Wednesday, February 02, 2011
50 yeas ago......

Fifty years ago, on February 1st, 1961, I got on a plane at then Idylwild, now JFK Airport, and my life changed forever....this was a little under five months before I would turn thirty (30) and I had reached a very serious and terrible crossroads....I was depressed beyond belief---suicidally so---and I felt my only hope was to come to Los Angeles and go to a doctor I had met almost three years before who I hoped would help me save my life.It was the right move, for sure, cause I am still here, now, a little under five months before turning eighty (80) years old. The Big 8-0!....And that move and that doctor was a big part of why I am still here, (though one other major therapy was to come along 9 years later and help me to continue to "keep on keeping on" and to survive and thrive....). But I would be less than honest if I didn't say that there were other low lows over these fifty years....lows which took me back to that place of suicidal feelings, and this journey through the weeds continued and Thank God, there were other milestone-'life saving' things that took place that made it possible for me to continue the journey....and that journey and that struggle goes on for me, and I think it will go on for me as long as there is breath in my body....
If I found out anything through this journey, it is that I am a survivor! And just when you think you have come through the weeds onto clear and flat ground, more weeds seem to spring up to remind you that this journey is not over yet. A couple of good things to find out, I guess.


Of course there were "highs"...without them I don't think I could have gone on at all (I sure could use a couple of those highs right now, I tell you....)...but not just 'gone on', but gone on to create all sorts of positive and life affirming things...What has always 'saved' me is my creativity. That's the thing that has brought me the most joy and the greatest feeling of truly being alive. Relationships...yes, of course. Friendships....beautiful ones that absolutely have kept me alive. But, tapping into that part of me that needs expression whether through music, writing, painting, photography, singing....the creative spirit that lives within and must be given it's voice----and this is still the answer for me, even on the brink of Eighty! Lord, it never ends! Well, to be more exact, it never ends till it is over...till the 'Fat Lady Sings'....as the saying goes.....

Meanwhile, I honor this day because though I traveled 3000 miles to find the answers, of course, taking myself with me, it was probably the best and most important plane ride I have ever taken in my whole life. I remember that I got into a conversation with the man sitting next to me who, it turned out, was part of The Theatre Guild, a very famous theatrical Broadway Producing group that I was completely familiar with, because they produced some of the most famous and successful shows on Broadway starting a little before I was born....I took this as a positive sign that I was doing the right thing. I can't even explain that, but that's what I felt.

That I would actually be 'playing' on Broadway, a little over two and a half years later....believe me, not in my wildest dreams on that first day of February, 1961 would I have believed that that could happen. I was just hoping to get through the next couple of hours once on that plane, you know? With Philip Langner sitting next to me, somehow it gave me the feeling that I was not leaving everything behind, but that I was going somewhere where just maybe, things would be possible for me, again....(Mr. Langner was a lot younger than in this picture....remember it was fifty years ago....) He had no idea what sitting next to him meant to me...but it was really important to me, and in all the years I have been traveling and taking planes, and there have been many many planes, there are maybe two strangers that I sat next to that had real significance for me....and here it is all these years later and I still remember the first of these important strangers and what he looked like and the suit he had on and the glasses he wore. A Very Powerful Memory.

Terri from Island Life wrote a post once, asking the question did we think there were good years and bad years....and I said I thought there was a balance of each....some good and some bad in each year....but I would have to say that 1960 to 1961 was a pretty bad dark year for me---that whole year. But that certainly changed with stepping onto that plane that was going to Los Angeles....

Those very bad suicidal feelings didn't go away in an afternoon, or a day or a week. But taking that big step of getting on that plane and moving from one coast to another and going into therapy with that particular doctor, brought me to a different place entirely. It was a time of growth. Real growth coming out of the feeling that if I didn't do something, I was a goner. There was this shift just by the fact that I took some kind of step to change some things in me, if I could. That in itself was probably the most important and significant thing about February 1st, 1961. I began a new journey that truly did change my life. And of course there are other important dates like that, too....life changing dates because of one step I took to possibly change something in my life that needed changing at the time....and I have written about some of those things and I may write some more...but that is for another post at another time. Today I just want to remember and honor this journey that began 50 years ago on February 1st.
And above is one of the paintings that I created in 1987, which holds many of the feelings I have mentioned in this post....It also holds one word I have not actually used very much in this post but it certainly applies---And that word is 'Hope'. This painting is filled with that, to me, and that is what February 1st, 1961 meant to me, and still does......We can continue to evolve and change and grow, as long as we draw breath.....



More To Come......

Note: I originally published this post on February 1st, 2007---though I have made some changes, it is substantially, the same....I was going to write something new and I re-read this and thought---No. This says it all and I don't think I can improve on it by writing something new....So, for those of you who might find this familiar....you are correct!







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28 Comments:
had this to say:

I, for one, am very happy you are still here. Although we have only met over the computer I like to think we'd be real friends in real life. you share your friends and yourself so openly I could not picture you anywhere but where you are..and although our bodies are not so nice to us as we age, you are still giving of yourself and sharing your friends.. I am very glad I found you!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 4:37:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Wow. I wonder if all us survivors have those moments? Mine was going to Vancouver. I went there with the intention of ending everything, and I believe I truly felt the spirit of God redirecting me. You took a plane, I took a train. It's been 18 years of good and bad moments for me since Vancouver. I feel lucky in that I believe I've had more good than bad. Those bad moments still make me ponder that ultimate decision I made 18 years ago, but now with hindsight, I know the bad doesn't last forever and I can get through it. That moment when I got to the edge and chose to step back, completely changed the rest of my life. My world expanded. I got ten years of higher education. I left a horrible relationship that was toxic for me and am now in a healthy, happy relationship. I sometimes wonder, what would have happened to my family and friends had I chose to end it. I would have ceased to be an influence, a source of comfort, a resource, for them all. Suicide is a selfish action, but I didn't know that at the time. I'm glad I lived long enough to understand that. Thanks for sharing your story and reminding me of mine.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 7:39:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I only know you through your blog but I would never have imagined you had such a desperate time in your life. You seem so positive today.
I am so very glad you caught that plane and sat by that particular man. I do hope you have let him know just what that meeting meant to you.
I'm sure, unwittingly we have all affected someone in a positive way in our lifetimes, only never to know it.
That plane ride brought you to another coast and a better frame of mind but it also brought you to us. That was a fortunate day.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 1:52:00 PM PST 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

This was a wonderful post for me to read, however, today I realize age has no barriers and today I feel so low..wondering how can we be so old and still so sad and uncertain of what can make life better.

Blessings, Dorothy

Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 2:32:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I am so glad you took that step. It always amazes me how much we have in common about certain things. I got on a plane alone at 17 at my lowest low to leave North Carolina to go to Texas to live with my mom who I had not lived with in almost 3 years. And like you I am still here! I had been starving myself and crying all the time and I was literally about to disappear. Taking that step, knowing something has to give is important. You are one of the most fascinating people I have ever known and it's terrifying to think you might have winked out too soon. I love your painting. To me it says, "The heart is a puzzle." And that is so true!
Congratulations for making good decisions at a bad time and coming so far. You really are a gem.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 10:52:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Now that was an amazing post and so very inspirational. And what an amazing life you have Naomi. And there will be lots more highs too. This must have been a real turning point for you and isnt it wonderful that it changed your life and you were able to make that tough move. We are all happy as where would we be without your blog and your rich and wonderful posts. You my dear have lived a life full of ups and downs and have wonderful long lasting friendships. That says so much about you. I love you and I love your talent and wish we could all be there to celebrate your 80th birthday. We will have to celebrate it somehow!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 3:14:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I'm also very happy that you are still here and I got the chance to know a very lovely person like you. I attempted suicide when I was 14, but I failed in which I'm thankful for because I wouldn't have met my husband, my new family and friends like you who accepted me for who I am.

I really hope to see you soon. I think Odd and I will be in California around October.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 5:47:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

A beautifully written post. (even again, lol!)

I'm so glad that you were brave enough to look for and find what you need. It's a hard thing to do.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 11:03:00 AM PST 

Anonymous Alan
had this to say:

Been reading your blog for a few yrs but have never commented (although on a few occasions I've considered it), but this time I had to. Thanks for reposting this entry. Reading about your airplane ride really moved me. I will make a point of recalling this experience the next time I hit a low point. Thanks so much for your blog (love seeing the pics of you and your friends, including Betty whom I recall seeing on All In The Family when I was still a kid.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 12:47:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I've read your blog for years, but this may be my first comment. I so enjoy reading about your life and appreciate your transparency and willingness to share it all with us. You're remarkable. Everybody deserves a Feb. 1, 1961.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 1:15:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

What a huge difference making that flight was for your life. Like you implied, if wasn't a magic pill that healed everything at that moment, but it was the start in the right direction that kept you going, reaching ahead, creating, and finding and experiencing so many wonderful things.
That painting is glorious, and it is a hopeful reflection of what was inside of you. So marvelous! This is worthy of re-posting time and time again.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 1:25:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

All of our experiences are part of the tapestry of our lives, aren't they. That which makes us feel the darkness also lets us experience the incredible lightness of being. And somewhere, there is a balance. And sometimes it is the imbalance that is the balance. And so it goes.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 4:12:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

What courage it must have taken to get on that plane 50 years ago--and how amazing that you had that encounter on the plane! There are so many people who are grateful that you made that daring move to Los Angeles half a century ago (myself included)! Happy Anniversary! (Where did you live when you first got here? I forget when you moved into your permanent digs.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 4:48:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

My dear Naomi, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!
Yes, I remember well the wonderful post you did in February 1st, 2007!

Again, I love so much your statement: Meanwhile, I honor this day because though I traveled 3000 miles to find the answers, of course, taking myself with me, it was probably the best and most important plane ride I have ever taken in my whole life.

I went to your original post and I reread my comment that I like to
copy and paste here: "This is a very beautiful, brave and meaningful post, my dear Naomi. Happy Anniversary on your journey to Life. You certainly inspire me and others friends, too. Thanks for sharing your memories!"

Many hugs!

Friday, February 4, 2011 at 4:30:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Thanks for reposting this, as I missed it the first go around.

Happy Anniversary!

I look forward to your next 50 years.

Cheers.

Friday, February 4, 2011 at 8:31:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

The world is blessed with your existence, Naomi. I'm so glad you took the trip and "arrived" to your self.

That heart looks open and growing, with some healed over wounds mixed in.

Friday, February 4, 2011 at 9:49:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I'm so glad that you reposted this, Naomi because we didn't know each other then! You shared so very much in this one, and I'm also thankful for that. This is, indeed, a big day to commemorate so *clink* to you lady! I hope you feel like you're right where you need to be right now!!

Friday, February 4, 2011 at 12:16:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I knew after reading the first 2-3 sentences that I had read this before, Naomi. Now, as then, I am sorry to know of your troubles and I am so glad that you are a survivor!!
I had some of those moments too; not as deep as yours, I think, but I am so glad that we both persevered toward mental health and happiness.

Friday, February 4, 2011 at 1:58:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Wow my friend. You have been in thick and thin and managed to make it.. I just hope we can manage our little set back right now. I posted about it early this morning before bed. Life isnt over yet for us but very close it seems..

Friday, February 4, 2011 at 3:39:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I'm glad you're still here. I do enjoy popping over and reading your posts, even if I don't actually know you.

I adore that painting! I hope you'll share some more of your work with us.

Take care :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 5:53:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I'm so proud of you for making such a drastic chnge in your life
especially back then, women didn't just get up and go - at least that's what all the women of my childhood told me

I love your painting
I pretty much love everything you create since your heart and soul is in all of it

Hope sends big hugs

Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 10:44:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

God bless you for getting on that plane and for finding someone to help.

The world would be emptier without all you've shared.

Hugs and Blessings

Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 11:37:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Like others, I comment more on your extremely positive spirit nowadays. Shine on.

Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 7:26:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

This was a beautiful post, and your painting is beautiful too.

I believe that God sends angels in the form of human beings to look after us in times of need. So it doesn't surprise me one bit that the man next door to you on the plane was there, or the other people that have come into your life since.

I totally understand what you mean about creative stuff too.

Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 11:19:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Worth reading again and again. Good for us that you made the journey. You learned a profound truth about life and purpose. An artist must create or life is not worth living. The toxic in our hearts and souls must be released somehow. For me, this is a very uplifting post and rich with hope.

Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 9:27:00 PM PST 

Blogger Pat
had this to say:

I'm so glad you did post it - especially at this time of year, when so many people feel 'down in the dumps'.
Your lovely painting of hope is very apt because your getting on the plane was testament to the fact that you hadn't given up hope. That and your courage saw you through a black time and is a shining example for all of us who aren't always on an even keel.
Take care of yourself because you are very much needed and many congratulations on getting where you are today.

Monday, February 7, 2011 at 2:55:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Oh 50 years Naomi! Now you probably look back and say "where did they go," as it seems to me that time literally flies these days!! I'm so glad you took that plane ride and began a new journey in your life. I know you wouldn't trade the life you've had there and the wonderful friends for anything.

I'm so glad we met in this thing called blogging!! We haven't met in person but I feel like I know you and consider you a dear friend.

You inspire others through your wonderful blog Naomi!

Hugs and love,
Rachel

Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 11:58:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

What a amazing story this is and I thank you for sharing it. I'm so glad I rediscovered your blog. It's pure inspiration.

Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 1:34:00 PM PST 

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