Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Granny D = Mommy Y?

"You need to have a purpose in your life, and you need friends. Friends often come from your commitments, your passions. If you are alone, it is usually a sign that you need to commit yourself to your beliefs or at least to a good activity.

You need to give yourself away."

My daughter Allison bought me a book that she has been talking about for years. Granny D. She says Granny reminds her of me. That is quite a compliment and I am sure over blown. If you haven't heard of Granny D let me introduce you to Doris Haddock. Doris' husband had passed away, then her best friend. This kind of loss is not unusual to find in the life of a 89 year old woman. The loss of these people left Doris depressed and lacking any reason to get up in the morning.

One day she was complaining about how politics had become so corrupt. She worried about how the corporations controlled our politicians and her friend said "Well, Doris, what are you going to do about it?" That got Doris thinking. She remembered back in the 60s when she and her husband stood up against nuclear proliferation and staged a protest walk. The idea was hatched. The next thing you know she is sitting down with her son telling him she planned on walking across the country to lobby for campaign finance reform.

Well, she did it. By the time she finished this 90 year old had walked from California to Washington DC. She even cross country skied the last little bit. Am I honored that my daughter would think I belong in the same sentence as Granny D? You betcha.

What she says is very true. You have to give yourself away (to your passion, to your purpose.) I think for many years, I have given myself away to my business, but in my self induced haze, I hadn't allowed personal passions to be explored in the least. Throw in that the "cancer" card and you can see I was frozen in place, unable to move forward, certainly unable to chase my passions with purpose.

Being back at work, has been a challenge only in that, the demands of work continue to compete with my need to give myself fully to this effort of the 3 day. I am finding my way through this new dynamic though with steely determination. But I have to say I envy the ability to start on your walk, and putting your head down, blaze assertively into the sunset, tilting at windmills and convinced you will succeed, without much distraction from the task.

In my hat I now have placed a hawk feather and three flowers. The three flowers stand for my friends from Tri-Delta who are walking with me. The hawk feather is symbolic of my own freedom. But the hat itself is the shelter of my family, my husband Glenn and daughter Katie in the cheering section, and my daughter Allison walking by my side. Without their love I would be exposed to the elements and left to wither. I like the vision of me in that hat. It feels like I am approaching the kind of "can do" "spunky fiber" that characterizes Granny D. By the way she is still around, now 99. She finished her walk in 2000. She has a website (although she hasn't posted in almost a year and they are doing a documentary about her. Read about it at http://www.grannyd.com/

Walk like you mean it ... and be sure to leave footprints.