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

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Imagination- Wake Up!!

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”  Albert Einstein

I can go to school to learn. I can search the internet to gain knowledge. There are many ways I can obtain education. But how do I encourage, or learn to get in touch with, my imagination?

Dr Seuss said, “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

Cute, but I can only think up what I have put into my head-generally facts or figures. How does one get outside of the realm of reality and into the mists of imagination which can birth creativity?

When I was a child, it seemed easier. We could play dress up and imagine being someone else.

imagination super girl I could be super woman and fly to the rescue.

It didn’t matter that I couldn’t fly. Or that I might not be strong enough to help someone in trouble. I could pretend. Pretend and imagine are closely related.

How does that get knocked out of us? We grow up and we forget to play, dress up, and imagine. Recently I purchased coloring books for adults. I wanted to do some stress reduction with coloring. I loved it as a child. Why did I stop? Adults aren’t supposed to color. We can only color when we are doing it with children. Who set that rule??

More importantly, I hope the coloring books will ignite something deeper in my soul. I hope it unleashes my creative spirit that was long ago put to rest. I have had to tackle so many difficult and demanding tasks in my life that I unleashed my pragmatic side and told my pretend playful imagination to go to sleep.  Well, now I want it to wake up. I want it to soar. I want to color outside the lines and let my feelings take wings.

imagination with colors

 

 

Relaxed Yet Balanced

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein

Scampi is our adolescent Bichon Frise. He plays with abandon and sleeps in contentment. I found him the other day sleeping on the top edge of the couch. It isn’t a very broad edge. The couch is a glider and moves easily. Yet he sprawled out, kept his balance and relaxed.

relaxed and balanced dog

Just watching him inspires me. His natural sense of play and ready engagement. After play time, he sleeps. I see his example day after day. I remind myself to relax and maintain a balance. Yet-I go about my crazy schedule every day.

I wrote a poem a year or so ago. I put it on a picture poster below:Slide1

 

I am reminded that we are the ones in control of our balance. Donald Trump has said, “If you’re interested in ‘balancing’ work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable.” There is some truth to that. Most of us have to work to pay the bills. Some of us work to change the world. Few of us work as our plan for fun.

But, how we spend any hours of the day-at work, or at play-we do decide how to engage in them. Let them take over and control our emotions (you know, work drama-it is everywhere)? Or do what you can, make the difference that you can and move on? We make that choice everyday, every hour.

“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.” Aristotle

Happy Holidays

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” Hamilton Wright Mabie

The 2013 census informs us that Ohio has a population of 11,570,808. That population has ancestry groups from Germany, Ireland, England, Poland and Italy. Our racial makeup is white, black, hispanic, asian, pacific islander, Alaskan native and mixed. Our religions are Protestant, Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness, Judaism, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhists, Mormons and unaffiliated.

As I walk through the mall, the park, or go to work I will encounter people from these faiths, cultures, and backgrounds. All of them live, love, and may have families. We are similar in many ways. They may celebrate days that I am unfamiliar with, but at that celebration, they are often with loved ones. It is often a day of sharing memories, and receiving encouragement and hope for the coming days.

The list of ‘special days’ and ‘events’ in December is rather extensive:

Advent
St Nicholas Day
Pearl Harbor Day
Bodhi Day
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Virgin of Guadalupe
Santa Lucia Day
Las Posadas
Hanukkah-Festival of Lights
Winter Solstice
Christmas
Kwanzaa
New Years Eve

If all I ever said to any person I passed was: Merry Christmas–or Happy Kwanzaa–or Happy Hanukkah I would be exposing my own arrogance that what ever it is that I celebrate; all others must celebrate that as well. It is to ignore the many festivities of the month.

What I am really wishing people is a time of good will. An opportunity to enjoy time with family and loved ones.  To say Happy Holidays is to wish them a month of good days. A season of fun.

Saying Happy Holidays is actually a broad respect for all people. It is not exclusive. It does not exclude Christmas. It does not exclude Hanukkah. It does not exclude any of those days.  It is inclusive.

Most importably I suppose is the way we send our greeting. The spirit in which we interact with others. Am I really wishing them good will? Or am I pushing my own agenda? People can tell.

“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”   John C Maxwell

Soul Hug

I’m feeling pretty worried and sad as I sit in the hospital coffee shop. My father is down for a lung biopsy as the PET scan had indicated that his esophageal cancer had spread to his lung and bones. I know I am about to lose my last living parent. As a nurse I know the loss would involve pain and suffering.

I am unsure if my hands can hold up my head. They are on either side of my face, covering my eyes as the despair has nearly taken my breath away. Our family had just lost our mother , who died after suffering from Pick’s Disease. Now my father. I remembered that there was a small garden court area at the side of the hospital. I decide perhaps if i sat out there a while my head could clear and I would gather some strength and perhaps some insight as to how to go on.

As I get to the garden a beautiful lady is sitting on a tree bench. I wanted to be alone, but I don’t really feel disappointed. I feel somehow drawn to her.  Then she looks at me, and her smile is so soft, and warm. Her eyes are looking at me with so much compassion I feel my throat constrict and tears well in my eyes.

“Hi, my name is Semesia. Will you sit with me a few moments?” Semesia offered as she gently placed her palm on the bench next to her. “Hi, thank you, I will, but I don’t know if I will be very good company.” I say in return as I sit down beside her. As I sat, I felt an odd energy. Not a tingle really, but some ‘awareness’ that I can’t really describe. It was ethereal.

“I know. Your father is upstairs having more tests. I have been allowed to see you and to encourage you. I know that you have never felt so troubled. You are right, your father will pass. But he will be active until his last couple of days and then he  will be in a coma. You are going to be able to help him. He will feel great love and comfort as you do.

However, the toll on your life will be transforming. I am also to tell you that it will all get worse. Your husband will seek friendship elsewhere. A year after your father passes, you will be divorced from your husband.”

Somehow her words do not knock me off my bench. On some level I think I knew this. I was changing. I was challenging who I had been told to be and discovering who I really was. My husband of 30 years did not like that. It was unsettling to him.

“You have wondered if you are on the right path. Your path to question and seek other ‘truths’ and learn of other cultures. You are doing exactly what you should. While you will experience a couple of years that will be the most challenging in your life, great reward is coming. The freedom you will feel will terrify you at first, but then you will experience its marvels. You will find peace.

Then, I am happy to tell you, that you will have a story book wedding in a castle in Washington State.”

I had never been to Washington. As I was growing into myself, my husband made me feel very bad about myself. I knew helping my father was right, and was determined to continue. I feared the loss of my husband. I was fifty. Who would love me. I had grown up with my husband. How would I ever meet anyone. How would anyone love me, I continued to struggle in my soul.

“I know your struggle. That is why I was allowed to come. My time here is short. Remember, your greatest challenge is in front of you. You will manage it and it will build your strength and your resolve to continue in your quest to become who you really are. And you will do so. It will be your greatest reward. Then your marriage to a wonderful caring man will take you on many fun adventures. From the Castle wedding to voyages, to open conversations and laughter throughout your day. You will no longer have to ‘make fun happen’. It will occur naturally all around you. He will hug your soul.”

She placed her hand on top of mine. And she looked at me-right into my soul. I started to cry. Semesia knew me better than I knew myself. I raised my hands to wipe my eyes and when I opened them, she was gone. I was left with a strange mixture of sorrow and hope.

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”  Thich Nhat Hanh

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/good-tidings/

And One Fell Out

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” Dr. Seuss

Oh to be young again. Those days filled with fun. When the busiest things to do were to ‘Count all the bees in the hive, chase all the clouds from the sky..’ as Kenny Loggins sings House at Pooh Corner.

The days filled with fun, eventually adds chores. The days go by and we keep adding to them:

Fun

Fun, chores

Fun, chores, school

Fun, chores, school, work

Fun, chores, work, marriage

Fun, chores, work, marriage, children

Fun, chores, work, marriage, children, taxi driver to kids events, counselor to troubled children, care giver to aging parent

So just like the little nursery rhyme, Ten in the Bed…”There were ten in the bed and the little one said, ‘roll over, roll over’, so they all rolled over and one fell out.”

And before we know it, Fun fell out.

I have to remember to keep fun in my life. I love the zoo. Cincinnati Zoo has recently enjoyed the excitement of the birth of a baby Bonobo. Mama Lisa and baby Bell.

Zoo Chimp

I love to watch her play. Days filled with fun. Many years ago I visited the San Diego Zoo with my sister. I wanted to remind myself to try and not let Fun roll out of my life. So I bought a little stuffed monkey. I named her FooFoo.

FooFo

FooFoo sits in my dressing room. A little green crystal glass monkey sits there too. They remind me to play and have fun. Some days I just see them out the corner of my eye. Some days I look at them more intently. Some days I pick FooFoo up, hug her close to my face and heart. After a bit of hugging, I begin to dance around my room singing; my heart being cheered and my spirit lifted.

“I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun.”  Katharine Hepburn

Twins Celebrate-Cheers!

“Cakes are special. Every birthday, every celebration ends with something sweet, a cake, and people remember. It’s all about the memories.” Denis Waitley

Each year we sing, “Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us, happy birthday dear Faye and Kaye, happy birthday to us!” Being an identical twin means sharing your birthday. For us, it generally meant sharing our birthday cake. 

Today we celebrate our birthday. Kaye has a swimming pool. I will don my suit, coverup, and my old black flip flops. When I bought those simple black flip flops I thought I would wear them only at the pool. But they have proven so comfortable, they accompany me on most of my summer days.

We will celebrate life, and our survival of it, with each other. I will think that she is old and that I am wise. She will think that I am old and that she is wise. Then we will open two bottles of wine; for she likes white and I like red. Wine doesn’t exactly go with German Sweet Chocolate cake-our favorite-so maybe neither one of us is wise. But we are old, and we know how to have fun.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/odd-trio-redux/