This weekend I was so stoked to find this porta potty–but not for the reason you think.
Avoiding a traffic jam on the West side of Los Angeles, I took a drive up PCH and stopped for a quick run on the beach. As I passed through the bird sanctuary in Malibu Lagoon my eye caught a glimpse of textured azure blue that I’d never seen before. It was on an Andy Gump portable toilet. (Pic #2) It made me laugh, and then I fumbled for my camera to capture the visual jolt.
Close up, it appeared to me as a dramatic, monochromatic, abstract work of art. I cropped it down to the size of a small painting, and had to share it with you here. (Pic #1)
Doctor knows best:
The “porta potty moment” reminded me of something Dr. Nancy Snyderman told me at a recent FORTUNE confrence in Dana Point. Something we can’t hear too much: Stop and appreciate.
Appreciate what? Everything.
Snyderman is Chief Medical Editor for NBC, co-founder of bewell.com, mother of three—and oh yeah—a practicing surgeon. I had a chance to interview her during the prestigious “Most Powerful Women Summit” where she appeared as a guest speaker. The exchange stayed with me.
She said she asks her children every day—“What is today’s gift?” She thinks most of us don’t stop to appreciate a precious moment–—whether it’s a stunning landscape, the smell of fresh bread, a well-written line, or bar of music. Or, as in my case—an outdoor toilet that didn’t smell like fresh bread.
She’s pretty hardcore about getting us all to “stop–and learn to breathe.” She says for many people it “takes a real scare” to get into this grateful place. In her book, “Medical Myths That Can Kill You: And the 101 Truths That Will Save, Extend, and Improve Your Life” Snyderman touts the significance of the mind-body connection for good health and happy living, and says her “family tradition” of finding “today’s gift” can only enrich our lives if we’re willing to give it a try.
Now I’ve started actively looking for my daily gift. But sometimes it takes me by compete surprise. Case in point:
The other day my husband called me on my cell saying he had something important to share. He put our newly adopted cat, “Ducky” on the phone so I could hear her purr like a fax machine. (Pic #4) It was one of those deep throaty purrs that make the phone vibrate. I asked him to do it again so I could record it and play it back whenever I needed a pick-me-up.
Then, on Labor Day weekend, while on a hike in the Santa Monica Mountains with my 18-year old stepson, we paid a visit to a Chumash Indian cave. (Pic #5)
We’ve been there many times…It’s always a blast imagining what life was like as a cliff dweller 7000 years ago – but this time there was a new addition to the experience: a yellow-painted happy face jack-o-lantern peaking out from the carved rock. (Pic # 6)
We both did a double take, and laughed out loud. While I’m sure most people would denounce any defacing of historical ground, it made our day.
And finally—just how glorious–and healthful–would it be if we really began to cherish, and even celebrate, those tiny moments of unexpected relief? For me, one arrived in the mail today, at the bottom of an insurance statement. Five blessed words that brought sheer joy:
Photo credits: Pics #5 and #6 (Chumash caves): Jackson Kaplan, Pic #4 (“Ducky”): Josh Kaplan