Carrying Paradise Inside

I have learned some important lessons over the past few weeks.

The lessons began with the horror of Newtown, when I started to question where we’ve gone wrong to create a world that is full of so much cruelty, horror, and unspeakable acts. I learned from a childhood friend, neighbor or a child who was lost, who spent the days protecting his neighbor’s and his town from the predatory journalists, armed only with a video camera and a caring heart.

Who would have thought the little blonde boy I used to babysit would grow up to be such a kind, caring man.

Who would have thought the little blonde boy I used to babysit would grow up to be such a kind, caring man.

The lessons continued with the passing of my father; the first time in my life that I really had to face the reality of our mortality, and let go of somebody I love.

Photo by Steve Kramer

Photo by Steve Kramer

Then I found myself in Hawaii, spending the holiday’s with my husband’s family. Despite the fact that I’ve spent many holidays with them, there’s always a certain amount of awkwardness in my time here. This year, that feeling was multiplied by the sadness I carried in my heart. I found myself trying to hide from:

  • the awkward reactions from people who did not know what to say to someone who just lost her father
  • the even more awkward reactions from people who simply didn’t say anything and avoided the topic all together.
  • Nathan’s father’s sometimes naive (although I believe unintentional) anti-Semitism
  • the overwhelming holiday spirit that I simply did not feel.
  • the somewhat hypocritical attitude of people who claim the virtues of living in paradise, but never really take advantage of the place they live in
  • a constant clash of cultures

As I’ve been experiencing all this, I slowly began to absorb the lessons that surround me. For example, paradise is only paradise if you take the time to appreciate its beauty.

Sunset at the luau.

Sunset at the luau.

You can find paradise on an island, but you can also find it everywhere. If you spend all your time complaining about traffic, or focusing on other things like work and money, it doesn’t matter what the sunset looks like or the weather feels like–because you won’t see it.

I’m learning that paradise is actually something you carry with you.

It can be found in the smiles of children, who learn that new friendships can be formed over the joy of hanging upside down.

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It can be found in the moments when we stop, relax, and simply enjoy the sun.

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It can be found in those moments where we run, dance, and fly.

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It can be found spending time with old friends.

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Paradise is the place where you stop and realize that the small moments, and the inexpensive pleasures filled with love and laughter are the ones that truly matter. My wish for all in the coming year is that you take a moment to stop and celebrate the life you have.

It’s simply too short not to enjoy with all the passion and love you carry inside.

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A palm with holiday lights.

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Dolphins know how to be joyous!

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Sometimes being different just makes life even more special.

Simple joys, like blowing bubbles and swimming through them, are the things that make life worth living.

 

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. thelifeofjamie
    Dec 30, 2012 @ 22:06:51

    It sounds like it was a nice, but sucky trip…family will do that to you 🙂

    In all sincerity, I like what you have written. Sometimes we have to stop and soak itin and it makes life all the more better. Those “moments” are what we live for.

    Reply

  2. joannevalentinesimson
    Dec 30, 2012 @ 22:57:01

    “The kingdom of heaven is within you.”

    Reply

  3. Stuart Nager
    Dec 31, 2012 @ 09:14:32

    You know my thoughts are with you on the passing of your dad, and so many other things. I hope the new year, and the years to come, bring you peace and joy… and you find a chance to relax and be happy.

    Reply

  4. Andra Watkins
    Dec 31, 2012 @ 11:10:58

    Here’s to a Lucky 2013, Lisa. xo

    Reply

  5. lisaspiral
    Jan 03, 2013 @ 13:30:07

    Happy New Year. This is a beautiful post with a lovely lesson. I am sorry you had to go through so much pain to get there, but sometimes that’s what makes us really recognize the important things.

    Reply

  6. Shanna Salas
    Jan 22, 2013 @ 12:42:17

    This is a very inspiring and beautiful hub, the type I love to read. You are so right, we create our own paradise and it does not have to be material, its what’s inside of us. Thank you so much for this reminder!

    Reply

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