Travis and a Soldier (child) Named John…

When I moved to Panama I flew via Atlanta, which is one of the airports that the soldiers use to fly to Iraq. The fear and sadness in that airport were palpable, I, someone who always walks with her head up smiling at every person I pass by, kept my head down as I couldn’t deal with seeing those young boys dressed like grown men, leaving home to go fight a senseless war… fighting back tears, trying to live up to everything the uniform says they should be…. instead of going to college, or getting jobs, learning, growing, partying, getting laid and having fun…

While waiting the 5 hour layover Travis and I sat at a restaurant and they were so nice to us, they gave me a little cup of water and fresh tuna for her and let me keep her, in her travel bag, up on the table so she could always see me…

One soldier was sitting a few tables away from me kept looking at us and smiling, I think laughing too because I kept talking and singing to her and had a hand in the bag petting her to keep her calm. At one point he had so much sadness behind his smile I asked him if he wanted to come meet Travis… He jumped up and sat with us (now we all know Travis has her moments of hissing, screeching etc. but when she’s hopped up on valium, she’s quite docile lol) he put his hand in her bag and petted her, while I tried to explain why my female cat was named Travis… he had his hand in the bag the whole time, talking to her and telling me about his experiences. He was 18 years old, his name is John, his father and grandfather were both soldiers and it was just expected of him to become one too… He told me that he’d never spoken these words out loud to anyone, but he said “I am so scared, of course of being injured or dying, but actually of having to kill someone. All I want to do is play my guitar and sing” Tears flowed down his cheeks; he turned away from me and focused on Travis. She’s such an amazing being, she felt his pain, and pushed her own fears aside and began to purr. His face lit up and said “hey she’s purring!!!” His smile was of a child, delighted by the simplest things in life. I told him to feel honoured, as that rarely happens for anyone but me!!!

“If purring could be encapsulated, it’d be the most powerful anti-depressant on the pharmaceutical market.” ~ Alexis F. Hope

I decided to make him laugh and taught him the Travis the Kitty song and we sang it together to her laughing so hard.

He looked at his watch and said “I can’t believe how quickly the past 1.5 hours went, I have to run to my gate now!” He stuck his whole head in Travis’ bag and gave her a kiss, I stood up to shake his hand and he took it in both his hands and said “Thank you Lalita, this was the most relaxed I have felt in a long time, when I close my eyes at night I am going to sing the Travis the Kitty song till i fall asleep” With that he gave me the tightest, most genuine hug I have ever felt, and one I’ll never forget, he grabbed his duffle bag and ran to his plane.

“A loving cat can mend a wounded heart.” ~ Anonymous

I stood there watching him run, and realized only when the waitress put her arm around me that I was sobbing… She said to me, “Hon, you did a great thing there… from looking at you, I don’t know who got more out of it, him or you”

It wasn’t until hours later, while Travis and I were on the plane, did I realize we didn’t exchange numbers, or emails or even last names… I’ll never know what happened to John, I sometimes used to think he was home safe and sound and got himself a feisty little cat named Travis Jr. lol… but I do know he changed me forever, I don’t walk with my head down anymore, everyone I pass by gets a smile.

“Until one has loved an animal,  a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

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What if, for just one day, the entire world was kind?

What if, for just one day, the entire human race decided to not to gossip? How would this affect our world? Not one peep about ‘so and so in the copy room with so and so’, or ‘oh my God, did you see what so and so was wearing yesterday?’ no rumours, and even go as far as ignoring Hollywood gossip, leaving those celebs alone for 24 hours… no National Enquirer, no TMZ, no Perez, not even Entertainment Tonight! Don’t discuss the latest fashions, hook ups, divorces, deaths, suicides, pregnancies…

 “Entertainment news keeps you up to date

on the withering of your soul.”

Tom Papa

What would happen to society if we went ‘dark’ on gossip for one day, 24 wee little hours? What would happen to those we leave alone and for goodness sake… what on earth would we talk about?

To be completely honest, I don’t rightly know… I can tell you what I hope we would talk about…

I would hope we would talk about what is truly important, our lives, our brethren, what’s happening in this world and what can we do to make it better? Starvation, war, and atrocities against humanity… we are ALL responsible for the actions taken against the world and we have to be the voice to stop it.

But also, as above, what would happen to those we leave alone? Rumours and gossip are the oldest form of bullying, and while the old adage “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is thrown around so easily, words hurt… they make hearts bleed and leave scars so deep, so long lasting, and most times so invisible to others that we rarely see the damage until it’s too late.

Perhaps if we left Celebs alone, didn’t pick on them, didn’t worry about what the gossip mags and channels and websites say about them, simply focus on the art they produce, maybe, just maybe we’d still have the brilliant beings such as Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Chris Farley, River Phoenix, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, John Belusihi, Michael Jackson, … and the list goes on, and on, and on…

And what if we stopped bullying people in our own lives? What if we taught our children to stand up for those who need help, who aren’t able to speak up for themselves, taught them compassion, understanding, doing what’s right… what would happen then? Maybe these beautiful souls and countless others would still be with us…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38JuIicgmKM

I urge you to think before you speak and act and make the right choice…

L♥VE WARRIORS!

Recently one of my very best friends in the world did something she vowed 14 years ago (and kept vowing for 14 years) she would never do… She got a tattoo! Now, to those of you who don’t know Tracey, a.k.a. my Bestest, this may not seem like such a big deal, but to those of you who do know her you know she mustered up every bit of bravery, every ounce of courage and every drop of strength she could to overcome such a huge fear, to stand in the face of her proverbial enemy and with dogged determination say “DAMMIT INK ME!”

‘Now’, you ask, ‘why did she do it? What’s the point of her facing that fear, which in all essence could have been easily avoided with no consequences?’ She did it for L♥VE, the purest of all L♥VES, a Mother’s L♥VE… She got her daughter’s name tattooed on her leg to immortalize the loving, kind and fun relationship she has with her beautiful daughter Kayleigh.

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” John Lennon

This got me thinking, if my bestest can face one of her biggest fears in the name of L♥VE, is there nothing we, as a world-community, can’t achieve with L♥VE?

It takes just one person to make a difference, to stand up for what’s right, to give a voice to the voiceless and give hope to those in need. It’s up to us, the L♥VE WARRIORS to make the right choices, to be scared to death and act anyway, all in the name of L♥VE!

“In the absence of love, we began slowly but surely to fall apart.” Marianne Williamson

I’ve done some really stupid things in the name of L♥VE and I don’t regret a single one. Sure, I’ve been hurt, physically, emotionally; my body has been injured and my heart has been broken, but in the end I know I did the right thing and wouldn’t change it for anything.

There are so many appalling things happening in the world today that I find myself weeping tears of utter saddness, horror, empathy, compassion and yes, fear. But I can no longer stand by and watch it happen. I am going to scream my thoughts, my views, my feelings and emotions from the roof tops, I am going to fight to right things that are wrong, and make a difference!

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

It’s time for a call to arms my fellow L♥VE WARRIORS… it’s time to change the world, and we, as a small group, can do it!

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” Frank Herbert

 

Aside

“I like stuff!” Lalita Patel…

So the other day I was watching Oprah and her guest was director Tom Shadyac, known for movies such as Ace Ventura, Bruce Almighty, Liar Liar and more… he made millions upon millions of dollars directing such great movies. He had a 17,000 square foot home, luxury cars, etc.

He essentially gave it all up, moved into a mobile home, donated the majority of his money to charities close to his heart and made a documentary called “I Am“. It looks like a brilliant movie and I can’t wait till it opens in Toronto…

“I was standing in the house that my culture had taught me was a measure of the good life,” Tom recalls in his documentary I Am. “I was struck with one very clear, very strange feeling: I was no happier.”

I have always believed in “paying it forward”… Giving back, not taking my good fortune for granted… Essentially I want to change the world, leave it better than I found it, leaving this world saying I did something with my life… Right now, while my business is growing, I can only give of myself, so I volunteer at charity events where ever I can and do some small donations when possible.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” Mother Teresa

I have been thinking a lot about Tom and his journey and came to this realization… good or bad, I like stuff! YES, I admit it, I, LALITA PATEL AM A STUFF-AHOLIC…

So I decided to look at my life to see what can I cut out, give up, how can I be more like Tom?

  • My TV? Well no, it’s the only entertainment I spend money on… I rarely go out to eat, I don’t go to bars, clubs, movies… so having my digital cable is my fun time…
  • My car? Ha! No way, we all know I won’t take the bus… won’t ride a bike everywhere… and walking…? I repeat… HA!
  • My knick knacks? I collect a few things, pewter wizards, Egyptian artifacts, these make me smile when I look at them… so they stay…

Then I began thinking, why do I want to change my life to be like Tom’s… just because that is what works for him, doesn’t mean it is what works for me… cuz remember, I LIKE STUFF! Why can’t I have it all? I work hard, my business is growing with each day, money is going to start rolling in… I am going to get more stuff! A home for my mom, get my dad and step mom the vacation of their dreams, pay off my debts of the past, save for my future and enjoy the now, travel, get a super bad ass car, a gorgeous condo… and more!

But! I won’t be selfish, I’ll still volunteer, I’ll still put my heart and soul into events for charities close to my heart, I’ll donate a portion of my limitless riches…My goal for Events by Lalita is to ensure 20% of our business is not for profit, and where I can, even, pro-bono… I won’t be one of those planners who charges insanely high prices for fundraisers just because I can… When it’s a cause in which I truly believe, I’ll give back, with all my heart… For it is in giving that we receive…  I am soooo looking forward to the day when I’ll be planning huge fundraisers, being a part of something bigger than myself, events that I can be proud of…

AND  I’ll be driving to these events in my Super Bad Ass Events by Lalita Purple Aston Martin with a very clear conscience!!!

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi – Words to live by…

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen

 

“Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain.” Charlie Chaplin

Over the past 48 hours 2 people asked me almost the exact same question,

“How do you stay so optimistic?”

The first person I just laughed off, and said it’s all the sex, drugs and rock and roll in my life…. But the second came from someone I deeply respect and admire, and I hope she doesn’t mind me mentioning her name, Rauni Whitely… Rauni and I worked together at en Ville, what seems like a million years ago… she was one of the only two people who took the time to help me when I started there… she was patient, sooooooooo knowledgable, and one of the funniest people I have ever encountered…  I really do miss the laughter, it got me through some of the most difficult years of my life…

So, Rauni, in answer to your question… I have no frickin’ clue hahaha!!!! Seriously, I don’t know, because I really don’t feel that I am… but having it pointed out to me is making me think…

When I am down, depressed, sad, angry, mad, hurt, etc… (which is more often that I kinda wanna admit!) I try to just not share it with the world… To me, thoughts have energy and that energy spreads like wildfire… I believe presenting myself as the person I want to be will help me along in becoming that person…. basically, keeping the negative to myself, keeps the negative to a minimum… (at least that’s my theory).

I cry, a lot, I get angry in the car, soooooooo angry, swearing like a trucker (or a chef lol).

“Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”  William Saroyan 
 
If you read my last blog, you probably have an idea of what 80% of my life was like… it wasn’t until after my marriage ended did I make the decision that I was going to do whatever it took to make the next chapter of my life my own…  to be the one who makes my choices, who can be assertive, protective, compassionate, caring, loving for myself… it’s something I have always done for others, and never for myself… I lost almost 40 years of my life, and intend to make the next 40 all about being happy and trying to spread it wherever I go…

So there I was, all determined and no clue what the heck to do with myself 🙂

I embraced my faith even tighter than before, I allowed myself to feel whatever the hell I wanted to feel, I began to try and look at my life as if I were watching a movie, and I was the star! I saw the mistakes I was making, the hurt I was imposing upon myself, the patters, the habits, the kind of things I would smack any friend of mine upside their head for doing to themself… Then when I recognized all that negativity, I started to see the beauty I had been ignoring … my life is beautiful, sooooooo filled with laughter, joy, beauty, love, family, friends… Good Lord, my cat makes me laugh out loud 5 times a day… I somehow took it all for granted, or never let it ‘really’ into my heart…

So I started challenging myself to find beauty wherever I am, regardless of my mood or situation, I was going to find something to smile at… And then a month later, I had an intense experience and wrote about it “From Road Rage to Road Trip… Lalita was issued a throw down!”

Since then it has become easier to let go of the hurt, the pain, the memories… and I am doing everything I can to rid myself of the toxic situations I seem to keep landing in… (ok putting myself in)… I am doing better, and better with each day that passes, but patterns are hard to break…

Optimism is defined by dictionary.com, as:

1. a disposition or tendency to look on the  more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.

2.the belief that good ultimately predominates over evil in the world.

3.the belief that goodness pervades reality.

4. the doctrine that the existing world is the best of all possible worlds.

Spelled out like that, it sounds pretty easy eh? Hahaha!

“Optimism is the opium of the masses.
Pessimism is the pesticide of society.” – Ken Muslimvoic

My only answer, that  I know to be true is, I try to laugh a lot…

“An optimist laughs to forget, a pessimist forgets to laugh.” Anon

Mostly at myself… 

“The person who knows how to laugh at himself will never cease to be amused.”  Shirley MacLaine 

That’s all I gots on this topic!!! And just in time too, Big Bang Theory is about to start and that’s a big source of the laughter that fills me 🙂


 

Lalita version 2.0

My first blog… I signed up for this account about a month ago but it took me a while to figure out what to write… Then today I had an incredibly eye-opening morning and felt the need to express it in more characters than the Facebook 420…

But I’ll start with my Facebook status from this morning and go from there…

It’s not even noon, I am still in my jammies on the sofa and today, Thursday February 24, 2011, has been a life changing day… a day full of learning hard, painful, but needed lessons, a day full of love from thousands of miles away, a day I will forever hold in my heart… it’s a defining day, it’s a miraculous day… a day that has eternally changed who I am, and who I want to be…

Two days ago I posted this quote by Dr. Wayne Dyer “Choose to align yourself with people who are like-minded in their search for simplified inspiration. Give those who find fault or who are confrontational a silent blessing and remove yourself from their energy as quickly as possible. Your life is simplified enormously when you don’t have to defend yourself to anyone, and when you receive support rather than criticism.”

Then my sweet Russian Irina reposted it, I mentioned I had read and reread the quote and am in need of cleaning house in my relationships… to which she replied

“You are too loving, Lalita. Just let them go. It’s quality of friends that matters, not quantity. That’s one of the reasons why I only have a handful of friends across all the continents. My time is too precisions and I chose to spend it only with the kindest and most loving people. I even changed jobs because I didn’t want to be around people who didn’t make me feel good. You are so wonderfully amazing, Lalita. You deserve to be around only the most beautiful souls who make you feel that you are the best thing that ever happened to us :-)”

Wow… well that made me cry and cry and cry some more… but it also made me think about how I’ve spent my life… I am not complaining mind you, I am just making a statement of fact… I have spent the majority of my time listening to others, being there for others, taking on their problems as if they were my own. I do always and forever want to be available to my friends, be an ear, a shoulder, a safe place for them to go to… I can no longer take these problems to heart… I don’t mean I want to stop caring, I couldn’t possibly stop caring about the people I love… it does mean I need to detach myself from their problems… I immerse myself in them, think about them at nights, worry, stress etc. BUT DAMMIT I have my own problems… those are the ones on which I need to focus…

I have spent way too many years inside the lives of others, all the while ignoring my own issues… and lemme tell people I gots issues! (According to one very dear friend who has heard my life story in its entirety… “You should sell your life story to Hollywood and just watch the money roll in” LOL, perhaps one day I will).

Finally, this morning, someone posted this video on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/video/video.php?v=186403811399813&comments

It moved me so deeply, that I wept for what seemed like hours… This man, who most of the world would write off as disabled with little potential for any thing other than mediocrity, created…. created beauty & joy… he made his life worth living, he found a passion, he followed it, he made believers out of skeptics, he made the impossible… possible.

He, without even knowing it, has forever changed me… From this moment onwards I will put everything I have into living a great life… I will stop hoping, and wishing and start asking and demanding… I will try to have unwavering faith in the Almighty that I am where I am for a reason and will fulfill that reason with all that I am…

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