Monday, July 9, 2012


Friendly Toast

When I was a kid, I had a passion for ice skating.
During our earliest years in Brooklyn, my sister Susie and I would soap up the empty bathtub with Ivory and skate until we'd fall and clunk our heads. This happened so many times that the management took away our soap and closed our rink permanently.
I solved this issue by rising early one Sunday morning and cracking a dozen eggs on the kitchen floor.
Susie and I were having a grand time skating until crash landings summoned a sleepy father.  He started yelling about our breakfast, which was now broken yolk and eggshells on the floor.
My son was two when developed a passion for hockey. Wearing his duck bicycle helmet strapped about his chin, Nick would skate in socks across the kitchen linoleum and smack the orange plastic puck into the oven. His slap shot was so good that my husband would yell, “Put the biscuit in the basket!” from the dining room. Whenever we would set foot on the black-and-white linoleum, Nick would squeak, “Get off the ice!!”
The vacuum cleaner was the zamboni. This went on for years.
When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, I had a dream.
In the dream, I was visiting a young friend who had made his home in a junkyard. There were all sorts of cars rusted and piled, one on top of another, in a huge field. I was lamenting that "my friend" could not see the treasure that was under this pile of rubbish. The junkyard was built on top of an ice skating rink. “You love skating!” I exclaimed. "Can’t you see it? It is right beneath your feet! All you have to do is clear out all these cars!” What I was saying to my dream self was:  You must clear out the detritus of your life -- the debris, the clutter, the rusted hunks of junk -- and uncover what is already here waiting for you; your dreams lie just beneath your feet.
There are many times in a person’s life when, at a tender age, they have the opportunity to share who they are with the world. That courage can sometimes lead to broken dreams smashed on the kitchen floor.
"I want to be a writer," I told my Dad, when I was 12. "Writers are weird," he replied. (I was discouraged; now, I consider myself well the weird department!)
“I want to be a Buddhist monk,” my husband told the nuns at his school. Future horse trainer is what they put under his yearbook photo.
My son declared that he wanted to be a t-shirt designer when he grew up. “You can do better than that,” he was told. Crush. (Hey, Ralph Lauren started out designing ties.)
In our house, we now have a phrase. When someone criticizes someone else's ideas without listening to them, we yell, "Stop squashing my dreams!"
Growing up, I never told anyone my deep, dark secret: I wanted to be an entertainer -- a 1930s showgirl, in black and white, on Broadway. So what if couldn't sing on key and I was born in the wrong decade? Putting on a show – helping people through hard times using art, music, beauty, dance, and teamwork --  still speaks to me. The Show now equals books. The 1930s/Depression = preadolescence.

While clearing out what not longer serves us, we must identify and toss the mental chatter and old, out-dated messages about who we are and what is meaningful and valuable.


Junk the rusted Mustang, sell the Sunfish, donate your old shoes. Dump the broken records of other peoples’ expectations. Then, the ice will be clear for happy.


-- Amy C. Spaulding, Publisher,
Purpose may point you in the right direction but it’s passion that propels you.”
– Travis McAshan, Entrepreneur and Web Strategist

If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.”
– Benjamin Franklin, American Statesman