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

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/

 

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/

I’m Crazy

Patsy Cline–I’m crazy…worry, why do I let myself worry….

Music holds such power. It can set a mood, it can soothe a soul. It can excite and it can add courage as men march to war.

Funny thing about a song, the whole song may be irrelevant to a situation, but there can still be a connection.

Patsy Cline sings ‘I’m Crazy” as a sad realization that she has loved the wrong person. I don’t share that sense. I feel that I love my soul mate who comforts and creates more enjoyment of life. Yet…her words, “I’m Crazy” come out of my mouth frequently. It can be for any number of reasons. I’m crazy to go to the store in the rain. I’m crazy to start a new career late in life.

Today, I am reminded of the other lyrics in this song. “worry, why do I let myself worry?” There is no help in worry. Worry is a waste of energy. Worry drums up all the unquantified potential troubles that may never have to be addressed.

“Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.” George Washington

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/this-is-your-song/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/this-is-your-song/

By the Light of the Silvery Moon

“For most people, we often marvel at the beauty of a sunrise or the magnificence of a full moon, but it is impossible to fathom the magnitude of the universe that surrounds us.” Richard H. Baker

Full moon

I love to see the full moon. Maybe it is because the moon creates a hole in the blackness. That very idea is inspiring to me. Sometimes life seems very dark. In the dark it is hard to find my way. It is difficult to see what lies ahead. In an effort to hurry through the dark place, I run. Running only leads to tripping. So, I have to be more patient. I have to inch along.

Then the full moon comes out! Things do not seem so dark. I still have to tread carefully, but I can see a step or two ahead of me. It wasn’t my eyes that gave me more sight. It was the universe. The moon reminds me that there is other help. There is more wisdom than I have alone. There is direction to be provided. The universe is bigger than me. It is good to be reminded of that.

“To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” Lao Tzu

Normal…where is that again?

I have such a strong urge to want life to be normal. For a day to be normal. But, what is ‘normal?’ Who gets to define that? I may want to define it, but in so doing, I could mess up my journey. I might create a beautiful straight, unobstructed path. I guess that could be okay. But I would miss all the adventure and awe of discovering what is around the corner. Of becoming who I am to become.

From time to time, we get to share a part of someone else’s journey. He/she will be the one to trek the entire path, but sometimes we get to walk awhile with them.

Such is my life right now. Walking along with someone I love. Right now, the path is rather dark and hard to see. We are inching along and moving forward. As I try to hold the torch to add illumination, I am inspired by what I see. A life full of courage and determination. A person who does not worry and fret, but who surges on with hope.

“We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.” Ben Sweetland

Head in the Sand?

“I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.”  Maya Angelou

I found this quote very insightful. Placing empathy with courage.

The last week or two I have witnessed loved ones go through difficult times. Their challenges were on very separate planes, but life shattering just the same. It has led me to reflect on a few terms.

Understanding- grasp an idea, perceive a meaning

Sympathy-feelings of compassion

Empathy-vicariously experience the same feelings/thoughts/attitudes

It seems to me that these words go in order. For me to reach a point of empathy, I first need to understand. Once I come to a place where I grasp what is happening, then I can have feelings of compassion. Empathy goes further, in that I embrace -not their experience, for it is their journey-but I can ‘hug’ them as I connect to their feelings.

That’s where the courage comes in. The courage to stop my crazy daily rush and demands to understand. Sometimes, I’d rather keep my head in the sand.

ostrich with head in sand

What I don’t know, I don’t have to respond to-I try to tell myself. Finding out about trouble will undoubtably call for response. There’s the courage. Do I have the courage to understand, thereby allowing me to feel sympathy, and ultimately to share empathy?

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Stephen Covey