01/12/2012 06:24 pm ET Updated Mar 13, 2012

Delving Into Development

Kids do it delightfully and effortlessly. News couldn't exist without doing it. Photographers, before digital, did it in a darkroom.

"Let's do it," sang the seducer in the amusing lyric by Cole Porter. "Let's Fall in Love"!

We're all evolving all the time -- evolvement is an integral component of the word development. The children who lived in my apartment building when I moved in with my 6-year-old son in the 50s are now parents and grandparents. This apartment house has more children residents than adults -- or so it seems when boarding its one elevator.

Real estate is always on the move.

My first job after art school was in an ancient factory on Wooster Street. The lift there was actually manually operated using a pulley system. Fire engines clanged every five minutes. Talk about development! That neighborhood was about as far away from fashionable SoHo as you could get, housing small industries and penniless artists' lofts. I worked making screens for printing textiles. Well, a girl's got to eat. And a city's got to gentrify.

It dawned on my awareness recently that challenge, which defines our lives and precedes change, is development's not-so-silent partner, without which no growth is possible. With this realization, I knew without doubt that i could not even so much as write this blog without the totality of life's experiences.

Development can be daunting.

My darling friend Beverly is just about the best example of the courage it sometimes takes to literally go through the valley of the shadow of death with wit and grace.

We met as teenagers, double-dating cousins -- she the rich one, me the poor one -- we both ended up divorced. She was a rising singer in the chorus of several Rogers and Hammerstein musicals on Broadway -- a true Alice in Wonderland with long blond hair and an outsized mezzo-soprano voice.

A couple of years ago Bev was diagnosed with a virulent form of cancer. Treatment required the removal and replacement of her blood. When we talked, after her remarkable recovery, Bev told me that this ordeal was -- for her - the highest form of adventure -- that the kindness she received during her care in the form of medical professionals, family and friends enabled her to literally take the high road to wellness!

Development can take any direction.
Evolvement upward is an option.
Any choice must bid farewell to the past.

As 2012 spirals into the future and the world seems hellbent on spiraling downward into oblivion, let's be oh so thankful that as individuals who coalesce into one entity, we have the power to choose wisely and use our challenges as leverages that will elevate our collective good.

In addition to the Gates and Winfreys who gratefully are giving back from their abundance, the rest of us may recognize that hope springs eternal across the boards and boardrooms and bedrooms of our nation.
Nothing we have can be taken for granted.

Nothing reverberates like a boomerang.
Nothing matters more than family except the realization that we are all family.
Delve into this eternally developing lifespring.


For more by Irene Tanner, click here.

For more on mindfulness, click here.