Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ahhhh ... The Simple Life

I began yesterday at Omega House, came home to do a couple of massages, picked up Roger to go to an art gallery event that a new friend had invited us to attend, and ended the night at a Montrose hole-in-the-wall known for its fries, flirtatious waiters, and salads.

A pretty typical day in the nontraditional world of Karen Campbell. Yet, throughout the variety of experiences there was always an anchor moment, reminding me that the path I've chosen is simultaneously odd and familiar.

For instance, at the AIDS hospice -- after mopping all the floors, cleaning the kitchen post-breakfast, and attempting to chat up a couple of non-responsive clients -- I took a break and watched the Food Network. Watching other people cook is something I do every day. I find viewing creativity and making mental notes of things I can try incredibly relaxing. I just don't usually do it with a former massage therapist and nurse who now weighs about 80 pounds and who has extremely strong opinions on Rachael Ray's ineptitude in the kitchen.

A weekend massage is pretty typical for me as well. Two? Not so much. Two back-to-back? (yes, massage pun intended) Definitely not. But these were returning clients and both needed what I had to offer ... and they liked the back rub as well. I've learned that not everyone who walks through my massage therapist's door is solely in need of touch. Sometimes they also want to be heard.

At the art gallery, I encountered new friends who have great connections. As a networker and a passionate supporter of passionate people doing good work and using fashion to do so, I, well, ... I connected. By the time we were through touring the cute old cottage that had been expanded into a three story studio and artist's residence, I had secured the space for a potential fundraiser and gotten a promise of introductions to much needed jewelry designers.

At dinner, I laughed and willing received the good natured barbs coming my way as I enjoyed Roger meeting my new office suite mate Lyn. Both extroverted, they barely needed me to inject as they explored the why, when, where, and how of their pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness to date.

When I settled in at home at the close of the evening, I had an incredible sense of "rightness" to my day. People often comment on how good it is that I volunteer and work with nonprofits. They get this look in their eyes like I used to see when members of the congregation talked of pastors or missionaries. The "wow-there's-no-way-I-could-do-what-you-do" distant stare they suggests they aren't going to hear how ordinary it all really is.

But it's true. Doing the right thing can come naturally. I know how to cook and clean, so I do so at the hospice. I know how to make people feel good physically, so whatever they want when they're on my table -- be it silence or conversation -- I'm there for them. I know how to tell a story so I tell the story of passionate social enterprisers at an art function. I know how to listen so I do.

At every turn of my day, I'm rewarded. At every turn of my life, I'm blessed.

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