and that’s enough

You don’t have to live forever. You just have to live.

~Natalie Babbitt

 

More of the most beautiful lines of literature here. Comment if you’d like to agree, or share one of your own.

the disease of busyness

Read this.

I believe it, I agree with it.

I also feel that there is too much time spent in “pursuit” of something, and not enough time left to create. People don’t sit and stare and watch the world and think creative thoughts — what happens to our poets and playwrights, our composers and artists, when every minute to spare is spent being entertained by our phones? Parents drive their children to take more and more AP classes and to be on every academic team available and to prepare for way too many standardized tests, but don’t support their school district’s music and art programs and, as soon as the child gets “too busy,” discontinues their music lessons, even though this is probably the ONE area of the child’s life that involves personal expression, investigation, long-term discipline and artistic creativity.

I’m aware of this almost daily when I contemplate how much more financially comfortable my family could be if I were willing to work more hours and realize that I really don’t want to. That my time for yoga and reading and knitting and weaving and sitting on the couch every night with my husband watching hockey or Netflix movies or worthwhile TV series on DVDs (currently The Good Wife, although we’re almost out of discs — any recommendations?) is as or more important to my and my family’s comfort and happiness than a few hundred more dollars a month in our checking account. And then I’m SO grateful that I have that option, that I get to make that DECISION rather than being forced to work 2 or 3 minimum-wage jobs just to pay the mortgage and buy minimal groceries — a situation I know is true for many.

But many of these choices that lead to what I’m going to call Diseased Busyness ARE choices. Even Only Daughter right now has 3, 14-hour days each week because of extensive Nutcracker rehearsals. She leaves the house at 7 a.m.; is home for half an hour and then at ballet until 9 (if they let her out on time, which they rarely do), at which point she comes home and eats dinner and does her homework. She’s not getting enough sleep, she’s stressed half the time, she’s probably not eating enough, but this is just for a couple of months, so I accept it. Even though I don’t think it’s particularly good for her in a short-term sense, I believe it is in the long-term, but only because it is short term. Does that make any sense?

Anyway, I fear this lack of “down” will exact a cost on all of us, on society, ultimately on our success as PEOPLE (not automatons, not worker bees, but thinking/feeling/creative/compassionate people).

I believe it so much I’m going to do something I don’t usually do, but post this on BOTH of my blogs, and link to it on my personal AND professional Facebook pages.

Let’s start a rebellion. Let’s not over schedule. Let’s not pull out our phones when we have less than 10 minutes to wait for something. Let’s try to maintain a balance for ourselves and our children of work-, hobby-, and creative/artistic pursuits. Let’s leave our houses dirty and eat dinner together. And when we ask someone how they are, ask how their heart is — not about how many awards their child has won or how many committees they are on, but really ask — How ARE you? And then take those minutes (since you’re not going on your phone anyway, remember?) to really listen to the answer.

the joy of the ordinary

Do not ask your children to strive for
extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples, pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.

~William Martin

a different kind of warning

I am older now than I ever thought possible. I did not believe I would ever be this ancient person. The doctor says I should have no wine at lunch, for my heart. But if you cannot have a little wine with your lunch, there is no life. If you are as old as I am, you believed a German would shoot you in the head before you were old enough to have sex with another human being. Everything beyond that becomes extra. The things people do to live long–drinking so much water, running up and down to ruin the knees–this is what the doctor should warn about.

~ Maile Melody, “Madame Lazarus” The New Yorker, June 23, 2014

Pull your own strings

Read in my (favorite) yoga class today:

There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine [with]in yourself. it is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days at the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.

~Howard Thurman

 

A toast then. To listening to your own voice; to pulling your own strings.

all on the same timeline

An interesting concept was introduced to me a week or so ago.

Some languages are what one would refer to as “tense” languages; not meaning that they convey stress particularly well (haha), but that they make adjustments grammatically when referring to past, present, or future.

Other languages make no changes grammatically, but add a word indicating past, present or future.

So: It rained yesterday, it is raining today, it will rain tomorrow; vs. It rain yesterday, it rain today, it rain tomorrow. (Actually, it’s snowing right now, which is absolutely ridiculous even if it is Michigan in April, but that’s beside the point.)

The people in the countries with languages with no grammatical differences between past, present, and future are substantially better at planning for such things as retirement. The theory is that, as there is no differentiation between now and then, the residents are better able to recognize that their actions today will impact their lives tomorrow and beyond.

I found this to be incredibly fascinating, and important.

Because really, there is nothing, no thing, that exists only in the past, the present, or the future. Every single thing that has happened to us affects who we are; every single thing that we do today will affect, in one way or another, what happens tomorrow and next week and next month and next year.

(I suppose, if you really look at it closely, whether we had a peanut butter and jelly or salami sandwich on September 5th in 4th grade is irrelevant, but I’m sure you know what I mean.)

It’s funny, though, because all this really does is convince me of how important it is to pay attention.

"Be mindful, young Padewan."

“Be mindful, young Padewan.”

This sunny day, this full moon, this moment on the couch with Husband, this great book to read or knitting project or fabulous glass of wine with a really good dinner. Fifteen minutes in the hot tub. Digging in the dirt to plant flowers and vegetables (if it ever stops snowing). A good night’s sleep. Balancing buying the Perfect Pair of Shoes

"sigh"

“sigh”

with saving for retirement.

That sort of thing.

😉

This train of thought always reminds me of