Center down

Unexpected (1)Today has been an interesting day. The plans for our trip are changing daily. I may stay home part of the time. Family may stay here. We will just take one day at a time.

Someone that I read today said that learning to turn ourselves off in prayer or meditation is an ego-ectomy. To do either we have to let go of ourselves and place ourselves in the unknown or the hands of god. We let our own thoughts and the clutter of our minds drift away. I used to be able to do that. I can remember being able to let go to the point that I felt “out of body.” I was lifted up off the floor. I long to have that experience again. I am trying to get back there but it does take time and practice.  When you start out thoughts crowd in and want to take over. With time, the ability to “center down” (Quaker expression) becomes easier.

centuring-your-mind-IG

It is so easy to go off the deep end about something that is really not important. The fact that I can’t walk through my office is insignificant at this moment. My bed will get made and the laundry will get done. Eventually. There will not be anyone coming in to inspect. One day at a time is all we have to handle. Remember that!

 

Life is for living!

life hits you

Why is it that we have these times of doing well and the suddenly life smacks you. My friend’s husband fell last night and broke his hip. She has been caring for him…physically..for over a year now. She is the reason that he is alive. Medicine today requires that you have an advocate and she is his. He was doing well and improving, walking with a walker and talking more and now we are back at square one. I am brokenhearted for her and for him.

My daughter’s father-in-law died yesterday. She has been helping to care for him for the last eight months. His was an expected and peaceful death but there is still much to get through. In life we are in the midst of death.

This is the season of anticipation. Waiting for a birth and yet death and suffering continue. The cycle of life. It is interesting at my age to think about the years coming and know that I won’t be here to see the future. This is not an unhappy reflection but a reflection on life itself. Everything is a cycle of birth and death. Even stones are worn away into sand. We also return to the earth. This is as it should be.

Erosion_at_Rocking_Stone_-_geograph.org.uk_-_33777

Today I am fighting IBSD and that is part of my cycle. This too will pass and life will continue to be born. There is today and more days to come. Take each of them and treasure them whether they are joyful or challenging.  Life is to be lived.

 

 

The joy of giving

Taking care of others, helping others, ultimately is the way to discover your own joy and to have a happy life. —Dalai Lama

labelsChristmas is about giving. It is not about trying to give the most expensive gift. It is about giving the things that warm the heart. We have become so conscious of labels. Is that from Marc Jacobs or Coach? We even have many things with the labels on the outside so we can flaunt how expensive something is. When I was growing up we wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing a label on the outside of something. It is amazing how things have changed.

This kind of thinking makes us feel stingy if we don’t or can’t give something expensive. Some of the best things I have been given were of little or no cost. I have a small angel sitting by my sink. It holds my rings when I take them off. My mother gave this to me and I remember her when I use it. I doubt it cost more than $1.00. It was in my stocking one Christmas. A forever gift.

gift of timeThe gift of time is one of the most amazing gifts we can give… visiting a friend who is sick, transporting someone who just needs a ride. These are gifts that bring joy to others and to us.

We have lost the pleasure of giving something hand made. We can’t seem to grasp that the hours taken to make a gift are also a gift of time. When I knit or crochet a gift I think about that person while making it. Love is put into each stitch. It brings me joy to do this and I hope that it brings love to the person receiving it.

Those who feed the homeless or collect items for them are giving a gift of themselves along with the food and clothing. These gifts bring joy to all.

giving

This season remember the joy of giving. The cost matters not. It is the love in the gift.

Too busy?

busy lifeThis quote set me to thinking. We can easily be too busy about nothing. Does the busy-ness cover our inability to stop? Are we busy about things that have no meaning?

It is so easy to get caught up especially in this season. Shopping, baking, decorating seem to take up all of our time. Our minds are on overloaded trying to juggle everything. We don’t take time to stop and think. Unfortunately we have turned this holiday season into a nightmare. Many of us spend more than we should on things that may not even be appreciated. We need to rethink this season and find a middle ground that works.

In the last few years I have backed off from some of the stress I created during the holidays. I have a much more relaxed attitude. Things don’t get done as fast and if they are not done at all that’s ok. I used to be  whirling dervish…running everywhere….making sure everything was perfect…driving myself crazy. When the holidays actually arrived I was too tired to enjoy them.

We can set ourselves an impossible task. We can end up exhausted and burned out. Try to decide the things that really matter and let the rest go. You will reap the benefit of enjoying a joyful season.

Time moves on

sad season

This week I have been sad. I don’t know if it was my birthday and getting older or the autumn and the darkness. It could be all of the above. It has brought to mind some things that I used to do and don’t any more.

I used to bake for Christmas. I made lots of sweets for everyone.  I no longer have someone to bake for. The two of us have no desire to eat lots of Christmas sweets. My grandchildren are grown up (all except one who is in his teens) and not around to bake for or with. It was fun to make treats with my children and grandchildren.

For some reason I stopped sending Christmas cards. Our years of moving around made me lose track of many people. Our life is different now and it seems that there are many people who don’t send cards. In a way that is a regret. It was a job to get them done but a wonderful way to keep in touch.

I don’t have as much money to spend on gifts and so I try to be resourceful and creative in the things I find. This has been a plus as it has helped me to spend time on what really matters. It also reminds me of those who have nothing.

Again, life changes and we have to experience each phase. We can’t opt out if we plan to live on. Getting older can present challenges but so do other phases of life. To really live we have to seize each moment and know it will not come again.

time moves

Even though I have been sad sometimes sad can be a season of remembrance. It can be a time when we think about how different things are and plan to choose to live this moment. In this season of darkening skies and leaves falling life continues. Winter will follow and spring and on and on. The world is turning, time goes forward and I am still here to see it.

The struggle of role changes

Feminist-1I have never considered myself a feminist. At least not in the sense of Gloria Steinham (sp?) and others of that era. My father always told me that I could do anything if I worked at it. When I was younger it never occurred to me that there were people who felt that women should not leave the roles of the past. I spent 20 years as an Army Wife and never encountered that kind of prejudice there. I suppose I was out of the ordinary world.  It was a shock to me when we left that world to discover (sorry, but especially men) who saw me out of my place… people who tried to fit me into the box they envisioned. Someone once asked my husband if he couldn’t keep his wife in her place. He replied he had spent all his time encouraging me. This was in the 1970’s.

The women’s movement in the 60’s denigrated the role that I was living. I resented that. I never felt my role as wife and mother was lacking. I read widely, volunteered  in social work and other areas and had a full and rewarding life.  It made sense to me that women who were in the work world should receive proper compensation on an equal footing with men. I knew the inequalities should be removed but I expected there to be room for each of us to find our own path and fulfill ourselves as we saw fit. That was not the plan of most of the early feminists.

mom_and_wife-2096

Later my own role changed as my children grew and I chose to become a nurse. (still a feminine role but also changing.) I had a full and enriching career of more than 30 years.

It is gratifying to see things are better in some ways. I think that women who raise children have more respect than in the 60’s. The downside of this change is that it has played a role in changing families drastically. Most children now grow up with both parents working. This is hard for the whole family. Everyone is juggling time spent in different roles. Changes in the economic climate have made this the norm.

The other side of this is the role of men. It has been a difficult adjustment for men whose roles have also changed. With children growing up in the 60’s and 70’s it seemed as if boys were showing signs of pressure in school. They were not automatically assumed to be the best at math and science. The competition with girls redefined their roles. More girls were now heading for careers in what was male dominated areas. Boys in high school and college seemed to be struggling more than in the past.

culture changeThe whole era was a shake up of culture and a difficult time for both sexes. I can see some of that leveling out. There are still problems but being able to look at things from my viewpoint I can see positive changes. We will continue to struggle with changing mindsets and coming to terms with injustices but things are better. Some of that will disappear as generations change. Let’s hope we keep moving toward the good things and people are free to choose their roles without bias.

 

The marsh grass —a poem

The Marsh Grass

marsh grass

 

The water moves slowly

at first

tide changing

 

as if

trying to decide

which way to go

 

Then I see

the clusters

of marsh grass

 

loosened from their

home

begin to move

 

slowly at first

then faster

seeking the sea

 

finding

a new home

vast and free

 

drifting on

the crest of each wave

waving at

the sun

 

The dance

toward ending

begun