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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.

Is this going to be over?

Today has been chaos. Part of my family has been here deconstructing my house. They are taking pieces of furniture that they want and some other things. I have fled to my office to get away from it all. I am going to be living in the strangest house until we get all things packed up. Things that were in drawers are on the floor since the drawer(s) are gone. I can’t pack them until my other child arrives to decide what she wants. Very confusing but hopefully soon over.

If we are lucky the dogs won’t get packed

Our apartment is ready for us. It just needs us and some furniture which we will get soon enough. In a short while we will move into a VRBO that my best friend is loaning to us. It will be a wonderful retreat from the mess.

This has been interesting, challenging, freeing and I’m sure I could find other adjectives to fit. Keep us in your thoughts are prayers for the next few weeks. It will help me stay sane.

Ask for help

Yesterday I realized that I was doing too much. The amount of paperwork involved in this move has been totally overwhelming. I was trying so hard to do everything that I was stressing myself beyond my ability to function. So I did the smart thing. I asked for help.

It is not unusual for any of us to think that we can take care of everything and that we don’t need help. “I can handle it!” We don’t want to feel weak or needy but each of us has a limit. We don’t want to ask for help but most of the time it is there if we ask.

My children willing pitched in and took a few of the tasks away and the relief was enormous. Just having a few things gone made a big difference.

We never want to ask for help. We want to be so independent but it is good to ask for help. People are usually very willing to do what they can. I know that I will help wherever I can and most people are the same. Don’t wait until you are at the end of the rope. Call for help and let someone pull you in.

Becoming

This journey that we have been on for the last year has changed me in many ways. I have felt myself stretching and discovering. I have had to learn things I needed to know since my husband could not longer help. I have been blessed that I managed the finances (mostly) all along so that was something I didn’t have to struggle with.

When you have been living with someone as long as we have you develop patterns and really become unaware of how much you depend on the other person and the things they do. I have learned to be so grateful for the things my husband has done over the years and truly miss his help although he is now able to help some.

still becoming

All of our lives we are people in transition. We are growing, learning and hopefully gaining wisdom. I was raised in a family that taught that people are more important than things and our home has always been open to others both as a refuge and a fun place to be. We have nurtured many over the years and hope to continue to do so. Our hearts have always been open to love those around us and that will also continue.

Our journey is continuing and will until we leave this earth and maybe even after. My husband and I are still “becoming.”

Freeing up from things

Just a few more weeks until our move. I will be so glad to be done with this and in place. I know I will so miss my friends but nothing else is as important. We will create a new path and a simpler way to be. When my mother died, then my aunt a year later, I was tasked with clearing out two homes. It was hard to see all the things they had gathered over the years. I always swore that I would not leave that kind of task for my children and now I know that I will not. Things that I saved through so many moves have been sorted and only the important and loved things will go with us.

It is a sadness but also a relief. There was so much “stuff” I found that I have no idea why I kept. Now there is a fresh start with the things we love. It feels freeing in so many ways. Help from family arrives on the 23rd and more on the 27th. That will help us to continue to make progress.

We have mailed our absentee ballots and who knows what this election will bring. I will just be glad when it is over. I have never seen so many vituperative people in my whole life. The world has certainly changed and I am not sure for the better. I pray that the world can move on to a better way of being.

Fun question for discussion

I am still perusing the “If” book and this one is an interesting puzzle?

“If you have to choose a time in history when overall things were worse than any other single time, when would you say it was?”

The temptation, of course, is to say now. The whole world is in a pandemic with millions dying. In the US politics is a nightmare. The earth is in danger. So many things are wrong. But then, having studied history a case could be made for quite a few other times.

Hitler wipes out at least 6 million Jews not to mention those who were dissenters, other nationalities or disabled. He brings war to Europe and England causing many other deaths.

It is estimated that the Black Plague wiped out 25 million people in much of the known world. It changed the face of Europe for ever.

The Great Chinese Famine wiped out tens of millions between 1958 and 1961. I was alive and a college student at that time and I don’t remember it ever hitting the news in this country. You would have thought that as a History Major I would at least have noticed it.

I am sure that I could go on citing things in the past that have changed the civilization of different groups. How important were these things in the big scheme? That is a question for interesting debate and a fun conversation for those studying Philosophy of History.

When would you choose?

Where would you go?

While continuing to separate what is to move with us and what is not I have been going through books. I have so many books and some I refuse to part with. Some I will be sad to lose but will recover.

While doing this I came across the book “If…(questions for the Game of Life) by Evelyn McFarland & James Saywell. This book is really fun to use to spark your imagination and your thinking. Today I pulled out “If you had to choose one country in the world other than the United States to become the only superpower of the twenty-first century, which country would you pick?”

Which would you choose?

Wow! in the midst of all that is going on a really interesting question. I have recently asked myself if I wanted to live somewhere else where would it be? The politics, anger, violence, attitudes and management of covid has made me to question this country. When I read the question I had to seriously consider. Is there any country whose moral ethos and government functions would I trust with my life? That is so hard. Over the last 6 months or so I have often said I would like to move to Holland or Sweden or Finland, Not having lived there I really can’t gauge how it would be. More recently covid has made me wonder about New Zealand. They have certainly responded to covid with caring for each other.

What do you think? Is there any place you would pick?

Times are a changin

I am sorry that I haven’t been able to read on a logical schedule lately. I want to keep up with everyone but things have been so crazy that I just couldn’t get to it.

We only have a few more weeks to go and the hectic part will be over. It will be time to settle in and get a routine going. I will be nice to have my daughter and her family to be with since they have been quarantining and we feel safe around them.

They have done so much for us during this transition as have my other two children. We are so blessed that my three and their families don’t fight with each other and love each other dearly.

The elephant in the room

The trip to Mayo was tiring especially since my cruise control went nuts and now the car has to go in for service. There have been several electronic glitches in the last few weeks so I think they are all connected. Just hoping it is not toooooo expensive.

Since I knit and crochet all the time I have packed six boxes of yarn so far. WOW! I have to start using what I already have and find patterns to match.

I have been having fun working on some elephant snuggle things for my two great grandsons. Since this one is unfinished he has a crochet hook on his ear but I think they will love these. It is the perfect age for this kind of thing. Enjoy my feet in the edge.

With all the sorting and getting ready to pack I need something creative to work on.

Time is getting nearer and there is less tension for me as it does. I hate waiting more than moving.

All will be well

Today has been trying. I had to be at the eye center early for surgery to remove some cloudiness behind the lens. I used to be a morning person and I still get up early but I can’t get going easily. I just need some alone time in the morning to get my mind going. When I have to get going early I don’t sleep well the night before. So I didn’t sleep well. The bad part is that we have to drive to the Mayo Clinic for a check up tomorrow. Three hours there and three hours back. I’m not looking forward to that. Once we get going I will be fine. At least the drive is time to think.

This waiting to move is so hard. I feel as if I am living in a time warp. I know it will be past soon and I am looking forward to that. And “all will be well.”

BLACK – grey – WHITE

Today I have decided that I am a grey person living in a black and white world. I don’t mean grey as a color but the middle ground between black and white. People are either on one side or the other. With race you are black or white…forget Native Americans (First nations), people whose skin is tan, brown, yellowish, reddish, half of one thing and half another. You are either one or the other.

I really wish we could all have our DNA tested to discover what different colors show up in our genes. Having been raised in the south I would be willing to be that I am a certain percentage black?/brown?. Who knows what else might show up. Could certainly be First Nations.

In politics there is also no grey. We are all being bombarded with negative information. I have only seen one positive commercial during this whole campaign. I was awed to see it.

I grew up in a grey world. People could talk without rancor. There could be actual discussions. Real debate. I didn’t watch the debate because I suspected how it would go. It wasn’t a debate but a diatribe by both men. We are being overcome by the negativity of things. Positive no longer applies. This is worrisome for me and my descendants. We have to revive the positive. There is a middle and we have to find it. It is imperative!