Growth

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I cannot believe it has been so long since I wrote in my own blog. For some reason, I have not written in my own journals either. That sometimes means one is hiding from something, or perhaps even hiding from themselves. I am not certain how this relates to me, but I am going to figure it out.

I am calling this blog “GROWTH”.

I was speaking to a friend via BBM text this morning, and our banter back and forth was exactly about this. Now, this friend is highly successful, publicly recognized for that success, and has had a life full of checks in the ‘win’ box. One thing struck me when speaking though. They are in a need to ‘grow’. I began to think about my own life. Specifically the last year, and I certainly know that I have grown. I have been challenged, I have been tested, and all has resulted in growth. I am on Twitter and Facebook, and in paying attention to everyone from a well-known person that has fame, to a philanthropist, to the modern college student, a mother, a father, an aspiring artist, a banker, a teacher; I noticed one common theme in the communication shared with one another; that is encouragement to grow. Encouragement beyond restriction. Wanting to help one another.

I have been the victim of internet gossip, or internet rumor mill. It can be vicious and just plain mean. I find that in communicating through social networking, like anything else, has good intended counter-balance to the reprehensible and immoral commentary that seems to draw large volumes of traffic and attention. Each morning, I am flooded with vast amounts of posts and Tweets full of love, light, encouragement, and motivation. People encouraging each other to move forward, live, learn, and ‘grow’.

If you study psychology, you will learn that much of what you put out is actually how you feel about yourself, or about your current life situation. Hence, all you can say about this is that if someone is being harmful, or even evil in his or her behavior towards you, even and mostly if you have never met the person before, it is likely that it is only a reflection of how they feel about themselves. I am not an expert. I am certainly not preaching any of this as fact. I am just saying there seems to be trends here that do also seem to be validated by psychological study. I say all this only to say, that when you are down, when you are confused, this is always, and always a time to grow.

My Father passed away just two weeks ago. He had been ill most of this year, and was deteriorating rapidly the past few months. It was sad to witness. Sad to know that he was out of the person he truly was, and unable to control the inevitable last phase of life – – – death. He had such peace in his final months. He knew he was dying, and there was beauty in him finding that place in life where he was content. For me, this was gratifying, because it showed me that it is never to late to grow. To learn. For beauty.

We did not have a large funeral at his request, as he was cremated. Only a small Memorial for his immediate family and friends. It was at my Father’s house that my cousin, Bonnie, asked me about this blog. She had loved the first entry so much because she too had visited my maternal grandmother’s farm with my mother and I when she was young. She remembered my Irish-American grandmother caring for her cold, and how different her large farm was in comparison to our urban life in Washington, D.C. and Maryland. Bonnie and I laughed as she reminded me of our trip. She was a few years older than me, so her details were much more vivid than mine, and I appreciated her memory for the both of us. Bonnie encouraged me to write another blog soon, and in fact, showed me articles her daughter had cut out on me that I had even forgotten about myself. She reminded me how much I love writing, and she didn’t even do it intentionally.

All year, I had been putting off a writing retreat to work on my novel and screenplay. I had been accepted into a retreat on Whidbey Island, Washington called HEDGEBROOK. It is a retreat on a farm off the coast of Washington State that was founded in 1988. It is set right off the beach, in lush green pastures that are surrounded by evergreen forests, dairy farms, and orchards of apples, Asian pears, raspberries, and wild flowers. It is a most idyllic setting for finding peace and tranquility. Finding the mind for creative inspiration. Suddenly, it hit me. I was supposed to now not put off my acceptance into this prestigious group of women that have called Hedgebrook home. I was not to delay myself the opportunity to grow. It was then that I called the Residency Director, Vito, from Washington, D.C. I said, “Vito, hi, it is Lisa Ellis”. Vito replied with sentiments about my Father, and excitement that I thought this was the best time of any to come to Hedgebrook, and like that, I booked a ticket to leave the next week.

I have been here in Hedgebrook for three days now, and I know it is exactly what I needed to initiate another phase of growth. I made the time to come. I made the time to write. I made the time to share with the other women writers from around the world (there is one in residency here from Australia, and another from Palestine), and to share with women of extraordinary experiences and backgrounds (one woman is among the 1% of women construction and electrician laborers in the United States, and writes articles and poetry in protest of the sexism and racism in the labor unions, another a well known published author of fiction). It has been inspiring. It is here I decided to also, and finally, enroll in a program I had been accepted to at an Ivy League university. All of this, really, for myself. All because I always wanted to do it to grow, but always found a reason to not ‘grow’.

The world is ever changing. Ever evolving. You should also. Whether your goals are small personal goals that I have recently decided to finally grasp, or larger life changing goals, business ventures that have been dreams, or even a goal that has a long term impact on your happiness; you must begin in order to make that ‘growth’.

“If you want to change a situation, or change the world, first try to improve and bring about change within yourself. That will help change your life and the lives of your family. From there it just gets bigger and bigger. Everything we do has some effect. Some impact” – Dalai Lama

GROW

Lisa

TUESDAY, JANUARY 20, 2009″NEW”

Today marks an extrodinary day in history. It has been said millions of times today.

This day will define more than just the future of The United States of America, but define all of our lives no matter who we are.

I was born and raised just miles from the Capitol steps today. A building I took for granted that I got to see every week for the first 22 years of my life on earth. Today was beyond special to me like most Americans and the extended citizens of the world. The day made me realize the impact of the NEW President of the United Stayes of America; Barack H. Obama.

I arrived to Orange Gate Section 16 at 7am. I was lucky enough to have a seat. Millions joined me on my early journey just a day after the Martin Luther King, Jr Holiday. You did not have to be physically there to have taken this NEW journey today. It is as if we all knew our lives changed today. The NEW feeling came over me.

I did not feel the below freezing temperatures. I remember every detail of the neighbors I shared this day with upon Capitol Hill. It did not matter that there was no possible way to get back to my hotel other than to walk, or that all of us would be sitting there for hours tested by the elements.

Young, old. Black, White, Asian, or Hispanic. It did not matter. Famous actors, Musicians, waitresses, labors, and attornies. Everyone was the same. Equal. That alone seemed NEW.

Isn’t that what we have been reaching for?

It is a time to celebrate the NEW. It is also a time to reflect on our own lives and how we can make this NEW world “work” as our 44th President has pointed out.

I love the NEW feeling I have today during a time of transition and challenges for most. If these challanges did not exist, would Barack Obama have been sworn in today? Would the world believe it is finally time for the NEW? Perhaps not. This is why times of hardship always produce a NEW perspective.

I hope you all gained the experience that I did over the past 24 hours. We really are NEW.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16,2008VOTE

This year has been one around the world that the right to be heard has been more prominent than in recent decades. Presidential elections and attempted couts have been the front page news on every continent and are in many ways sharing the common persons need to be heard and equal rights for all.

Seem cliché? Or does it seem like a time in history that we read about and learn in school? Whether it is right here in the United States, with one of the most tumultuous, but exciting primary seasons remembered in electoral history; or if it is the radical elections in Zimbabwe or Pakistan, people want to be heard, they want their opinion to count.

This needs to be heard. The need to have a voice can be translated into any life situation. It seems as if during a time of global economic issues it is exaggerated for those without resources or for those that are disadvantaged. I am likely not telling you anything you do not already know, but more people everyday become faceless statistics that are part of studies and reports.

I recently got a dose of this myself. I own a home on Long Island, New York. My homeowner’s policy was not renewed because the company felt I was in a “risk area”. Firstly, I was astounded by the news considering that I had been of the up most status with the company, and had never even filed a claim on any of the four policies I had with them for many years; but mostly I was offended by the “form letter” I received from the corporate offices notifying me of the “non renewal status” with no reason stated. Global Warming has caused many natural disasters, hurricanes, and tornados, and after a very angry note to the company’s CEO, I finally was told this was the reason.

Now, I certainly am blessed enough in life to be able to immediately get another policy, but that is not the point. This company could really have left me out there with no options. In the wake of Katrina, and now Ike in Texas, many people will be left with no support from exactly who is supposed to be there for them. My dear friend Wyclef Jean is in Haiti now for a relief effort for his native land. Many are left stranded with no government or assistance from anyone. You can say this about many industries, and countries on a global basis. It is not exclusive to any country or any insurance company now. It is a shame, much like Wall Street however, that these big insurance companies have CEOs that are not taking cuts in wages or bonuses what so ever. The CEO of my insurance company for example makes over $20M in salaries and bonuses per year. However, his company is canceling policies to eliminate the company’s risk. Is that what insurance is? Risk?

In any case, my point is that you need a voice. You need to be heard. Whether it is the election on November 4th here in the United States, or your insurance policy being unjustly cancelled for no reason. Participate in what is your life. Stand up. Be heard. VOTE!