finding a more authentic, playful life --- finding your story

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Morning After

The day after the shocked and mournful

...I took the train to go to rehearsal.

As I advocate for refugees and Muslims, I am uberaware of what a trump presidency could mean for them.

So as I walked across the platform, I saw a Muslim woman wearing a hijab. She looked like she could possibly be an immigrant or refugee. I hesitated a moment but then, realized I needed to talk to her. It was so fresh. I thought she may feel scared, vulnerable. So without thinking, I walked over and said something about how I noticed her hijab and that I stand by her and I would protect her if need be, that Trump does not represent all of us and that there are still good, open and welcoming people in this world. She smiled softly at me. And then I was crying but I kept going. All my emotions and fear and protections were spilling out. I want you to feel safe, I continued. You *are* welcome here. And I have love for you as a fellow human. My heart...Blah blah blah.

I went on like this for maybe 5 minutes. Seriously. I was on a post-traumatic roll. Then finally, still crying, I paused and smiled at her.

"No english!" She responded apologetically. 

Yup. No English.

We do what we can. :)

Keep looking out for each other, world. These are dark times.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Trump's view on Muslims is Wrong and Dangerous

This originally appeared on after coming oh so close on major papers. Oh well. I still want you to read it! Be smart Tuesday America!

I had tea the other day with my Iraqi refugee friends.
I invited them to my local coffee shop. It is a mother and daughter and they both wear the hijab. As we sat at a central table, I noticed they both looked around a bit more than usual and seemed to be speaking in hushed tones. At first I swept past this, thinking I must be imagining it but after a while I realized I was not. They were scared out in public. Because they were Muslim.
This is the world created in no small part by Donald Trump, a presidential nominee 35% of this country thinks is the best choice for leader of the free world. As Donald Trump inches closer and closer to being the President of these not so United States, fear among the Muslim, immigrant and refugee community runs high. And I for one, as a non-Muslim, non-immigrant and non-refugee but American, nonetheless, am horrified.
From the start, Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s uninformed and hate-mongering leader has stoked fear about national security and the threat of terrorism to drive his base. He has said “I don’t want to see hundreds of thousands of people from Syria coming in when we know nothing about them’ — when in fact we know quite a bit about him. He suggested something called ‘extreme vetting’ — although he doesn’t quite seem to be able to define or distinguish this from what we already do. In fact, he is suggesting a blanket ban on Muslims — unconstitutional and unbecoming to who we are. All this while, according to the State Department, the Syrian and Iraqi people, with their wide array of religions, are the most vetted of all refugees. Long and arduous screening processes are already in place.
No one chooses the refugee life. This is not a life anyone wants. It is the last resort. Most refugees are simply desperate to save their families, feed their kids, and on a good day — try to get them a decent education and a shot at some future. I know this to be true because I sat in their homes. I drank their tea. I even fell in love with one of them.
Yes, I fell in love with an Iraqi refugee, a Muslim even. I didn’t mean to, but I did. Hard, fast, furious. Omar was his name. He was exiled in Syria after the U.S. led invasion of Iraq.
For almost a month, I had been travelling in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria having tea and hearing stories from Iraqi refugees just like Omar. I was on a fact-finding mission, with a New York based non-profit, interviewing Iraqi refugees to share their stories in the U.S. in hopes of creating awareness and empathy around this silent, invisible crisis. This was before ISIS, before Syria fell into its civil war, before the Syrian refugee count surpassed even the largest numbers of the Iraqi refugee crisis. This was before all that.
“I miss the good, old days of Saddam,” one forgotten refugee told me. “Sure, he was a dictator, but now there is chaos.” And another: “I fear the worst is yet to come.” And: “I used to be well off in Iraq and now look.” And: “Leaving your home is like leaving a part of you.” And: “I feel like I am dying slowly.” And: “I am human before I am Iraqi, can’t you see?” And: “It is like a prison here.” And: “Do not bother to feed us. We are dead already.” And: “There is no future for me now.” And: “Who asked you America? Who asked you to do this? Who asked you to be God on Earth? Stop interfering!” And, and, and….
And on that day, heart bruised and conscience heavy, I met Omar.
Since my time in Syria in 2009, the refugee crisis has grown exponentially into the largest global refugee crisis in history. There are roughly 65 million refugees in the world today, including 13 million people displaced from Syria and another 5 million from Iraq. They bleed in ambulances, drown in overcrowded dinghies and wash up on sandy shores, creating pictures we want to forget, pictures we force ourselves to forget, not wanting to see.
We vilify refugees — ironic for a country built on, by and for immigrants. Refugees are far from being only Muslim and far from being synonymous with ISIS and yet we make out those seeking asylum to be sneaky little terrorists, criminals with bad hearts and bad intentions, bent on killing us and sullying our “American” way of life with all their “Muslim-ness”.
Fear and racism is truly alive and well, well-stoked by Mr. Trump himself. If only, we all offered our homes and hearts as freely as we offer our fear and hate. If only we all saw refugees, Muslim or otherwise, as they are: human beings just like us.
On Tuesday, we go to the polls. And I hope on Wednesday, Omar and all my Muslim friends, known and unknown can walk into a coffee shop without fear.
On Tuesday, we decide who as a country and as a people, we are going to be.

Kim Schultz is a writer, actor and refugee advocate. In 2009, she traveled to the Middle East as an artist/activist to meet with Iraqi refugees, falling in love with one, forever changing her life. She is the author of a recently released memoir, “Three Days in Damascus” (Palewell Press, 2016) and will have an essay published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles (Chicken Soup for the Soul, 2016) this fall. She blogs, tweets and can be generally found at

Thursday, November 3, 2016


So, I wrote a book.

A memoir, in fact. And it launches tomorrow. Big day. Big week. This has been 3 years in the making. 3 years of writing, editing and writing some more. 3 years of looking for an agent, a publisher. 3 years of figuring out how, when, why and how again. 3 years of telling this story that happened during 3 DAYS IN DAMASCUS.

I hope you will read it. I hope you will share it. I hope you will enjoy it.

The timing of the book's release is not accidental. In this current election season and the overall political climate, I hope you agree we need to speak for, with and about refugees, humanizing them in a world bent on dehumanizing 65 million people. I hope this memoir is a step in that direction.

is about my 3-year fight for love with an Iraqi refugee I met in Syria. Against the backdrop of war, revolution and an arranged marriage, this urgent memoir speaks about and for the millions of refugees languishing worldwide. It is the story of an American woman and an Iraqi man, of an epic journey to safety, a story of culture, devastation, redemption and hope
…a story that isn’t supposed to be a love story. 

Buy it on 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Jungle Reflections

Twice in my life now, I have been literally plopped down in the middle of a jungle with no transportation, phone service or guarantee of people to assist before nightfall.  Weird, right? Both times I watched my ride drive off down some dusty road leaving me in oblivion. And both times it was really hot. I mean, really hot.

People say I live an adventurous life. I guess they are right.  I am very often flying by the seat of my proverbial pants, hoping I land in one piece. But adventure can be challenging, make no mistakes about it.

Five years ago it was on the outskirts of Cayenne, French Guiana. Although worrisome at first, I ended up having one of my most memorable nights ever sleeping in a hammock in the jungle. Today it is the outskirts (deep jungle) of Akumal, Mexico. This night’s outcome is yet to be determined.

Both times, dogs barked in angry greeting only to quickly become my friends.

Both times, I wandered aimlessly around for a bit, wondering what one does in a situation like this.

Both times, I seemed to be foodless until morning. (There are worse things.)

Last time, as the taxi pulled away wishing us luck, I wondered if I should cry.  On the surface things appeared rather discouraging. But who has time for tears when you’re abandoned in the jungle.

But this time, as I watched the car of friends leave me behind, although part of me again wanted to cry, I decided it was another adventure, the way I choose to live my life. It was another excuse to fly and hopefully land on my feet…with any luck, pants-ed.

And both times, I was fine, completely fine in the end.

Life is short, folks; Have an adventure.

(Oh, and sleep in a hammock whenever possible)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Change Ahead.

I have been doing a 21-day meditation with my good friends Oprah and Deepak. They sure are nice. We have coffee and chat and then meditate. They have lots of good advice too. I love friends like that.

Anywho... of the afternoons I spent with O and D, they said some things I thought I would share with you
---about change.

Change is hard. We all hate change. In fact, I just auditioned for a TV show where my character said the exact same thing. (It's following me!) CHANGE SUCKS. We think keeping things the same is easier. 

Well Deepak says "There is wisdom in change." Yes I know. Blah blah blah. Wisdome-schmisdom! Change still sucks, kim. But he's right. We learn in change, right? We learn more of what we want, what we don't want, who we are. Etcetera etcetera etcetera.

It's in change that we begin to more closely align our lives to what we want. It's like a "get out of jail free" card. Scary but true. 

So seek out the new and fresh. See how it feels. Try something unknown. There is nothing terrible in the unknown. It's just unknown. It could be wonderful. How do you know? So no need to be afraid.Improv teaches us to SAY YES. Foundational improv tool: SAY YES. It's how things move forward. It's how things happen. So I'm a firm believer and coach in always saying yes. I try to also live by that philosophy as much as possible. 


Well my buddy Deepak likes the idea too. But he says it a little differently. He suggests us to "say yes more than you say no." Love that Deepy! It's even easier for those of us more fearful. You don't have to say yes all the time, just say yes more than you say no. Today. 

And then tomorrow.

And then the next day and see how your life changes. 

You have a little courage today so you can have more tomorrow.

ALL of this leads to a more dynamic life. And isn't that what we all want?

A more dynamic life.

Hang on, Oprah's at the door. I gotta get this...


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Death Slide

"What a stupid way this is to die."

I thought to myself as I squatted at the edge of a ledge in the middle of a jungle, strapped in a harness, tied to one single wire via a pulley---my life dependent on a couple of stoner dudes and a handful of carabiners.

"For real. If I die, this is my own stupid fault. I agreed to this. I said yes."

(Sometimes living what you preach ain't easy.)

I was zip-lining. I did not want to be zip-lining. I had no intention of zip-lining. Ever. (Zipping is also referred to as a "deathslide" ---for a reason!)

But my best friend treated me to this experience along with her whole family on the vacation to Hawaii I was co-opting and there was no turning back now (unless I wanted to waste all the money and look like a scaredy-cat.)

I adjusted my helmet ---like this pathetic little thing is gonna make a speck of difference as I plummet to my death.

"As a grown woman, I should be able to do this! The kids aren't afraid. Why am I?" I said to myself still squatting, a gajillion miles above land. Safe, safe, beautiful land. How I missed it so!

I had a choice: I say yes and I jump. Literally. And possibly die. Possibly, seriously. literally die. Because at this height, there are very few other ways this turns out.

Or I don't. I let fear make my decision.

I have always considered myself a jumper. I take chances. I'm a risk-taker. I tell a great story about jumping off a train in my youth. I JUMP! 

But I'm older now, less reckless. I consider all the options more than I used to. I also have apparently developed a sincere fear of heights in my old age. All these things matter. A fear of heights matters!

The stoner, surfer dude asks if I am ready. I ask him to triple check all my connections and wires and other zipping apparati. He obliges me, again, smiling. I am not the first afraid to jump, nor will I be the last.

We are all afraid at one time or another. Afraid to move, afraid of a new relationship, afraid to make a change, afraid to take a chance. We have the option of fear all around us. In fact, we are encouraged towards it. Watch the news sometime---

Stormageddon coming! Deadly virus coming! Immigrants coming! Be afraid!

Fear is easy. Fear sells. Fear of people who are different from us, fear of different religion, different culture, different race. Fear of the other. Fear of ourselves. Like I said, fear is easy. It's jumping that's hard. Seeing and jumping...and trusting.

So I jumped.

As I was flying across the abyss, jungle volcano lands far below me, I loosened my grip on the wires just a bit to look around and enjoy the scenery from this vantage point. I tried to breathe.

"Look down at the lake!" Stoner, surfer, new-best-friend dude yelled at me from his own parallel high wire.

I looked and smiled. Beautiful.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Follow the joy.

I was in a conversation with my friend Deb a few weeks ago and she was discussing her life and the changes she was making to it. Casually she mentioned: "I'm just trying to follow the joy, Kim."

I stopped her and made her repeat the phrase.

Follow the joy.

What a great reminder how to live. I love it. Imagine how happy we would all be if we just would/could follow the joy.

Following is active, engaged. It's not passive or waiting. It is steps in motion. Finding is hard. Following seems easier.

We would be in wonderful relationships in wonderful jobs with wonderful friends doing wonderful things. There would be joy. Sure, this may sound pollyanna, but there's truth in this. Yes?

Something not making you happy? Stop it

Someone sucking joy from you? Unfriend them.

Someplace not right? Change it.

Follow. The. Joy.

It's easy and hard all at once, right? If where/what/who you are isn't bringing you joy---change it. Go to where/what/who makes you happy and maybe the joy will follow you.

Follow. The. Joy.

Certainly makes more sense than the opposite.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Open your eyes

I am as shocked as many are with the choice UK citizens made today to leave the EU. Most of my British friends are equally shocked and dismayed.

"How could this happen??" We all ask.

After listening to hours of NPR and reading more Facebook suggested articles than I should have, it seems to me: no one thought it would happen. The issue wasn't taken as seriously as perhaps it should have been and that reminds me of something a bit closer to home.

We never took Trump seriously and look where he is. He has a 50% chance of being president of the United States after promising to build walls and close borders. He is running on fear and hate.

I'm not one for political posts on my blog. I have a wide audience and am not sure this is the platform for politics, but I can't be silent. Silence only creates more harm, more fear.

The Brexit vote, it seems to me in my research, was in large part, against immigrants and refugees, and is based in racism and xenophobia. It was in large part a closing of doors and a building of walls. It was a retreat from progress, community and the greater world. It was nationalistic and isolationist in tone and it is exactly what is happening in the U.S.

And as we know history repeats itself. The world paid very little attention to Hitler as well, and look what happened. Now we are a long way from there, but we are taking the early first steps. We must remember we ARE the other. It is us. The lines and differences are made up, created. We all (unless we are Native American) come from somewhere else. And yet here we are---excluding and fearing others because they look or sound or pray or love differently.

We need to open our closed hearts and closed borders.

Open your eyes. Pay attention. Fight the small-minded darkness with large-hearted light.

At least this is what I think. Would love to hear from you.

Monday, June 20, 2016

10 ways to improvise your day. The reboot.

1. Walk a different hall, drive a different route, take a different path.

2. Actually "hear" what is being said to you, not just the words.

3. Talk in an accent at Starbucks.

4. Speak your truth to someone with whom you haven't been lately.

5. Wing something you hadn't intended to wing.

6. Do something new every chance you get.

7. Close your eyes. Big breath. Open your eyes. Be present.

8. Take a risk---big or small. Just take a risk.

9. Say yes to 3 things suggested or asked.

10. Be more of who you are.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sitting in Mexico

I am in Mexico again running my artist residency. Aside from a cruel bacterial infection that is stopping me from eating all the tacos I want, life is good.

I love Mexico. I love the warmth, the sun, the people, the food. Blah, blah, blah, I've written about this before. But there's more I think.

Life is slower here. (Truer?) I don't know what it is, really. Culture? Weather? History? Things are simultaneously easier and harder and none of it matters all that much. It seems that there is more face to face, less technology. More connection, less isolation. Less faces in cell phones? More experiential moments, more fully lived moments.

But also, keep in mind, I have a crush on Mexico. Have for quite some time.

My friend Andy writes crazy good. He sends out periodic emails with some of his writing from experiences in every day life. It's mind-boggling that so much happens to Andy in the course of an average day, but then I think: the same happens to all of us! Andy is just better at noticing it and then recording it.

So that's what I do: I try to be better at noticing things. And I'm better at it in Mexico. More observant. More aware.

Sometimes I feel more awake in Mexico.

A lesson for all of us to keep awake to what is around us. Life is in the details observed. Joy is in the interaction.

Eat more tacos.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Intern vs. Interim

So I went to an audition the other day. And as, I always do, I checked the paper outside the door to see who was in the room. Usually it's a casting director or artistic director, someone with casting power. This is usually a good thing since you came all this way in hopes of getting cast.

I was quickly looking at said list of who's in the room and saw it was the intern casting director and an associate producer. Intern. Hm. I will admit to being a little disappointed. Associate producer has sway certainly, but not as much as a CD or AD. But an intern?? Lord. I heaved a big sigh. Oh well. Today's intern may be tomorrow's... somebody who casts. I put on a smile and walked in the room.

They were both very friendly but I will say the intern was quite in charge. Good for her I thought! Run this room lady! She seemed very knowledgable and in control. I gave them both equal attention, although maybe putting a bit more attention on the producer in the room. Audition went great and out I went.

As I was walking by the table, something urged me to take another quick peek at the audition information paper. What!?!? She wasn't an intern at all, but rather an interim casting director. A different thing all together. I misread it in my haste. Interim? Crap.

How was I in the room? Did I smile at her? Did I treat her like an intern or like an interim? After many audition replays in my mind ("Hello I'm Kim Schultz. Nice to meet you." Who did I look at first???) and self-flagellation (Idiot! Idiot! Idiot!), I was content. I think I did ok. I may have treated her a bit less importantly but perhaps that worked to my advantage.

After all, I came across, I hope, as her equal.

And what a great thing to come across as in an audition room. We are peers. We are both professional and want to make this connection work. She wants me to succeed as much as I do.We are equal. I am not less. And I think I was actually less nervous thinking it was an intern instead of the real deal casting director! It may have worked to my advantage. Maybe we should always think intern, instead of interim.

And of course, this made me think. How often do we decide someone's status and treat them accordingly? Often is the answer! Often!

Think about how you treat your boss vs. a child. Status!

On my street, outside of my grocery store, a homeless woman named Lisa is often (!) standing out there raising money for homeless folks in the hood. Sometimes I give her money. Once I bought her chicken. Once I gave her a winter hat. But almost accidentally, I have decided she is a peer and try to treat her as such, instead of treating her as a homeless person. Novel concept. Maybe we should always think interim instead of intern.

I say, "Hello Lisa!" as I walk by. I ask her how she is and sometimes I help her out. I don't know much else about her (it's actually been on my mind lately to ask? Is she in a shelter. I'm guessing so.) But lately, slowly, she is starting to treat me as a peer too. She'll just say hi back instead of asking for money. She smiles at me. We discuss the weather.

We are [almost] friends.

Does this make any difference to her day? I don't know. A smile ain't money. But sometimes just being recognized as a human being is all we need - helping her to raise her own status in this world.

In improv, we call this: whoever your scene partners are right now are the BEST POSSIBLE PEOPLE YOU COULD BE WORKING WITH. It's such a cool concept: there ain't no one better!

(I'm sure saying ain't a lot. Hm...)

Back to topic. These people around you have something to teach you. There's no one better you could hope to be partnered with at this moment. And therefore, there's no reason to judge them or yourself.

That's the ability we all have every day: to see people as equals--to make a connection, to find another human being. Trusting that whether she was an intern or an interim, she was the exact right person to be auditioning me at that time.

This is Lisa in her new hat this winter.

(It was made and donated by a knitting group my mom started in the burbs. It's the hat's big chance in the big city! Good luck hat! And good luck Lisa!)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

How to Listen Like an Improviser

Good improvisors are good listeners. Here's how they (and YOU!) can do it:

1.  Look in the eyes. Engage.

2.  Stop thinking about what you want to say and listen to what is actually being said.

3.  "Yes, and."  Listen and build. Listen and react.

4.  Smile. Give non verbals. Make them look good. 

5.  Listen with your full body. Be present. Sometimes just being with a person is enough.

6. Breathe. Make sure you are breathing. :)

It's that easy (or that hard!) Give yourself (and your partner) the gift of being present.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Let's talk about the elephant in the room.

The other day, late in the day, I looked in the mirror. I had way too much blush on! What in the world? How did this happen? Why did no one tell me? All day I was wearing this much blush?! I quickly wiped some off.

Later that night, I lost my blush brush.

Coincidence? I don't think so.  Dun. Dun. Dun!

But for realz, I think it's connected. Somehow, in some way. I think it's aaaaaalll connected. I think the universe provides these little connections for us all the time. (i.e. takes away our blush brush so we don't abuse that privilege again! For sure!) We just usually miss the signs. We're too busy or too tired or too...something to notice. This makes me think...

Ever notice how if say for example, you hear a friend talk about elephants, suddenly elephants are everywhere? They're on the subway adverts, on your facebook feed, on a discarded flyer on the street? Or somebody mentions a trip to Paris and suddenly the person next to you on the train is speaking French and you see a mural of the Eiffel Tower on your way home that you never noticed before and you get a  French language catalog in the mail that day, etc. etc.

Honestly, I think this happens all the time. We just miss it. But it serves as a good reminder when it does happen.  Is it the ability we all have to manifest or simply the ability we all have to notice? I don't know. I believe in manifestation certainly, but I also believe it can be hard and I believe noticing is easier. But then again maybe noticing is manifesting. Maybe all it takes is awareness. I like this superpower to bring what we want or are resonating with to life, simply with awareness.

Which then leads to the question: What are you not noticing? What, if you would just notice, could make a difference in your life? How can your life become fuller with more connections or coincidences?

Open your eyes. Look around. Maybe you'll see an elephant or, I mean...whatever it is you're looking for.

As always, please share your thoughts and reactions below.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Return to Guanajuato...

Brand new ARTIST RESIDENCY in Guanajuato Mexico coming in May. All disciplines are welcome!

The mission is to create a space for visual, literary and performing artists to be inspired by the Mexican Caribbean or the thriving cultural metropolis of Guanajuato to imagine and develop worthwhile work in their field, while in conversation with the community about diverse art and ideas; thus creating an environment where each nurtures and learns from the other.

Mexico is my happy place and I'd be happy to share it with you if you are an artist interested in travel and respite, community and culture.

See for more details.

And for your reading pleasure, here is the final exhibition text I created for the last residency. Hope you enjoy!

Akumal International Artist Residency in Guanajuato

This first season of the AIAR residency in Guanajuato gathers two female artists, both of them mixing the disciplines of visual art, performance and text. Influenced by the majestic mountains, tiny roads, bright colors, vibrant music and the pure life force that is Guanajuato, how can one not be transformed?

These two artists: Césan d’Ornellas of Canada and Irene Nerys of Italy found immediate connection with each other, sharing strangely similar experiences and histories, despite their age gap. They seemed to experience one another as themselves at different points in life. And both women, while in residency, like the salmon, are swimming upstream on a hero’s journey of their own, exploring the unknown. Everyone is the hero of his or her own myth.

Césan chose to work visually from a text she wrote some 25 years ago (about the same age Irene is now). Salmon Mother is the title of the text she has brightly illustrated for an artist book. It is Césan’s story, but it explores the path we all take on these unknown journeys upstream, fighting the currents. Although it references the many salmon legends sacred to many traditions, her work is deeply personal and vividly portrayed in a delicate, almost private way. It is as though we are peering into a personal journal.

Irene has been inspired for her work here by the hero’s journey in her search into the unknown. Joseph Campbell identifies The Hero’s Journey as a pattern of narrative that appears in drama, storytelling, myth and religious ritual. It describes the typical adventure of the archetype known as “the hero”, the person who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the group, tribe, or civilization. This journey involves a “call to adventure,” a “crossing of a threshold,” and the eventual “return with the elixir,” transforming the hero. According to Campbell, the hero’s inner journey (and our heroine’s) includes the awareness of a need for change, overcoming the accompanying fear and accepting the consequences of this new life, thus writing a new story. Through Irene’s emotional dance, music, video and text, we share her varied and visceral journey, ourselves somehow transformed. 

Both of these artists are embracing their journey: a younger women bravely evolving into the older woman skillfully reflecting on her past, while creating the present. Through transitions manifesting as divergent rivers or pathways, unsteady, swerving, they find themselves not quite where they were and certainly not where they will become. Nonetheless, they answered the call that brought them both here at this moment to Mexico, on this balcony—in a literal balance between Heaven and Earth—a 25 year old and a 50 year old simultaneously exploring the past and the future, excavating their story, discovering their path.

Will we heed our own “call to adventure” or will we let it slip like a salmon through our fingers, unable or unwilling to thrust our spear into it? The salmon are ultimately swimming to their death, but the Salmon Hero must not. She must return with the elixir, the treasure, to transform the world. 

Kim Schultz, Residency Director

Saturday, January 16, 2016

January 15, 2016


I went out to Berwyn, IL. It was a looong train ride which involved construction, slow trains, missed connections and going the wrong way. Rough commute. I was on my way out to hang some Iraqi refugee art. Which I did.

Looking at the art again made me happy, making up for the commute, reminding me of things I want to remember. I haven't seen the art up on walls in a while. It's so beautiful. I really hope we can sell some/most/all of it for the artists. But even just seeing it all up again was special. I started to breathe a little easier.

After getting back to my neighborhood later in the afternoon, I noticed three new places I had never noticed or been into: A fru fru upscale shop, a small town divey diner and a really cute hip bar. I love that there are secret places that I didn't know where there! I thought I knew everything in my neighborhood! I started to breathe more deeply.

As I left the shop I crossed paths with a little old lady. Literally. She stopped with a huff dropping her heavy grocery bags almost in front of me. I asked if she was all right. She said yes and so I went off in the opposite direction. But then I paused. I got a nudge and so looked back at her. She probably could use some help, I thought. Indeed she could.

"Thanks kid!" she said when I offered my assistance.

"No problem," I returned.

Kid. (If only she knew I was recently diagnosed with "50's shoulder" 50's!!!)

"Are you going out of your way?"

"No, it's ok I live close."

"Thank you so much, kid. But I think you're going out of your way."

"It's ok. I don't mind." I smiled at her.

At the corner of 7-11 and her apartment building, she was digging in her purse. I hoped she wasn't looking for money, but I didn't know what to say. I didn't want to assume, so I waited, her bags in my hand. Finally she brought out a bank envelope stuffed with money.

"Nooooooooo! I don't want any money."

"Come on kid! Take a dollar!"

"No no no no no no. Thank you, but no. Just glad to help!"

Back and forth we went a few more rounds, me trying to back off graciously, her trying to hand me a dollar.

"Please I really don't want any money..."

"Buy a lottery ticket with it here at 7-11, then. Will you do that? Please kid. You might get lucky. Well, not as lucky as if you bought it last night. But come on! Will you take it? Buy a lottery ticket with it, will ya?"

Never one to ignore fate or upset a senior citizen, I relented. I would take the dollar and I would buy a lottery ticket at her 7-11 and if I won big, we would split the earnings (She refused to agree to that last part, stubborn old broad.)

And so Patricia and I parted ways. Her with her bags. Me with her dollar, my breath stifled in anticipation of my possible destiny.

So into the 7-11 I went to buy the lottery ticket.

Big loser. Nada. Zip.

But still somehow I felt like I had won. Cliche. But true. I won this day.

Life goes by fast. Soon you might have 50's shoulder. Take what you can. Give what you can. And enjoy the ride.