Lately my head’s been spinning with all the things I want to do. It makes me feel exited to be alive, but often one thing after another pulls me in a different direction. As I’m distracted from what it is I wanted to be doing, I find myself sorting through some old paper work throwing this and that away. I find some notes I wrote down from the book “Tuesday’s with Morrie.” It’s Morrie’s theory on the tensions of opposites. He says, “like a rubber band life pulls us back and forth. It pulls us in one direction that we think we want to go. Then it pulls us in another direction of what we think we have to do.”
Wow! That’s exactly the way it feels to me.
Morrie goes on to say, “it becomes like a wrestling match.” When asked who wins in the end, he says, “love always wins.” However, he goes on to say, “when you can’t see it yet, maybe it’s because the game isn’t over yet.”
So I’m thinking, what’s love got to do with it? Then I realized many of the things that are getting in my way are simple distractions I create myself. That’s where the real wresting match begins, and that’s not loving myself very much. All the other things that seem like have-to’s have actually been opportunities for me to love others. So, in the end, Morrie’s right, love really does have everything to do with it.
God always find a way to show us what we need to hear when we need to hear it, and today I found his message from an old scrap of paper I wrote a long time ago. Amazing!
I am sitting out on my deck enjoying this beautiful summer morning. Breathing in the fresh air I think to myself that I want only to see the good this day has to offer. It’s one thing to imagine how we want things to be, but I find myself easily distracted by life’s events, things to do, and needs that must be met.
“Come on Connie, focus,” my inner voice says to me.
I look up at my beautiful hanging plants and my mind begins to wonder off again.
“Focus Connie,” the voice says again. “What do you see?”
I’m looking at an open socket with a plug lying right beneath it.
“And what happens when you put the plug in the socket?” The voice continues.
“It turns my fountain on.
“How does it do that?”
By connecting to its power source.
“And then what happens?”
The water begins to flow.
“Look, even Lucy’s thirst is quenched by the flowing waters created from the energy source you plugged into.”
Wow! There was the answer staring me in the face all along. The distractions of life tend to splinter us into pieces, but by plugging ourselves back into our source of life we become whole again. It is in this place of wholeness that life flows easily, and our thirst for clarity is quenched just as easily as it was for Lucy who drank from the flowing waters put before her.
Everyday is a new adventure full of fun and challenging things to learn. Here I am learning that sometimes the things we want the most can roll beyond our reach. That no matter how hard we try there are some things in life that can’t be done without a little help from our friends. It’s even better when we’re having fun working together. On the other hand I also learned that if I kept pushing my ball under the couch with my nose I could get my Tom to keep playing this fun game with me. But then the next lesson came when I pushed it one too many times. Then it was no longer a matter of not being able to reach it, but then having my ball taking away from me for a time out. That’s when I look at my Tom with my sad eyes that say, “ah…you’re no fun! Dog gone it!”
Everyone has an opinion of what being in the later years of our life should be. That’s perfectly okay and normal because we each see and experience things from our own perspective. What goes into our perspective is a whirlwind of emotional, physical, psychological, social and spiritual experiences, and let’s not forget the learned behavior we’ve brought with us. The bottom-line is that we don’t know any more about this last stage of life then we did the other stages we went through. However, after many past stages of life I’ve learned that by embracing each one along the way I’ve been able to experience life from a different more deeper perspective than the one before. As I attempt to embrace the senior years of my life, I find myself looking back a lot. Not so much in a longing of wanting to go back, but more of how far I’ve come. These are the years that give birth to all the wisdom I now hold within, and as I discover this, there is a sense of satisfaction in how far I’ve come, what I’ve learned, the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen. As long as I have a clear enough mind I’ll always feel like I can do most things. It is in the trying that I learn my limitations. It is true that growing older is not for wimps. A lot of time and energy is used to get ourselves moving and being a part of life. I’m learning to embrace the limitations as they present themselves, and I work hard at not giving into the gravity that pulls me back into the sitting position where my body would be perfectly happy to park itself.
So, if I talk about being older at times, it’s because I am. If I talk about running out of time, don’t chastise me. Just bring me back to where I am right now. If you think I’m obsessing over it, don’t tell me how to think, but help me to embrace it. And if I can’t hear or understand you, don’t brush me off and say never mind. Give me a chance to hear what you have to say.
In closing I share my opinion of the later years of my life. I am a senior and that’s okay. I am getting older, but I’m not old in the sense of giving up. I’m not afraid to be where I am or say where I’m at in this stage of my life. I’m a senior and that’s okay with me.
At the end of the mini series “Genius,” Einstein is dying, and as his long time secretary looks at him with sadness, he takes a flower from an arrangement and holding it in his hand says, “Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.”
I looked at Tom with a childlike excitement, and said, “I learned that all by myself!”
Just a few simple lines, and yet they hold within them a great awakening, opening up a whole new world for us. You don’t even have to be a genius to discover it yoursełf. It reminds me of when my father-in-law had his cataract surgery. He said he could see things with such clarity and crispness, and the colors were so vivid. When our own blinders are stripped away we can also say, ” I can see clearly now.”
I ran across the word gestating in an article I was reading. I never heard it being used in relation to the mind so I was prompted to look it up. Gestate means to carry in the uterus during pregnancy. Ok I thought, that’s where I’d heard it before. However, it also means to conceive and gradually develop in the mind. Wow! I thought. What a great analogy to use in reference to the conception and development of both body and mind. The food we ingest during pregnancy contributes to the unborn child’s physical development. In the same way, our thoughts feed our mind slowly, one thought building upon another. Eventually they both become too big to contain, and the need to come forth and express what they’ve become burst into being. Just as a new life is created so to do our thoughts create, and just as new life affects the world it comes into, so do our thoughts affect the world. So just as we wouldn’t feed the unborn child the kind of food that could harm it. We should be mindful of the thoughts we feed into our mind. In both cases what we feed our body and mind plays an important part in how we choose to live our life.
So, what’s gestating in your mind?
For the 3rd time I’m pulling out these entangled vines in my garden. Every time I think I have all the thick twisted vines pulled, a week or so later they find their way back to the top of the soil. As I stand looking at their fresh green heads poking through the soil I can almost hear them laughing at me, as they say in their wee taunting voice, “we’re back!” I dig deeper with more determination to get to the source of each plant. Hum! I think to myself. There’s something awful familiar about what’s happening here besides the mere fact that I’m pulling these vines out again.
“Okay God, what are you trying to show here?” I say to myself
I’ve been doing the same thing in my own life pulling out the stuff I don’t want anymore, pulling out what isn’t good for me, and pulling out what no longer has a purpose. I do feel much lighter in many ways, but the vines from all that stuff is deeply rooted and intertwined so even when I think I’ve pulled it all, it finds a way back into my life, temping me and trying to sabotage all my efforts. Pulling out the entangled vines feels as if it has a hold of me. It doesn’t want to let go of it.
“What am doing wrong God?”
“It isn’t the vine that has a hold on you. It’s you who won’t let go of the vine.”
Woo! I didn’t see that one coming!
I don’t think I can count how many times I’ve been given a wakeup call. They come in one way or another like a health issue that pops up putting a scare in your life. An accident where you realize you’re lucky to still be alive. The loss of a pet, friend or loved one. These are all life altering scenarios that call for a change in our life.
So, the question becomes, “If not now, when?”
For as Mark Nepo says in his reading today, “There is no tomorrow, only a string of todays.”