December, 2006 Archives

25
Dec

I’ll Be Thinking About You

by Pj in Random

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BY PAMELA BOWMAN, MESA, USA — Norah Jones has a new single out. It is called I’ll Be Thinking About You. That pretty much summarizes this year. I will often think about all the people, places and events of this year and I will smile and I believe I will cry.pjcarmel.jpg It is strange how I placed so much emphasis on the concept of a New Year. It isn’t the New Year that alters my life direction. It is me. It is my life and I get to choose. Like wise it is your life and you get to choose too!

Today, Cyndi and I were exchanging Merry Christmas wishes. Our conversations can never be simple. No, we had to get philosophical. We were talking about what people can and do accomplish with their lives. We ended up talking about how there are those in the world who didn’t have encouraging parents or ideal situations, but they had determination and confidence in themselves in spite of their upbringing or life circumstances. Cyndi was raised in a small farming community in Wisconsin yet she just spent a year as the executive producer of a feature and documentary filmed in Africa. Not exactly what one might have expected from that background. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area but lived and raised my family on a farm in northern Mexico for 17 years. Quite unexpected.

Likewise we met many in Africa who are ignoring their disadvantages and challenging circumstances of life to pursue their dreams and goals. All over the world, we see and meet such self-determined souls. I have come to believe we can accomplish whatever we set our minds to … it’s simply a matter of becoming aware of who we see ourselves to be in the world, whether we are inspired by our lives and whether others are inspired by what we’re taking on.

Even though I am no longer using the New Year as a benchmark to have a new beginning, I do feel like I have just finished reading and rereading the chapter of a history book, mine. I now feel that I have reviewed it long enough. I am now ready to take that learning to meet new characters, new challenges and discover new subplots. I find strenth in knowing this chapter will always be there to refer to, but I need to remind myself that the past can become a barrier or a path to the future. I choose the path.

Which segues into another thought I had yesterday. This year, for our annual Christmas Eve party we invited a different group of friends over. During the evening, I thought, “If I had been on the ball this year and actually mailed Christmas cards, how many new addresses would I be adding to my list? How many would I be deleting?”

For me, the thought was, how wonderful! My list has changed! My world is expanding which means that I am expanding. Then the thought came; maybe I am the “someone new” on someone else’s Christmas card list. Maybe there is someone who is glad that I am their new friend this year. Maybe I’m the expansion in their world. It was a fun thought.

As they say, the front of the hand always comes along with the back! In other words, both sides of anything are always present. On one hand, there are some people who may feel their life is so perfect and complete they do not need anything new or anyone else to be happy. Some may feel they are just too busy to have any more interactions with another human being. I, on the other hand, find myself rejuvenated meeting new people and discussing new ideas and declaring my opinions with sincerely interested friends. I have yet to meet a person that I didn’t learn something from. For me that is what I enjoy and value–the learning that comes from human connection and interaction.

So, my plan is to continue to learn and take moments to “think about you” — the people who have enriched and contributed to my life experience. I will not allow myself to lead anything but a full-on, self-fulfilled life. I won’t allow circumstances to limit what I want and am able to do. A self-fulfilled life is the key. A SELF-fulfilled life will be defined differently for each of us because, whether we’re American, Zambian, Iraqi or whatever, we are each a unique contribution to the world. Respecting, appreciating and valuing those differences is what puts us on someone’s “Christmas card list.”

So Happy New Year to friends old and new. I’ll be thinking about you. And guess what! I bought some Christmas cards on Christmas eve … Do I have your address?

7
Dec

Sending Cyberhugs

by Pj in Random

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zambiaChristmas.jpg
BY PAMELA JO BOWMAN,
Mesa, Arizona, USA

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young

In the United States, the lights are up on our houses and the malls are crowded with shoppers, some happy and some humbuggers. Some are experiencing a white Christmas while we Arizonans experience a nice Christmas.

Those of us who traveled in the world this year are experiencing a different Christmas. I thought I would feel calmer. I thought I would be repulsed by the buying frenzy. I know in past years I always was. This year is different for me. I want to embrace every tradition and savor every ritual. I like going to the mall and seeing both the joyful shoppers and the grumpy ones. I think it is because we have the freedom to be either.

fearlessBaby.jpg
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

We still have the freedoms but lack of fear has diminished for all of us. I believe in Zambia there is a fear of hunger and an unknown future. I think that Zambia is on the brink of change. I believe it is an African nation that has the chance to prosper. Like all opportunities it will not be a highway, but a rocky way. It will be up to its own citizens to stand up and unite together to create a nation of possibilities. This year, I have learned that if you want something bad enough and you work to make it happen, then something does happen.

christmas_tz.jpg
And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The road is so long
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let’s stop all the fight

And so this is Christmas this year. How human to look back and remember last Christmas. How very busy I was. I was working for someone else. I was trying to make everyone else’s Christmas enjoyable and I forgot about my own. Next year will come and I want to remember this Christmas as joyful and warm and fun. It is fortunate that I have the ability to choose that. It is wonderful that I have the right to have that.

ZambianTree.jpgAnd so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so happy Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

To my friends in Zambia I wish you a joyful Christmas. To my friends here … make it a joyful Christmas. I wish I could hug you all! I guess a cyber hug will have to do!

Song lyrics: “The War is Over” by John Lennon

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