Three Words

A couple of years ago, I spotted a sign in the trash. It was the same day I was thinking of making New Year’s resolutions. Maybe some wise people and shepherds see signs in the sky. I see them in the trash.

My sign read, “Become Your Dream.” And I have done this – by pursuing teaching, coaching, and writing work.


I also have looked for and found signs on social media.

I love social media – I love the short expressive forms of WordPress, Twitter, and Facebook. Status updates guide and inspire me.

In 2012, social media marketing guru Chris Brogan chose three guiding words: Temple, Untangle, Practice.

He meant:

  1. Treat your body like a temple.
  2. Untangle yourself from distractions.
  3. Practice mindfulness.

I want to do those three things too.

And for this pre-Christian season I want these three words: Simplify, Joy, Kindness.

I want to:

  1. Simplify my holiday by focusing on the things and experiences I love, like light, music, creativity, and time with family. And jettison clutter and consumerism.
  2. Give and receive light and joy to and from everyone I meet. And let go of judging.
  3. Practice kindness. Know that the Christmas season is stressful and so I vow to perform daily acts of kindness.

Isaiah 7:14 says, “Therefore the Lord will give you a sign.” Look for your sign. Look for your three words. They may be in the trash, the sky, or on Twitter. Let three simple words guide you through the holiday season and then through the New Year.

What are your three words?

I wrote this today for an upcoming Advent Devotional for the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew United Methodist Church. 

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Sidewalk Art


Enough with the sidewalk art!

H. and I had just come from the New Museum where we saw George Condo’s Mental States and met the great man.

On the way into the park, we stepped on De La Vega’s sidewalk art.

A man with a feather in his cap sat near the first chalk drawing, around 97th and Central Park East. H. wondered if that was the artist, Jamie De La Vega. But not all artists hang near their art. Like all bloggers do not hang near their blog.

One message on the sidewalk did not have the silly helicopter or fish image — simply words across the pavement with a message, “It will continue to get better.” That made me happy.

Chalk artists have to know the forecast.

Minutes after we arrived at H’s Little League game, a dark cloud hovered, opened up, and sent me running to the field house.

My first thought was I should not have spent that $25 to get my hair blown out. And my second thought was all that sidewalk art  probably did not survive the downpour.

Art is ephemeral. Like the bubbles in George Condo’s paintings.

Life too is fleeting. This applies to My Rules Number 6 and 7.

6. Live every day as if it were your last

7. Embrace uncertainty

And yes, it will continue to get better. But there will be rain.

Become Your Dream Part III

Yup, I stepped in it, more sidewalk art by De La Vega.

On Saturday afternoon, the girls and I were heading into Central Park around 96th Street with our picnic to watch H. play Little League in the North Meadow, 23 acres of fields (thanks Wikipedia). And I saw the chalk drawing beneath my feet.

“Move, girls, I want to take a picture,” I said.

“Of what? There’s nothing,” C. said, shrugging, looking around.

“Look down. See? A little guy dragging a vase.” No, that may be wrong. That might not be the image. Maybe the little guy wasn’t pulling the vase, but the vase was pushing the little guy. As if to say — art propels you, not drags you.

The other two times along with the little helicopter guy, De La Vega had written three words: Become Your Dream. And that was an apt message for me — because the first time, around New Year’s Day, I had been wondering, “What are my three words for the New Year?” And there they were, resting on a pile of trash. Become. Your. Dream. Three excellent words to guide me in 2011.

And then almost exactly two months later, I saw his sidewalk art when I was coming from picking up my number for the 5K Coogan’s fun run at the New York Road Runners office. I took the words — Become your dream — as a sign. I should set goals for myself, like running a 5K, and then achieve them.

When I saw the words on Saturday, it was almost exactly two months after seeeing them on the night I picked up my race number.

I was again committed to a goal. The next day I was going to ride in the 5 boro bike tour. I was going to pedal 50 miles, go over 5 bridges and visit every borough in one morning. And yes, I did it.

The girls and I only stopped for a minute to notice the sidewalk art and for me to snap this picture with my phone. We walked on to meet our friends in Central Park and to watch our team, the Giants, play baseball. They lost, but not by much. There’s still time left in this season for the Giants to become their dream.


Become Your Dream Part II

I first noticed  the words propped up with the thrown-out Christmas tree. I might have seen them around town but they didn’t click.

Just now, I noticed the words again written in chalk outside the Whitney Museum. It might be hard to make out the words from my pictures, but the words were, BECOME YOUR DREAM.

I had just picked up mine and the kids’ registration for our 5K Coogan’s run at the NY Road Runners Club on East 89th. Yes, it’s been a dream of mine to run a 5K. [The last and only time I ran a 5K (hoping to beat 41 minutes): ]

So I felt a frisson, an emotional charge, an old friend, a coincidence, an epiphany, an Aha!, a click, an all’s-right-with-the-world feeling when I saw the words again.

Of course, I snapped a couple of pics on my phone. (I think this photo is upside-down.) When I got home to the West side, I googled Become Your Dream. I learned the artist is James de la Vega

There are pictures and sightings of his words and the spunky Keith Haring-like helicopter all over the city, mostly on the Upper East Side. Bitchcakes (love her name!) has a nice photo and thanks the artist responsible “for this act of pure joy and positivity.” Nice.

I want to thank the artist too. It was about 5:45 when I walked towards the Whitney. I thought. ‘Maybe I’ll duck in and see some art. I hope I have enough money for admission. Ah, no worries. The museum closes at 5:45.’ So I started down 5th Ave. That’s when I saw the sidewalk art next to a bit of construction in front of the museum.

Seeing the words thrilled me. It reminded me that art is on the street. Art is at my feet. Art inspires me to keep walking or to get running. To keep going. To get out of my comfort zone. I love my beautiful New York. 

I love street art. I love the idea of it and the feel of it. I love Become Your Dream. These are my three inspiring words for 2011.

Here is my blog entry about my three words when I saw them for the first time in the garbage two months ago: