Special Guest Joan Gregerson on Gratitude!

International_Peace_Day_logoSeptember 21st is observed around the world as the International Day of Peace. Joan Gregerson is a writer, a teacher, a member of my writing group, the author of Tuning Into Inner Peace: The Surprisingly Fun Way to Transform Your Life, and a purveyor of peace in general, ramping up to September 21st with a free online course, The 29-Day Inner Peace Experience. She devotes today, Day 16, to Gratitude. I’m especially happy to have her here today because Gratitude transforms my life on a daily basis, in ways both big and small — “The good sense to be grateful” often makes the list in my Gratitude Journal, and in my opinion we can’t find our way down the path to peace without it. Please welcome Joan and her Barney Rubble feet. As she says, “The first step in making a better world is learning how to become more peaceful ourselves. Together, we can create a culture of peace!”

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I Love You, My Barney Rubble feet

By Joan Gregerson

Like many people, by the time I got to the age of 40, I had decades of body critiques filed and at the ready. Look like a boy. Big nose. Droopy boobs. A spare tire. A double chin. A long torso. Thunder thighs. I didn’t think of myself as pretty or ugly, just painfully plain.

Raised Catholic, married young, and working as an engineer, being plain seemed to work in my favor. I definitely did not attract attention because of my striking beauty. And sexuality, well, it was just better all-around if no one ever brought that up. As far as my appearance, I wouldn’t say it was self-loathing, more just self-nothing, or self “meh”-ing. Continue reading

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Fifteen Years and I’m Still Serving Time

The Great and Powerful Pearl Bailey’s hilarious song (please listen and enjoy above) is about marriage, of course, but I’ve always had kind of a bad-boyfriend relationship with my airline.  Yesterday, April 4th, marked my fifteenth anniversary of flying, and, except for the part about us having kids together (god forbid), this song is me and my job in a nutshell.

Nobody panic: this is not yet another post about how good things used to be compared to how crappy they are now.  It is a different job than the one I interviewed for, and certainly than the one I envisioned when I started fifteen years ago.  I never thought we’d still be on reserve; I certainly never thought I’d be flying straight domestic; and I actively vowed for the first several years of my career that, come what may, the one certainty in the Universe was that I would never — ever, do you hear me? — be based in Denver.  Like a budget airline, Life takes us to unexpected places. Continue reading

Eleven Years On

I don’t expect that I shall ever forget being jarred awake with the news that my workplace had been flown through the side of someone else’s, resulting, naturally, in the fiery destruction of both.  In the ensuing worldwide panic, fear, and sorrow, the airplanes (and, lest we forget, the people on them) were quickly reduced to little more than the visually arresting catalysts of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, but to airline employees, and to air crews in particular, September 11th is an especially sacred day of remembrance and reflection.  In a way that the media rarely does, we remember our co-workers and the sacrifices they were called upon to make.  Pilots and flight attendants who lost their lives in the line of duty in ways that we had never previously been called upon to imagine (murdered point-blank with box cutters, used as components of flying Molotov cocktails, disintegrated in a Pennsylvania field helping to fight for positive control of an airplane-turned-missile in a world gone mad) and that since we are forced to confront every day.  We empty our pockets and take off our shoes and isolate our laptops and publicly submit to an elaborate security screening ritual, knowing that box cutters are permitted in passengers’ carry-on luggage, an unfathomably boneheaded First Step in allowing the entire horrifying process to one day repeat.

It is my intention each year on September 11th to remember the sacrifice and honor the lives of the 25 flight attendants who were killed.  I knew none of them, and if I’m completely honest, my professional respect for each of them and my sincere sympathy for their friends and families is tempered still by a profound gratitude that flooded me as I stood at a payphone in a Big Island laundromat eleven years ago, weak in the knee and weeping with relief that I recognized none of their names.  I honor them as colleagues and ache at the idea of a fear that I can’t fully conceptualize and hope never to glimpse, but true grief for them belongs to others, and is mine neither to appropriate nor to define. Continue reading