Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Which World?

Over the past few years I’ve realized an urgency within myself.  A realization I have a limited time to do what I want to do – and there’s so much I want to do.  As I’ve been pondering goals for the coming year, I find so many ideas popping into my consciousness always accompanied by so little available time.  How does one get anything done when there are so many choices and so little time?  I become stymied.

I’ve been reading a book (Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor) that calls to me.  It, like so many other books, has been sitting in my “to read” pile(s) for I don’t know how long.  When we were leaving the house the day after Christmas, I grabbed it and stuffed it in my bag.  When I began reading, I felt the hand of fate was involved as page after page left me feeling as if this book was written for me.  While many ideas and passages have resonated with me, two related lines have directly addressed my concerns about how to do all I want to do.  One is a line from the poem Sweet Darkness by David Whyte:

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

The other is an observation by Sue Monk Kidd:

Turning fifty involved making a severe peace with the fact
that I cannot give birth to every egg in my ovaries
or every potential in my soul.

The David Whyte line show up early in the book and I’ve been pondering it for a few days; the Sue Monk Kidd line I just read this morning and, suddenly, I realized why I’ve been struggling with goals and resolutions:  I have not acknowledged I cannot do it all and I cannot or have not figured out that dream which is dearest to my heart and should be at the forefront of any goals made for the coming year, the next five years, the remainder of my life.

This realization isn’t an answer, but it does open a door leading, I hope, to a path of self-discovery.  I have always felt secure in my person and I thought I left the period of self-discovery behind years ago along with adolescent pangs and twenty-something explorations.  Yet, here I am at fifty-six feeling as if, once again, I need to explore, plan and dream.  I’m excited, but my brain already feels the strain of expansion.  I always stretch my body after exercising; now I also need to figure out how to stretch my self-knowledge.  I need to figure out to which world I belong.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Reflections, Omens, and Resolutions

It’s January 5th and I’m floundering. I haven’t made any resolutions for the New Year; I haven’t even had, or perhaps taken, the time to reflect on the past year.

I’m not a New Year’s Resolution fanatic, but I’ve always used the season to look back, reconsider, and then look forward. Some years, my husband and I have even taken a short sabbatical to formalize our review and planning. This year I did none of that in advance of the changing of the calendar and, except for a few short conversations brought on by my increasing frustration over my feelings of purposelessness, I haven’t come up with much that’s definitive in the last five days. As I’ve rolled around in my mind thoughts about goals, dreams, and needs, I’ve realized one of the reasons I’ve struggled with the idea of resolutions this year is I’ve achieved (or am traveling the path toward) two of my resolution regulars:  lose weight and become more fit. These have been at the top of my list of resolutions for as long as I can remember. This past year, I made progress on both and I have a plan for continuation. Check those off my list (or at least relegate them to the “in process” list).

What, then, should be on my true, active list of New Year’s Resolutions for 2015?  I asked myself that question out loud yesterday as I walked the dogs. I thought having a verbal conversation with myself would spark ideas, prioritize dreams, perhaps even conjure miracles. Walking through the trees next to the Deschutes River, I said out loud, “So, what do I want out of this new year?” The path, covered in snow and ice, felt a bit treacherous so I walked carefully, watching ahead for every step in an attempt to stay upright. As I asked my question, I looked up momentarily and there above the river, flying straight toward me, was a bald eagle. I have this spiritual thing about bald eagles (and Mt. Hood and saguaro cacti) and I’ve only seen one near this part of the river once before, so seeing one then, as I asked myself this introspective question, filled me with awe, delight, and hope.

Have I made my list of resolutions for the coming year? Not really, not formally; however, I am sitting with my coffee and writing this morning…