Daily Joys and Simple Pleasures

Rarely do I share book reviews here, and yet this book prompted me to do so.

If you are in need of a curriculum for a young person or a jumpstart at retirement, this book is that.  If you are looking for fresh ideas to lift your creative practice or deepen your capacity to enjoy the simple things in life, this book is that. Randomly opening to any page is how I use the book.  There are many things/suggestions/ideas there that I’ve used my whole life and that I teach others. AND there are new ideas, fresh challenges and reminders that I find essential to my own capacity to stay on track with my intentions.

The Table of Contents, alone, provides a set of inspiring prompts to invite change or deepen an already excellent practice. People who live a wholehearted life generally do so without writing their processes down – they live them and model them for others. Susyn Reeve has provided a real service here by compiling authentic, tried practices that generate wellness, happiness, contentment, deeper joy and a sense of success and ease. It’s a textbook for living fully with ever expanding capacity. This book can be used over the year, as it is presented or with “intentional randomness.” Any way a reader uses this volume will underscore and highlight the best practices of your life and lay down paths to more rewarding ways of thinking and being that you, perhaps, have yet to discover.

from LEAN FORWARD INTO YOUR LIFE (2007 Conari Press, Mary Anne Radmacher, author)  “Know When To Leave”

It was time for me to leave. What I was leaving was so delicious in its appearance. The opportunity to be a part-time hero is reasonable appealing. I chose to be hero to myself. I chose to not disappoint myself. In so choosing, disappointed others. Such is just one consequence of knowing when to leave.’’

Acting on an impulse to protect my environment, I accidentally became a national activist.  That was not my objective.  My objective was far more self-focused. I was thriving as a body boarder and planned to learn to surf. That the government was planning on issuing leases for oil drilling off our shore was quite disturbing. So much so that a fellow “water baby” and I began an energy conservation program campaign that still thrives in my former community.  We led what became a two state petition effort involving hundreds of people. We traveled and testified before committees and elected officials.  A moratorium was issued.  Ten year delay.

On the heals of that success several agencies had other “issues” they wanted me to champion.  They were all important. Yet, none of them were passionately important to me.  “But you are so GOOD at this,“ they crooned.  “The State needs people like you.”
Being wanted and needed and courted – wow, they are heady drugs!  I knew the chunk of soul and time and health that one effort took out of me.  My soul calls me to make a  difference.  And I do that through generosity, poetry, art and teaching.  I am not a born
activist.  I fight for what I am passionate about.  It’s the passion that drives me, not the fight.

I said no.  I’ve been grateful for knowing to leave those opportunities so many times. A yes would have fulfilled the
expectations that others held of me.  My NO honored my calling, my craft and my health.  From that I learned and have often said,

“My NO becomes the opportunity for someone else’s YES.”

mary anne radmacher

“Editing. It’s Not Just For Writing.”
I’ve spent much of my writing time since I was 28 trying to get rid of words. Editing down. Paring down. Getting to the core.

I woke up this morning clear on the matter: that is what I am doing with the whole of my life. I see I am less defined by what I have and more represented by what I have passed on and given away. Similarly, I am better understood when what I do not possess, nor have ever held, is observed (in its absence).

The contents of my closet may seem too ordinary to make much fuss about. And yet, “how we do anything is how we do everything,” (said by dozens of sages over the last many hundreds of years that we’ve been taking note of such things). I’ve gone through and sorted and shared the items in my closet at least 7 times in the last year. I’m about to do it again. Each act of diminishing the volume of my clothing manages to enlarge my world view. This shedding of things lets me stand up taller, freer, with less encumbrance.

Editing. It’s for words, things, people, commitments, thoughts, ideas, impulses
and this list is simply a short one.

When I was 25 I had a bumper sticker on my truck that read, “Live Simply that others may simply live.” I’ve been spending/investing the years since that declaration letting my impulse catch up to my actuality. I am still surrounded by abundance and stuff – increasingly each of those things are attributed meaning. I suspect, just like the process of my closet, that many of those items will also, ultimately, find another garden in which to take root. Editing. It’s good for everything.

There are two lines that people have to fill out when enrolling in school, in a new program, camp, new doctor…

“Nearest relative.”   “Person to call in case of emergency.”

In LIVE BOLDLY I explore several sides of the concept of family.  There’s the family that you are born into and then there is the family that you choose for yourself in various stages of your life.  I consider myself blessed to still be close and associate with many people with whom I went to grade school and high school.  One of my dearest friends in this time of my life I have known since I was 18 years old. Some others I treasure I only met just last year. Time seems less significant than true connection.  (page 80, LIVE BOLDLY reads)…

fate makes us family. choice maks us friends. there are two lines i fill out with your name: nearest relative and person to call in case of emergency. that i was born in this circle – i am blessed. that i choose to stand in this circle – i am proud.

Who in your life is your “person” to call in an emergency?  Have you mentioned to them, lately, how much you appreciate them?  THIS might be the perfect moment to do so.