The Ark

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the journey to your mirror

I had a discussion recently with a client about greatness. Popularity is probably a more accurate description. It’s funny what people will tell you when you lay your hands on them. They seem to forget they are in a public place, surrounded by other people. They get in my chair and once we’ve talked business, they spill their dreams or their fears or their guts. I don’t really understand it.

Anyway, my client mentioned out of the blue that she regretted that she had never done anything or become anything special. I asked her what she meant by special, envisioning a short school bus but knowing that isn’t what she meant.

“You know, I’ll never be famous. I can’t sing, I can’t dance, I’m not funny, I’ve never been on t.v…Have you ever been on t.v.?

“Yes”, I answered I went home from work after moving around a half dozen appointments because my son had a fever. By the time I got there, he didn’t have a fever, so we went to my daughter’s school carnival. I was stuffing my pie hole with a chili dog and ended up on the local news where every one of my clients I had canceled saw me.  It didn’t make me famous.”

“SEE??? Even YOU have been on t.v.!” I wasn’t sure how to take that so we moved on.

She explained that her entire life had been a dull, dreary story that she couldn’t even keep a journal about. My immediate reaction, which I managed to keep to myself, was…so?

It occurred to me that she just needed a change of perspective. We were giving her a new color and cut that day so we had enough time for me to share my perspective.

Here’s my take on greatness. Greatness is a personal thing. And it is achieved on a personal level. It is not determined by the number of friends we have, the neighborhood or size of our homes. It is not measured by our stature, career, bank account or spouse. 

Greatness, like respect, generosity, integrity, leadership, comes from within. It is revealed to us at the end of the day when we look ourselves in the mirror and know we spent our day well. It is reflected in the faces of our children. Greatness is purity of heart; follow through on intention, ingenuity.  We achieve greatness daily by putting one foot in front of the other when every fiber screams “LAY DOWN”; when we live one day at a time with gratitude; when we remember that someone in the world loves us, when we end the day weary of a hard day’s work.

Greatness is not an empty vessel to be filled with the adulation of thousands of strangers who only want to be around us in the hopes that we can do something for them; it is not shallow like outer beauty; it is not vengeful, selfish, or brutish. To achieve greatness we must be the vessel.

No, we achieve personal greatness every day that we survive, that we choose good over evil, that we do some selfless act. We need not desire the approbation of the masses. We need only to accept and love ourselves in order to love and accept others. We need only to live gratefully, contribute productively, and remember that we never know who is watching, listening and learning from us.

During my musings with this client, I reminded her that she had two wonderful children, is a wonderful and supportive wife, an amazing and talented teacher, and a thoughtful and respectful friend. And if all those successes didn’t make her “great” I’d be willing to contribute and write a blog about her.

I finished her hair, which, if I do say so myself, looked stunning and handed her the mirror. She gazed at herself for only a moment before exclaiming. “OMG! I’m gorgeous!!!” loud enough to draw chuckles from more than a few sitting in earshot.

“See? Now, your outsides reflect your insides. And you said you weren’t special.”

She left with a smile on her face. My job was done. :c )

Views: 64

Comment by Pypermarru1 on August 31, 2011 at 5:23pm

You nailed it. 

She needs to rethink what it means to be great.  She's obviously wrapped up in a tabloid, realty star, 15min of fame kind of world.  By living a normal existence she feels she missing out on some kind of greatness?  That's sad.

Being plopped on an island competing for money while slitting the throat of the guy next to you makes you seen, but not great.  Having a sex tape that leads to a record deal does not mean you are lving a better life than a girl that works at Sonic to pay for college.  Being on T.V. does NOT make you great.

You're explanation of greatness is well said.


Sidenote:  I'm not sure what it is about the salon chairs but they bring out the chatterbox in me too.  I don't spill my beans right off, but if you've cut my hair more than three times, you most likely know which of my employees I want to kill, what my celebrity crush is, how I feel about kids today and a general overview of each immediate family member.

DANM Those salon chairs.  What is the deal?  I think it's because you hair stylists massage our heads at the sink giving us a false sense of comfort at the start.  Ya tricky bastards :)


So glad you are back blogging.  Don't forget to tell about the exam results.

Comment by Dana (scribblers sanctuary) on August 31, 2011 at 8:43pm
Pyper, that was my point exactly. I'm not sure she's buying it though. What I find most disturbing is, I wasn't talking to a young adult who not been in the world. This lady is nearly my age. I wanted to say ..."oh, grow up!" although that wasn't what she needed to hear from me at the moment.

Btw, Tricky is a 400 level course. :c)
Comment by NatureJunkie on September 1, 2011 at 3:19pm
We live in a culture that promotes fame as the pinnacle of success, and our culture equates success with greatness and even wealth (note the phrase "rich and famous"). But fame is more ephemeral even than life itself. We're so, so screwed up that way. You describe a definition of greatness that would apply to George Bailey, and that's the fictional character I try to emulate as my role model.
Comment by NatureJunkie on September 1, 2011 at 3:22pm

"They seem to forget they are in a public place, surrounded by other people. They get in my chair and once we’ve talked business, they spill their dreams or their fears or their guts. I don’t really understand it."


Hmmmm. Kinda sounds like vlogging. ; )

Comment by Dana (scribblers sanctuary) on September 2, 2011 at 1:03am
NJ - the Georges of the world should be emulating you.

"Hmmmm. Kinda sounds like vlogging " Perhaps that's why vlogging is so difficult for me. It doesn't feel personal or private to me. It feels like going to grocery store nekkid. :c)
Comment by BlancheNoE on September 6, 2011 at 8:33am

You sent that client away more great than when she came in. Based on the way the ripple effect works, the number of people you touched through her is innumerable.

As always, great job !

Comment by Dana (scribblers sanctuary) on September 7, 2011 at 1:06am
Amy - hmmm...I hadn't thought of that. Guess I need a change of perspective from time to time as well. Thank you sweet friend. :c )


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