The Beauty in Life

Over the weekend, I watched one of my favorite movies, “The Devil Wears Prada.” Each time I watch it, I learn a new lesson in life. The lesson this weekend comes in the wake of the disaster in Japan.

After watching the devastation sweep away entire towns, and the threat of a nuclear disaster, you can’t help but think of life…and how tragedy can be the biggest wake-up call around the world.

From the Australian floods that wiped out entire lands, to watching horses and cows stuck in the floods…just looking for ground to swim to, and there being none…you can’t help but feel the devastation inside your very own soul.

Watching the waves roll in and completely destroy everything in its path…to parents wishing they had died in the tsunami after learning that the school where their children attended…there were no survivors…you can’t help but think about life.

It doesn’t matter what religion you’re from, this is what we would call the apocalypse, Doomsday, the end of days, or the beginning of the end. The Mayans predicted the world as we know it would end during the winter solstice of 2012. From one part of the world to the other, there will be an upheaval. The world has to correct itself…heal itself…after mankind has damaged it and sickened it. The world has to attack the virus before the virus kills it.

According to scholars, this isn’t the first time this has happened. Remember the fabled city of Atlantis? Many scholars suspect that the ‘crystal’ energy being used during that time became so powerful that it weakened the earth. The earth had to distinguish the parasite that was draining it, by wiping them out with a tidal wave.

No one survived from that civilization. There were three unique cultures during that time. The Mayans, the Atlanteans and those now residing in the land of India. Each one spoke against the other culture saying that their ways were the only way, and the others were wrong. All of it was based on doctrine. One thought sex was part of it. Another thought crystal/mystic energy was a part of it. Another thought astrology was a part of it.

Interestingly enough, not one single culture survived. Only their ruins remained, left to be deciphered by the humans of today.

Humanity never learns from their mistakes. They create the same mistakes over and over again…until one day everything is wiped away and we are forced to start the human race all over again.

The dawn of a new age approaches. This age is ending.

The signs that the current age we are living in is quickly coming to an end…look at the way humanity has advanced so quickly. Look at technology. I remember in this lifetime when there was no such thing as the internet.

As we advance rapidly, we become careless.

Look at the financial recession we are in now. The financial advice being dished out prior to the massive foreclosures across America is the financial wisdom of the past. Now, they preach the ways of the Great Depression. Don’t buy on credit. Don’t take out massive mortgages. Don’t borrow money…save, save, save… Reduce, reuse, recycle. Plant your own gardens. Buy only what you need.

All within the last decade, the way we use our money has changed rapidly.
We have started to become more eco-friendly than we were ten years ago. As more and more evidence is coming out, going green is better…and will cure what ails you.

Watching the timeline of the last century when toxic chemicals were introduced into every household in the form of cleaning products in the early 20th century shows how sick we became…how cancers became more and more prevalent. How children became more asthmatic…and more and more children became born (especially those born from Generation X) with developmental problems like autism, ADHD, ADD and other childhood cancers and diseases.

We have flooded our homes, our bodies, and our planet with toxin after toxin. We put petroleum oil on our lips. We cook using petroleum oil products (plastics). We smother the air with toxins from using petroleum as a form of energy.

We are not only killing the planet, we are killing ourselves.

But don’t fear…Mother Earth is correcting all of that.

Scary? It should be. Look at Japan. Look at Australia. Look at South America. It’s happening NOW.

So the question is…what are you going to do about it?

Imagine being that parent that drops their kid off at school and an hour later the school is hit by a tsunami. You manage to survive and your only thought is to get to that school. When you get there you find out that there were no survivors.

Is that the future you want? For most parents, they would be completely defeated to learn that their child was killed by Mother Earth, but they survived.

They could have no home left, no job, no food or clean water, but all they care about is that they survived the tragedy, but their loved ones had not.
This is the life for so many in Japan right now.

This should serve as a lesson to the rest of the world.

While on our road trip to Carolina last weekend, Katrina posed the question, if you knew this was the end of the world, what are you doing with your life?

Would you run around the world and see everything you possibly could…just in case it was wiped away? Would you finish your dream mission to visit every NHL arena? Would you finally attempt to do every single thing you’ve ever dreamed of doing?

I decided this year that I would finally go on my dream vacation to Morocco. I swore I wouldn’t even look at the price tag. I would stop in Paris once again and see la cite de l’amour one more time. I would eat French food, sit in cafes and sit down in L’Orangerie and be surrounded in Monet’s Water Lilies…one last time.

I wanted to fall in love with Paris all over again just in case it was the last time I would ever be able to see her. It was in Paris that I fell in love with seeing the world and different cultures. It was that experience I had while I was there that I would bring home with me and tell my grandfather (who paid for the trip), what are you waiting for? You only get one life to do anything and everything you’ve ever dreamed of doing. If you want to see Paris the way I saw Paris…then GO…SEE THE WORLD!!!

My family had told him for years to travel the world in his retirement. It wasn’t until I said those words to him that he began traveling around the world. He started in his 70s. I started at the age of 16.

Beyond the photos and maps we bring home of the places we’ve seen, we also keep a box of coins from every country we’ve ever visited (along with a few postage stamps). I say ‘we’ when it’s really only ‘me’ now. It’s one of the few things I have left of our journeys around the world. It’s a reminder that we only have one life to live…and I’ve got to do anything and everything I’ve ever dreamed of doing.

Morocco was always that ‘someday’ I’ll go kind of trip. Now, it’s a ‘what are you waiting for’ trip. With the rebellions happening all throughout the Middle East, and a new war starting in Libya involving the United States, I’m reminded once again just how little time I have left to make my dreams come true.

I don’t want to be stuck in another moment where I’m watching on the television one of the greatest wonders of the world brought down to dust. I don’t want mankind or Mother Nature to take it all away…so I am in a race to defeat man and nature…and let what is left of it inspire me with new memories.

Which leads me to my next point.

I mentioned ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ for a reason. The life lesson I learned this weekend was about my career. I had to ask myself if I was happy doing what I’m doing now. The truth is, I’m happy that I’m writing…and a lot. The passion has always been in the writing, not in hockey. Hockey was a subject I could get passionate about…so long as I was writing about it.

I was reading some entries from a photojournalist for National Geographic. I read about his adventures going from one land to the next, taking photographs, documenting his adventures and then sharing it with the world through that amazing little magazine.

I remember as a child sitting in my great-grandmother’s house and reading all of her National Geographic magazines. She had years upon years worth of the publication. My Dad ordered a subscription to the kids magazine afterwards (because there were no naked people in it).

Reading this photojournalist’s journey around the world for National Geographic reminded me of all those years ago with my great-grandmother and how she was always smiling, looking at me flipping through all of the magazines…and seeing the world through a photojournalist’s eyes. You see, my great-grandmother was a writer, too. I just so happen to be following in her footsteps.

Oddly enough, I found her notebook of writings among my things a few months ago. How it got there, I have no idea. But fate has its way sometimes. I was meant to find it…over 70 years later.

When I read through the first few pages of her story, I started to cry. For the first time in my life, I had felt that deep connection with my great-grandmother. I finally knew where I got my passion in writing…I got it from her. That little old lady with the biggest smile in the world…I got one of the greatest gifts from her.

Reading that National Geographic photojournalist’s essay on his trip to South America made me ponder just what I am doing with my life. Am I doing exactly what I wanted to be doing with my life? Is this guy living the life I should be living?

Yes…I asked myself that. The answer was…No. I’m not living the life I want to live.

Before my grandfather died, he had asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I told him that if I had the choice, I would travel the world and write. I’d write about the people I see, the people I meet, the life around me. I would travel to experience new things and write in contentment for the rest of my life.

He told me, “Then do that.”

That National Geographic essay reminded me of that dream I told my grandfather back in 2007. I’ve been writing ever since then.

But every career has it’s time where you have to perfect your craft. These last three seasons were a way for me to dive into a culture and talk about it from the inside/out. I lived in a city where I got in touch with God (who would have thought I’d find God in New York City?).

That sign I got on the way back to NYC last weekend…68 and Washington…told me that the reason why I got into hockey to begin with was about to reveal itself. And it has.

68 is Jaromir Jagr’s number. Washington was the place where I first saw Jagr. It marked the beginning of a prophecy into my life that would only begin four years later. It’s only now making sense to me.

Hockey was my backbone. Writing was my soul. The two intertwined and gave me an incredible career…but it does not complete me. The accolades of appreciation I got from those who read my entries from Dublin, Ireland were the only bits of appreciation that I received over these past few years that made me feel happy.

There are only a few stories I’ve written about hockey that made me so passionate about writing. Those stories involved the history and ‘story’ of a hockey player. Everyone else writes about the games and how people are winning and losing. Too many people write about that. Not too many people talk about the things that go into making a dream into a reality. There are not too many articles out there talking about the man behind the mask.

There are not that many articles that talk about triumphs and defeats within the culture of hockey. Too many want you to just focus on who won, who lost, and why it happened that way.

The thing about being successful is not writing about what people want you to write about. It’s about writing what you feel you should write about. It allows you to have your own voice, thrown in with its own peculiarities that makes your own work unique. It is what separates you from the next person.

So this is where I say, “It’s time.”

Every person that is meant for greatness has a beginning. We all have to start from somewhere. It is in those experiences that we grow and prepare ourselves for the moment of destiny that we are meant to grasp when the time comes.

I’ve felt it for a long time now. I knew the moment was coming…and I’ve been preparing for it since my grandfather passed away.

Like that child sitting in an old house in North Carolina, flipping through National Geographic after National Geographic, looking at the world through new eyes thinking…I want to see this for myself…I’ve finally found a new path in this life.

It’s that smile from a great-grandmother. It’s an inspiration from a grandfather that told me that nothing will ever work out the way I want it to unless I’m on my path in life (and that moment literally threw me onto that path), that is now shaping my decisions.

What I want…is exactly what I told my grandfather I wanted a month before he died. I want to travel the world and write about the people I meet and the things I experience. I want to write spiritual and inspiring stories that help people realize the potential that they have in themselves. I want to live…

That is the beauty in life…living for today as if there is no tomorrow. Doing anything and everything you’ve always dreamed of doing. It’s about living this life to the fullest potential…and being happy every single day that you are living this life.

If the world comes to an end like the Mayans predicted…at least I can say that I did everything I ever wanted to do in this lifetime…and I was happy doing it. Maybe, just maybe, I will be able to contribute to this human race in an inspiring way that one of my works survives and gets passed on to others. That is the only thing I want to contribute to the world.

Like Leonardo da Vinci contributed his Mona Lisa or Dante’s work, “The Divine Comedy,” they did not aim for greatness. They only aimed to contribute one piece of work that would transcend time…a representation of who they were…and that they had lived. Their immortal soul resides in those works…and it has forever taught humanity a new lesson…it has opened a gateway to look within our own souls. It is what we find there that is the revelation.

About Michelle Kenneth

Michelle Kenneth has been a member of the NHL credentialed media covering the New Jersey Devils since 2008 for Inside Hockey. She is the owner or PerfectionistWannabe.com.