Superpowers, Ripples & RFK

I missed the memo about Superpowers, Ripples, & RFK

I have a six year old son and he and I have our best talks when he’s in the bathtub. Maybe it’s the time of day, or maybe there’s something in the water in California, but something about being in the tub makes him loopy and truthful in a way that’s pretty entertaining. It was during one of these bathtub talks that my son asked, “Mommy, do you have any secrets?” I was charmed and intrigued by this question, but I wasn’t sure what he was getting at, so I asked him, “What kind of secrets do you mean, sweetheart?”

And with the sincerity that only a six year old could muster about this kind of thing, he asked, “Are you a superhero?” I guess, to him, it seems totally plausible that I have an alter-ego and that I’m out saving the world when he isn’t looking. 

I love her, but I ain’t her.

Now, to be a superhero, one must have superpowers, so I started to take an inventory and feared I came up a bit short.  It’s not just that I can’t fly or leap over tall buildings in a single bound, it’s that I’m also not rich or famous, I haven’t won any pageants, I haven’t invented anything or cured anything, in truth I I haven’t really made a big splash, but I’d like to think I’ve made a few ripples.

And then it occurred to me…maybe the ability to make meaningful ripples is my superpower.

Now, a ripple is just a a transfer of energy. If we are talking about throwing a pebble into a pond, the energy is transferred from the hand that throws it, to the flying pebble and then to the water, causing the water to move.  But if we’re talking about people, it’s our actions, even our really small ones, that cause our energy to be transferred from ourselves outward. The Dalai Lama eloquently tweeted:

Now, making ripples isn’t always easy.   It takes effort…it’s overcoming your inertia and your trepidation and just doing something that makes a bit of change.  Even with the best of intentions, the big ocean of life has a way of getting busy and bureaucratic. Instead of getting to enjoy the ripples, we sometimes just hold on for dear life as we try to stay afloat amongst the tidal wives that come with demanding careers and busy families.

But returning to slightly more uplifting thoughts…another kind of amazing thing about ripples is their collective effect. In speaking at the University of Capetown back in 1966, Robert Kennedy said something about this that is bigger and more eloquent than anything than I could ever say, so I’ll share his words with you:


Tiny ripples of hopea million centers of energy and daring…wow, do you get the Kennedy chills from that one?  I sure do.  

So, I suppose I’ll just try to keep throwing pebbles in the pond.  Making ripples and memo received.

The Home Row

I missed the memo about The Home Row.


Gentle readers, man, it has been more than a year since I have posted anything here…that is just inexplicably lame.  I’m really busy, life happens, blah, blah, blah….

This has been a really long hiatus, and lately I have felt increasingly drawn back to this little space I’d created…and I think that’s because I have felt really scattered and frazzled a lot of the time.  And I think that feeling stems from drifting away from things that help keep me centered.  Things like this blog.  So here I am.

The idea of feeling centered got me thinking about The Home Row…ya’ll remember learning to type and experiencing that initially awkward feeling of resting your fingertips on those particular keys?  Once you get the hang of it, the Home Row is a terrific strategy…when your fingers know where they are starting from, they eventually learn to stretch in efficient ways so you can whip out that Great American Novel, or that brilliant dissertation, or a little blog post with relative ease.

But have you ever had the experience of looking to your screen or page and realizing you’ve just typed a bunch of gibberish?  I’ve done that and often I’ve found that it’s because I’ve inadvertently strayed from the Home Row.  With my fingers out of their centered position, my digits are really just going through the motions of typing, but the result is just a bunch of nonsense.  When I’ve found that I’ve made this mistake when typing, I wouldn’t dream of just persisting with my fingers off the Home Row and just hoping that my keystrokes would eventually make some sense.  That would be crazy.  Yet, in life, I think I’ve been doing just that in recent months.

I’m finding that when I stray too far from the things that really make me feel like my natural self, nothing else makes the kind of sense it should.  For me, one of those things is letting out the words!  Words are just always flowing through me, like, all the time, so maintaining a fun outlet for them is just the bee’s knees as far as I am concerned.  That’s why I started this little blog in the first place, and that’s why I probably shouldn’t neglect it so woefully in the future.

So this blog is one of the keys on my Home Row.  I’m trying to find the others places that make me feel centered, so I can begin stretching again, in ways that make good sense.    A good stretch feels good, doesn’t it?

Typing, stretching, and memo received.

What’s on your Home Row?  (Is it me, or does that sound oddly like a Capital One commercial?)