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Chasing the Muse

Cherril Doty

Go placidly amid the noise and haste. . . .

By the time you are reading this, festival season will have launched

in Laguna Beach. For myself, I will have a booth at the Sawdust Festival


completed and filled.

Even as I join the rush to get everything up and ready and to do it to

some idea of perfection, a part of me steps aside. Stopping to listen to

the plaintive call of one mourning dove to another, a burst of joyous


laughter reaches my ears from somewhere nearby. I look up at the cerulean

blue of the sky -- a Cooper’s hawk circles above the eucalyptus. The

smiles of James and Ket as they pass me are a reminder of the things

that matter most.

Everywhere life is full of heroism. Each day I read through the words

of the Desiderata, written by Max Ehrman in 1927, as I put on the

bracelet that I wear in memory of Christian Regenhard.

Christian was a young man whom I had looked forward to meeting. I had


heard much about his adventures and his youthful wisdom and joy for life.

It was not to be. On Sept. 11, 2001 he joined with other New York City

firefighters and rushed to help. Now, when I put on this bracelet I try

to take on some of his courage and challenge myself to face the obstacles

that arise each day in new and different ways. This matters.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons. Soon the Sawdust and all of Laguna

will be filled to the brim with people. One of the side effects of all

the people and congestion and not enough space or time or money or energy


can be a buildup of rancor. Sometimes the ill will arises out of

territorial “rights” -- think Fourth of July parking spaces either on the

beach or the streets.

Always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Often

bad feeling comes from jealousy or feelings of inequity. One person has

better-selling art or a more advantageous booth space.

Do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. There is plenty enough

for all. Embrace the diversity of all of the artists and artisans and the

public who purchase their wares. Grab hold of the opportunities to be

found in the obstacles presented. There is no reason the summer season in

Laguna and elsewhere should not be a wholesome experience -- one filled

with positive energy. It is simply a matter of standing for that

possibility and defending it against all odds. This matters.

Listen to others with respect and an honoring of their right to the

stories they believe and tell. A personal goal can be to listen with

interest and learn. Share. Be alert to the possibilities within wide

variety. Be gentle with yourself and others. Practice acceptance of

differences while questioning the authority of statements and judgments

-- your own as well as others. This matters.

Enjoy your achievements. Celebrate all that you are and that you have

accomplished in life. Continue to strive for more. Honor each moment and

all that it holds. Be yourself. Look for the chances in ways small and

large to be courageous and stand up for that in which you believe. Never

stop caring. These things matter.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly. These precepts are what matter

most to me. They are what I care about and honor. I share them in the

hope that they might spark something in you. As I twist the bracelet on

my left arm, I only hope that I can have the courage to conduct myself

well, no matter what interferes, because something will.

This just is the way it is. Yet, in the noisy confusion of life, keep

peace in your soul. It is still a beautiful world. In the end, all of us

must say what we believe and think that it is important enough to say.

The adventure we call summer in Laguna Beach is upon us. Enjoy! Each

morning know that I will be reading the words of The Desiderata, twisting

my bracelet, and setting out on a walk to begin each day. Know that if I

see you, I will smile and take the time to listen to you if you can draw

me back from looking up into the sky, following the circular flight of a

hawk. Please smile and stop to say hello. Because it matters.

* Cherril Doty is a creative living coach, writer and artist who lives

and works in Laguna Beach. She can be reached at or by

phone at 251-3883.