Bette Midler IS Divine!

by Jan on March 9, 2011

“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”

– Barbara Kingsolver

It was a bitter cold night in Minnesota. Nearly 1,000 people braved the extreme weather to hear the Divine Miss M as she began the next phase of her career. It was her first live talk detailing her life. I loved her joy – her hopefulness.

Of course she had us laughing. We were intrigued and completely charmed by this petite woman taking tiny steps back and forth across the stage in her 7-inch heels. Her humility – seeing the humor in her life – allowed us to appreciate her even more. What came across was a warm, talented and real woman who knew what she wanted from a young age: to sing, dance, have a family and surround herself with beauty.

Finding Hope in Trash
Bette says trash has always been part of her life. As a child, her family’s financial difficulties forced them to move to the projects in Honolulu. She created order out of chaos, taking over as the household cleaner and organizer when her mother felt stressed and overwhelmed.

Bette would escape her home to visit the gardens at the projects created by Japanese gardeners. Her admiration of their beauty and order gave her the sense that even in a place like a city project there could be beauty and order. This later led her to begin the New York Restoration Project, an organization that restores and revitalizes vacant lots and parks left in ruins by neglect.

She has created beauty – green spaces and gardens – in once forgotten places, devoid of beauty, full of trash and tires. Residents now have access to vibrant, green spaces, in which they can spend time celebrating and building community.

What struck me was that although Bette never mentioned the word HOPE, her life demonstrates how hopes and dreams, as well as doing what one loves, can lead in directions no one can foresee.

She is a force of nature, and nature has benefited by her force.