FACE VALUE

Two_Faced Person_ Oleg Tselkov_Saatchi_Gallery_co_uk

Life is not cheap and it does not stop, even for shopping.  The other day I was hunting the aisles in our local Walmart, convincing myself that they hide the frozen pie crusts just to watch me circling the store. During my search, I overheard an exasperated mother with two teen-agers say, “If I had two faces, do you think I’d be wearing this one?”   Good question.

Earlier this week, I learned of a fellow bloggers photo contest and got excited.  “I’ve got just the picture for Miss Bluebird…I’ve been saving it for just the right time!”  But as I read on, I learned her call was for self-portraits and my initial rush dimmed as fast as the lighting in a bad restaurant. 

Fully aware that mine is the only face I’ve got, I have since been asking myself why my feet grew so quickly cold at the prospect of entering my face into the contest?  Good questions all, but answering any of them was proving to be more of a riddle than I ever saw coming.  Why? What was I afraid of?  Ah, my old friend, Fear.  I still hadn’t solved my conundrum, but I could feel the ice floe beneath my feet beginning to move towards some open water.

two-faced-illustration-cropped

Having long paid the fare of leading a double or even triple life for the first half of my time on Planet Earth, I despise hypocrites with a passion.  Whether the arena is Washington, the civil rights movement or my workplace, hypocrites are everywhere.

So you can understand why I also think it true that the things in others which anger us the most, are usually the very things we don’t like in ourselves.  Maybe this is where we got the idea of showing another face to the world that really isn’t ours.  Ask any waitress or the guy that bags your groceries.  They know the physical face may be ours, but it’s not the real us. And that brings me to illusion.

houdini_illusionIllusions can be fun.  Magic shows and movies depend on them.  We count on them being good ones for the magic to work.  Showing things that are actually something other than what they seem to be holds a real fascination for us.  And with all the doom-and-gloom continually seeming to bubble up around us, who could blame any of us for wanting just a little bit of smoke-and-mirrors…something shiny to take our minds off our troubles if only, for a little while?

batman optical illusion by Julian BeeverBut as ever, the real trick is to know the difference between what is illusion and what is real.  And then, to do the work at finding the right balance between them.  If I were to stand in front of a mirror for a very long time, would I see myself age?  Is the guy I see in the morning each morning, the same person I see in my mind?  Messy, ain’t it? 

How is it I can treat a perfect stranger with more courtesy than I do a member of my own household?  Why do I find it easier to show another face to them than the one I have?  Answer: I don’t have much vested in a public face that doesn’t have much substance to it.  I mean really, what does it cost to show that one?

So OK, strip away the illusion and what have you got but an authentically beautiful face marked in ways that only come from having weathered long winters.  A face like that carries all the proofs of a Life fully lived.  Our true face is the receipt for having paid the price associated with lessons hard-won.  Think about it.  What does it say about our struggles if we hide the dividends earned in the learning behind Fear.  What value do we add by showing a face to the world that isn’t ours?  How will others know we can help if we don’t let them see the proof in our eyes?

This week has shown me the kindnesses of those who didn’t need to be. 

But they were.

I have witnessed what greed does to a boss who has no need to be. 

But he is.

So what of those lessons of long winters?  What do I know now?

I am reaffirmed in my reliance on the odd and quiet power that sources from being honest with the Cosmos about who I am, and and what I need.  I don’t understand it, but somehow, someway, the ‘help’ shows up.  Granted, on the face of it, the help never looks like I thought it would.  It is rarely what I planned on it being and the help hardly ever arrives by the avenue I expected. But I’m floored by its majesty each and every time it shows up.  And every time I have truly been in genuine need – whether I knew it or not – it has delivered.

Spiritual Tree by Myoung Ho Lee_Yossi Milo Gallery_New York

The longer I live, the more miraculous the calculus of the Universe shows itself to be.  Yes, my winter has been long, but Spring is coming (even in Chicago).

Over the past many months, I have been honored to share in your stories. I marvel at your grit, wit and humor in the face of the obstacles so many of you routinely overcome, every day.  I wonder how you ever thought it possible?  Yet here you are.  And so am I.

I marvel at the stunning display of the human spirit whenever one of us keeps walking without knowing where we’re headed or how we’ll get there.  Even in the moments when we have no choice but to keep walking, what do we do?  Somehow, someway, we reach into some unseen store of strength and put one more foot in front of the other.

So thank you.

Each new morning, I keep getting up, trusting in the knowledge that my feet will follow the course set when I turn and face the wind.  One more time, I am reminded that it isn’t perfect teeth or glowing skin that makes our faces beautiful.  The majesty in our faces comes from the light we carry inside for having seen and done all that we have to bring us to this place. 

Like our Walmart mom, we each have faces we can choose.  My challenge this week is to keep wearing the one I’ve earned.  And that my friend, is a face of value.  The world is waiting.  Travel well.

UntilThenDan

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Chicago Lakefront from Navy Pier at Dawn by dan4kent

I dedicate my photo of the Chicago Lakefront to Miss Bluebird (http://bluebirdblvd.net/). Taken shortly after dawn, Rick and I had spent the previous night waiting in line with thousands of others on Navy Pier – all of us hoping for an audition to get on Deal, No Deal.  We didn’t get picked for the game show, but I did get the shot.  Thank you for letting me share my special shot with you there. 

Courtenay, this one’s for you.Dan

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FernFive

PASSAGES

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 Jane Henson

June 16, 1934 – April 2, 2013

Jane Henson, the widow of and original collaborator with Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets, died on Tuesday at her home in Greenwich, Conn. She was 78.

The cause was cancer, said a spokesman for the Jim Henson Company, the production company owned by the couple’s five children. 

Mrs. Henson and her husband, who were legally separated in 1986, remained friends until his death in 1990 at 53 from untreated pneumonia…

When her children were older, Mrs. Henson was active in entertainment projects like the arena shows “The Muppet Show on Tour” and “Sesame Street Live.” In 1982 she helped form the Jim Henson Foundation, which promotes puppetry.

She is survived by her children, Lisa, Cheryl, Brian, John and Heather Henson; seven grandchildren; a step-grandchild; a sister, Margareta Jennings; and a brother, Brereton Nebel.  Cheryl Henson, who is president of the Jim Henson Foundation, said her mother had provided ballast for her father’s creative freedom and was his artistic collaborator throughout their life. “She encouraged him to take risks,” she said, “always urged him not to compromise.”

In the Henson family lexicon, she said, “We called her the great maza shelaza of the Muppets.”   Roughly translated, she added, that meant the mother of all Muppets. ”

(Source: The New York Times – By PAUL VITELLO – Published: April 3, 2013: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/04/arts/television/jane-henson-early-collaborator-on-the-muppets-dies-at-78.html?_r=0

Single Fern

Roger Ebert

 Roger Ebert

June 18, 1942 – April 4, 2013

Another landmark in Chicago, we celebrate the life and courage of Mr. Roger Ebert.  His wife issued the following statement on Thursday:

CHICAGO, April 4, 2013 — Chaz Ebert issued the following statement Thursday about the passing of her husband, Roger Ebert, a day after he celebrated 46 years as a film critic:

I am devastated by the loss of my love, Roger — my husband, my friend, my confidante and oh-so-brilliant partner of over 20 years. He fought a courageous fight. I’ve lost the love of my life and the world has lost a visionary and a creative and generous spirit who touched so many people all over the world. We had a lovely, lovely life together, more beautiful and epic than a movie. It had its highs and the lows, but was always experienced with good humor, grace and a deep abiding love for each other.” 

(Source: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/)

The next time you visit the Chicago Theater on North State Street,

you can visit his medallion  right out in front.

Eberts Star in front of Chicago Theatre

For more on the life of Mr. Ebert, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Ebert

FernFive

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ReturntomeposterAnd finally, my last Chicago shout-out. 

Though it was released in 2000, RETURN TO ME is a marvelous story worth the watch. 

Starring David Duchovny, Minnie Driver and Bonnie Hunt (who wrote and directed the film), they are joined by Carroll O’Connor, Robert Loggia, David Alan Grier, James Belushi and Joely Richardson in a really good ensemble performance.  Set in Chicago, it is a story of love, loss and the fate that brings us all together. 

Enjoy. The balcony is closed.

Movie Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Return_to_Me

PHOTO CREDITS and ATTRIBUTIONS: Two_Faced Person_ Oleg Tselkov_Saatchi_Gallery_co_uk: http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/artists/tselkov_oleg.htm?section_name=breaking_the_ice; two-faced-illustration-cropped: http://www.btu.org/spotlights/look-charter-school-self-selection-work-gavin-middle-school; houdini_illusion_thumb: http://www.moillusions.com/2013/01/harry-houdini-optical-illusion.html/houdini_illusion; Batman and Robin sidewalk illusion by Julian Beever: http://www.moillusions.com/2006/03/more-sidewalk-chalk-illusions.html; Spiritual Tree by Myoung Ho Lee in the Yossi Milo Gallery, New York: The Chronicle Review – http://chronicle.com/article/Reclaiming-a-Sense-of-the/130705/; Chicago Lakefront from Navy Pier at Dawn © by dan4kent.wordpress.com; Jane Henson: http://cdn0.columbuslibrary.org/sites/columbuslibrary.org/files/imagecache/featured_image_size/Jane-Henson_620x270_0.jpg; Roger Ebert (photo by Robert K. O’Daniell/AP): 1365188471-people_roger_ebert_37052169 and The Chicago Reader: http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2013/04/05/on-the-death-of-roger-ebert; Ebert’s Star in Front of Chicago Theatre: http://wgntv.com/2013/04/04/photos-remembering-roger-ebert/; dan’s eyes © by dan4kent.wordpress.com

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dan4kent the eyes

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About dan4kent

Born and raised in the Midwest, Dan lives in the Chicagoland area. With a grown son from a previous marriage, he has since built a committed relationship of 32 years with his partner Rick, the Love of his Life. Having written his whole life, he blogged the past 6-years because he has to write…he can’t help it. Know the feeling? There’s ‘good‘ to be found in all of it. “If all I do is leave someone (or something) better than I found them, then I’ve done my part. Thanks for letting me grace your screen, if only for a little while.”
This entry was posted in Hope, Inspiration, Life, Life Lessons, Love and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to FACE VALUE

  1. yearstricken says:

    Our writing reveals much of our true face. Thanks for what you shared of yours.

    • dan4kent says:

      Agreed. And you’re welcome. At least (this time), it didn’t seem to send anyone screaming from the room (ha!). But back to the point, sometimes I’ve marveled at how what you do seems to come up from your DNA. Glad you’re there. Dan

  2. Dan, I could have clicked Like thrice just for that glimpse of a fraction of what your face looks like. Pretty eyes you’ve got there. And what a breathtaking image of the Chicago Lakefront!
    This wonderful piece of yours reminds me how much of a work-in-progress I still am. Every word in this post speaks well to my heart. Thank you for the enlightenment.

    • dan4kent says:

      Hello LfManila — Ah stop it…I’m blushing. While I’m pumped to hear you share my like of the pic, I really zeroed in on the ‘work in progress’ bit. So very true. Glad you’re on the Planet. You dress up the place. Dan

  3. purplemary54 says:

    Thanks for making me think about hating pictures of myself. I just don’t like them (I hate the sound of my voice even more). Residual self-esteem issues aside, I guess I just feel like pictures never really tell the story of me. I live a life of the mind. Almost everything I find important or valuable about myself is unseen and intangible. I’m also really private, which is strange considering how much of myself I’ve ended up revealing at the jukebox. The eternal struggle is making the inside and outside make sense together. I’m probably not going to start taking pictures of myself anytime soon, but I’ll at least think about it more.

    Although right now, all I ever look is tired and frustrated.

    • dan4kent says:

      You’re welcome (ha!). I hate them too! I thought about you not long ago when I was watching BEING HUMAN. Josh, the resident werewolf, made peace with his duality and things got better. Who knew Jung wasn’t talking about a bus or a school district when he spoke about integration. Mind, Spirit, Behavior…I so get it. Don’t worry about the pic thing. Paparazzi are overrated. Hoping you success in managing the ‘tired’ and making friends with whatever is frustrating. See you on the flip-side. Glad you wrote. Dan

  4. Dan,
    Recently the theme of acceptance of self and others fully – flaws, failings, foibles and all – letting go of judgment and expectation, has been popping up in my life.

    There has been a realization that I’ve invested way too much time and energy into judging myself harshly, criticizing me for not doing/thinking/acting better. Consequently, or maybe as a result of, the judgements I make about others are amplified inside of myself.

    I came across this quote the other day:

    “When people start to meditate or work with any kind of spiritual discipline, they often think that somehow they’re going to improve, which is a subtle aggression against who they are. It’s a bit like saying, “If I jog, I’ll be a much better person.” “If I could only get a nicer house, I’d be a better person.” “If I could meditate and calm down, I’d be a better person.”… But loving-kindness – maitri – toward ourselves doesn’t mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That’s the ground, that’s what we study, that’s what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest. – Pema Chodron, “The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness”

    It has been a thought catalyst.

    In response to your question, ” I wonder how you ever thought it possible?” For myself, I didn’t actually believe it was possible, but I wished and hoped it was and learned to act as if it was, in spite and defiance of my doubt.

    You thanked us, well, I’m thanking you. Each time I visit I am validated, encouraged, challenged, and comforted by the words you write, the questions you ask, and the perspective you share.

    Blessings,
    Kina

    • dan4kent says:

      Kina — Reading your thoughts, my thought was ‘who would understand what I was talking about better than she?”. So ditto that on the ‘ground’ bit. SO TRUE. So pleased to be in your reading list and you’re welcome. Be kind oh Defiant one. You wear it well! Later gator. Dan

  5. paralaxvu says:

    Having been born a Gemini, I entered the world already two-faced, and have had problems with faceness ever since. I am still looking for the one under all the masks, but each mask seems true while worn. I envy you your confidence in turning and facing the wind. I dislike wind–it messes leaves snarls in my hair and makes my eyes water. Stillness is what I crave. Funny, no matter what you write about, I feel a stillness when reading it. You always bring me to a place I know I should be, and where my faces are still, if only for a moment. As always, thank you for sharing your huge talent.

    • dan4kent says:

      Really appreciated the brain-time in your remarks. Here’s to stillness, elusive mistress that she can be. Glad you’re on the Planet. As ever, Dan

  6. katecrimmins says:

    Love the shot of your eyes! I also love the passages section you do. I often miss some of the deaths and you really do them justice!

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