8.22.11 Say “Uncle”…Creatively

“Say ‘uncle’!” my fifteen-year-old sister would say, her knees pinning down my arms and her hands mercilessly tickling my nine-year-old ribs.

“Uncle! Uncle!” I’d cry in defeat, hoping against hope she’d be good on her word that her fingers would stop their finagling at the utterance of “uncle.”

Fast-forward 37 years. My sister’s 25-year-old daughter visits me this week. I now play the role of the word that somehow means admitting defeat.

Already she has had, it could be said if someone else were telling her story, a series of defeats. And yet she embraces life with an attitude of such clear fierceness, quiet direction, calm certitude that she frames her stories as anything but tales of defeat.

In fact, if our conversations have had any common theme it is just that: How do you deal with past hardships? Do you latch onto them as an excuse for your limitations? Do you prevail despite if not because of perceived defeats? Who is the agent of this one wild life?

All of this I derive in spending only a few  hours so far with her walking along the Shawankgunk Ridge this morning or eating lunch or walking through the hamlet of New Paltz.

Should our talks about love and life, sorrow and mishaps, parenting and parents give any comfort to her as they do me then to say ‘uncle’ also might mean something quite different than to surrender in defeat. At least, I hope, the next time she calls me ‘uncle.’

How about you? Any reflections today on not letting moments of perceived defeat frame your perception of your whole day? Any observations on how being tickled mercilessly might not be the worst way to get attention from your older sister? 🙂 How do you say ‘uncle’?

Regardless, share your day’s three highlights and let us know where you’re writing from.

See you in the woods,
The Three Highlights Guy




3 responses to “8.22.11 Say “Uncle”…Creatively

  1. Today was my first day of teaching middle school, and I woke up with itchy knots in my stomach. The traffic jam on the way to school didn’t help. Yet, there were at least 3 highlights, as always! 1) introducing mindfulness to a classroom full of gangly but pleasantly accepting adolescents. 2) improving my freestyle stroke during an after school swim with two friends. 3) teaching yoga in spanish to a great group of women at the university next door (and laughing at myself when I mistakenly called our shoulders knees… I’m a little rusty on the vocabulario!) ~from Michelle in Guatemala

  2. Michelle – Sounds as if your three highlights unraveled your knots and that you did say ‘shoulders’ creatively.

    1. Taking a walk-n-talk with my niece along the Shawangunk Ridge.
    2. Connecting powerfully with a client at our first meeting.
    3. Watching my 25-yr-old niece and my 2-yr-old daughter connect like sisters.
    – from Accord, NY (Hudson Valley)

  3. 1. Being home when my son came home from high school, cutting across the backyard after the bus let him off and he climbed over the fence.
    2. Not doing that much today at work & at home, just enough, to recover from some very busy days.
    3. Returning to my book, dancing around the edges of it, wanting to step away when it got hard, but hanging around.
    Austin, TX (Today was day 70 of 100 deg temps, a record but not a highlight.)