Tuesday is a day that I always look forward to. On Tuesdays I meet with friends for knitting and conversation. We are a group who before starting this group did not know each other. We are all different. We are from different countries, different social groups. This makes the group inspiring and conversation is stimulating.
To add to it we are also being creative. One of the members is an amazing artist and does many pencil drawings for children to color. Each of us is creating something usually in yarn but not always. Most of the things we create are for others. We also offer free help teaching to knitting for anyone who want to learn. This group is such a joy.
I have been knitting since I was a child. It reminds me of the my wonderful mother and the many things she taught me. The motion of my hands and the creating of something both beautiful (I hope) and useful have a calming effect. Knitting can allow the brain to rest (if not too complicated) and the mind to let go of stresses. Seeing the finished product brings joy. Now that I have children, grandchildren and great grandchildren it is fun to do things for them and for friends.
There is something about music that moves my soul. Music can take me to another place quickly. Many times music will touch a place inside and bring me to tears. There are so many kinds of music that I like. There are very few that don’t touch me in some way.
Music can lift us when we are down. It does have to be the right thing. Listening to something depressing when you are already sad is a mistake. There are some songs that just force you to feel better especially if you sing along.
I will never forget the Muppets singing about being mad. I made sure that my children learned that song and could sing it when angry. I seemed to bring perspective to those feelings.
We also don’t teach as much with music as we could. I have a song taught by a college biology professor that I have never forgotten. My children can still sing the preamble to the constitution learned in Schoolhouse Rock. I recently learned that one of my favorite people here in Savannah was key to creating that series. His talent was amazing. He is now gone by never forgotten. His name was Ben Tucker, a bass player who player with almost all the old jazz groups, and knew everyone in the music world.
Music helps us to learn and I still wonder why learning this way isn’t used more. If you didn’t grow up hearing those teaching moments here is an example.
I have gotten better about some things as I have aged. On Friday I will turn 79 years young. The year before eighty. It seems like a milestone. It has made me think about the things I really can do something about and came up with this list.
My choices and actions
My attitudes and priorities
The people that I chose to be with
How I use my resources both physical things, my energy and my emotions
These are the things that I have some control over. Anything else is not something I need to worry about, stew over or waste time on.
Now the only things I need to do is to stick to this list.
Today I had to attend a class to re-certify as a mediator. The class was helpful and interesting but I realize I am no longer used to sitting in class all day. At one point I stood up for a while to just get out of the chair. We were given breaks but the first one was long in coming.
It is interesting when many things that you have done in life enrich whatever you are doing presently. I have noticed this happening several times in my life. It’s as if I am being prepared for the next thing to come. Today was mostly about listening, discovering what lies beneath problems, and helping to find common ground between people. I have used and taught communication skills many times in my life and this was mostly a endorsement of what I have already learned. I will be using it in a different way and learning that was helpful.
If we are truly living we are learning all the time. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t learn something new. Maybe from TV or books or other people. It is interesting to think at the end of the day about what is new and how can you use it.
Nothing is ever wasted. As you age you learn something you thought was useless 10 years ago is just what you need now. Absorb everything you can in life and somehow it will be used.
Yesterday we had a high in the 80’s. Last night it went down to 45. For us that is winter. Where is fall? I actually enjoy the cooler weather and look forward to having a fire in the fireplace.
One of the most difficult things about growing older is when you begin losing friends and contemporaries. Going to funerals is not much fun. The only blessing is that most of them have lived good, fruitful lives. You can be grateful for the time you have known them and the joy they have brought to life.
I don’t mean to sound depressing. Most of the time growing older feels to be just another phase of life. It has some incredible joys and blessings. I have experienced so much and learned so much and writing has allowed me to continue to share. I try to appreciate each day. One of the hardest things is to learn to live fully each and every day. Time is not to be wasted but experienced. If only we could learn to let go of living in the past or the future and just be where we are at the moment.
Today was a yard day. I didn’t really want to get out there but the hedges were desperate. Do you ever bite off more than you can chew?
The hedges were filled with vines which had to be pulled and cut away. Then it was obvious that pruning and shaping were important too. The problem is the hedge is too tall and too wide to just easily fix it with hedge trimmers. It can be done but it is a major job and I was already hot and tired. Nevertheless, I plunged ahead. Hot and dragging I managed to get all but a tiny smidgen finished. There was an area dead center at the top where it required a ladder to reach. I dragged out a ladder and did about half of that before I realized that I was DONE IN! I managed to get into the house. Crawled up the stairs and into a cold shower. I could hardly stand so I leaned against the shower wall.
I was revived some, took some ibuprofen and am recovering. It was a stupid thing to do. I could have collapsed from heat stroke. Thank God I didn’t. Lesson learned. No matter how bad you want to finish there is a limit. Don’t go past it!
Today, like lots of late Augusts and September we are watching to see what the hurricane will do. Would love to be spared it but I don’t wish it on others either. Hopefully it won’t be devastating as some in the past have been. This is something we just have to live with on the coast. It is the price we pay for our beautiful scenery and mild winters.
Life can be filled with things that aggravate and upset us. I try to not pick up aggravations that don’t belong to me. It is so easy to be swept up and become angry or sad about things that go on around us. I want to help make the world a better place but I have to do it in my space and tackle what I can. It is not possible to fix everything. This is a hard lesson to learn. As a nurse you are thrust abruptly into the real world and either learn quickly about unfixable things or else you will run screaming from the job.
My husband watches the news too much and is often upset about something that someone said. I can’t do that. I keep abreast of important happenings but stay away from the “talking heads.” That is something I can’t fix.
Try to learn what it possible to do and what is not. Otherwise you will be constantly on edge.
I grew up with this movie. In 1952 I was twelve years old. It became one of my favorite all time movies. This is dancing and singing in the rain. An easy thing to do when things are going well. Not so easy with life is not so good.
One thing I have found over the years. Singing helps me. It is hard for me to sing and feel bad. Especially if I sing something cheerful. Now, I don’t claim to be a great singer but I do enjoy it. It can often chase away the gloomies and set me on a better path. I will just put on some music that allows me to see with it and let loose. In the early 1960’s it was the era of the folk singers. I love The Kingston Trio, The Limelighters, Mamas and Pappas and many more. To sing with them perks me up. (Some you may not have heard of)
Finding something that perks you up is wonderful. It is easy to let the gloomies get you down. If we sink down it grabs onto us and we sink into the mire of depression. It is good to feel that coming and do something to stop the slide.
Find your own thing that will lift you up and use it!
There is so much noise in our daily lives that silence is almost unknown. When I worked for the church I would occasionally ask people to sit in silence for one minute. I actually timed it and after 30 seconds the fidgeting would begin.
There is not only no silence on the outside but there is little silence on the inside. Most of us have not learned how to shut off the voice in our heads. Since we have been so little exposed to quieting that voice it requires time and effort to learn how to do it. We decide that we want to try meditation and we can’t seem to settle and so we quit. It really is difficult to meditate in the beginning on your own. It is so much easier if there is a voice directing you. There are many Amazon Alexa apps that will take you through a meditation but even those aren’t always enough.
The best meditation I ever did was in a group with someone walking you quietly through the process. A really good leader can help you explore more depths that almost any other way. I have not found many meditation experiences except in yoga classes and most of them don’t meditate long enough for you to get into the place where you can let everything go.
I am hoping to start a group but I don’t know if I will have any takers. It remains to be seen.
A “better” world is one in which we recognize that all people possess an incomparable value that we are morally obliged to respect . . . in social, political, and economic terms. Honoring the humanity of your fellow beings means that if they are hungry, ill, or oppressed, you must exert yourself to help them. . . . But this . . . runs up against our inherited instincts of self-protection, greediness, and desire to dominate others. . . . If we could rearrange energy from within—if we more often nurtured our companions and promoted their well-being, we would suffer much less. Rearranging energy from within is what mysticism does. Dr. Beatrice Bruteau (1930–2014)
This quote from the meditation of Richard Rohr really speaks to what we must do to make the world a better place. Each of us has to dig deep and find that core of humanity that allows us to respect all beings.
She is so right. Our own instincts of survival, both physically and mentally, get in our way and keep us from becoming the humans we can be. She is calling us to seek that inner place where we meet the intangible, infinite spirit….no matter what we call it.