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I was at the hospital visiting my father who very ill when I was given a symbol of joy and love. After a long scary night where we kept vigil by my father’s bed, an orderly came into the room to get another patient. This guy had a tight t-shirt and pants, fashionable red glasses and haircut, and a big huge smile on his face. He exuded such joy and acted like he so was happy to be there in the hospital to be of assistance. The woman began to smile. I began to smile. I was buoyed by just spending a few minutes with this man from across the room. For me, the meaning that I gave the guy’s visit was that there is joy and love in the hospital. He brought it to my attention. Even with sadness, there can be joy and love. Later, I came across him as I looked for the cafeteria to get tea. We rode the elevator together. He told me I had a beautiful smile. I told him how much I liked his energy.

That is a big freedom that I have: to be able to give meaning to everyone and everything. I get to decide what things and people mean to me. When relationships end, I can decide what the person means to me even if we don’t speak again. My former business partner and friend Frances and I haven’t spoken in years. We drifted apart after spending many years intensively in each other’s company. When I think of her now, the meaning she has for me is friendship, adventure, trust, growing up together, business, and fun. Whether or not we ever speak again changes nothing to what she means to me.

My friend Heidi is a talented artist and also a great believer in infusing meaning and symbolism into your life. She recognizes the signs that life gives us and shows great wisdom in deciphering them. I was visiting her in Hawaii after a hard breakup. I was sick and tired of picking partners that did not, or could not, hold their own. I was discouraged.

Heidi gave me the wonderful gift of two statues she had sculpted. One was of the Hawaiian god Kū – which means to stand — and the other his partner Hina. She told me that my next partner would be solid and strong like this god. I put it on my mantel and looked at it frequently. It guided me in choosing differently in my next relationship. When I was asked out by my future husband to be, I knew he inhabited some of Kū’s qualities. This sculpture also represented love and support as it was given to me with my dear friend. I will always be grateful to her for showing me a way to find love.

You can make anything or anyone a symbol that can guide you towards where you want to go or the qualities that you want to embody.

I have become very interested in the symbol of the monkey of late. The monkey represents for me laughter, humour, playfulness and an appreciation of comedic situations. At the same time, the monkey has honour, intelligence, and is very social. She bonds easily with others of her kind. I have become so serious in past years. In my quest to find peace, healing, and my centre, I have pushed aside my lighter, very silly and playful self. The monkey is reminding me to be me to laugh as much as possible at myself and life, to be lighter, to have more fun. It also reminds me to welcome new friends into my life who want to honour and celebrate life with me.

My self-talk inspired by the monkey:

Be light. There is Bud Light. And there can be Maryse Light. (Thanks to my friend Aviva for that saying. Aviva is a master of making light of things and finding humour in all places. She reminds me to keep it funny.)

It is ok to be silly.

Let yourself be.

Let’s dance!

Let’s listen to music.

I really enjoy that person and I want to spend time with them. I have time to give to people that I like and love.

It is ok for you to be joyful and to find humour everywhere you can. Life is such a gift and life wants us to enjoy that gift to the max. Laugh, my love, laugh. Help others laugh too.

Photo of the sculpture of Ku made by Heidi.