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Why this journey?

Life is a series of choices. We don’t often think of that but just getting out of bed in the morning is a choice. We are so used to routine that it doesn’t seem like we made a choice. It’s just what we do every day with little thought. How different life could be it we could be fully present for each of those choices. It is interesting to reflect on one’s path in life. It is so easy to see the places where I stepped off the path and usually paid for it. Sometimes the slip brings an instant outcome. Sometimes life continues and only with a long look back can we see the result of the choice.

I have always wanted to learn to live each day in the present moment but I haven’t mastered it yet. If only every second of every day I could remember I am alive now!  How different my whole life would have been.

You see, I am a worrier. I cross bridges and explore every good and bad outcome for each crisis or major event that comes up. I can easily picture myself with a fatal illness or catastrophic problem. The real question is how I have managed to live for 76 years and not learned how to let this go. It is time to move on. This is my journey into change. My first step into a new way to really live each moment.

I know that I have a tough road ahead of me and will struggle with my resistance to changing habits and applying all the advice and wisdom I have been given. I worried as a child. My grandmother used to tell me to sit in a chair and worry as hard as I could and get up and see if anything had changed. Her wisdom (she died at 100 ) was there for me as long as she lived. I heard it over and over but never learned how to do it.

The practice of faith was not absent in my growing years. God was a part of my everyday life. I was baptized in the Presbyterian church that my parents attended and each Sunday was in church with my parents or my grandmother (she was Methodist) I saw my grandmother read her Bible each day and pray as she rested after lunch and again at night before bed. Her connection to God was strong. Was Her consistent time spent with God the thing that brought her such peace? Many of my adult years have been spent in God’s ministry. Interesting that all that energy and action didn’t have a deeper effect on my way of being. One would think that Bible study, leading church events, teaching yoga and meditation would have had more impact.

So many human quirks that have been around since Adam and Eve have been given titles and are seen as present in many of us. In today’s world, my worrying would be given the title mild anxiety. What I do is not unusual nor can it be considered a psychiatric diagnosis. It seems to me that the recognition of garden variety anxiety has given some relief for those of us who worry. I am not the only one and will certainly not be the last.

Added on to this propensity to worry are the major changes in our way of life. It seems to me that sometimes ignorance is bliss. (note: I say it seems that way). Today we are bombarded with information. The world seems to be more dangerous day by day. To quote Dr King “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” We can see the result of this on the streets of our cities. Have we been desensitized to violence so that nothing is too abhorrent to do?

All the electronic devices have added noise on a former unprecedented level. Is there silence anywhere? Do we understand the effect on body and mind of constant noise? Do we ever just sit back and think? I see this pattern as actually increasing worry or anxiety in the future. There is no time to just be.

All that having been said this writing will record my progress (or lack thereof) of a journey into change. I cannot change the world but I can change myself. I believe in the butterfly principle and maybe if one person finds a different way something will change.

Connections matter

I posted this on my other site but realized that I wanted to share it here also.

I have long been a believer in the “butterfly effect.” The idea that somehow we are all connected. I see this in so many ways. There is a wonderful children’s book called “The Invisible String” that tells us that love is one of the ways we are connected and it is the “invisible string” that never goes away even with death.

Sometimes we have a strong feeling of connection to someone we have never physically met. I feel that way about some people I connect with on this blog. I hear their voice through their words. I have a sense of who they are and feel connected. Because I don’t know them otherwise I could be wrong but there is still something there. Kindness and compassion are clearly felt.

We are connected to the people we see in our everyday lives. It could be seeing the same grocery clerk every week or someone we meet for lunch. People touch us in our work. Obviously some of these links can be good or bad but there is still a connection. Each of us has an impact on those around us.

We are connected to those who have gone before us. We may not know about them or we may have heard stories about their lives. They are present in our DNA. We often find that there are personality traits that have been passed on. People say that I look like my great grandmother. Pictures do show a strong connection.

In the church where I worked for years there is a sense in the building of the lives that have gone before. It is something I feel when I sit in silence in the sanctuary. It is as if the “communion of saints” is physically present.

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Don’t doubt that we are all connected. The things that I do each day affects others. Science tells us that nothing is lost…just changed. What I do matters. What you do matters.

Connections matter

Poste this on my other site but realized I wanted to share here.

Hear God in Other Voices

I have long been a believer in the “butterfly effect.” The idea that somehow we are all connected. I see this in so many ways. There is a wonderful children’s book called “The Invisible String” that tells us that love is one of the ways we are connected and it is the “invisible string” that never goes away even with death.

Sometimes we have a strong feeling of connection to someone we have never physically met. I feel that way about some people I connect with on this blog. I hear their voice through their words. I have a sense of who they are and feel connected. Because I don’t know them otherwise I could be wrong but there is still something there. Kindness and compassion are clearly felt.

We are connected to the people we see in our everyday lives. It could be seeing the same grocery clerk every…

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The wave

I love C.S. Lewis. His books have inspired me for many years. Today I came across this quote from his book “A Grief Observed.”

I don’t think I had thought about grief in this way but it is so true. I have been washed in fear. Not constantly but over and over. Just when I think it has disappeared it comes again and overwhelms me.

It makes me wonder why fear? What am I afraid of? There is no clear answer. Some things can be seen such as being alone but others are not so obvious. Most of the obvious ones have been dealt with…finances, paperwork, moving, but still the wave comes.

Each time I can feel it tugging at me…wanting to pull me under but then it subsides. Each time it is possible that the pull is less strong but not enough to really feel.

Time will pass. The wave will someday bring memories of love and joy and the fear will recede. I only pray that it continues to lessen with fear and increase with love.

Is proof proof?

This is just so true for today’s world. People are actually unable to step outside of their beliefs. No conversation about a different idea with change them. They will always find a reason to step back into their original position.

Today something reminded me of this quote from “The Mysterious Benedict Society” originally a book now a series on Disney Plus. “Proof is useless unless it’s proof of something people already want to believe.?

I think this is partly why those who chose not to be vaccinated are so set in their position. My oldest daughter works in a hospital in Georgia. When I spoke with her recently the hospital had 95 patients in with covid. Of that number 2 were vaccinated. I wish more cities would cite those statistics. However, it is possible that nothing will change many opinions.

Everyone is to blame

What is this new world that we are living in? So many people are sick and it is hard to not feel as if it is their fault since so many of them were not vaccinated. It is a terrible world when people are so frightened by words spoken by politicians that they can’t care for their own health and that of others.

How did we get there? How can we make the changes necessary to create another environment. It is so sad. This virus could have had a better and faster outcome if paranoia had not set in. When people are scared anything can happen.

Who is to blame for all of this. To sort of quote the words of Pope Francis ” When no one is to blame then everyone is to blame.”

Moving ahead

What is it like to live in a retirement community? I am not sure that I can entirely answer that yet. I haven’t been here long enough. First impressions: there are good things. The food is good…there are three restaurants and many choices, someone cleans my apartment once a week, there are people to talk to when covid doesn’t interfere. My apartment is small but nice. Divesting myself of many things has been freeing.

Other thoughts: It is an adjustment as you see everyone else with grey hair (although this has become quite popular) and understand that living in a place where all of us are aging means that people will die.

Everything we do in life requires change. This is just another in many that make up my journey in life. There are still adventures to have, people to love and new things to experience and I am begging to look forward to that. There has been a real change in my perspective in the last few weeks.

Life goes forward. The question is are we willing to go with it or just rest in the past? I choose to move ahead.

Keeping on

Everyday is blending into the next. With the rise in covid variant it seems we are back to staying in. It becomes quite depressing. However, there is nothing to do but continue on. There will be some point at which the danger will be outweighed by our need to be with others.

We are human and as such we have a long history of being “tribal.” We need the connection with people. Most of us can only be solitary for so long. Admittedly some extreme introverts can deal with it for quite a while but the rest of us need communion with others.

The incidence of depression and anxiety has risen drastically since this all started. There are discussions of a new, even more virulent covid coming next. We will need to find new ways to live. We may have to limit ourselves to a closed circle of friends. There will still be risk but life has always had risk. We just have to adapt and keep on.

Don’t mess with mother nature

This is the view from my apartment. It is wonderful to look out and see the rolling hills. I have lots of sun and being a SAD person it is important to me. I have morning sun and nice shade in the afternoon to sit out on the balcony. This is really wonderful. I will be spending time outside once I get the balcony organized.

Austin is now at Level V for the new covid and so we are having to be especially cautious. There have been people getting the variant. Most of them are not seriously ill but who wants that. I am not sure we will ever be free of this virus or some other one that shows up.

Mother nature is not happy with us. We have raped the earth and now it is fighting back as it has done several times in the past. If only all those naysayers would begin to realize that this is a crisis that could do away with the human race.

At my age I am sure that I will not be around to see the end result (which I hope good) but I am concerned for the grandchildren and now great grandchildren. They deserve a better world environment.

Living goes on

I have been absent for so long I feel lost. I am catching up on posts and hopefully beginning to connect again. Life has been “interesting.”

I had dinner about 2 weeks ago with someone who although vaccinated came down with the new variant. That put me into isolation. I am supposed to be out today but there seems to be conflicting opinions so ???

In spite of being confined this has been a time for reflection. I admit I have binged on TV but watched some really uplifting and helpful things. I seem to gravitate to the British/New Zealand/ Australian things. They seem to expect some intelligence of the viewer.

I am settling in and will eventually find a new lifestyle here. There are so many opportunities for fun and learning. There is a connection to the University of Texas with many chances to keep mind ad body busy.

I have to overcome the experience of living with only people who are aging like me. In some ways it reminds me of the British comedy “Waiting for God.” I have decided to think of this as a kind of college experience where I also lived with others in my age group. I will be also finding opportunities to volunteer in the “outside world.” (covid allowing)

So….life goes on. Living goes on. God is near.

More loss

Today amidst all else that has been happening I discovered that I am missing some of my favorite necklaces. I have torn the apartment apart but no luck. Now none of these things were valuable but just important to me. I literally have no necklaces that I like to wear. There is a box full of the rest of my costume stuff but none of it is anything I care for or would choose to wear. Much of it is broken.

Such a simple loss but one that hurts terribly. I just seems to add to all the other loses I am experiencing. I know that with God’s help this will all get better but today I just don’t see how.

I’ll just hope that is spite of my search the things will show up some how.