Oct 092019
 

Returning from a wonderful adventure, I’m acutely aware of time. I think that’s something travel does for us, especially “adventure travel.” Don’t get me wrong: I’m not referring to trips that involve bungee jumping, whitewater rafting or the like but another type of adventure. The “follow-your-nose-throw-away-the-schedule-see what-comes-up” adventure.

Sometimes Favorite Husband would describe me as “clock challenged.” I prefer to think of our relationships with time as different styles.

If he doesn’t arrive at a local appointment at least 30 minutes early, he gets antsy. And we refer to me as the queen of “one more thing before we go.” Now that one more thing could be anything from an extra restroom trip to starting a load of wash or reading one more chapter. And, from time to time, I’m not all that great at estimating a project’s time to complete.

Never leave ’till tomorrow which you can do today.

~ Benjamin Franklin

How we spend our days, is, of course, how we spend our lives.

~ Annie Dillard

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. ~ Lao Tzu

Favorite Husband sometimes considers me “clock challenged.” I prefer to see my relationship with time through a different lens. Click To Tweet

So travel can make either or both of us a little nuts. There’s the highly structured time (primarily airport schedules) and then there’s the rest. As you might imagine, air travel — with its sometimes rigid and occasionally capricious scheduling — makes me a little nuts. Especially the part where I don’t get to do or check “one more thing” the day of. (Having grown up with my time craziness, my son used to call me around midnight before a big trip: partly to wish me safe travel and partly to tease and send me to bed.)

As you might imagine, air travel — with its sometimes rigid and occasionally capricious scheduling — makes me a little nuts. Click To Tweet

All great achievements require time. ~ Maya Angelou

 

My most recent adventure was with a friend. She and I travel well together — but usually by car. It’s a better fit for our flexible approach to travel. But Prague was on her bucket list and the only way to get there involved some significant air travel. But once on the ground? The schedules went out the window.

Neither of us cared what the clock said. Instead, we trusted ourselves to eat when we were hungry and sleep when we got tired. There were only two or three activities scheduled. Instead, we walked for miles, stopping at any and every place that piqued our interest. Meandering and discovery feeds my soul.

It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper meaning. ~ Vincent Van Gogh

An hour, once it lodges in the queer element of the human spirit, may be stretched to fifty or a hundred times its clock length. ~ Virginia Woolf

Perhaps sandwiching days of discovery between large, toasty slices of potential airport hell is part of what makes them so sweet. Click To Tweet

This is the travel style that makes space for serendipity and surprise. Coffee shops and bakeries. Conversation with friendly strangers with their recommendations of “don’t miss” places. Those recommendations are rarely for the big attractions but for “the building with the great statues on the front,” or “the best take-aways in your neighborhood.”

Perhaps sandwiching days of discovery between large, toasty slices of potential airport hell is part of what makes them so sweet. I don’t know. And, as I’m planning another short trip that will probably include a lot of airport-resembling schedules, I’m searching for ways to make space for serendipity. Always.

 

 

Sep 242019
 

What is one to do when you don’t know what to do? How do we choose how and where to put the next foot right when the way forward is unclear?

When I write, I usually know where to go. But this time, there’s a topic lurking just under the surface. So I canoodle around on the keyboard and hope it will decide to join me.

I canoodle around on the keyboard and hope it decides to join me. Click To Tweet

I don’t know what else to do with it: it won’t go away and leave me alone but it remains elusive, flat out refusing to come into focus. In a way, it reminds me of a pan of water on the stove, just before monarch butterfly on plantit starts to boil. There’s a bubble here, and another one over there. And, while their activity level looks a bit leisurely, those bubbles are part of a much bigger picture. They are part of building energy, an energy that will not only heat water but will change part of it from liquid to gas. Steam.

And a change in form is a form of magic, is it not? The stage magician enlists our willingness to be fooled as the ‘nothing’ behind an ear suddenly produces coins. We don’t know how it happens. Alchemy. Magic. A change in form. While it looks simple, it’s a really big, complex change. Just like boiling water.

When you stop and think about it, there’s a lot of alchemic activity swirling around us. The first one that comes to mind is that thing with breath: humans using oxygen which changes to carbon dioxide for trees that then return it to us in its original, usable form. Our waste feeds the trees while theirs becomes the source of life for so many air-breathing beings wandering the planet. It’s another matter-changing bit of magic.

There’s a lot of alchemic activity swirling around us. Click To Tweet

Nature provides us with other examples: snow melts, ponds freeze, and in pretty much any direction we look something’s probably hatching somewhere.

Of course the most familiar example of form-changing experiences is the transition from caterpillar to moth or butterfly. And while it’s a metaphor that’s been done to death? There’s a reason: it’s an example that give us lots of toeholds for learning.

Think about it… you’re this little wormy bug thing, wandering around, munching on plants. Some of your friends and neighbors get picked off by weather or birds or well-intended gardeners who don’t know any better. But you’re still there… moving from plant to plant, having your fill. Did you know some species of caterpillar eat as much as 27,000 times their body weight during this part of the life cycle? But, as often happens, I digress.

Somehow, those little critters enter the dark place, are turned into some sort of goo and are born again — this time in a beautiful form. And in this new form, the creature feeds on completely different parts of the plant than it did in it’s last life. Sometimes when I watch the butterflies visiting various garden plants I wonder if they remember the food preferences their caterpillar-selves enjoyed?

They have nothing to say (and little to do) about this. Caterpillars that survive long enough to face metamorphosis become moths. Or butterflies. Puddles freeze and dandelions go to seed. Water on a hot burner will boil. Perhaps they don’t know it’s coming. It’s just what happens.

They don’t need to have faith and I doubt they fear the unknown. Click To Tweet

So what do you do when you don’t know what to do? Hopefully, not much. I plan to try to learn to do less. To stand in place and take the next obviously correct action. Like caterpillars, dandelions, and hot water — the change is gonna come. No amount of  hand-wringing or pot-stirring is going to change that. And the quicker we accept that fact, the happier we’re all going to be.

 

Sep 112019
 

Grow or go. I’ve been thinking a lot about personal growth and change. Although currently living in a reasonably comfortable routine, it’s a thought that keeps rising to the surface. Grow or go. It’s demanding my attention with the intensity of a toddler in need of a response. Now.

Perhaps it’s the impending change of season though, in reality, that’s pretty hard to gauge here in the South. I’d attribute it to years of dropping in to a solid back-to-school routine but, again, that happened about a month ago. Thanks to hurricane Dorian, we all kinda missed Labor Day and that particular calendar-changing marker, so that’s not it either.

In this season of severe, unsettled weather, I  wonder if it’s a body’s response to the sounds of cicadas and impending changes in barometric pressure.

Is such a restlessness a body’s response to the sounds of cicadas & changes in barometric pressure? Click To Tweet

Grow or go. But where to?

Yet I imagine, once again, that it’s that thing that lives inside of me: the one that mercilessly nudges me forward. It’s beyond restlessness but instead a strong, simple knowing that it’s time. Time to change. And, since I’m astoundingly happy with my life and much of what’s happening in it, I can’t help but wonder what sort of change is coming. I hope I like it. I usually do. Eventually. So please enjoy some thoughts on change as part of my clumsy efforts to figure out what I think.

I can’t help but wonder what sort of change is coming. I hope I like it. I usually do. Eventually. Click To Tweet

Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. ― George Bernard Shaw

When people are ready to, they change. They never do it before then, and sometimes they die before they get around to it. You can’t make them change if they don’t want to, just like when they do want to, you can’t stop them. ― Andy Warhol

When people want to change there’s no stopping them

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Rob Siltanen

Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change. ― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

The only lasting truth

All that you touch
You Change.

All that you Change
Changes you.

The only lasting truth
is Change.

God
is Change.

Octavia E. Butler

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again. Eric Roth

 

Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change. ― Wayne W. Dyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 212019
 

Not long ago, I got together with a group of wonderful women friends. And, as is usual with this group, it took us a while to catch up on our “regular” lives. Trips and home renovations.  Grown kids. Grandkids. Husbands and health. Pets and gardens and pests. Day-to-day life — both mundane and magical.

One of our sister friends shared about feeling  deeply frustrated. She had quite willingly set aside all of her outside interests to care and advocate for her partner who suffered a rare form of cancer. She made space for the fierceness she needed to lead the fight.

And lead it she did. They won: appropriate treatment — still in the trial stage — and, were eventually declared cancer-free.

She made space for the fierceness needed to lead the fight. Click To Tweet

And now she was lost, she said. She was frustrated and angry about not being able to find a new passion. She told us that being well over eighty years old was not an excuse for passionlessness. Or for abandoning her quest. This attitude — and her transparency about being pissed off — is why she is one of my sheroes.

She told us that being well over eighty years old was no excuse for passionlessness. Click To Tweet

Another woman, a decade or so younger, was experiencing a similar struggling. She had regained some health while her husband had lost some. Also coming to her caretaker role with a positive attitude, she, too, worried about losing herself in the process — or maybe in the caretaker energy.

It takes a long time to build badass old ladies.

But just what does it mean to lose oneself? And what happens when we are lost?

I’m not where I expected to be, when I expected to be there. Damn. Click To Tweet

I immediately think about driving and getting lost. A late GPS instruction here… a missed turn there. Pretty soon it adds up to real inconvenience, doesn’t it? (And it never happens on a full tank of gas, either, does it?)

And “lost” is a funny term for this phenomenon. We’re not lost like the tiny back of our favorite fancy earrings — we’re just not where we expected to be, at the time expected. And in the case of that car ride from hell, rebooting the GPS or getting off at the next exit will likely fix us right up. Not so when we get lost in our lives.

But just like my caretaking senior sisters, it’s not the actions I take that make me feel lost, it’s my expectations. I’m not where I expected to be, when I expected to be there. The first woman did not expect to have to go to war with insurance providers. She probably also didn’t expect her partner to survive. The second? Didn’t expect to survive herself. Having come through one of life’s giant detours, each of them is without a map or markers. Fewer friends. No set schedule. Interests by the wayside.

Who and what get picked back up and what becomes part of the litter left on the side of life’s big road? And how does one who feels lost go about making those decisions?

 

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