I've called a lot of places home. Each place I dwell in has a way of creeping under my skin, becoming a part of me. But no place has claimed anchor in my heart quite like NYC. There is a grit and grace, strength and delicacy about this city that just wins me over again and again. Get up and go, live hard, love hard, and make each moment count. That's the way it rolls in NYC. Hurricane Irene is providing an opportunity to see this spirit soar.
New Yorkers get a warning that they are on hurricane watch and have to stay home, must stock up on provisions, and some have to evacuate. So what do these fabulous city dwellers do? They use the opportunity to stay in and cook amazing, slow cooked meals, stock up on cases (!) of good wine, stay in with great friends for hurricane watch parties, or go on fabulous mini vacations. Your attitude makes me love you like crazy, New York!
Heres a little contribution to the living room dancing I know you are doing on your Saturday night in. From my Bali home to your Big Apple Studio, kisses are sent you way.
In the spring of 2010, I started this Posterous filing cabinet as a challenge to myself to be more aware of the amazing and inspirational.
The world, I realized, is chock full of wonderful things, but the ugliness thrown in our faces by the news reports of disastrous happenings made it easy to overlook the gorgeous and magical. What am I saying?!? It wasn't just the television broadcasting news into our living-rooms, it was my own experiences that made me feel I needed to look deeply for what was right in this world. The years preceding my desire to throw on rose tinted glasses were filled with experiences that could have hurled me deep into cynicism and distrust.
I had seen and experienced my fair share of ugly/difficult things during my time in Africa. My attempt to flee the ugliness and keep my family together led me to accept a contract in Korea, where I was convinced things would be better, if only because I willed them to be so. But the family structure I went to ridiculous lengths to create crumbled around me, and it seemed that everywhere I looked there was war, corruption, and sorrow. In the grandest display of universal humor, the very company I fled to in order to escape the corruption of Africa was brought to its knees by an internal scandal. The global economy was devastated by greedy moneymen in America, and political strife across the globe was reaching an all time high, during my short lifetime, at least. Simultaneously, the long-standing battle between North and South Korea appeared to be heating up. The world, I thought, needed some serious saving.
Always something of an activist, I was constantly engaged in a battle to "help achieve justice and fight some wrong being done somewhere." Being a part of the fight to make things right in this world made me feel like I was contributing to some super-hero battle to save the world. I didn't have to look far to find a campaign to be a part of. So I marched with others to protest what was done to the "Comfort Women" during World War II. I raised awareness and funds for Child Soldiers in Africa. Working with other amazing folks,I helped organize fundraisers to build schools in Afghanistan, provide mosquito nets to families in Uganda, and enable one day of cease fire across the world.
At the end of it all, my efforts seemed to be immeasurable- not because they were so significant, but because they were so miniscule like a small grain of sand in the Mojave dessert. The problems of the world were akin to that whack a mole game- you hit one creature down to find another come popping up, laughing some sinsister-you'll-never-keep-me-down-laugh. I was exhausted, needed to hang up the super hero cape to take a moment for reflection. In all my outward activism, I had missed one important point: I needed to stand as an activist for peace at home, and within myself. Or so said the Dalai Lama, as well as my Buddhist yoga instructor and each Guru within every meditation course I had ever taken (alright in the ONE meditation course I have ever taken, but still, you get the point.)
Where am I going with all of this, you ask? Is this inspirational filing cabinet starting to be too much of a self-help journal? Maybe so, but I think we can all be inspired by hearing of another's journey, and that is why I am sharing this. So stay with me.
At the time, my son Edem was only two years old. He was coping with a newly separated family comprised of a manic-depressive pops and a work-aholic over achieving Mama. He had always been a happy, easy baby until this point. Add together the terrible toddler twos, our family status, plus constant ear/throat infections and you have an equation that equals a child who needed a whole lot of lovin'. This little man deserved to be raised by a well-balanced parent who could model self love, acceptance, and joy. He deserved to be surrounded by beauty, and all that is right. I just needed to find out what that was.
And so now this lengthy Posterous post circles back to it's beginning: why the page was started in the first place. Always the perpetual student, I am best accountable to things when I give myself assignments- especially ones that come with public declarations. Since I needed some reminding of what was right in the world, an assignment to record the good stuff seemed appropriate.
And I needed to direct my efforts towards my son so that he might also know what is right in this world.
Around this time, I read a survey by the British Institute for Social and Ecomic Studies, which stated that a home is only as happy as the mother is happy. Like most parents, I wanted my son to be able to look back on his childhood and recall a beautiful loving home filled with laughter and joy, so I felt the need to invest in the activities that have always brought me peace of mind and happiness: Yoga, the arts, theatre, interior decorating, dance, community service, music, books, friends, healthy foods and occasional travel adventures. As a true testament to the laws of attraction, I not only started to find what I sought, but what I sought started to find me. The opportunities to engage in all that I love, and to bring my son into that fold, seemed too many to accept! If laughter is a litmus test, I would have to say that the happiness in my household grew by 500%. And this all blossomed from the the desire to be a better mother to my ever inspiring son.
It is, therefore, with great conviction that I say the following:
To date, the most amazing source of inspiration in my world is not some TED talks or NY Time article, but a little creature entrusted in my care, my son: Edem. The person who has been my reason to seek what is right in this world. The one who has encouraged me to become more open, loving, and accepting. My son is hilarious- in unexpected ways. He loves to dance, and sing and uses the word "stunning" to describe an evening sunset. He is a peacemaker who has been known to tell folks to take a deep breath and calm down when they exhibit anger. The now four year old amazes me every day with his cleverness, intelligence, and love. Edem. My Edem. His name, interestingly enough, is an Ewe name (his father's African tribe) that means "That which delivers you to God." I have no doubt that this moniker suits him.
And so now you know why I started this page. I hope you have some source of inspiration as wonderful as mine. And if you are a mother, I hope you are taking some time to do what you love, because they really do thrive when you are at your happiest.
Yours in Loving and Learning-
Erin, Best friend of Edem
(or so he said tonight!)
Erin Michelle Threlfall
Theatre Artist, Activist, and Educator, Erin is the mother of a budding genius in his 7th year of study. Erin and her little man, Edem, have a plan to investigate world theatre and influence education one continent at a time. Ghana, South Korea, Togo and Bali have been checked off the list of places to live; these days they call Brooklyn home.