“If I try to see the beauty where others see despair
And walk with pride and courage, masquerade my fear
If I have helped a single soul find reason to believe
Then I’ll know that I have lived.”
From ‘Purpose’, Sharman Nittoli
During performances of “My Bloom” show, I’ve met some fascinating people of all ages.
Today, a lovely lady came up to me and said “I’m just like you. A retired schoolteacher who gave my all and is enjoying my retirement by constantly learning. Taking in knowledge instead of imparting it.” She told me she was on her way up to Montclair State University to continue her Spanish classes. I told her I was thinking of returning to my Greek lessons.
Another kindred senior citizen told me that she has been a painter, stained glass maker and writer her entire life and was currently working on a new collection for an upcoming art show.
Another told me her purpose was establishing new boundaries about what was family time and what was hers and hers alone. Yet another said she was planning to retire early to really enjoy her grandkids and help her daughter in this difficult economy. I’ve heard stories about volunteering for working with animals, seniors, AIDS victims, political parties and a host of other things. Some want to write their memoirs, others just want to find time to read the novels by great authors.
I originally wrote this song for my beloved brother, Stavros, a beautiful, warm, multi-faceted and incredibly loving man who’s purposes in life were many.
Stav was an environmental scientist, musician, choral singer, successful Great Dane owner and breeder, environmentalist, cook - I could go on and on. Most important were his relationships with people. He was meticulous in remembering everyone’s birthday and always wrote something personal and loving on his hand-picked card. A real holiday enthusiast, Stav also carefully chose unusual Christmas ornaments for each family member for many years. I still have them and display them every year, keeping him in my Christmas.
I’m occasionally given to keeping alive emotional wounds. Been working on that one for years. He once told me “If you knew you were going to die, you wouldn’t waste time with anger, grudges and bitterness, you would find your purpose and show people how you much you love them, no matter what stupid thing they may have done to you.” That was the best therapy I ever received. I learned so much from him that has carried me through my life. Is that the point of senseless loss? To allow those left behind to learn and grow?
Living with Purpose is different for everyone……… For me, keepin’ it real is at the top of the list, especially in this world right now where we’re daily fed lies and deception leaving us to live in shades of grey.
Living without a purpose is not an option. Somedays It’s complicated, multi-dimensional - career moves, self-improvement, political education and involvement, musical growth, working on my Bloom show to touch more people and remain in line with my vision, and on and on.
Somedays it’s simple but just as important, readin’ a new book, taking time to visit people I love. Remembering who I am, where I’ve been, what I’ve learned and livin’ my truth. Still tryin’ to make time for meaningful projects for which I’d like to volunteer my time. And I need my daily nap! 24 hours in the day seems like a lot, but sure goes by fast!
In the end of Stav’s life, when he had lost his hearing and was bedridden, he redefined his purpose and learned how to knit, joining a knitting circle of seniors. He didn’t want to get lost in reruns of Trapper John or Mash played at top volume. He was focused on creating a beautiful scarf for his amazing partner, Bradley, and, true to his nature, he had made some changes, ‘improvements’ on the pattern—altered to suit his creative taste with specific color requests for yarn, like “Azure’ and ‘maize’. He still cared, it mattered.
Stav didn’t finish the scarf, but that Purpose served him for as long as it could. That image, that memory serves as my profound inspiration – the greatest gift he could have given me.
He taught me never to take anything for granted, especially time. Let go of grudges and live.
“If I can live with purpose and bear no one a grudge
If I turn away from critics and abusers, Let God be my judge
If someone has hurt me yet still I can forgive
Then I’ll know that I have lived.”
Enjoy my free download this week called “Purpose”.
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