Michael was up on the balcony testing out the bubble-maker. The shiny iridescent bubbles shot out of the automated bubble-blower, dozens at a time, floating from the balcony onto the stage.
The effect was beautiful, with each small bubble reflecting a rainbow. They floated past the branches of the tree that had been set up on stage, with tiny yellow feathered imitation birds perched on the limbs.
The front of the stage was decorated with boxes of live growing grass, with little colorful glittery faux butterflies and dragonflies in each of the boxes. There were two large vases filled with yellow and orange gerber daises on either side of the grass display.
Nadia would have loved it. So spring-y, bright and beautiful.
It evoked her spirit.
And that was the whole point. Last Friday night, various dear friends of my friend Nadia had gathered to set the stage for the celebration of her life which would take place the next day.
Trinkolina, which took place on Saturday, April 30th, was a memorial event to honor New York artist, antique furniture dealer, jewelry maker, creative arts therapist and all-around inspiring woman Nadia Trinkala, who passed away less than one month earlier.
How To Honor A Bright Light
The hundreds of people who filled the hall that day may have met Nadia initially when they bought a couch from her, or a piece of jewelry, at one of her funky, fun, hip retro shops.
They may have met her at an art opening that she hosted or attended. I heard so many different stories about how people had met my friend Nadia.
It didn’t matter how they had met. What mattered was that she was loving, luminous and generous with all she met, and that she made every single friend in her life feel incredibly special.
Nadia was just overflowing with love and light. It touched everyone she met.
Living Our Dreams
This was a woman who had lived out many dreams, including opening her own shops and hosting art openings that accommodated 1,000+ people and drew out all the local arts hipsters. Nadia knew how to make things fun and to create a scene where people wanted to be.
She had earned her certificate in creative arts therapy at the New School in NYC while living in Dumbo in Brooklyn. She had launched a new project called the Human Citizen Project as part of her schoolwork, which will continue on now that she is gone.
Nada made many projects come to life, and accomplished incredible things despite some of the obstacles and challenges she faced in her own life, including depression, chronic pain and processing disabilities. Her own struggle with processing information was part of the catalyst to help others through the creative arts.
Yet this is not what she revealed to most of the world. What the world saw was a bright light, a gorgeous smile, clear eyes, and a heart of gold. Around Nadia, you always seemed to be in the presence of an angel.
Nadia was luminous and unforgettable.
Pieces of Nadia
People came to the event wearing pieces of jewelry that Nadia had made. They left with sparkly butterflies and dragonflies that were clipped onto the wire sculpture in the middle of the tent outside, where the reception was held after the event.
Nadia loved birds, and butterflies, and this theme recurred throughout the event. A beautiful video montage ran onscreen during performances, flashing photos of Nadia, family and friends from throughout her life.
There were images of birds, and butterflies, thousands of them, flying in flocks, a swarm of monarchs. Photos of Nadia dissolved into butterflies.
We in the audience held each other and wept, to see such a beauty again and to know that she is no longer with us in this world. Yet she was there in spirit though, full-force.
The Gifts She Left Behind
Besides her jewelry and the furniture she sold, and her paintings and art, Nadia more importantly left behind a legacy of love.
That was the common thread in the conversations and in the room that day. Everyone, no matter how and where they met Nadia, was drawn to her light, and touched and inspired by her kind and loving heart.
She wanted the best for all, didn’t want anyone to suffer, and hid much of her own suffering to protect others from feeling her pain. She made everyone feel special, adored, loved.
Nadia had a kind word for everyone, and never spoke a harsh word about anyone. I heard that from other people over and over, and always knew it to be true of her myself.
She, simply put, embodied love.
Living Our Dreams With Great Love
It reminded me of something so essential, simple, and sometimes overlooked when living our dreams in this busy, chaotic world.
When we set out to live our dreams, we will inevitably connect with and require assistance from dozens if not hundreds, or even thousands, of others. Living big dreams usually requires help from a team, whether that’s your family, friends, spouse or partner, people who shop in your store, readers who buy your book, editors, coaches, etc.
None of us are in this alone. All dreams are accomplished with the help of others.
And, every time we work on a dream and move forward with a project or passion, we have the opportunity to touch the lives of others, to offer them some kindness, to make each connection count. To build bridges of love between us.
Love is the fuel that drives dreams, in the form of a passion for creating something new or making positive change in the world. And love is what makes dreams possible, by helping us to connect to people who can make our dreams come true.
Of course, it takes love for ourselves, and belief in ourselves to take action on our dreams.
Living our dreams, it seems, is all about the love.
And What They’ll Remember Is The Love
Being at the celebration of Nadia’s life last week was such a poignant reminder that what people will remember in the end is how you touched their lives, with love.
I have always loved this Maya Angelou quote:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
As I move forward with finishing my book manuscript this year, and with building my life coaching business, I am reminded that what will matter most in the end is living these dreams with great love, and loving those who cross my path along the road to my dreams.
Because in the end, I think what will matter is not whether or not my book was a best-seller, although of course I hope to publish many of those, nor whether I made millions. What will matter is the amount of love in my life, and how I made the people in my life feel about themselves and the world.
In summary, the recipe for living our dreams, as I see it, has love as the secret ingredient. I think I’d record it in a “Cookbook for Happiness” like this:
Recipe for Living Our Dreams:
- Start with a bucket full of self-love.
- Add a splash of confidence.
- Stir in some conquered challenges, tears of joy and miracles.
- Add a dash of love for all beings.
- While you’re at it, pour in an ocean of that.
- Ride the waves of success to the top by simply following your heart’s desires and living all the steps along the way with great love.
May we all find a way to live our dreams while loving all around us as much as possible! This to me is the ultimate secret of success.
Lisa is a freelance writer, consultant and life coach. She has her BA in English and Creative Writing from Princeton and her MPA from Harvard. Lisa recently finished the first draft of her book manuscript, Burning Down the House. She is also a lindy hopper, belly dancer and globe-trotter. Her post day is Tuesday.