Daily Joys and Simple Pleasures

Daily Joys and Simple Pleasures

Yoga Incredulousity – A Modern Syndrome

I remember, a few sizes back, trying several different yoga instructors.  Each instructor gently guided me to the back corner of the room.  I never knew if that was to protect me in my earnest efforts from snickers or to preserve the view shed of the other participants.  In any case the result was the same.  I call it “Yoga Incredulousity.”  Verbalized it sounds like, “What?  You want me to put my foot where? Really?  You’re kidding, right?”  No  joke.  I’m happy to report that on my ever deepening road to health and wellness, I can participate in Yoga and several poses are part of my daily experience.  But, I still manage to experience the phenomenon of “Yoga Incredulousity” every time I listen to the news.

Newt Gingrich is planning to declare his intention to run for president.  “You want me to put my vote where?  Really?  You’re kidding, right?”  Newt.  Gingrich.  Just say the two words. Slowly.  And summon the variety of things you know about the man and ask yourself if you want to be calling him, “Mr. President,” in a few months.  I’m hearing the lyrics to the rock and roll, “I need a Hero.  I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night.”  I had the symptoms of “Yoga Incredulousity” just a few weeks ago when Donald Trump was making rumblings about running for president.  Ah. Well, you say, that WAS a joke.  The key leadership of our country is no laughing matter.  This is the person who will be directly the choir with songs that dramatically impact YOUR metaphorical musical  play list.

I don’t have to look far for my candidate because he’s already doing the job.  Why am I being so disclosing?  Aren’t I supposed to be writing about daily joys and sweet pleasures?  Yes, indeed. I am.  I am!  My favorite holiday (yes, even more than Thanksgiving and Christmas) is the 4th of July. I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy, boys and girls.  And that means that I want to do more with my rights as a citizen than watch them as they are systematically whittled and voted  away.  So, in my joyful, peaceful reflective life – I make sure that there is time to be a responsible citizen.  When the (yes, I’ve made this up) “Yoga Incredulosity” condition strikes you, and you discover they are not kidding – consider an action appropriate to your style.  A call.  A letter.  A Piece of Personal Education.  Just like my ongoing effort at learning and benefiting from various Yoga poses – so you will find that as you exercise your rights as an American citizen, they have more muscle and stretch, too.  One person does indeed make a difference.

“To succeed in chaining the crowd you must seem to wear the same fetters.  Voltaire”

“Where there is no middle class, and the porr greatly exceed in number, troubles arise, and the state soon comes to an end.  Aristotle”

“A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.  Dr. Johnson”

“He who can take no interest in what is small will take false interest in what is great. Ruskin”

Your Dreams Must Grow With You

Your dreams must grow with you.

A friend wrote me after yesterday’s post and said it had never occurred to her that she needed to allow her dreams to grow along with her.

Certainly there are fundamental structures in our lives that remain unchanged.  And rightly so. Dreams?  I do not believe they are among them.  Decades bring physical change.  Emotional maturity occurs.  Technology advances.  A dream seemingly unachievable thirty years ago can now be realized with nearly a few clicks of a mouse (read stories of revolutions fueled by twitter and facebook).

I understand Whitney Houston is back in rehab.  Again.  Does that repetition seem familiar to you?  Perhaps its not substance abuse that you struggle with but abuse of some other sort.  Including self-abuse and practical unkindness toward your own soul.  You say tomorrow will be different but you find yourself back in your own form of rehab – again.  David Campbell observed, “Discipline is remembering what you want.”  How can you know what you want if you are not connected to your dreams/passions and most important things?  Would that clarity help Whitney Houston?

Here’s today’s headlines, YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHAT YOUR DREAMS ARE – BEFORE YOU CAN KNOW IF THEY ARE GROWING WITH YOU.

I’m stunned by the number of “I don’t know” answers when I ask people to name the five most passionately important things in their life.  If you don’t have clear and immediate answers to that question, let me ask you another question.  How to you measure the Yes’s and the No’s in your life if you don’t know your key passions/dreams/important things?

That’s question enough, isn’t it?  If you have responses, comments or answers…please share.

Stalled Friendships and Faltering Dreams

I’ve just finished reading CUTTING FOR STONE by Abraham Verghese.  This single sentence, “The tragedy of death had to do entirely with what was left unfulfilled.”  His whole book weaves around the irony of the cost of an unrealized dream AND the cost of holding a dream too long and then realizing it.  A dream realized, out of season, is as harmful, or more harmful, than a dream never fulfilled.

My thoughts immediately go to the seeds that are currently soaking in water in our kitchen.

Late last autumn as the last stalwart flowers were holding close to the waning heat of the shortened evenings,
I told my David how much I loved sweet peas as a child. How sweet peas, regardless of how long I’d been lined out
in the back yard, tied to the same empty clothesline by a long rope as my best friend and four-legged sibling, Pete,
always cheered me. It was a happy tale and positive statement from me but I saw the sorrow of it reflected in his eyes.

The day before yesterday, knowing my recent penchant for soaking various seeds to get them to sprout for their nutritional value, my husband warned me not to eat these seeds.

“What are they?”

He smiled. He told me that early last winter he went on a sweet pea seed harvesting journey on this little island of ours. He carefully dried what he had harvested and then stored them away. It’s a good thing I did not encounter them on one of my “banish all unrecongnizable items” dances around our house. I would not have seen their dormant promise. Only their itsy bitsy dusty, inclined to fall all over the floor appearance. Too often we see things for their current state not the promise of their natural core.

Imagine those hopeful Europeans who visited Chicago at the pinnacle of her windy winter. What would they have thought of the stories they’d heard  of lush lakeside living then?

And so my thoughts, heavy laden with the whole notion of friendship (on the cusp of my book on friendship, US, coming to your hands) and dreams, turn to seeds in my kitchen. Where they are getting a jump start for the unlikely journey ahead of them. What cartoonist could have imagined with her hands that from these itsy seeds would come laughing color, dancing form and a flower that has inspired thousands of loved ones to address their partner as “sweet pea?”  And what romantic novelist would have thought to translate one simple childhood confession turned into such a measurable act of love?

So as stalled friendships and faltering dreams go – I take the lesson of the seed. One must have the patience to understand that what appears now is only a portion of the story. The gardener that tries to force a seed to perform its miracle is rewarded with a broken seed. The gardener that understands that all have things have cycles. All things wither and appear to die…only to stagger our sights later by a riotous explosion of color. The trick lies in understanding that,

“There is no death, only change.
This is no loss, only difficult gifts. mar”

“The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other and children cling to us.  The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another,: the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.  James Baldwin”

From the movie TOMBSTONE,

Hired guns out to protect Wyatt Earp to a dying Doc Holladay, “What’re you doin’ here, Doc?”

“Wyatt’s my friend,” he explains.

They said, “Heck, we got lotsa friends.”

Doc pauses.  And piercingly assesses,”I don’t.”

“The whole of life lies in the verb to see.  Teilhard de Chardin”

“There are three classes of people.  Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.  Leonardo Da Vinci”

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