A Plethora of P’s: #72 / Pioneer

August 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

proactively punctuating life with the plausible, powerful possibilities of positive thought presented through a plethora of “P’s”.

– ♥ –

saxton.P_pioneerWhen I was little, we lived on 7 acres of land, much of which was rich, thick forest with babbling brooks and scampering deer and a million sounds ~ a virtual chorus of bird calls, rustling leaves, frogs and crickets chirping ~ surrounded by all shades of green under a canopy of blue high above the tallest trees. I loved taking it all in. And I liked imagining how I’d get back if I wandered too far. Of course, I knew I’d find my way by remembering this particularly shaped boulder alongside that creek, or twin fallen logs a few feet from the fence ~ but it was the idea of the adventure. And I was an explorer, a pioneer!

Sometimes I pretended I was Lewis or Clark on a special expedition, discovering new lands, befriending Indians, looking for food, calming wild animals, dodging peril! Or I might have been Rebecca Boone, minding the homestead while Daniel was out doing good deeds on the frontier. Maybe I was Daniel on a mission with Mingo. Never knowing what would come next, if I’d get lost, how I’d survive, if anyone would hear me. This was exciting stuff.

But I realize now that being a pioneer doesn’t necessarily mean you’re navigating foreign lands, or inventing the next transistor radio or happening upon a never-seen-before animal on the Galápagos ~ or landing on Mars, for that matter. It can be as simple as adding some wild to your thought process, a little crazy and untamed. “Out of the box” as they say.

We can all be pioneering. We can walk the unbeaten path. (And there we might even find very cool things like this P-shaped branch!) We can chart a new course. See what’s around the next bend. Seek adventure. Write a new song. Open a new door. Inquire. Inspire. Lead. Teach. Dream a new dream.

We can delight in discovery. Big, small, personal or worldly ~ there’s always more to see than meets the eye, always more to learn than what we’ve been taught.

Life is the adventure, and not one of us has seen or done it all. There’s always more treasure to find, whether within ourselves, down the block or in the great out there. And I, for one, hope to never lose that sense of excitement from stepping now and then, even gingerly, into unknown territory.

(see our ongoing Plethora of P’s here)

College and The Long Good-Bye

August 23, 2014 § 4 Comments


I know it’s different for each kid stepping on to campus for the first time, and there are different kinds of angst for every parent. Happy. Proud. Sad. Nervous. But we adjust. After all, we’ve been saying good-bye for years.

It starts when they’re born, really. Almost right away we’re mesmerized by what they can do next, and then next, and then next. In our enchantment, even as we hold them close, we encourage more independence. We cherish their baby steps, we applaud their successes and cheer them on to greater achievements.

Even as we can’t imagine a life without them, without holding their hands, without their precious little hugs, without sharing their daily joys, triumphs and struggles, we reward their moving on and needing us less.

We give them roots to stand steady and wings to fly high. It’s all rather wonderful until the time comes – the previously unimaginable time – when they actually do take flight.

Oh, we know it’s coming. We try to prepare ourselves. We know that to flourish in life they need to grow and leap and land on their own two feet. We know that one day they won’t need or want to hold our hand. But when the time comes, we ache.

Even though they’ll be back in a few hours time, we ache on their first day of kindergarten. Our babies, so grown up.

And even though, as time goes by, they unconsciously help us to let go ~ the infuriating rolling of the eyes (not my child!) ~ and even though they’ve tried us and challenged us and worried us, at times seeming like some alien creature in human teenage form ~ when the time comes to say good-bye, we ache.

It’s a good-bye long coming. Even though we’ve pushed and reassured and supported every step of the way, even though we knew it would come, even though sometimes we thought we were ready and even though they may have helped us ~ we don’t really want the good-bye. But it comes.

And so the inevitable moment arrived for me. I join the ranks of empty nesters, feeling a bit displaced after 18 years of devotion to this beautiful being I brought into the world.

I’ve been fairly stoic, I think. Intellectualizing the whole process, waiting for the dam to break ~ which, yes, it does about an hour away from our destination. My heart is all I feel, except for tears drifting down my cheeks, knowing the hour is near ~ the hour when she’ll stay and I’ll go.

But I pull myself together, not to give it away, and I think it works because she seems to have been oblivious to my quiet emotional burst. And I manage just fine through the unloading, unpacking, helping to put things away in her cozy new dorm room. I stay outwardly upbeat, calm, cool, collected – parental. I take her out to dinner. And then the wave returns, because the time is almost here, for real, and this time there’s no hiding it ~ the wave breaks and I don’t care. As long as I don’t make a big scene, we’re good. No wailing, sobbing, grabbing by the ankles. The last thing she needs is to worry about Mom. But it doesn’t hurt to let her see “I’m gonna miss you!.” (As if she doesn’t already know.)

Because this time she won’t be back in a few hours; it’ll be more like a few months. And that cycle will repeat for the next four years, becoming our new normal. And I’ll get used to it.

Oh but it’s hard to say good-bye. All I feel is my heart. Proud, aching and hopeful all at once.

We walk out together ~ one last hug ~ and as she heads to a new student event in a sea of orange, I see the spark in her step, the twinkle of excitement in her eye, a readiness to take on her new world, and I get a vision of the much smaller version of herself, the indomitable, “here I am!” little girl, ready for life’s adventures.

And I’m grateful. It’s time.



Outrageous Happiness #7: If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out

August 16, 2014 § 2 Comments


Raise your hand if you have enough time.   …. Anyone? Well, I can probably think of a few people with way too much time on their hands, but I’m certainly not one of them and I don’t personally know anyone who would honestly raise their hand.

So if we’re all pressed for time, squeezed, squished and otherwise finding ourselves on the short end of the time stick by the end of the day, how the heck do we make more time? How do we fit in those things we want to do around all the things we have to do or feel compelled or honor-bound to do?

Until we have (or make) that honest-to-goodness good-sized chunk of time, the answer lies in moments. And a bit of compromise. And a willingness to surrender.

Like tonight. Busy moving from one thing onto the next, I passed by my piano. My poor, beautiful, neglected piano. This time, instead of more longing and neglect, I decided to sit down and play. Just a few melodies, even just a few notes if that’s what it took ~ but I would run my fingers across the keys and fall in, devoted only to the music for that moment in time. Pure presence.

I might have played longer, but ~ there wasn’t time ~ so I made the proverbial “most of it”. In those 5 minutes I found new songs and songs found me and by the end there was a smile on my face and calm in my bones. Maybe only temporary, just a quick spiritual snack; but hours later I still feel the lift.

It was all in the surrender. A nice shot of happy with lingering ramifications.

And that’s what makes stealing moments worthwhile. Sometimes we just need to grab ‘em. Because if we don’t do things that feed our spirit, we’ll be quite the opposite of outrageously happy. So take 5, surrender and sing out!


Take 5 to:

Play an instrument


Meditate / Yoga

Listen to the birds

Have some ice cream :  )


Ride a bike

Take a walk

Laugh out loud

Write something sloppy in your journal

Have an appreciation rampage

Drop off cookies to a friend

I’m sure you can think of something!


How’s your Outrageous Happiness going?

A Light Passes

August 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

It’s hard to know what to say, but hard, too, to say nothing about the passing of one of the world’s brightest lights in performance. I pray you find peace, Robin Williams.

You, who lifted the hearts of millions with your incredibly sharp wit ~  a brand of humor clearly fueled by great intelligence and sensitivity ~ you were brilliant. Absolutely, remarkably, shiny brilliant. And we are so very, very sad to see you go. It feels somehow cruel and wrong, for one who gave so much.

Thank you for having graced us. May you rest in the arms of angels. robinwilliams

Outrageous Happiness #6: Get Soaked

August 10, 2014 § Leave a comment


Get wet. And I don’t mean dip your toe in a puddle, I mean jump in the puddle.

Dance, yes, dance in the rain. Float down a river. Wallow in a stream. Sail on a lake and slide yourself overboard. Get yourself to the sea ~ smell the sea, watch the sea, dip into the sea and drench yourself in its salty passion. Sponge in those marvelously charged ions! Be a mermaid (or merman). Swim. Swim. Swim. (If you don’t know how, learn. This is not up for discussion.) Do handstands in the pool; do cannonballs off the side.

When was the last time you ran through a water sprinkler? Go on ~ do it ~ get soaked!

Water is essential to life. It sustains us. It also softens hard edges and dislodges stuck bits. It cleanses. It reminds us to flow and move and refresh and renew. It allows us to wash away troubles we really don’t need and bathe in rejuvenation.

So don’t just sit there, plunge in and splash around. Let it baptize you, stir you, bless you! Submerge, immerse, get yourself a good sopping wet, head to toe.


How’s your Outrageous Happiness going?

Forks in the Road

August 7, 2014 § 2 Comments


They just keep coming, don’t they. Forks in the ever-twisting road of life. Crossroads. Milestones. Decisions.

Sometimes you see them coming from a distance, sometimes they fall from the sky. Sometimes, if you’re busy plowing ahead, you may not even be aware that you’re choosing this way or that way  ~ but there’s always a choice, whether it’s a physical or mental turn. There’s always more than one way to go, to see, to believe, to act. You’re always hoping you choose well.

And so it is that I’m facing a crossroad; choices have been made and I’m hoping for all the best as my girl goes off to college in a couple weeks. Another marker on the journey; one that has me thinking things that a million other parents have probably thought… Did I teach her well? Did I cover this or that important thing? Did she hear me? Will she remember? Will she miss me, even a little? It’s a tricky balance of parenting and distancing, sharing and letting go. You want them to be happy, strong and safe. To blossom. You hope you’ve laid a solid foundation. You’ve given them wings; now it’s time to fly.

And then there are one’s own wings, so used to holding and protecting and staying close to the nest in case they’re needed… now they need some dusting off, as you stretch ‘em out, shake a fresh batch of glitter on and, ready or not, head for yet another fork in the road – this one for you.

You hope you choose well!

From the Minds of Babes

August 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

In between skipping and dancing, telling stories, riding bikes, making friends and playing pretend, there actually was some quiet time during which my then little daughter made some pretty cool stuff.

I know, every parent thinks their kid’s art is amazing ~ and for the most part, they’re all right! Stuff that comes from the minds of babes is pretty remarkable.

And so it is that I still love some of the art my girl whipped up at our kitchen table when she was somewhere between 5 and 7 years old. Clearly biased and in honor her having recently turned 18, I thought I’d share a few with you. Maybe it’ll bring a smile to your face as well. … Maybe, even, a little inspiration!

(If you follow my Saxton Studio Facebook page, you’ll have already seen these… but I thought it worth sharing for those who don’t, or may have missed it.)

C.catdrawing C.guitarC.orangehouse

carolynsaxton_leaderofallmermaids C.piggy

Outrageous Happiness #5: Not Getting it Done

July 30, 2014 § Leave a comment


For argument’s sake, let’s just agree that multi-tasking is overrated. Oh sure, it’s one thing to fold laundry while talking on the phone, but it’s another to reply to emails while talking on the phone. (And, by the way, I’ll know if you’re doing the latter, so don’t even try it!) It’s one thing to sing while driving; another to text. It’s great to “kill two birds with one stone”, but you won’t get any birds if you’re over there juggling nineteen plates. You get my point. It’s about focus.

And sometimes that means something doesn’t get done. (GASP!) Or it doesn’t get done at the prescribed time. Or it gets done, but falls short of the mark (commonly referred to in some circles as doing a half – a_ _ed job).

Like right now. I’m up to my eyeballs in stuff that needs to get done. Being a “doer” my tendency is to do whatever it takes to keep my commitment to x, y and z. Often to my own detriment – lack of sleep, feelings of frustration, anger, “what was I thinking?” syndrome. Definitely not the peace of mind one might expect from accomplishment.

But what if…. what if, I only got to x and y. What if I only got to x? I’ll tell you what won’t happen – the world won’t fall apart at the seams as a result of my failing to meet all three.

So, being the rather smart girl that I am, I’m getting ahead of the game and deciding that it’s okay. What gets done will get done, what doesn’t, won’t, and so be it. As long as I’m not hurting anyone or causing hardship, I think it’s safe to say that my own welfare counts in all this. Sanity is good.

Really showing off my smarts, (hold on to your hats), I know that to make this work I need to prioritize. This way, if y and z fall by the wayside this week, I won’t beat myself up. Which I rather like.

So here’s to not getting it done. What an outrageously liberating thought.


How’s your Outrageous Happiness going?

Outrageous Happiness #4: Being Fabulous

July 22, 2014 § 2 Comments


No, really. Isn’t it great?

While there’s the guy who thinks he’s in a bat mobile, weaving at top speed in and out of cars on the highway, or the smart-alec kid on roller blades who knocks you off your feet, or the dog that pees on the rug ~ isn’t it good to remember how fabulous you are?

Your friends are busy, it’s rained for ten days, the afghan you made is lopsided, your kids think you’re a moron, the clerk at the grocery store is rude. That person who thinks everyone wants to hear the music in their car from 5 blocks away? That neighbor who practices dixieland songs on a trumpet at 10PM? Loud and clear, roger that.

Your car won’t start. Your phone battery dies. Politicians sap your faith in humankind. Your head hurts. You’re out of milk. Your toast burned. Your clients are late to pay. Ketchup spills on your white shirt. You get all the red lights. Your flight is cancelled. You had a shitty day.

But YOU are fabulous!

To quote the marvelous Dr. Seuss: “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”

Go with it. Embrace your inner fabulousness. Somebody ought to, after all.


my favorite keychain

How’s your Outrageous Happiness going?

The Windrow

July 20, 2014 § 2 Comments

Vincent van Gogh, 1887

Sometimes, while Willis worked a mindless task in a field of wheat, he’d make things up. Like how he might go about building a rocket ship or how to carve a baseball bat that would send a ball farther. He’d try to figure out how things worked – anything. He wanted to know what made things go; what made them tick, whir, move fast or move slow. How a kernel of wheat turned into one of his Mama’s fine loaves of bread.

Sometimes, though, he’d get tired and he’d just be there, grimy and hot in the sun, looking at this enormous piece of land he had to tend, and just like any young boy, he’d feel overwhelmed. And he’d think, ‘I’ll never get this done. I’ll never get to do anything else. Ever. I’ll be here in this field for the rest of my life, until the cows come home and go back and come home again’. And that’s how he felt today.

Seeing Will slumped unproductively, his father came by and said, “Son, you’ve just got to take it one windrow at a time, is all. It won’t be so bad.”

“But there are so many rows Dad! I’ll never get it done!”

“Willis, you will get it done and you’ll do it right. I don’t want to hear you complainin’.”

Sheepishly, Will replied with an obedient “Yes, Dad.”

After a pause, Charles sat down next to Will. He looked at him harshly. Took a deep breath. And then, in a kinder tone, Charles said “Alright. Listen now. Hear what I’ve got to say. I’m gonna tell you this, and you think about it while you work. So listen.

When you stand here and look out ‘cross this big ol’ field, you see there’s lots and lots and lots of ground you’ve got to work. It looks like it’s near impossible and it’s too much for you to do. Yes, now I know it’s big. But I tell you son, if you stop looking at how big it is, and just start right in with what’s right there in front of your eyes ~ right here, under your feet ~ and you just take care of that one spot, well right away you’ll be done with that spot and you’ll be movin’ on to the next one. Pretty soon you’ll have a whole row done. And then it won’t look quite so big anymore. If you just look at one of these rows, instead of all of them at once, you won’t get so tired before you’ve even got started. You’re only tired thinking about it, and then nothin’ gets done and it’s still just as big as before.

Now I want you to remember that, because there ain’t nothin’ in life that’s so big it can’t be done if you just start from right where you are and don’t get scared off by the size of it.

All you’ve got to do is one windrow at a time. That’s all you got to think about right now. Just this one. That’s right. Now, go on.”

Charles stood, walked away, then over his shoulder he added, “And Willis? You just might build that rocket ship one day. It might even be the best rocket ship ever made, because you’re gonna build it one piece at a time.”


 © Patricia Saxton, from “The Story”


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