The world is changing faster than I can keep up. One of the joys of getting older is being able (or forced) to slow down. I must admit, I still don’t like slow mode very well. It becomes clear how we all get set in our ways and then turn into old fogies. I’m trying to embrace my old fogieness while also trying to update my dress to disguise it. The world is a funny (as in strange and odd) place to be. In the past few months, it seems there has been little to laugh at with the wildfires raging in our area. I guess that’s why my wife and I laughed our heads off at a picture she took with a chicken photobomber. Can you find the chicken? No animals were harmed in the act of photography.
Copious feelings and thoughts have overcome me in the past few weeks. It doesn’t help that I’ve been trying to knock out my non-fiction stack of to-read. The stack is heavy with topics of persecution, human rights, and religion/philosophy. It takes me longer to read these books because I often have to put them down and ponder meaning or what I believe in relationship to the topic. Sometimes, as in Silence (Novel by SHUSAKU ENDO), the topic is so sad or heavy, I need a break from it.
One of the books I had to put aside was recommended by LitHub as one of the best in creative memoir. I won’t list it here, because it was too random for me. The book may work great in its original language of South Korean, but for me, it was one too many books to read. There are other things that I want to read that fit into my new life goals. What are my new life goals you may ask? The truth is that I am unsure. My goal of being a kind, loving person is always going to guide my days. My hope had been to become more involved in justice issues, but alas (isn’t that a great word), my health forbids it.
This will be the first year I work completely from home because of my disability. I am learning to work from my bed, but it’s often hard to type that way. Did I mention I don’t like slowing down? Yet, I found that hemlocks, endangered in our area, are growing on our land. When I slow down, my asthma is better because I’m less anxious. When I slow down I am able to continue to be up and about…just slower. What is wrong with slower? Nothing is wrong with slower.
The sad thing I’ve discovered as I slow down, is that while I’ve often been able to accomplish a lot of work, I missed out on the opportunity to savor. Rushing to eat for over thirty years harmed me. What does it mean to savor a taste? Sometimes I can do it. Sometimes not. What does it mean to savor a breath…each precious breath? Breathing properly has been one of the hardest practices in my meditation and in yoga. Perhaps one of my new goals will be to learn to SAVOR. I’ve learned that by walking slower, I can actually savor the feel and power of a muscle as I walk, dance, or play.
Another important lesson I’m beginning to see in this slower life is the power of quality. I’ve always appreciated quality and want/strive to do quality work. Still, there is room for improvement and refinement. There’s the new life goal – REFINE. As I slow down to manage my disability, I can choose to refine the work I do. Refining means that I will further need to cull out the unnecessary. Because I have many interests my tendency is to dabble in many things instead of focus on a few. My health challenges are enabling me to see that it’s okay to let some things go. In fact, multi-tasking is not much of an option for me when something needs to be done. Beauty rises from refinement. This is good. All my life, all I have wanted is to create beauty. Whether it is in art, music, writing or spiritual growth – a life of beauty and joy is vital.
In 2016, I completed my first work of fiction. There is a painting and a collage on my art stands. My music is always a work in progress. While the past few weeks have been challenging, they have also been meaningful. Because of grief and loss, because of life just being life, we can create goodness and wonder out of the wilderness in our lives. Even when the world has fallen down or been bombed down around many, they find ways to make something out of nothing. I’m at an advantage because my life and my family & friends’ lives ended 2016 with love and began 2017 in that same love. My wife and I remain committed to our loving community. The beauty is that they too are committed to being a loving and giving community. By thinking of you dear reader, as I wrote and do not know you, goodness has come out of my start of nothing…out of a place of not knowing. Thank you for stopping by. You are changing the world as you read.
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