… while everything else speeds up
I broke a bone in my foot a while back.
Have had to slow wayyyyy down, & you know,
I thought I already had!
(& I had!)
But it’s all relative, as they say.
Now I can’t run up & down the stairs a bunch of times a day.
Can’t run at all!
So … I’m retired now.
66 years old.
Apart from the foot, I’m in pretty decent health, I think.
Been an environmental activist for 30+ years now. As it happens, I twigged to climate change back in the late 1980s (the term then mostly in use, as I recall, was “the greenhouse effect”).
I’ll just be 100% honest here & admit that I basically felt “called” to dive in on environmental issues. (I had young children; what kind of world was there going to be for them?? That kind of thing. You know.) So, I did.
So I’ve spent 30+ years now trying to ward off the un-ward-off-able. (If you will. On many different fronts, in many different ways, & on many different issues.) Trying to put the breaks on a trajectory toward disaster that human beings have been on for a very, very long, long, long, long time – though I kind of didn’t really grasp that piece of it in my early days as an activist.
What looked in 1989 to be a slow-moving disaster has picked up an awful lot of speed in the intervening years. To put it mildly. 🙁 🙁
We were warned! We were warned.
But though I’ve done (& still do) a lot of lamenting (&, in my own case, feeling both sad & angry about it all), & also quite a bit of activism…
I think I may be moving into a new phase.
The foot situation may be helping bring it on.
Now I lie in bed in the morning for quite a while, & smile at the cardinal song I hear coming through my bedroom window. Just lying there. Peaceful.
I just love cardinals. That glorious, glorious red! … & their lovely, somehow sort of liquid-sounding song! (Admittedly, they get going a little too early for my taste, some mornings. Ah well, eh? You gives & you takes.)
Now, too, I see I can almost watch the buds growing on the scrawny tree outside my window. (I’ll often notice branches on this kind of feeble tree shaking & look out to see a squirrel running up it, or a bird landing in it. Nice. 🙂)
Once my foot is a bit further along in the healing process, maybe I’ll go down to the lake in the mornings with my coffee, & just sit a while & gawk out at it.
I can & will continue actively enjoying the gifts of both Nature & humanity. (I have a great fondness for a great many individual human beings, of course – strangers can often be quite lovely too! – but as a species I find us rather appalling. To put it politely. 🙁)
Doing helpful things for those of us who are still here, too, I might add.
… & remembering to take lots of deep breaths.
(This old story keeps coming up. I’m reminded of it now.)
Listen… I know we can’t all lie around in the morning with a cup of coffee, listening to cardinals sing (& not just cardinals, either! I figure I heard at least 5 or 6 different species of birds out there the other morning, chattering away at different times. Several I could identify, a few I could not).
I get that.
I’m a very fortunate, very blessed person.
I know it!
Still, I’m pretty sure we can all work miracles by putting a little more effort into the being-actively-grateful thing (there are many helpful quotations/postings about gratitude here).
“In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but the gratefulness that makes us happy.” – Albert Clarke, quoted in Speak Peace in a World of Conflict – What You Say Next Will Change Your World, by Marshall B. Rosenberg
These reminders can be helpful too:
“Hoard each joyous moment that comes to you. No one knows how it will all end.” – Háfiz
“Just to live is holy. To be is a blessing.” – Rabbi Abraham Heschel
“Love life. Take great pleasure in small offerings. Believe that the world owes you nothing. Understand that every gift given to you is just that.” – Maya Angelou
“Each day we are born again to start our life anew. What we do today is what matters most.” – Buddha
We need to be on the lookout for moments when we can say
“If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is!”, à la Kurt Vonnegut.
I think we’re embarking upon very uncertain times. (Well, okay, we’re already pretty deeply into them. But things are liable to get a little … uh, nastier, I think, down the road.)
There is no way of knowing how things are going to go down.
Me, I’m determined to remember this, NOW:
Life is a wondrous, precious, gracious gift.
& since I am liable to be a (very) long time dead (once that time comes)
Best to really enjoy those cardinals (& the budding trees, & the sunshine, & many-many other things)…
NOW … while I can!
p.s. I guess what I’m really getting at here is this: I think it’s a good idea to learn to be calm. Grateful. To live in the moment. Cut down on all the dramas, if at all possible. (They just take up too much energy! Too much of our brain power – our psychic energy. They wind up exhausting us. Who needs it??)
p.p.s. Here’s the other thing: this foot injury of mine has MADE me slow down, against my will, basically. The great benefit of it is that it’s taught me (yet again! I seem to need endless reminders!) not to take things for granted. It’s amazing how much you can appreciate a simple thing like going to the laundromat to do laundry – or over to the grocery store – when these simple things were not possible for a while. (I’m writing this p.s. after a triumphant outing to do those 2 very things. 🙂) What a relief it was, to be able to do them! How much we generally take for granted! We all need endless reminders to be grateful for so-called “small” things – & to slow down & really appreciate things. Here is an old posting of mine on how to develop a gratitude habit (I apologize in advance for the fact that the links inside the posting probably don’t work anymore. Chalk it up to the blog migration a few years back). Lots more on gratitude at this spot.
p.p.p.s. I’ve said this elsewhere. I find the YouTubes of Alan Watts very helpful. Listening to AW helps me put things in perspective. As does Buddhist thought in general (which I’ve been interested in for a number of years now). Eckhart Tolle can be helpful on learning to be in the moment, cut down on drama, etc. I’m a big fan too of Pema Chödrön (some quotes from her here). & Nature!! Which I guess I’ve made clear in my repeated assertions about how much I love cardinals! I do do my best to live in the moment … but I also look forward to getting out in a canoe again. & Hey, walking! (Walking is my very sanity!))