uncovering Treasures

photograph by Ian Lyn

It's been a minute since I've shared; did ya'll miss me? I guess a lot has happened so I won't bother trying to catch up, I'll just jump in with where I am right now.

It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Sundress & sandals weather is my favorite and that is just what I was rocking today (or yesterday since it's now after midnight). As time passes, I appreciate my little borough, Brooklyn, (which is actually huge) more and more. Whatever I want to do, I can find it right here. The day started at my church home in bible study. Although I was the only one who somehow had the wrong starting time - therefore arriving two hours late - my leader stayed so that we ended up having a one-on-one session. Very nice. Then I walked over to Peaches for brunch. I was pleasantly surprised to find a live band playing background music. The Marvin Gaye and Bill Withers covers were exceptionally enjoyable. Next up was another stroll down the street to Zion Gallery.

My ride-or-die, big-little brother, Ian Lyn, was one of the two featured photographers in the exhibit titled "New York Country." The concept, which is really awesome, was to capture nature and rustic views within the city. The pieces were stunning, particularly ones that caught the essence of God's natural beauty in alignment with modern structures like buildings and bridges. The artists were on hand to speak about their pieces, explain the locations shot and share anecdotes about their work. Another treat was that I was able to speak with the curator, who is also an artist, about her commitment to keeping art accessible within the community.

The most interesting portion of the day however, were not the pictures on display but the revelation from my brother about how he got inspired to take his photography to the next level. A few years ago, I used to rag him about his flimsy flip phone and he would claim that he could take great pictures on it. So we had a little challenge where we would take pics and send to each other - sunrise, sunsets, rainbows, clouds, views from the bus, kitchen window, train tracks - stuff like that. Who knew that his inner photographer would be ignited? Somewhere along the line, Ian invested in a real camera, some lenses, and books.  He then set about documenting life as he sees it while continuing to learn and expand his craft. While we were at the exhibit, he was in the garden steady clicking pictures. I was inspired to see Ian get excited about views he peeped and subsequently shot.

This is a reminder that you never know what may come in life. When you find something you enjoy doing, keep at it because it is probably your gift. We all have been blessed with at least one talent and we have a responsibility to share it, for our benefit and the world's.