Idle Anticipation

“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” Bill Patterson, Calvin and Hobbes

My last day of work is arriving soon. I will turn over my computer-yikes! Is it possible? I have checked work emails 24-7 for many years. What will I do when the urge hits to see what is happening at work? Well, I hope I smile and remind myself- ‘oh that’s right, I’m retired!’

I was raised around a puritan work ethic-make every minute count. And I sure tried to do that. I crammed into every hour not only many things, but I tried to make them as varied as possible so that I constantly had to switch hats as they say. A master juggler of multi-tasking! Well, my arms are tired and I don’t see the balls so well anymore.

I recently read a wonderful book (that I highly recommend!) A Gentleman in Moscow written by Amor Towles. The main character Rostov is questioned early into the book about his daily activities. Rostov responds, “Dining. Discussing. Reading. Reflecting. The usual rigmarole.” 

My new goal! Dining, discussing, reading, reflecting. Retirement rigmarole!

“Those who decide to use leisure as a means of mental development, who love good music, good books, good pictures, good plays, good company, good conversation-what are they? They are the happiest people in the world.” William Lyon Phelps

A Year

So much can happen in a year. A day can be busy. A week can be full. A year can change your life. They are all made up of moments.

One year ago today, my son was diagnosed with stage IIIb cancer. He didn’t live close by. I wasn’t there when the doctor told him. I was 2000 miles away connected by some unseen electronic air wave cell phone line.

He made it. He went through chemo/radiation pre-surgery. Then a 15 hour radical surgery and then follow up chemo. We traveled by air to be there. To touch. To love. To cry. To encourage.To hope. To fear. To despair. To move into another day.

PET scan showed no cancer. Celebration!

Yet…this day brings back haunting emotions. Life is very short. We all live one phone call away from very sad news. Life changing  information.

My philosophy? Live each day without regret. Love. Forgive. Don’t try and be perfect.

Island Illusion

“No man is an island.” John Donne

Islands bring adventure! Beauty! Exotic sights! Or perhaps they can bring danger, hunger and isolation.

By definition an island is surrounded by water. Without a means to leave the island by boat or swimming one could feel trapped there. Emotions can be like islands. We can feel so overwhelmed by an emotion that we believe there is no escape. When the emotions are jubilant, we don’t mind. We would like to live on the jubilant island forever! But when emotions are dark, we wish to seek light and an escape from such despair, sadness or loneliness.

One must start with John Donne’s declaration. ‘No man is an island’. No matter how isolated one feels, there is a way of escape. The first step is an act of the will-a desire to escape. The desire must translate into actions or the presumed desire is not real. It is an illusion which further traps the inactive person in despair.

So how might one bridge the water which seems to obstruct escape?  Remember, we are not islands. We are people with connections to others. Approaching others may not be easy. A bridge may have to be built or repaired. A person may have to learn to swim to escape. Sometimes we can build the bridge alone. Sometimes we can teach ourselves how to swim. Sometimes we need external instruction. This instruction can be obtained via a friend, a counselor, a book, or a sage. When we want to escape, we must take the action required for that desire to become a reality.

“Too much self-centered attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering.” Dalai Lama

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/island/

 

Behavioral impact is countless

“Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn!” Robert Burns

Countless. Our blog challenge for the day. Countless is often defined as being too numerous to count.

Very few things would be countless by my thoughts. If there is an item to count, given the patience and time, those items could be counted. Even the number of a human’s breath. At the time of their death, the breaths could be counted as there was a first breath and a last breath. My thoughts could be counted; again, because I would have a first thought and a last thought.

But the impact of our actions, could indeed be countless. People who have been affected by behavior could pass the resulted impact of that behavior on for generations. From continent to continent. Behaviors vary from cruelty to kindness. From selfishness to sacrifice.

Memorial day is a day to remember those who have passed from us. While those we loved may be gone, we feel their presence by the influence and impact they had on us. Many have lost loved ones to war. Some from hate crimes. Others from illness.

Some of us are who we are today because of some kindness which touched our lives. A person who touches another with an act of kindness may never realize the impact of that one act. There may be a beginning, but as the affect of that action continues, there may not be an end. Therefore, it is countless.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/countless/

Sail with the Phase

“Only when your consciousness is totally focused on the  moment you are in, can you receive whatever gift, lesson, or delight that moment has to offer.” Barbara De Angelis

A life is full of many moments. Some I love, some I tend to resent. I remember when my children were young. Somedays would be more taxing than others. Often during those times a friend would say, ‘they are going through a phase, they will move into another soon.’

I gave that a lot of thought. If I hurried them through every phase, the end result would be to rush their lives. Lives are so short anyway. Why would I rush a life away?

Today, my children are adults. My parents have passed away. Illness and disease have come and gone. And I have asked myself again-would I wish away any of these phases of suffering?

My answer is, no. All the moments have made me who I am today. The good and delightful, and the sad and sorrowful. They comprise me.

Phases do come and go. Some are short, and some seem as though they will never pass. My goal is to keep moving through the phases. Embrace what I can and try not to get stuck in any one place.

“To reach a port, we must sail – sail, not tie at anchor, sail not drift.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/phase/

Mindful Journeys

“Sometimes a journey takes us to a place we have never been before. That place may not be on a map. It may be in our hearts.” Faye Hager

Recently, I have discovered a new type of journey. It does not involve going to a physical destination. I may not even move from my spot where I am standing. Actually, I may be pacing, or I may be rocking-I seldom just stand. It is an emotional journey. I believe emotions are linked to our minds, so it is a mental/spiritual/emotional journey. And that adventure all takes place deep inside of me: me-myself-and I. We have to find our way through it.

I wish I could tell you THE magic formula. I can’t. But I can share some things that help me move from:

anger—-to forgiveness

sadness—to hope

grief—-to acceptance

A book can be written on the process-and may be…perhaps I will call it the “Misery Index”. But I will just list a few of the things that help me transform my thinking.

Talk-don’t keep things inside. If you don’t have someone to talk to-talk to yourself

Keep Busy–don’t sit idle and fret. Get out. There is fresh energy outside yourself.

laugher- great therapy. If you can’t laugh, see a show that can bring out laugher.

accept emotions-don’t bury them. They will get stuck in some deep dark grave in your heart.

At the end of the day, if I can change the way I am thinking about something, I can change the way I feel about it. It may not happen in one day. I may have to fake it till I make it, but I will get there.

sunrise

“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.” Samuel Smiles

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fake/

 

Only Once

“Expectation is the mother of all frustration.” Antonio Banderas

I have an apparently peculiar quirk. I think that I should only have to do something once. Say it once. Touch it once. File it once. Isn’t that the teaching of efficiency? Oh dear…I have another quirk-I think things should be efficient.

No wonder some days annoy me. My expectations that things should run efficiently and smoothly are adversely affecting my blood pressure. Ah…a splash of insight. Many of the above expectations occur in an office and are impacted by other people; other people who are messing with my mode of efficiency.

Wait. That still admits I have an expectation of efficiency. Perhaps I could change that to a desire for efficiency, but realize that a multitude of events, and people, will complicate my hope. I do get paid for that complication. However, it does slow things down. Damn…another expectation-that I will get a lot of things done in a day. Some days it takes all day to get someone to get labs done right, packaged correctly, picked up and processed as they should be. How could that take so long? I don’t know, but some days it does.

What am I left with? Go to work, don’t expect people to be competent,  an office to be efficient, or to get much done. There! My frustration could vanish.

But who would I become?

Best I keep my quirks, and learn how to manage letting go of my expectations of others. Perhaps that was the mother of invention to the happy hour/cocktail after a day’s work!

wine-for-two