The Merry Go Round

I think there are some parts of life and relationships that are very much like a Merry Go Round.  Let’s pretend just for a moment that you’ve never ridden a Merry Go Round before.  You go to the amusement park and you are drawn by the music playing, you follow it until you find where the music is coming from and you discover a Merry Go Round. 

For a long time you stand there watching the Merry Go Round, looking at what it does, listening to the music, taking in the sights, the smells, the way it turns and that some of the horses move, and some don’t, the speed, the colors and lights of it all.  You watch as other people interact, getting on and off the ride, laughing and smiling as they take their turn.  It is fascinating in some ways and you could potentially just stand and watch it for hours, days, both up close or from a distance and still enjoy looking at it.  Some people become so entranced and love Merry Go Rounds so much that they buy miniature music box one’s to enjoy in their homes.

While it’s nice to enjoy the Merry Go Round in this way and much safer because, of course, there’s no way to potentially get hurt by the Merry Go Round just watching and listening to it. At some point the question becomes, is just watching enough?

 You cannot truly experience the Merry Go Round unless you first slow it down or stop it and get on.  Standing on the sidelines watching and listening will never compare to being on the actual ride.  Only when you get on the ride can you actually tell what kind of paint is on the ponies or if there are chips in the enamel.  You can’t tell from a distance if the paint is smooth like glass, or soft to the touch, if the paint has a deep texture where you can feel the groves and ridges on each pony or animal, or whether there are splinters and weather worn places.  You can’t, from an observation standpoint, ever know what it actually feels like to get on that pony, hold the bar and feel whether it will hold your weight, move smoothly, or if it will shake a bit.  You can’t even tell from an imagination standpoint, what it might feel like to sit on one of the seats of the stationary, painted parts of the ride and whether they are uncomfortable, or if it’s a pleasant place to be with the wind softly passing by as you glide on the ride.  Even if you are a real visual person, it is hard to fully imagine what it is like to walk the wooden plank floor while the ride is moving or even when it slows down and stops unless you actually do it a few times.

Life and relationships are much the same as experiencing the Merry Go Round.  You can potentially sit safely on the sidelines observing the ride itself, watching the passersby, enjoying the music, and imagining what it would be like, but if you never take a chance, and reach out to seize the opportunities, then you will be safe, but you will miss out on the experience. 

There are people who enter our lives every day; each one is different, with their own personality, their own experiences to share and with something different to offer.  Maybe it’s time to notice, reach out, make a new friend and expand your horizons.  Maybe it’s time to go after that thing you’ve been thinking about trying for years.  Seriously, would you rather wind up with regrets that you never tried, or fond memories of trying but things possibly not working out the way you wanted or planned?  What if by trying it didn’t work as you planned, but because of the experience you found something even better? 

Cherry Coley (c)

Nostalgic Moments From Days Gone By

I miss the days of being so young, when life was simple and you never had to worry whether if something was true or not true. To a child it is always true until it’s proven that it’s not.

I always had such a big imagination. It often drove my brother insane. (Sorry, Shaun). I was forever and always coming up with stories, even before I could hold a pencil to write them down.

I had a green chalkboard I would lean up against the bed in my room and then line up all the stuffed animals in rows. There I taught all those little stuffed bunnies, kittens and puppies how to read. They learned their ABC’s, addition and subtraction every day, the same time I did. They weren’t real good at writing on the board. I had to do that for them.

Then at night we all gathered on the bed and I read them a bedtime story. Danny the Dinosaur comes to mind. Then there was, of course, Dr. Suess and the Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes. Although, Mother Goose often made me run and ask questions about why on EARTH would someone put a cradle in the treetop? And WHY won’t they fix Humpty Dumpty again? Didn’t he know better than to sit on that wall after he fell off the first time? At that point my mom would march me back to bed and turn off the light. Then I would tell myself a story until my brother would tell me to shut up. Guess I was an annoying little kid at times.

Later when we got puppies, I had a puppy named Butch. He was my very first pet. Butch was a little brown dog of questionable heritage, but he was smart. He loved to listen to me and since I never was quiet this was a good thing! I often put Butch in front of the chalkboard too. I tried and tried to teach that dog his ABC’s and math, but he just didn’t see the point. He kept grabbing my little stuffed bunnies and tried to go under the bed. I did finally teach him manners though and we were both glad of that.

We had a candy store in our neighborhood. It was a house that had a big front window and the living room made into a little soda shop/candy store. We loved to walk there on the days we could. You could go in there and crawl up on the bar stool and order a Root Beer float. They had every kind of lollipop you could think of in that store too. I liked the rock candy. It looked like crystals, but just tasted like sugar. Then of course there were pop rocks. You put half the pack in your mouth then your eyes watered from all the popping and sizzling.

There are a few other things that stand out in childhood memory. I remember Tommy, our mailman. He was TERRIFIC! Tommy always stopped to talk to me. He taught me how to do a puppet show and even how to act a bit. He would come in and get a drink at the daycare where my mom worked and hunt me down to listen to my latest tale. Then laugh when I told him about things that happened at school that day. On the day of my first puppet show at the daycare, Tommy was there. He helped me set up the tape recorder for music and gave me a pep talk. Then when it was done he was the person that clapped the loudest.

I also remember Mr. Robert the milkman. He brought milk and half and half to the daycare a few times a week. On those days in the summer, I would run out to his truck and he would give me rides around the parking lot while I drank the little carton of half and half, or ate the popsicle he’d brought me. He secretly gave me my very first ice milk/ ice cream. I wasn’t supposed to have milk because of asthma. Dairy always made it worse, yet the half and half and ice milk didn’t bother me. I really loved hanging onto that pole and zooming at the fast pace of about 5 miles an hour around that parking lot.

I guess by now you are wondering what the point is to all of this, besides just walking down memory lane. The point is, that it only takes a moment to impact someone’s life forever. The people that impacted me the most I didn’t see every day, but they still took just a few minutes out of their busy schedules to be there, to hug me, to offer a kind word, and to encourage me along the way. I will never forget them. These are some of the memories I cherish the most. Take time to make memories each day. You can’t get time back once it’s spent and time on the computer or in front of the television is not the same as a walk in the park or sitting on the porch watching the sunset with someone you care about.

Cherry Coley (c)

Free To Laugh

     It’s okay to laugh at yourself, but never let doubt settle in your heart.

     I learned long ago not to take life so seriously. It was a good thing since I wasn’t the brightest, most graceful,    popular, or prettiest girl around. No, I was the kid that tried to be cool and straddle a chair backwards in 7th grade, slid down it, caught my jeans and ripped a pie shaped hole in the seat. Also, the girl who had to go to the principal’s office and instead of going home, or changing, had to wait while they sewed up the seat of my pants with what looked to be, men’s boxers. I had to wear those jeans the rest of the day.

I was also the girl who tried to jump the ditch outside the school one day and got caught in a strong gust of wind, which landed me right in the middle of swamp water. Swamp water that quickly seeped and soaked my jeans all the way up to my knees. I was terrified of my mom so I rolled those soaked jeans up, took off my slimy, green shoes and walked all carefree to the car, smiling all the way and laughing about running barefoot in the “park”. Yes, I DID hide my shoes, and had gotten a plastic bag to put them in. Yes, sadly, I DID forget about them after throwing them in the bottom of my closet, until something started smelling like the Swamp Thing in my room. I didn’t sit down the night my mom found them.

Middle school was really enlightening in many ways. It’s when you learn a bit of who you are, but everything seems confusing. For me, it was when I met some of the people, that have had great impact on my life.  It’s also when I learned to laugh at myself.

So many times lately I have seen people walking around frowning in the morning, especially when I worked downtown. Whether in deep concentration or in anticipation of a long, hard day, I’ve often wondered if they know the expression they carry. I wonder what kind of morning they’ve had and where they are headed, with such serious expressions.

Do I want to live in a world full of musical song and dance with everyone laughing joyously? No, frankly that would get on my nerves within a few minutes. Much more pleasant though is to make an extra cup of coffee to share with a friend in the morning, to hold the elevator door when you see someone rushing to catch it, to enjoy the little things happening around you at any given moment.

I wore my coffee to work last Wednesday, I stepped down on the stair wrong and squeezed the Starbucks coffee cup I was holding. Like a fresh fountain it arched up, then rained down from my hair to my shoes. I was wearing turquoise, with spreading brown spots. I entertained my co-workers that day, but was still thankful for the black sweater I had left at work.

Stuff happens, life happens, just take it, adjust how you look at, decide on your attitude and keep going.  I’ve learned that if you laugh, others will laugh with you and of course. smiling never hurts the environment.

Cherry Coley (c)

A Little Water

   When I was very young, my Native American friend Walter told me to watch nature, that everything important that we are supposed to learn, is hidden there. I believed him, nature is as God designed it. It may seem silly, but truly, you can learn from the simplest of things if you take the opportunity to stop and notice.

One night, I was sitting by the window, looking out at the drizzling rain, coating the grass and trees outside. The street light shone through the water droplets on the window. I watched two rain drops that looked about the same size in the beginning. Then suddenly both of the drops started making their way slowly down the window. One of the drops came into contact with other drops, some big, some small, and as it went it gathered them in and picked up speed, creating a wet path on the way down the window pane. The other drop was very slow and many times stopped and didn’t seem like it would move at all. Pretty soon the one that had gathered more water was long gone and had earned its place in the puddle at the bottom of the window, all while the other drop sat waiting, and finally, was not moving at all.

The lesson of the water drops is simple: we are, all of us, put here on earth to help one another. When we join together with people that are like minded and going the same direction, we are better equipped to reach our goals and destination. Even obstacles are easier to get around when you don’t have to go it alone.

Alone we will start and stop, second guess and question, and finally stall out, if nothing else, from being weary and alone. We are here to help each other. We are here to grow and continue on this journey together. Take time for your friends and family, after all, moments are all we have, and they are better spent together.

Cherry Coley  (c)

Ripples of Kindness

There have been many times in the past few years when I second guessed myself,  wondering what to do and which direction to take.  When I left an unhappy marriage to start over it was basically a “close your eyes and leap into the darkness” move on my part.  I was immediately caught by friends around me who stepped up to help the minute I left that ledge.  I would not have made it if it were not for moments, words of kindness and encouragement.

There are different turning points in life.  Major events that happen to change our perspective, change our direction and sometimes our environment.  When we lose someone we care about, whether a family member or a friend, it can make life hard at times, challenging on whole different levels, the days can seem darker. 

It’s good to remember that when someone is taken from us, no matter how it happens, that person still lives on in your heart, your memories and in how they changed and affected your life.  You never really lose the effect they had because we all touch each others lives along the way.  Remember the smiles, the laughter, the joy along the way.

Then stop and think about the days when you’ve been in a big hurry, but you still stopped to offer a smile, open a door, be kind to someone else.  No good deed goes unnoticed.  For every kindness there is a ripple effect that goes out like a drop in the ocean, it starts small, but the effect keeps going and builds.  So, even in your haste, you may have been the person that made someone else’s day.  Your kindness may have caused that person to slow down and enjoy their morning, then to be kind to their child, co-worker, or friend.  Never under estimate the power of a smile or a simple act of kindness.

Even the smallest light shines in the darkness.

It’s a Start Right?

For months I have fretted and wondering how to start a BLOG. I worried over set up, how it should look, should I add pictures? What on earth am I going to talk about? Should I center it on being a Life Coach and if so how would I do that? What sort of things should I include and should it just be around being creative?

In short, I blocked my creativity struggling to figure out how  creative. So, I went back and took stock of myself wondering why when I sat down to write at the computer I suddenly became so very intimidated by the blank page. It was an amazing thing considering my favorite things to do are writing and art. What kind of coach would I be if I can’t even get myself in gear to move forward?

The realization I came to is this: I am what I am, and what I am, is a creator.  I am a writer and artist FIRST and a coach for others second. Somehow recognizing that this is indeed how I am created and my purpose unlocked me and the blank page no longer has the power to feel forbidding or intimidating.  What better way is there to spend my time than to help others be creative while enjoying and experiencing all that life has to offer?

So what’s the answer?  Be authentic in everything you do. Once you have given yourself to your true purpose things start to flow in the direction they are supposed to with minimal effort and much enjoyment, and when you make a life of serving and helping others reach their goals and define their dreams, there is no greater sense of accomplishment. 

Cherry Coley (c)