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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.

Music!

I don’t know what I would do withoutmusic. My husband bought me a keyboard for Christmas and it is such a blessing after having to sell my piano. I’m not as sad about that as I thought I would be. the keyboard is so versitile. I can play more often because I can turn the volume down and still let my husband hear his TV.

Music is so good for the soul. It can make me cry or be calm. It can make me dance or fall asleep. I grew up in the 50’s and still love the music from that era. It makes me get up and move. I love all kinds of music but rock and roll makes me happy. Here is one of my favorite from the 50’s. Of course I love it because it has my name in it.

We must continue

The number of covid cases here continues to rise exponentially. Yesterday there were more than 1200 new cases in Austin. That is truly frightening. I guess people are so tired of all of this that they are just going about their business and not caring about being exposed. I so look forward to the time when we can get the vaccine.

Life in the apartment is fine and cleaning is easy but I do miss the view. There is something about water flowing that soothes my soul. I keep fighting depression and homesickness and some days are fine…others not so much.

This virus and the kind of life it has brought to all of us has been and continues to be challenging. Life has changed forever and we just have to learn to adapt to the new reality. Sometimes I am glad that my parents didn’t live to see these changes. They would have been appalled by how our country has changed.

We must continue to speak out about how things should be. We can’t be silent for that is what leads to bad outcomes.

A Frightening thought

Today has been quiet. I am still learning how to function here in Texas. After all it has only been 2 months since we moved. With the rate of the virus being so high I have switched to picking up food that I have ordered.

I still feel deeply for those who have no support and have had to deal with this completely by themselves. This has been a tragic time and a terrible beginning for the new year. It is worrying that our country is in so much turmoil. It is strange to be living where there are people who think that insurrection is the cure for problems.

It is actually frightening. I have lived my life in a country that believed in the rule of law and now I don’t think that idea will last. The people who did this come from groups who have been gathering for some time and now may be consolidating. This may continue to be a hard time for us.

SNOW

Today was definitely different in Austin Texas. When I got up it was pouring rain. The next time that I looked out it was snowing…hard! My car was covered with snow. There was about two inches on the hood but the car was cold to begin with. There wasn’t so much on the ground. I went out to clean the snow off and while I was there it was thundering! I have never heard of a thunder snow storm. The snow was very wet but it snowed for most of the day. Toward evening the temperature started to rise and now it is raining again.

It was nice to see pretty snow. It always makes everything look so clean. Tomorrow it will be all gone but it was nice to see it. The roads were not a problem and all slush now. Tomorrow we will be back to normal.

Hope everyone had a good/decent day.

Sadness

This recent surge of covid has really been depressing. So many people are affected. This is a sad comment on how everything is going in our country. I am so sad. It seems as if there is one tragedy after another. I guess living in this country I didn’t appreciate the sadness and lack of hope experienced by those in countries that suffer famine, violence, hatred, fear and deprivation. I’m only getting a small taste of all of that but it is enough to give me a better understanding.

Pray for our world and all who inhabit it.

I am now living in a third world country

I feel as if I am living back in a third world country. When we lived in Panama we couldn’t drive across the country without fear that anything we did wrong could cause us to be arrested and jailed. The police were also the army.

Now in my own country insurrection is real. And it seems that it is possible that this was incited by our own president. I am not very political but I do believe in obeying our laws and that the best form of protest is non violent.

I guess I am not as surprised as I should be since our divisions have been sending us that way. There is no way for people to agree. I used to volunteer where we tried to teach teens and even younger that there were ways to resolve differences without violence. I guess we need to focus on teaching the same things to adults.

When we ever recover from this.?

Feeling Cautious

Some days I am just waiting for the nightmare to end. I think there are times when I would love to not worry about having to go out for necessities. I do not go out for anything unless it is important but it would really be nice to feel that I could go out without worrying before I go and after I come home.

This period of time reminds me of the time my husband was in Viet Nam. I could never let my guard down…never totally relax. I thought at the time about men/women who were killed the day before they were to rotate home.

I feel that way about the covid vaccine. Will we manage to get the vaccine before we get the disease? It makes me super cautious. I don’t want either of us to be part of the horrible statistics hitting us now.

Nevertheless we due have to keep on living and I am varying my routine and trying to enhance my husbands so that we don’t become vegetables before the vaccine. I pray that everyone who wants to receive the shots will be able to get them soon. This is really hard. I feel as if I am living in a science fiction novel like 1984, Soylent Green or Animal Farm. There are many more recent books that have played out this scenario but I grew up with those.

Keep safe and keep going!

What to do?

I have been reading the most amazing book. It is The Choice by Dr. Edith Eva Eger. She is a psychologist and survivor of Auschwitz. For part of the book she tells her story as a lead in to the things she has learned since and how our choices frame our lives. She begins with this statement: “It took me many decades to discover that I could come at my life with a different question. Not: Why did I live? But: What is mine to do with the life I have been given?”

This is a question that I have struggled with for a long time. At 80 years of age I am not sure that I have the answers yet but I have made progress. Over the years I have realized that most of my purpose is to do this as much as I am able to help others. There are so many who have never had a chance to experience understanding and acceptance which for me are part of loving. Being present for others in a real way is important to me. Covid has made this difficult and it has been hard on me not to be physically present.

I can’t think of anything more important than to be there…present, open and accepting when needed. I wish that everyone could see love and caring as an answer to so many issues infecting our lives. Spread love, hope, kindness and acceptance. It could change everything.

Change and more change

As we age we see the primary figures in our life (mother, father, loved ones) grow older too. At some point we begin to see the differences. Roles begin to blur and the status of those important connections changes. For many families there is a matriarch or patriarch. As we grow older the power of those figures diminishes and the power begins to shift.

The big change comes when those older ones die and we find ourselves as them. Suddenly we are the older generation. If life goes that way we many not be the ones hosting holidays. The roles have changed and we have to find a new place in the scheme of things.

I felt that strongly this year as we have moved away from our home and have experienced new roles and new patterns. We always encouraged our children to make their own traditions as they grew their families. Now we are joining in the traditions of our daughter and her family. It truly is a different thing and we will have to find the place that we fit. We have never been to their home for Thanksgiving and Christmas so we have no role there. Over time we will have to find a way to be incorporated. We know this will come but this year if felt strange to not help or participate in some way. Life does have a way of changing. We just have to change with it.