Balancing Act

Deletta Gillespie

Born on the cusp between Virgo and Libra, my mother, Deltessa, embodied the general traits of both signs. She alternately modeled practicality and whimsy. She was damn near compulsive about cleanliness, neatness, and order, but was equally obsessive about beauty and style. Every corner of our house was as spotless as it was alluring. For example, the living room furniture and furnishings were mid-century, all white, with pops of blue for contrast. And you’d also be hard pressed to find a speck of dust on the glass coffee table.

Mama’s balancing act didn’t end with the house. Being raised Christian, I was taught all the commandments and was expected to demonstrate my love for Jesus by observing them. Fornicating, second only to lying in the pantheon of sins, was outright denounced and vehemently forbidden. Yet when I turned fifteen, my mother marched me to the doctor’s office and put me on birth control. I was stunned at what seemed to be a reversal of all I’d been taught. She called it pragmatism. Insurance. Just in case.

So, in the month that is most associated with love, I celebrate the gifts of love my mother (and grandmother) gave me by sharing a few of their insights about love, lust, and life.

  1. God first, then your Parents. This hierarchy, enforced and reinforced at every turn, was meant to instill a foundation of faith, morality, stability, and integrity. It confirmed the importance of faith, family, and community as cornerstones for a peaceful and prosperous life.
  2. Love is a beautiful thing to have in your life, but it isn’t always pretty. Illnesses, misunderstandings, arguments, betrayals, challenges, death…all these things come with the living of life, and at some point, we all will know them intimately. Mama warned me that love wasn’t always going to be an unending cake of a love fest with warm and fuzzy icing on top. Laughter, long gazes, kisses, and moonbeams would spar with the bad, the ugly, the dirty, and the seemingly unforgivable. She also taught me that the appearance of troubles doesn’t always mean that a relationship has ended or can’t be resuscitated. Her advice on mending a busted relationship? “Let the spirit lead you; make amends, forgive, change behaviors, rebuild trust, and start again.”
  3. Everybody’s got ‘nature’. This gem is not from my mother, but my Mama’s mama, Mayme. I didn’t grasp what my grandmother meant the first time said this to me, and I couldn’t bring my thirteen-year-old self to ask. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Did ‘nature’ mean sex? It wasn’t just that she said the word ‘nature’ –  it was the way she said it. It was full of a certain kind of nuance that was completely unfamiliar to me. Turns out my instincts were correct. ‘Having nature’ was coded language. It was ole old school vernacular meaning that sex and the urge to have sex was a natural part of being human and nothing to be ashamed of.  Of course, my grandmother strongly suggested that I squash those urges like a soda can and toss them in the trash.
  4. Lust does not equal love. Mama used to say, “Just because a boy ‘wants’ you now doesn’t mean he’ll ‘want’ you later.  And don’t expect the boy to be honest about his intentions. Assume the worst and protect yourself.”  And finally…
  5. Love yourself. It took me a long time to begin to master this piece of advice. Many people confuse grooming practices with self-love. Yes, pampering is one facet of self-love, but there’s so much more. Mama taught me that loving myself means that I accept responsibility for and manage my life to the best of my ability. It also means refraining from making decisions that would endanger my well being or derail my dreams.

When I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of the lessons in love my Mama and grandmother dutifully shared with me. They trained me to walk the straight and narrow path but prepared me if I veered off course. They loved me enough to prepare me for whatever ride love’s roller coaster might take me on. And loving with this kind of openness is indeed a balancing act.

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By the time this is published, we will have kissed 2018 goodbye. As I look back, it felt like a year of extremes.  In politics, what we once imagined unthinkable no longer seems remarkable. As for the natural world, I think Mother Nature is some kind of pissed at us. Consider the monster hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, insatiable infernos, and record-breaking rainfall.

Many of us had more than a couple of crises that came from within. Others were visited upon us, and we had to deal with those as best we could.

Yes, 2018 was in many ways unusual, but not just for what appeared to be or go wrong. In my case, 2018 has been what I am now calling The Year of the Turnaround.

You see, rather than go through the motions of making New Year’s Resolutions and creating four-page lists about what I was going to do differently in 2018 and all the things I wanted to accomplish, I did something radically different. Yes, Me! The one who is so addicted to the high that a scratched-up, scratched-off two-page completed to-do list invokes. I said no to New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I set the following intentions:

  1. That I would only accept work that involved teaching, performing, or freelancing as a production assistant for performing arts shows or concerts.
  2. That I would only take on projects or work that either excited or stretched me, preferably both.
  3. That I would be open to all kinds of vacations…short ones, longer ones, working ones, lazy ones, and that somehow, someway, I would make it to the beach.
  4. That I would not allow the contents of my bank account (or lack thereof) determine how much fun I was going to have. I affirmed that many of the desires of my heart would be fulfilled.
  5. That somehow, someway I would begin to stabilize myself financially.

All of the above came true. Everything I did professionally was related either to teaching or the performing arts. I was surprised with offers of wonderful projects that indeed excited and stretched me. I made it to Canada and the beaches of Lake Ontario, as well as Rehoboth Beach in Delaware. I traveled by train to Massachusetts, and by bus to New York several times and performed in an off-Broadway showcase. I performed at a club in Canada with a dear friend. I went home as well, traveling to Tulsa to say goodbye to a beloved Uncle. I was so honored when I was asked to sing at his funeral.

I was invited to speak at a half dozen meetings and conferences. In a moment of frustration, I went online and applied for an arts administration job. Four months later I was offered that job, which allows me to provide gigs and jobs for my fellow musicians, entertainers, and technicians. I left something I loved to do (teaching) to do something else I loved and in the process, put myself on the road to financial stability.

And, speaking of money, an outstanding debt was miraculously paid. The checks that I sent to pay the debt were sent back to me uncashed. I worked to clear my home of clutter (it’s a work in progress), and even bought myself a new couch which, surprisingly, lifted my spirits in a way I’d never expected! My spiritual practices have taken on new meanings and are leading to new areas of exploration.

I have no doubt that all these things manifested because I decided to change…to do some things differently. I decided that 2018 would be the year where I would have fun again.  For once, I wouldn’t try to orchestrate how and when things were going to happen and get upset if they didn’t. I decided to rest in the truth that my highest good was always up around the corner, as long as I didn’t try to rush things along. All I had to do was prepare, and once the doors opened, walk through them. In summary, 2018 was the year I decided that I would stay true to myself, no matter what.

No doubt there have been moments of tears, uncertainty, fear, doubt, anger, confusion, of grief and sadness. But as 2018 fades into the sunset, I have no regrets. Despite the wobbles, I stayed the course, and The Big Turnaround indeed happened.

Since setting intentions worked so well in 2018, I’m going to repeat this practice again in 2019. I will stay open to new experiences and more fun. I will step up the nurturing of my physical self, continue to grow my side businesses, and be more open to love and the myriad of ways it shows up in my life. I will dictate nothing and detach from every outcome. I will prepare, trust, and give thanks in advance. Then, I will stand back and marvel at the miracles that invite themselves to dinner.

I invite to you join me and set a few intentions of your own.

Happy New Year!

 

Promises, Promises, or “Get Me Out of Rutsville!”

Deletta Gillespie

I’ve never been a lover of routine, or structure just for the sake of it. And boredom? For me, there could be no greater form of death. At seven-years-old, I looked around me and saw that most of the adults in my life were stuck in routines, trudging through their lives, going to work at jobs they didn’t like and making everyone else around them miserable because of it.

Of course, the nearer it came to Fridays, everyone’s mood would lighten. The weekends were fun and festive, but as Sunday evening approached, that old gray feeling would soon manifest and mushroom into the atmosphere like a cumulonimbus cloud pregnant with rain.

All the adults around me were stuck at jobs they didn’t like and in routines that I believe slowly killed them, or made them act irrational. They were stuck in Rutsville.

I made a promise to my seven-year-old self that I would never live a life of routine, and that I would only do work that I at least liked, and preferably, enjoyed. If I had to work for the rest of my natural life, I knew that work couldn’t feel work. It needed to be fun, and it needed to subsidize my lifestyle, which, except for eating out (I’m sometimes allergic to cooking), has always been pretty modest. I never had a car payment until I was well into my ’40’s. I’ve always lived beneath my means (at least until I went to grad school). My best stage clothes have usually come from resale or consignment shops for a fraction of what others paid. And I’ve always been okay with that.

Many people in my life have criticized me for having such a childlike and ‘irresponsible’ attitude toward work. Some adults would quip, “A job is a job. Where is it written that you have to like it?” Of course as an adult, I understand where all that flak came from. Back then, Black people were thankful to just have a job. Liking it was never a consideration.

And that promise? With only two exceptions, I’ve kept it. So earlier this year when I saw that cumulonimbus cloud threatening to burst, I knew I couldn’t deflect, justify or lie to myself any more.

Upon reflection, I realized that as for teaching, I’d had little gas left in the tank for a while. In the moment, in front of my classes, it was business as usual. But I was slower to answer emails and less patient when it came to explaining things to my students. Writing a letter of recommendation, or completing a reasonable request by an administrator sent me reeling. Teaching an overload of classes to keep my head above water had taken its toll. I couldn’t do it anymore. In truth, I was burned out. I was just going through the motions. And the thought of trying to figure out how to make ends meet in-between semesters again (as adjuncts do) just crushed me. What I was locked in was beyond routine. I was lost, deep in Rutsville.  But I remembered my promise and vowed to get myself out. 

There’s one month left in 2018. I’m in a serious routine, but I’m not in a rut. The promise led to me nabbing a job in the recreation and entertainment industry. I do not look forward to the daily commute, but no two days are the same. I actually like what I do, and my colleagues and supervisor are cool. The corporate culture is very laid back, and most days I’m left to myself to make magic. And the money? I actually take home a bit less per paycheck, but the check is year round and unlike my teaching job, there’s a full benefits package to go along with it. Plus, there’s no more lesson planning or paper grading. I prayed for a job that I could leave at the job, and my prayer was answered.

It took a lot of courage to make that move; to apply, to go through the interview process, to leave a career that I once loved so much that I uprooted myself out of a foreign country and comfortable lifestyle to earn the privilege to be a part of it. And now? There are days I don’t recognize my life. Some days I still ask myself “What have I done?” Yet even after all the questioning, I am so grateful that I kept my promise to myself. I moved out of Rutsville.

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Deletta Gillespie

It’s two weeks before the mid-term elections. It is as President Obama once referred to as “crazy season.”  There’s all kinds of talk about voting people in, voting people out, foreign entities interfering with our elections, who to vote for, against, voter suppression, rigging the elections, etc.  So many are saying this is one of the most important elections of our time.

I agree. 

Nonetheless, I’ve made a personal vow to not get dragged into the nets of discord and anger this election season. That’s not to say that I don’t momentarily get angry or upset. Every day is a new story, and they mostly make me sad. Every news cycle is filled with such hatred, vile language, and incivility. We speak and act as though we all don’t live on the same planet. There’s so much talk of having smaller government, but every day we learn of more and more government and corporate intrusions, into our minds, our wallets, our bedrooms, and our lives. There are more talking heads insisting on having rights they would deny others. Yes, I know what is at stake for me and so many others. However…

Being angry, and feeling depressed, helpless, and hopeless about our country will only feed into that negativity and make things worse. Like attracts like. I refuse to be a vibrational match to the lower frequencies of hatred, disgust, fear-mongering, lying and bullying. I refuse to wring my hands and feel despair. I refuse to let anyone steal my peace. The one thing I have control of is myself and what I choose to think. I choose to be a vibrational match to love, kindness, faith, and peace. And in order to bring peace into the world, we each – individually, have to be at peace. So, I pray for peace, meditate for peace, and work to stay in peace (which is really tough during my daily commute). I make donations to the causes and people that really matter to me, and I encourage others to do so, and to vote their conscience. Or volunteer. And when this collective rage overcomes my best defense systems, I remind myself of my ancestors, who didn’t have the luxury of being fatigued, knowing that being so meant more work, the whip, or worse. I shake off the weariness of battle fatigue and get my head back in the game. This means skipping a few newscasts, or turning off the telly altogether. 

And that’s what I’m encouraging my friends and acquaintances to do. Be outraged if you must, for after all – as my mother used to tell me, even Jesus got angry. He turned over all the tables in the temple one day. But he didn’t let the outrage fester. And neither should you. Jesus? He went on about his “Father’s business.” And so should you.

And another thing: Be careful about the vibrational energy around the words that you use. Stop FIGHTING AGAINST this, that, and the other. That will only bring more fighting. Begin WORKING FOR something or somethings. Working FOR the world you want to see instead of fighting AGAINST what you don’t is of more consequence than you could ever imagine. 

Finally, VOTE. I know there are people who shrug away the right and privilege of voting. Many abstain from voting because they believe there are no viable candidates, or because they are protesting the system, or because this country was never meant for them anyway. Some don’t vote because their legal status (immigrant/inmate-former inmate) prevents them from doing so. But sadly, most don’t vote because they don’t see how the outcome relates to their lives, or because they don’t believe their vote will make a difference. I couldn’t disagree more. I have these two words to offer you: Emmit Till. And I offer this video of Fanny Lou Hamer’s testimony to the Democratic National Convention in 1964. Be sure to have a box of tissues nearby when you listen.

(PS…I do not own the rights to this video – I’m sharing for educational purposes only).

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I finally retired my microwave. I put it in a big brown box and took it to my neighborhood Goodwill. I’ve been threatening to do it for years. I realized that I’d been relying on it almost exclusively to prepare most of my food, and that couldn’t be good for me.

You see, I’ve been thinking for a while about my body, and how the signs of aging are manifesting. I’ve been struggling with my weight since my return to the US, and my recent graduation into crone-hood seems to have exacerbated those signs. I’ve noticed a decrease in muscle tone, and sagging here and there. One day I was getting dressed and looked in the mirror. The sight of myself triggered a laugh and a memory of an interview of the late Maya Angelou on the now defunct Oprah show. Maya once said about her body,  “And the breasts are very interesting.  They are in an incredible race to see which will touch my waist first.” As I continued assessing the ‘damage’ in the mirror, I lamented that all the traces of the kid who used to get teased and jumped on for being so skinny are long gone.

Yes indeed – I’ve having serious conversations about my relationship with my aging body and how to best care for it now.

I’ve been thinking about the history of my relationship to food. As a child, I was given a solid foundation on how and what to eat, but I’d fallen off the wagon, especially since knee surgery and retiring from performing full time. You see, when I had to be on stage six nights a week I was always told, ‘The day you can’t fit into your costumes is the day you don’t have a job.’  So I monitored, dieted, denied, deflected, denounced, refused any and all foods that I thought would add inches to my waistline. For decades. I worked out six to nine times a week – sometimes pulling two-a-days three times a week. For decades. I rarely ate chips of any kind, and the only pastries that made it to my house were the cream puffs from Crow Lane Bakery (Bermuda).

But that kind of discipline is part of my distant past. Bedtime snacking has evolved into late night performance art. I’ve been thinking about how much I now dislike exercise, which is really inexplicable since one could argue that workouts should’ve been encoded in my DNA by now. Having knees with thinning cartilage doesn’t help. The hard core workouts I used to do are completely out of the question now. Don’t get it twisted – I can do everything I did onstage when I was twenty-eight. However, it takes more than a few days to recover!

I’ve been thinking about how the results of all this have manifested in a body size I could never imagined. As I said, I don’t look in mirrors much anymore. And I never liked shopping (I know…weird for a woman) but I truly loathe it now.

After a visit to my doctor three months ago to check my blood pressure (yes, I had to go back on blood pressure meds), and noting a line on my medical chart that classified me as “borderline obese”, I decided that enough was enough. I realized that I needed to start somewhere, and that maybe conscious eating was a start.

My cosmology says that there is a spiritual answer for every physical situation. So I prayed for answers…wanting to understand why I preferred takeout to cooking at home, and how all of this got out of control.

Family drama that began at age nine and the resultant trauma somehow allowed me to internalize this twisted, bass-ackwards concept that people only cook when they don’t have enough money for take-out or to go to a restaurant. Therefore, cooking reinforced my errant perception that I was poor. Later, I remember overeating when I had the chance, because money and food was occasionally scant. I wanted to make sure my brothers ate, so I would go without, passing those precious meals to them.

As an adult, when access to food was not an issue, I’ve told myself that I didn’t really have time to cook. I reasoned that I could either spend ninety minutes most evenings cooking and washing up, or I could order takeout and sit at my computer and make a dent in that gigantic stack of papers I had to grade.

I also became aware that the lack of fun activities and community involvement was feeding my ADDICTION to pastries – specifically cake (ANY EXCEPT fruit cake), donuts (never met one I didn’t like), and cookies (snickerdoodles, sugar, chocolate chip, double chocolate chip…). AND, I also realized that pastries especially, have become the antidote for years without a steady, reliable significant other in my life. Literally, the lack of ‘sweetness’ in my life has sent me hunting for a substitute, and I found it…at Royal Farms in the Krispy Kreme case!

Cooking for one also has reinforced my sadness about being single, and eating meal after meal alone has only added insult to injury. And the washing up afterwards? I became angry for having to do it.

So, now that I understood how and why, I asked myself, “What now?”

A change in mindset was required.

I know that change begins with one’s consciousness. You have to face yourself and your baggage. I began with stepping on the scale. My heart was racing! Ugh! Didn’t like the number that appeared, but I talked myself down. “It’s just a number” I said, “and a good place to start.” Then, I did something else that scared me. I took off all my clothes, and I stood in front of a full-length mirror – naked. I cried. Then I dried my tears and took a selfie…after putting some underwear on of course…just in case my phone fell into the wrong hands. I found a tape measure and took measurements, and wrote them down in my newly designated health journal. I went to Target and bought a new scale that measured not only weight, but body fat, water weight, and the BMI.

I realized that I needed to learn how to cook quick, but scrumptious, taste bud satisfying, healthy meals that would fill my stomach and feed my senses, rather than cooking meals just to save money or feed my emotions after a tough day.

I pulled out all of my old Cooking Light magazines, my old notebook with favorite recipes that’s been gathering dust for the last nine years at the bottom of the baking rack in the kitchen, and I dusted off a few favorites. Knowing that sweets are the bane of my existence, I ordered the Paleo Dessert cookbook. I started watching a few cooking shows on the Cooking Channel. I began experimenting with recipes and more and more often, instead of counting my pennies and heading to the Chinese takeout, I went home and whipped up something with the groceries I’d already bought.

(Side note: I’m still working on the meal planning. Planning meals = structure and advance planning, to which I’m allergic).

I was feeling good about my new accomplishments, but I still didn’t enjoy the process. My answer came one night while I was plating up my smothered chicken (made with low fat, low sodium cream of mushroom soup) and garlic mashed cauliflower with asparagus. Cooking is all about nurturing! It’s the ultimate act of caring for and nurturing the physical vessel. Cooking for oneself is all about self-love. When I’m cooking, I’m loving myself! Why this was such a huge revelation for me when all those adages about cooking with love, food being prepared with love, about love being a necessary ingredient for wholesome food abound, I don’t know. But this simple understanding has made all the difference.

I can proudly say that I cook seventy percent of my meals now. Occasionally I’ll make myself a wine spritzer and sip while cooking. And when I do cook, I make enough for several meals and freeze the extras. I brown bag my lunch on eighty percent of the days I work away from home all day. And yes, there is the washing up, but I’m learning to also consider that a labor of love as well. I’ll bring my tablet into the kitchen and have one of my favorite Britcoms playing in the background while sudsing up.

I’ve downloaded a step tracking program on my phone, upgraded my Planet Fitness membership, and I’ve even discovered some great heart-pumping, fat-burning workouts on YouTube that I can do while seated for those days when my knees don’t feel like cooperating. I’ve committed to three CONSISTENT workouts each week with the aim of working my way up to five.

A toaster oven now sits where the microwave once sat. But more importantly, knowing that I’ll have to wait a bit longer for my food to cook has made me more conscious of how I use time. Waiting for my vegetable lasagna to cook gives me time to meditate, lay out clothes for the next event/day, or just savor a glass of water. Waiting allows me the space to be mindful, and I think the food tastes so much better when I anticipate how awesome it will be once it collides with my taste buds.

Do I miss my microwave? Absolutely. Like the time I warmed up some hot (organic turbinado sugar-sweetened) tea on the stovetop and went to answer the phone. Forgot about it until the smell and smoke of burnt sugar swallowed up my house. Don’t know why the smoke alarm didn’t go off. Thankfully the only casualty was the pan.

All of the above-mentioned practices, along with intermittent fasting (12 hours between my last meal of one day and the first meal of the next day) have moved the scale downward. I’ve lost seven pounds in the last eight weeks, and my clothes are starting to feel a bit looser. I have more stamina on stage, I’m climbing stairs without getting tired and winded, and I’m sleeping better and longer. My new role model and hero is Baltimore’s Ernestine Shepherd, the 82-year-old-body builder who began training in her mid-fifties and still works out and teaches at gyms across Baltimore City!

I’m taking baby steps.

The biggest payoff is the recognition that there are other ways in which I have not been loving and honoring myself. I’m on the hunt to find and root those out. Because the best gift I can give myself is me, and that’s the sweetest gift of all!

Never Too Late

      Deletta Gillespie

August is my solar return month. And as always, I take a few days to reflect on the year that is passing into the annals of my personal history.

Artistically, this past year has been one of great accomplishment. I finished my book – panties UP dress DOWN:Things My Mama Used to Say, published it (available at Smashwords and Amazon), and had a successful book release. The reviews and feedback have humbled me.

I was accepted into a blues festival, invited to speak at a series of women’s networking events, and was hired for an acting residency, which led to an invitation to perform for some Broadway heavyweights next month.

I am so very proud of my accomplishments. Still…

Though coasting on the high of accomplishment that has come with these achievements, I’ve also spent some time trudging through a few valleys. Valleys so deep that the only light available was a few slivers of light bursting through tiny cracks in the clouds.

There’ve been more than a few days when I’ve awakened with questions such as, “What am I doing with my life now? Why Am I Still Here? What’s the point anyway? With all of my education, talents, and skills, why do I still occasionally struggle to make ends meet? Am I getting too old to (fill in the blank)? Why don’t I just let this performing arts/itinerant teaching thing go and look for a ‘steady, secure’ job?” I’ve questioned my choice of career, residence, hairstyle, everything. You name it, I’ve questioned it. Relentlessly.

Thankfully, I also received the gift of quiet time. And solo traveling. I am convinced there’s nothing like leaving the geomagnetic pull of your zip code to get one’s ‘mind right’ and out of the fog.

I meditated, journaled, and prayed my way out of those foggy valleys. I decided that since I’m still here on the planet, I might as well make the best of it. No matter the perceived challenges, I still have a pretty amazing life. And as long as I’m breathing, I have the opportunity to create even more amazing tomorrows.

So I began to indulge in things that bring me joy, like listening to music. And I discovered the music of Shaun Martin, one of the keyboardists featured in many of the Snarky Puppy productions. I had NOOOO idea that he was such an artist in his own right! His music touched me DEEPLY. The composition Introduction, from the Seven Summers cd really grabbed me by the ears.

In this song, he shares the story of people continually asking when he was going to complete his first record. It took him seven years to do it. He talks about the journey to completion and the struggles…fear, not enough money, doubting his own abilities.

Wow. Just, wow.

This cra-zee talented soul questioned his own abilities and worthiness! And I was reminded once again that NO one is immune to bouts of fear, struggle, and self-doubt. Working through all of that and similar scenarios seems to be part of every individual’s journey to wholeness.

Thankfully, he hiked through those valleys and out the clouds. He finished the album. He realized as he said in that tune…

“I can’t neglect the dream.”

And I ask you, what dream are you neglecting? Don’t let circumstances rob you of your dream. Go back to that valley and dig it up, shine it off, and carry it with you like it’s your most precious asset.

Because it might be.

And if you don’t have a dream or any dreams left, then go make some (new) ones.

Because there’s no time like the present, and as long as there’s a ‘present’, it’s never too late.

Shaun Martin knows…he’s living that FULL OUT.

Perspective

Headshot20181It’s good to be back!

It took me a year, but the book has been published, the website is complete, the companion study guide will go to press soon, the product line is under construction, the tour is being booked as I write this, and the album fifty percent complete. It’s been a hectic, yet fruitful time. (I’ll tell you all about the book in a future post!)

To ease back into the routine of blogging, I’ve decided to begin again by sharing a Facebook post from Baltimore-based friend and fellow singer/songwriter Janice Buerkli. Why? Because I couldn’t have said this better myself! While in this post she has directed her advice to those below the age of 50, there are a few suggestions that are appropriate for any age!

 

Advice from a 50 sumptin to a 20-40 sumptin by Janice Buerkli

1. You’re probably cute and perky now but you won’t always be. If you haven’t already, start building on kind and nice. Move with integrity and gain respect. It will long outlast your booty. 
2. You don’t have to be boney or super athletic but if nothing else be flexible (both physically and mentally). Stretch, do yoga, walk. Any minor injury you get early in life could be a source of constant pain or immobility later in life. Don’t ignore it. 
3. Slow down. Look around. Acknowledge people. Make eye contact. Be present. 
4. Know your body. 
5. Don’t waste one second thinking you aren’t good enough. You are the shit.
6. Don’t waste one second thinking you are better than someone else. Other people are the shit too.
7. Tell people they are the shit in case they didn’t know. 
8. Wear sunscreen and stay moisturized. You don’t get a second chance with this one. 
9. If your cute shoes hurt now… your cute feet will hurt later. Cute = no pain 
10. Pay attention to older cute people making lists. 🤣
That’s all for now…

(copied with permission by Janice Buerkli)

I’m Deletta Gillespie, and I approve of this directive!

(682) 227-9239

Deletta Gillespie
Deletta Gillespie

Today, I bow my head in prayer and hold peace and love in my heart and mind for those who have lost their lives because others have chosen to visit their inhumanity upon them. How do we best honor those who no longer walk the earth in the flesh?
After the prayers, the tears, and the expressions of solidarity, we begin with ourselves. Live and speak love and peace. Work for peace and understanding. Work through your own feelings of fear, anger, angst, and release them. Release the ego’s hold on your consciousness. Raise your vibration by always choosing higher. Work to stay grounded in peace. It’s okay to be pissed off and/or sad, but don’t build a foundation – or even pitch a tent in that space. Channel those lower feelings into something that moves you at least closer to neutral. Mourn for and with those who are affected by these senseless crimes against humanity, then go do something that feels good, that makes you happy, that feeds your soul. Go help someone.
No matter your faith/religion/beliefs, we all inhabit this rock together. We are all both human AND divine, and individual expressions of the Being/Energy/Force/Love that created us…caused us to be. And if we truly believe that, then we will follow the examples of those that were/are what I call Love Warriors. We will willingly walk in the footsteps of those that have walked before us. Us being here right now is no accident. We have all been commissioned to do the work to lift ourselves and thereby the planet. We could truly change the world If we worked as diligently to spread the message of peace and love – if we LIVED peace and love, as do those who deal in the opposite. I invite you, my fellow travelers, to accept this grand commission. Stay in love and in peace, growing your joy, and whenever necessary, speak truth to power WITH LOVE. Do your best to make it a great day, and I hope this little ditty from Tuck and Patti will further encourage you to do so.

Kindness – It Still Exists

Deletta Gillespie
Deletta Gillespie

“I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand…” Charles de Lint, Canadian writer.

 

Last weekend, I went to the Waverly Farmers Market here in Baltimore. Sat my keys down at a vendor’s stand (a bakery vendor of course). Walked toward my car. Stopped to fetch my keys. Couldn’t find them and couldn’t remember where I last had them. Was sitting on a curb emptying the contents of my purse when a woman named Mary saw the look of panic on my face and stopped to see if I needed help. She chose to walk with me as I backtracked through the market to each vendor I’d visited. Thankfully, I rescued my keys from the lost and found. During this adventure, Mary and I sang a Bob Marley song with the busker (I mean, it was International Reggae Day), and talked politics, tweets, NPR, and community. As we parted with hugs and air kisses, I thanked her for her kindness and promised to pass it on and show love and kindness to someone else. I’m asking all of you amazing beings of light to do the same. Be kind to someone. Offer to help. Give a compliment, or share a smile. This is how we create the world we want to see, one moment, one step, one encounter at a time. 

Till next…

DG

Gone Too Soon…

Deletta Gillespie
Deletta Gillespie

A musical giant and one of my dearest mentors transitioned two weeks ago.

There are really no words that can describe how much Vic Glazer meant to me. I met him when he moved to Bermuda with his beautiful wife Pam Jones Glazer. I’d heard of him before I met him – past musical director for Debbie Reynolds and dozens of Vegas legends. Before long we were working together at the different venues throughout the island. He believed in my talent, and continuously challenged me to be better. When I studied music theory with him, he was a tough taskmaster. On some nights when I thought I’d given good performances, he’d accuse me of “phoning it in.” He always accused me of being and playing small, and always challenged me to be better than I thought I could be. When he thought I was ready, he went so far as to contact some of the biggest agencies in Florida to help me secure bookings in resorts and other showrooms. When I began doing the Florida dates, Vic always played for me. On some of those dates, He and Pam (and sometimes his parents) insisted that I stay with them instead of at a hotel. He offered to help me create my very first solo show. He found songs that suited both my talent, voice, and personality, and arranged them so I could show the best of what God had given me. When I was given the opportunity to open the Bermuda Jazz Festival in 1999, he agreed to be the MD and pianist. With some of the top talent in Bermuda, we made magic that night. I will never forget that for as long as I live. When he decided to record his very own CD, he asked me not only to sing on it but to pen original lyrics to the Miles Davis classic ‘So What’. My heart is heavy, but I know that I am a better musician/vocalist/entertainer because I knew him. Here is a link to a recording that we did at the Caldwell Theatre in Boca Raton. Vic wrote and arranged the charts, and played in and conducted the band – you will get a glimpse of him here – doing what he loved. A thousand thank you’s, my mentor and friend. May you finally rest in peace.

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