Pink Gazelle Productions https://www.pinkgazelle.com Authentic Lives…Authentic Works Tue, 26 May 2020 19:35:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Gravity of Not Letting Go https://www.pinkgazelle.com/2020/05/26/the-gravity-of-not-letting-go/ https://www.pinkgazelle.com/2020/05/26/the-gravity-of-not-letting-go/#respond Tue, 26 May 2020 19:35:50 +0000 https://www.pinkgazelle.com/?p=22228 The Gravity of Not Letting Go “The key to be able to let go of all the stuff you are holding on to is knowing that you’ll be okay if you don’t have it.” – John C. Parkin I watched the movie, “Gravity,” over the weekend. Love it! I saw it when it first came ... Read more The Gravity of Not Letting Go

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The Gravity of Not Letting Go

“The key to be able to let go of all the stuff you are holding on to is knowing that you’ll be okay if you don’t have it.”

– John C. Parkin

I watched the movie, “Gravity,” over the weekend. Love it! I saw it when it first came out in 2013. In fact, I intended to write a blog about it then but never got around to it. But an awful lot has changed in my life – and the world – in those seven years.

When I first saw the movie (I remember watching it in the cute little movie theatre in Sidney, BC where I used to live), the message that jumped out at me then was the reminder to never give up.

If you’ve seen the film, you may recall the scene where the Sandra Bullock character, Dr. Ryan Stone, has just turned down the oxygen levels in her little space capsule in an effort to speed up the process of her clearly imminent death. She has given up on trying to get back to earth. Though she has managed to overcome every other challenge up to that point, the next step she faces seems impossible. Not only has she seemingly run out of options, she has now lost hope.

But then, as she starts to lose consciousness because of the lack of oxygen, her colleague in space, Matt, played by George Clooney – who supposedly died after saving her – suddenly appears outside her window…and then proceeds to open the door! No, don’t! Sandra isn’t wearing a space suit! She’ll die!

But wait…how can this be?! Did George somehow survive, floating around in space for hours with no oxygen?

No!

It is his soul who has come for a visit in Sandra’s imagination, to save her yet again – this time with some sage advice on a different way of getting herself back to earth.


For there is always more than one way to achieve a goal. The key is to never give up trying.
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But I digress…

That was the message I got when I watched the movie seven years ago. Which, I might add, I did apply to my own life – both in terms of my writing AND finally getting the heck out of my rat-infested, ridiculously noisy home in Sidney.

However, the message I took from “Gravity” this time around was the importance of letting go.

If you have seen the movie, you may also recall the earlier heartbreaking scene where Sandra is holding on to George for dear life. She is dangling in space by one foot, precariously still attached to the space station by a single tether. He is attached to her by a harness that has a clasp. He tells her she HAS to let him go. They can’t both survive. But if she lets go of him, she has a slim chance of surviving. Yet she refuses to let go.

To which he says, “You are going to have to learn how to let go.”

But of course, he is not just referring to the physical predicament they currently find themselves in. He is also referring to the fact that since her 4-year-old daughter died years before, she hasn’t lived. Rather, she has simply existed: gone to work, drove around for hours after work, gone home to bed, then woke up the next day and did it all over again.

Still, Sandra refuses to let George go. So he makes the decision for her and undoes the clasp…then floats off into space to die a peaceful death, watching his beloved sunrise.

And Sandra is left to save herself…in more ways than one.

Of course, if you are a reader who is somewhat familiar with my personal story, you may see a parallel or two to my experience of losing my husband, John, and having to learn to stand on my own two feet and, eventually, create a happy new life without him.


For the time comes when, regardless of the loss we experience, we must choose to truly live again…not merely exist.
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But that’s not what this blog is about.

This blog is about letting go…of STUFF. For after watching the movie on Friday night, I proceeded to spend the majority of yet another precious weekend working my way through the mountain of boxes in my garage.

How do we accumulate so much stuff? Why do we? Why is it so damn difficult to let things go? And how can it be that even after giving away dozens and dozens of boxes to the thrift store, I STILL have piles of boxes filled with stuff that I just can’t seem to let go of?

Well, this past weekend I think I may have found my answer.

When I relaxed enough to slow down and start paying attention to the process, I began to realize that a good chunk of the “stuff” I was still holding on to was, in fact, treasures: favourite photos in frames, photo albums, scrapbooks, letters, memorabilia.

I began to pay attention to what made me smile. What made me sad? What prompted no emotion at all, other than confusion – as in: “What IS this?” (in which case, it was easy to toss)


When our material possessions weigh us down, we need to let them go.
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The gravity of holding on to things we no longer need or want (or perhaps never did need or want) but are hanging on to out of some sort of weird sense of guilt or obligation to the person who gave us the item, the person we were when we bought it ourselves, or the person (or pet) the item reminds us of, can be detrimental to our well-being.

As such, I am letting go of many things. But some items I have no interest of letting go of. Every time I see it, I smile. But if I unwrap the item and roll my eyes at seeing it AGAIN, then it is time to let it go. And I do.

I would love to hear your experience of letting go of stuff.

What is in your boxes of keepsakes? Do you have boxes of items that you know you need to go through and get rid of? Or is the stuff you wish to keep nicely organized in an out-of-the-way place…but easily accessible should you wish to take a peek, on a rainy Saturday afternoon?

Because here’s what else I’m noticing: the happy memories that surface when I look at some of the old photos and mementos are reminding me of what an incredible life I have lived…still am living. Truth be told, I should probably have taken a page from Sandra Bullock’s character and worked more! There’s been no shortage of FUN for this cowgirl in the past 52 years 😊

This pandemic has given me the gift of time to go through many of the boxes and get rid of more things I don’t want, as well as better organize the boxes of items I do wish to keep. So when a future rainy Saturday afternoon calls for a short trip down memory lane, I look forward to pouring myself a cup of tea and doing just that.

In the meantime, here are a few fun photos of what was unearthed (briefly) in this past weekend’s treasure hunt:

 

My brownie uniform!

 

L to R: Kristin, Colleen & MA as The Three Amigos

 

MA at the Taj Mahal, India, 2003

Thanks for reading, take care & have a great week!

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. To receive her weekly blog, Weekly Words of Wisdom, please sign up here.

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A Mother’s Worst Nightmare https://www.pinkgazelle.com/2020/05/23/a-mothers-worst-nightmare/ https://www.pinkgazelle.com/2020/05/23/a-mothers-worst-nightmare/#comments Sat, 23 May 2020 15:18:07 +0000 https://www.pinkgazelle.com/?p=22202 This is the 3rd Mothering Matters blog in the Spring 2020 series A Mother’s Worst Nightmare – A Daughter’s Courageous Response “Accepting my new disability never was a real issue for me. The issue was what needed to be done next.” – Beth Kolbe I am not a mother myself… But I have heard it said ... Read more A Mother’s Worst Nightmare

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This is the 3rd Mothering Matters blog in the Spring 2020 series

A Mother’s Worst Nightmare – A Daughter’s Courageous Response

“Accepting my new disability never was a real issue for me. The issue was what needed to be done next.”

Beth Kolbe

I am not a mother myself…

But I have heard it said many times that a mother’s worst fear is the death of her child.

After reading Cindy Kolbe’s powerful book, “Struggling with Serendipity,” I suspect there might be a tie for first place when it comes to the grim “worst nightmare” fears lurking in the heart of every mother: making a mistake that seriously injures your child.

That is the nightmare that Cindy lived for years.

Late one night, Cindy was driving her two daughters and a friend home when she nodded off for just a split second, lost control of the vehicle, went into the ditch and hit a road sign. Everyone walked away from the crash except for her daughter, Beth, a teenager at the time. Beth would never walk again; in an instant she became a quadriplegic.

Put yourself in Cindy’s shoes: What would you do? Could you forgive yourself?

Put yourself in Beth’s shoes: How would you respond? Could you forgive your mom?


“Struggling with Serendipity” is one of the most difficult books I’ve ever read. It is also one of the most inspiring.
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Beth’s reaction to the events that fundamentally altered the trajectory of her life was swift and certain. Basically, her response was: okay, this lousy thing has happened to me…now what I am going to do about it?

Then she proceeded to focus her efforts on physio, then finishing high school, then learning to swim, then becoming a competitive swimmer at the Olympic level, then teaching kids to swim, then going to Harvard, then to Yale Law School, then becoming a lawyer, then getting married…the list goes on.

Ever since reading this book, whenever I catch myself thinking I can’t do something because of some lame excuse, I think of Beth trying over and over and over again to put her hair in a ponytail or pull herself out of the pool…simple actions so many of us take for granted.

Cindy’s reaction to the events that fundamentally changed the trajectory of her daughter’s life was completely different. The guilt she experienced is heartbreaking. The mistake she made was so small and completely unintentional…and yet the ramifications were huge.

Beth’s journey reminded me of the lessons of perseverance and patience, persistence and focus.

Cindy’s story reminded me of the importance of forgiving ourselves. For we all make mistakes.

As for the book title, “Struggling with Serendipity”? That is a powerful reminder that life is not always fair. Horrible things happen to kind, decent people…and accepting a harsh new reality – and/or adapting to it – is not for the faint of heart. From a spiritual perspective, we may not always know why a tragedy happens. All we can do is respond the best we can…turning lemons into lemonade left, right and center if that’s what it takes.

While Cindy struggles with the serendipitous events that led to her daughter being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life, Beth’s response taught me that she is NOT “confined” to a wheelchair. Being confined is a state of mind…not a mode of transportation.

Beth’s attitude and achievements in the wake of a life-altering injury are mind-boggling. She is beyond inspirational.

And make no mistake about it, as Beth’s mom, Cindy helped and supported her daughter every step of the way. Cindy, of course, also found the courage to write the book…and by doing so, is sharing her and Beth’s important journey with thousands of others.

I, for one, have been profoundly impacted by their story…enough so to make small but significant changes in my own life.

Over the years, Cindy and I have kept in touch via Twitter and we follow each other’s blogs. This past Christmas, Cindy sent me this beautiful photo of Beth on her wedding day (which has found a home in my kitchen):

Thank you, Cindy, for sharing your family’s journey. And thank you, Beth, for being you. You two powerhouse women may never be privy to the “bigger why” behind the serendipitous chain of events that forced you both on a path not of your own choosing. Nor will you likely ever know the details of the many lives you are impacting…but know this: you are.

And perhaps that’s what serendipity is all about: we don’t always get to choose what happens to us, but we do always get to choose how to respond. And the choices we make – and the actions we take – will reverberate in serendipitous ways we will never know.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. To receive her weekly blog, Weekly Words of Wisdom, please sign up here.

Previous Blogs in this Mothering Matters Series:

Pushing the Boundaries – What’s Really Going on When We Don’t Say No

 Connecting Through Memories – Real or Imagined

Mothering Matters Blog Archives

Learn more about Mothering Matters

Subscribe to Mothering Matters

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My Nicholas Cage Moment https://www.pinkgazelle.com/2020/05/19/my-nicholas-cage-moment/ https://www.pinkgazelle.com/2020/05/19/my-nicholas-cage-moment/#comments Tue, 19 May 2020 19:49:35 +0000 https://www.pinkgazelle.com/?p=22185 My Nicholas Cage Moment   “If you find it hard to laugh at yourself, I would be happy to do it for you.” – Groucho Marx Have you ever seen the 1995 film, “Leaving Las Vegas” with Nicholas Cage and Elisabeth Shue? If not, it’s quite…something. Though definitely not a comedy, there is one funny ... Read more My Nicholas Cage Moment

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My Nicholas Cage Moment

 

Nicholas Cage in ‘Leaving Las Vegas’. (Photo | Imdb)

“If you find it hard to laugh at yourself, I would be happy to do it for you.”

– Groucho Marx

Have you ever seen the 1995 film, “Leaving Las Vegas” with Nicholas Cage and Elisabeth Shue? If not, it’s quite…something.

Though definitely not a comedy, there is one funny scene near the beginning in which the character played by Nicholas Cage goes on a booze shopping spree, complete with a grocery cart.

Here’s the link to the 23-second clip.

A couple of weeks ago, I donned my face mask and headed into into my local liquor store to load up on booze. I don’t think I’ve ever used a shopping cart in a liquor store before – but desperate times call for desperate measures 🙂

Not that I’m drinking copious amounts during this pandemic…rather, I just go to the liquor store far less often. So I figure when I do go, I may as well load up.

So there I am afterwards…in my mask, baseball cap and sunglasses, pushing my grocery cart of booze down the street (in a small town full of seniors, I might add) while cheerfully whistling a tune (rather Nicholas Cage-like).

When I arrive at my car, I think to myself: “Oh…I’ll take a selfie of me and my grocery cart!” As perhaps you can imagine, this took a bit of maneuvering, this way and that, to get just the right shot.

When I was finished making an ass out of myself outside the liquor store, I stood up properly and turned around…only to see a rather good-looking guy in the line-up, doubled over, laughing at me.

“I wish I had MY phone!” he yells. “I’d have taken a photo of you trying to take your own photo.”

Now, a wise woman would have graciously let it go at this. But not me. I whipped off my mask and (perhaps overly excited at the prospect of a conversation with a real live person) yelled back at him: “Have you seen Leaving Las Vegas?”

He thinks a moment, then yells back at me: “Yes!”

“That’s me!” I yell, oddly proud as a peacock, “I’m using a grocery cart to buy booze! Remember that scene in the movie?!”

“Yes!” he yells back.

We both burst out laughing then I get in my car and carry on my merry way.

Yes, folks…now we know why I am still single 🙂

Have a great week…don’t drink too much!

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. To receive her weekly blog, Weekly Words of Wisdom, please sign up here.

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Pushing the Boundaries https://www.pinkgazelle.com/2020/05/15/pushing-the-boundaries/ https://www.pinkgazelle.com/2020/05/15/pushing-the-boundaries/#comments Fri, 15 May 2020 20:21:56 +0000 https://www.pinkgazelle.com/?p=22169 This is the 2nd Mothering Matters blog in the Spring 2020 series Pushing the Boundaries – What’s Really Going on When We Don’t Say NO? Momma Pope having tea at the Empress Hotel, Victoria, BC “I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own ... Read more Pushing the Boundaries

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This is the 2nd Mothering Matters blog in the Spring 2020 series

Pushing the Boundaries – What’s Really Going on When We Don’t Say NO?

Momma Pope having tea at the Empress Hotel, Victoria, BC

“I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit.” 

– Elizabeth Gilbert

My Mother, a.k.a. “Momma Pope,” didn’t just push my boundaries…she stormed right through them, sat down and poured herself a nice stiff drink.

A Manhattan, to be precise. Although, technically, my Mother would never have poured herself a nice stiff drink. She would have had someone else would do that for her.

Alas, it is not my mother’s martini preference (nor the fact that she preferred to be served rather than to serve) that is the subject matter of this Mothering Matters blog.

Rather, it is the minor matter of personal boundaries that I wish to explore. For perhaps you, too, had a mother (or still have one) that had a knack for acknowledging your request for a bit of space…but then gleefully storming the gates, as it were, when the need (her need) arose. Which it often did.


I loved my Mom dearly, but the truth is: she demanded an awful lot of my time and attention.
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When I was in my early thirties, it was taking its toll on my marriage.

Here’s an excerpt from my play script, “Saviour,” in which the characters based on my husband, John, and I are having a spectacular argument right before he goes to work and dies (I am “Alex” and John is “Sam”):

Sam stands up and walks towards bedroom door.

ALEX: Sam?

SAM (turns around): Yeah?

ALEX: I am SO scared I’m gonna wake up twenty years from now and still not have finished writing a book.

SAM: You’re probably right about that…just as long as you know that’ll have been your choice.

Alex’s mouth drops open. The phone rings. Sam nods towards it.

SAM: Your next distraction awaits…

ALEX: Sam!

Sam walks out of living room into bedroom. Alex picks up phone.

ALEX (into phone, upset): Hello? Oh, hi Mom…

Alex shakes her head.

ALEX (into phone): Nothing.

Alex frowns.

ALEX (into phone): What? Umm…well…uhh…it’s not really convenient. I mean, we’re both working that weekend and…

Alex nods.

ALEX: Yeah, I know…

Sam re-enters from bedroom door, holding something in his hand.

ALEX: Okay, okay…I’ll talk to Sam about it. Bye.

SAM: Talk to me about what?

Sam puts his chain with the pendants over his head.

ALEX: My Mom wants us to host Thanksgiving dinner.

Sam tucks pendants down front of his black t-shirt then snaps up the rest of his police shirt.

SAM: You’re kidding me, right?

ALEX (folds arms across chest): No.

SAM: It’s not convenient.

ALEX: That’s what I said. But I do have the Monday off…

SAM: So? You were just complaining about not having time to write.

ALEX: It’s a stat holiday!

SAM: Too bad. Unpublished writers don’t GET stat holidays.

ALEX: Why are you being such a jerk?

SAM: Because you can’t say NO! You just don’t get it. You complain about not having time to write…but the second your mother phones and asks you to do something, you don’t even bat an eye.

ALEX: It’s dinner, for God’s sake.

SAM: If your writing is so important to you, why don’t you actually spend some time doing it…

Sam nods to the book on coffee table.

SAM: Instead of just reading about it?

Just a cute aside: after the actors read this fight scene out loud during a workshop of the script, they said, “Wow! That argument is SO real!” 🙁

But, of course, the real issue – the lesson – at the heart of that scene is not the fact that my Mother was, yet again, pushing my boundaries.

The real lesson was “Sam’s” message: I had to learn how to say no.

Why is this so difficult for so many of us, particularly women, to do?


If something isn’t convenient or we simply can’t take one more thing added to our already over-flowing plate, why is it so hard to say no?
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I suspect there are many answers: guilt, wanting to please others, not wanting to hurt others, wanting to be liked, a sense of responsibility…the list goes on, as to why we say yes when we want to say no.

But at the end of the day, here’s what I’ve learned from the big-guns boundary-pushers (mothers and others): when we find the strength and courage to say no to what we do NOT want, we make space for what we DO want.

And maybe, just maybe, the real reason we say yes when we want to say no (over and over again) is because then we’ll have an excuse – other people – as to why we didn’t achieve what we really wanted to during our time here.

Ouch.

Now excuse me while I go pour myself a Manhattan 😊

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. To receive her weekly blog, Weekly Words of Wisdom, please sign up here.

Previous Blog in this Mothering Matters Series: Connecting Through Memories – Real or Imagined

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Learn more about Mothering Matters

Subscribe to Mothering Matters

 

 

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