Look in a mirror and one thing’s sure; what we see is not who we are.
Seems us humans have a hard time living in the “now”. Even though that’s the phrase of the millennium, it’s really hard to live right now. And now. And now. And now. Which is now the past.
So here is my Philosophy 101 question for the New Year.
If you were totally isolated from others, would time flow differently for you?
I know our ancestors had to deal with no watches, no cell phones, no TVs to check morning, noon, and night. But I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about us modernists.
Say you lived 30 miles, 50 miles from town (you can drive to Sams Club once a month if you want for supplies, but no other luxuries.) No computers, no radios. No movies. All that isolation stuff. You live comfortably, but without technology. (No guilt trips about not being with your grandkids and all — that’s a different game.)
My QUESTION is… how long could us modernites live in the “now”? No hanging out with friends, no phone. You can write letters but that’s about all.
All you would hear would be the songs of the birds and the wind blowing through the trees morning, noon, and night. Thunderstorms and windstorms and coyotes in the distance moving across the plains. The longer you lived with nature, the more in-tune you would be with the sounds around you.
But that’s all you’d hear.
Knowing your lifestyle of today, how long would you be able to stay away from civilization? How long would the songs of the birds or the chatter of squirrels be entertainment? How long would you be able to live in the NOW? A month? A year? 10 years? Would the NOW turn into one long blur?
I love these philosophical questions that have no exceptions. There are no “but what if I talk to the store clerk once a month? Is that isolation?” Or “what if the neighbor stops by?” Isolation is isolation.
For me, I think if I were forced to let go of technology, I could fairly adjust. Notice I italicized forced and fairly. Could I live with the sounds of nature 24/7? I live a lot with them these days, but let’s be truthful — only when I sit outside or go for a walk. I always have music or the TV going on for sound when I’m alone. But I have the option to connect with friends and the nonsense of the outside world.
Would my my adult-onset A.D.D. handle the eternal nature-only sounds of dawn, midday, and dusk? Would my senses become sharper the longer I stayed away from technology?
For me, I guess I’d eventually get used to silence day in and day out. I’d probably sing a lot more in the beginning, but I wonder if even that would fade away the more I got used to the silence.
I’d definitely need to have a cat or two to hold conversations with, though…(if you knew how yakky my cat was you’d know what I mean…)
How about you?
I am trying more and more to live in the moment. Today. Now.
I have a decent past, but not one I’d care to linger in for too long, for I would rethink my mistakes and go head-over-heels in angst wishing I could have done something different.
We’re stuck with our past. So why do we wish we could change it?
We all fell in love with the wrong person. We all did something shady. We all were promiscuous when being promiscuous was taboo. Yet now and then we glance back and say “Wow..I could have died there!” or “Wow..if only I’d listened!” or “Wow..Why didn’t I do that?”
We are all guilt machines of our own genetic makeup. Some are lucky enough to say who cares and so what and move along. Others can’t get their other foot out of the past.
Back to living in the moment.
The moment is really all we have. Whether or not we go to heaven or get reincarnated or take a spirit quest to Mars, it will be what it will be. So why not live today to the max?
I know quite a lot of young people who live like that. They don’t worry about their employment future; there will always be another job somewhere. Insurance? Maybe they need it, maybe they don’t. If they can’t pay their bills they can’t pay their bills. So what?
Every generation has it’s own way of thinking and believing. My generation went out and got a job right after high school or college and stayed in said job for 10, 15, 20 years. Perhaps we weren’t the gold watch generation, but we worked long enough to get social security and a senior discount.
I’m trying to live in the moment and not complain that I don’t enjoy the heat when it’s above 90 and the mosquitoes are making a pin cushion out of me and it’s too hot to even water my plants. The Now is embracing said heat and humidity and making the most of every day no matter how sweaty you are.
After all, it’s only 165 days, 12 hours, 17 minutes, and 40 seconds (give or take) until Christmas.
And that’s a moment that can wait until I get there.
There was a time
The universe expanded before me
Choice was a luxury
Youth my companion
Lost in the sparkle of the stars
Lately the vastness of that universe
Has shrunk before my eyes
The galaxies of choice
Have turned to
Cold hollow moons
Planets of necessity
Funny how small
My world has become
The luxury of time
Exists on fewer and fewer
Planes of existence
In this world and the next
The choices are not the same
As in the days of
Jobs and friends and goals
Now have razor edges
Options have narrowed
Doors once open
Now request verification
Of paths followed
And stars wished upon
In duplicate form
I can no longer shuffle the cards of
Destiny and Delusion
The games have been chosen
Hands have been dealt
Bets are hedged
The world is keeping score
I must play the hand dealt
Watch the glow of dawn
Twist into curls of dusk
Time no longer my friend
Its shadow the scent of musk
Choice is mine no more
My vision has become blurred
Memories have faded
My heart has been broken
By limitations of my body
And the changing of the guard
As they march into the fog
I never forget my heart
The journey that brought me here
I love and I cherish
I live and I learn
But cannot go back
To the land of never was
Even though hope fades
In the emptiness of dawn
And space of my soul
Reality bounds from the sky
Our star’s blinding glare
Reminding me of the truth
All I need to do is breathe
The universe, the stars
Will point the way
And the world of choice
Will open its doors
Claudia Anderson, 2013
I don’t know if it’s a symptom of (self-prescribed) A.D.D., but I constantly find myself in swirling situations where I’m turning and falling and rushing and not finishing.
And I can’t take it.
The other day I dropped something. I bent to pick it up and hit my head against the table leg. Then I stood up and dropped it again. In turning to reach it I swiped all the paperwork off the table and into a raining mess. The raining mess knocked over the stemmed wine glass with a trace of milk still left, breaking the glass and spilling milk all over.
I had to stand still, close my eyes, and count to 10.
Then the reprimand begins.
Who drinks milk out of wine glasses anyway? Why didn’t I just do the dishes and wash the glass when I was finished? Why are all those papers on the table anyway? Why aren’t you paying attention?
One time I was running a little late for work; stepped out of the car in the parking lot and slipped on a slice of ice right next to my door. Those bruises have finally faded.
Why didn’t you leave for work earlier? Didn’t you see that patch of ice when you pulled in the parking space? Don’t you watch where you put your feet when you get out of the car?
It’s like I’m moving through time and space too fast. Keeping up at work and keeping up at home is a non-stop travelogue for me. I find myself forcing myself to slow down. If I don’t, I get bruises from car doors, misplace my glasses and/or keys, lose earrings and other items of jewels — all kinds of stupid things.
Where am I going in such a hurry? What ever happened to stopping to smell the roses? Watch a sunset? Watch fireflies? I know I have to slow down. To think before I do. I’m not as flexible as i was 20 years ago. And I’ll wind up in the hospital if I’m not careful.
It’s just that with (self-prescribed) A.D.D. I feel at times I can’t sit still for 5 minutes. I’m either itching or swinging my leg or flipping through TV channels or snacking. I’m always afraid I’ll be left behind if I don’t get it all done. That I’ll be standing at the end of the driveway waving goodbye to everyone else because I couldn’t get ready on time.
This is especially true because I’m older. Every forgotten thing is Alzheimer’s; every hesitation is senility. Every broken glass is old age; every pain is cancer.
Although I do believe you can’t do everything, be everything to everybody and still keep your sanity, my unconscious mind is trying to prove different. It thinks that if I keep going at 150 mph, I can outrun the grim reaper.
Maybe it’s time for a speeding ticket or two.
I already hear whispers of “I wouldn’t change a thing” or “I love my life just the way it is” or “my scars have made me who I am today.” All of that is good and well, but there is always something we wish we could have done, changed, said.
There are few things I would change about my life. I love where I am, I love my family. Knowing me, I would have loved a different husband, different children, different grandchildren. Love is love. I was not popular in my younger younger years, but I feel my heart has grown into a beautiful maple tree because of that.
But things I would have changed — there are always a few.
I would have gone to college. Back in my day (what a cliche!) half the girls went to college, half got married. Although I didn’t get married I did fall in the second half. Maybe I didn’t have the money at the time. Or the inspiration. But since I’ve always been a writer and an artist, I should have learned more about both. It most likely would have led me down a different career path, but it would have been more of a career and less of a job.
I would have put more effort into saving my bed and breakfast. It was a gorgeous house, a dream come true. I owned it for 7 years, always moving backwards financially instead of forward. Instead of trying to support my end of the upkeep with paying guests, I should have gotten a full-time job and run the B&B on the weekends.
I would have talked to my parents more. I would have asked them about their childhood. Their teens. Their young married years. Who they loved. Who they hated. The hard times. The family problems. The war. Their illnesses. I would not have let their lives be nothing more than spectres dancing in the sunlight.
Hindsight is such a strange bedfellow at times.
It’s not so much living in the past as re-experiencing it. I would still take the hard knocks, but I would savor the sweetness even more. I would have brought the friends I left behind into the future with me. I would right all wrongs, mend all fences, and keep the love the way it used to be.
I would cherish every moment of every day much more than I did when I was younger. I would not, could not change the deaths of those who have gone before me, but I would have made much more of the time we had when they were alive.
If I could turn back the hands of time, I would never have let go of the things that meant the most to me.
But perhaps that’s what the future is for. Never letting go.
No, not the 1 Million Mile Club. The 1 More Minute Club.
You know — that time-share world that is almost always self-serving, self-indulgent, and often futile. The club where you think, “one more minute…”
I suppose if you are watching the morning weather and stay one more minute to make sure you heard right, and you miss the deer crossing the road at 6:46 a.m. that you would have hit had you not stayed one more minute…, then that’s okay.
I’m talking about those every day happenings you think will matter more if you extend them one more minute.
I am a big one in this Club.
In the shower, forehead pressed against the far shower stall wall, hot water soaking my tired body: staying in the water for one more minute…
Laying in my morning bed, still dark outside, alarm goes off, time to get ready for work: staying in bed for one more minute…
Watching the weather channel in the morning, staying to check the weather for the third time just in case I missed something: watching it just one more minute…
Writing: I’m almost done with this chapter. I’ll just write for one more minute…
Reading: Whether or not I’m really “into” the book, there are just a few more paragraphs until the chapter is over: Let me read for one more minute…
Kids use this excuse all the time. We think nothing of letting them have one more minute of bath time or play time or before-bed time. What’s one minute in the scheme of things? Yet these same parents, these same people, justify their own few minutes by pretending to end it in one more minute…
I know that personal time is in a different dimension from the one we live in. We never have enough time to do the things we love, and way too much time to do the things we don’t. That’s the cosmic way. Kids are never aware of the clock. In their natural state they do things until they’re done doing them. They are done when they are satisfied.
Adults, on the other hands, are mostly slaves of the clock. We have to be. Doctor appointments and trains and time clocks don’t wait. They know if they give one minute here it will accumulate to hours there.
Who do we think we’re fooling? If we think the situation will be any better one more minute from now, we are usually wrong. For most of us one minute blends into the next into the next. We have lost track of so many one more minute’s that we could fill the space between the stars.
In defense of the members of this Club, though, I have to admit…when I “allow” myself one more minute of whatever, I concentrate and fill that minute with all the enjoyment and cosmicness I possibly can. That hot shower is like fingers massaging my back; that paragraph that I’m writing is the best I’ve ever written. It is so because I crammed hours of enjoyment into a very small amount of time. And most of the time, it’s worth it.
Just like the minute it took you to read this.
This Friday post is mostly for writers, although you of any and all skills can identify.
Yesterday was a pretty crummy day. You know crummies — nothing in particular, but a dozen things coming and going that make you say “I quit for the day.”
I was driving home from work; a lovely stretch of countryside between my work town and home town. Four great 90 degree turns, each one hosting a different view; cornstalks five feet taller than me (which isn’t saying much), no one on the road. It was a slow, steady rain. I was taking it rather slow and steady, too.
A few things happened on this familiar trek; someone driving on the wrong side of the road, a few animals dashing from one side of the road to the other; weird things. The pavement glistened softly, reminding me of my double-rollover last November. People driving on the road who usually never take this route.
You know how a creative mind wanders. Suddenly I had this great idea for a story. A first-person narrative about driving and getting stuck driving the same four turns and all that sci fi eerie stuff. I embellished it and worked on it all the way home.
The sad thing is, I don’t know when I’ll ever be able to write it. And I don’t think it’s ever as good as when it’s fresh in the mind.
Last night was family, tonight shopping, tomorrow family party — there’s a Sunday Art blog I want/need to get done by Sunday, things I ABSOLUTELY have to get done around the house — when is there time for writing? I don’t often write short stories any more, so when this idea hit me it was like a breath of fresh air. Yet now the air is stale, and before you know it I’ll forget the punchline. I’m already forgetting peaks that once made me excited — it’s like overthinking something. Your original idea is not always what you wind up doing.
I hear you saying, “Just Make Time!” But sometimes that’s just not possible. I’ve been fighting/working with sleep issues lately, so I can’t just go in my bedroom at 9 and write. And if I have to make a choice, prime time with my grandbaby supersedes writing a great story.
I’m sure these things happen with painters and graphic designers and everyone who enjoys being creative. Maybe I have my priorities upside down. Maybe I need to find that time-travel hourglass thingy Hermione used in one of the Harry Potter movies (so she could take two classes at the same time).
Maybe I should just give upyadda yadda blah blah yadda blablah……
Sat down Friday evening after dinner with the family, the boys played video games (even grandbaby), pregnant mom just relaxed, I pulled out my computer, and finished my story.
The moral of the story is: write out your whine, get it out of your system, then shut up and write/paint/draw.
As my hero Jason Nesbith from Galaxy Quest says — Never Give up — Never surrender!
Does your life often feel like that?? Lately my life has been that! No time to blog, no time to write, barely time to breathe. As I sit here jotting down a few words of wisdom, I am scratching and digging and itching the skin off the top of my feet where chiggers fed a few days ago. What kind of wisdom is that?
I really believe the drought in the Midwest has drained the sanity out of us mere mortals. If I thought I had little patience before, ask me how I feel after camping for two days in 90 degree breezeless weather. (On second thought, don’t ask…) On one hand, chiggered ankles were a small price to pay to be with my grandson for the weekend. But, upon reflection, I could have thought of 50 other places more suitable to both my “temperament” and “temperature.” We won’t talk about sweating, but with temperatures at 100 one tends to sweat in places you never knew you could sweat in.
The heat also messes with my sense of organization. (Like I had any to begin with…) I look around the house and see all the things I should do but don’t have time to do because I’m busy doing other things. We all have days of disorganization. But why does it seem lately that I’ve had weeks of it? Maybe I need a little time management or something. A search in Yahoo brings up time management games, tips, skills, techniques, strategies, software, training, books, articles, and activities. Wow. I am overwhelmed just by so many choices. This is more than just turn right or left; this is riding on the twirliest roller coaster in the land.
Is my madness just a case of time mismanagement? Of poor planning? Or is it that our world has gotten so big, so advanced, so fast, that there are literally millions (as opposed to dozens) of activity melons that are ripe for the picking? Our ancestors didn’t have such a cornucopia of delights to choose from. Extra curricular activities were limited by your pocketbook and your proximity to town. Reading (how about sinking your teeth into The Scarlet Pimpernel?), walking (didn’t you see Sense and Sensibility?), checkers or chess, or singing around the piano (think Christmas Carol), were the highlights of adult play. Granddaughter in another state having a birthday? Too bad — too far. Want to go swimming to cool off? Too bad — closest body of water is five hours by mule. Want to go out for dinner? Too bad. Town is ten miles by mule.
These people didn’t have an unlimited choice of entertainment like we do. Blogging, surfing the Net, playing online or video games, talking on the phone, watching 20 Closer reruns you’d DVR’d, reading Star Magazine, dancing to your IPod — all are activities that would be chinese to them. I know we don’t do all those things, but admit it — we get pretty darn close. Add going to work, grocery shopping, driving to birthday parties and soccer games, watering the garden, mowing the lawn, washing clothes, getting a hair cut, going to the dentist or doctor, all contribute to the roller coaster ride we put ourselves on.
Here are a few tips I found on the “Time Management Tips” List:
Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going. How many three-ringed notebooks do I have to carry around??
Any activity or conversation that’s important to your success should have a time assigned to it. To-do lists get longer and longer to the point where they’re unworkable. See my blog https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/real-lists-vs-fantasy-lists/ to clarify real lists vs. fantasy lists.
Plan to spend at least 50 percent of your time engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce our results. I already spend 110 percent of my time doing this – where did they get 50??
Schedule time for interruptions. Plan time to be pulled away from what you’re doing. Oh, does that mean I can pull into McDonalds for a hot fudge sundae on my way to the grocery store?
Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don’t start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time. I do this before I go to sleep and between alarm snoozes in the morning. Plans sound better when you’re half asleep.
Take five minutes before every call and task to decide what result you want to attain. This will help you know what success looks like before you start. And it will also slow time down. When you only get 10 minutes for morning break and you’ve got three phone calls to make, that’s tacking on another 15 minutes to an already squished schedule. Mmmm…
Put up a “Do not disturb” sign when you absolutely have to get work done. Yeah, tell that to your dogs and cats and kids…
Practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing and e-mails just because they show up. Disconnect instant messaging. Instead, schedule a time to answer email and return phone calls. About the only free time I have lately is on the toilet — not what I consider a conducive atmosphere for answering emails and phone calls.
Block out other distractions like Facebook and other forms of social media unless you use these tools to generate business. I use these to generate the business of friendship and gossip…whatchu talkin’ about??
Remember that it’s impossible to get everything done. Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results. Now that’s the smartest thing I’ve heard all day.
I guess I’ll just have to do what I can when I can. After all, there’s so much more to see, to do, to write. And I’m sure there will be plenty of time to get organized on the “other” side.
Okay. Here is one for you to think about and answer. I’ve been running helter-skelter around Wisconsin and Illinois lately: work, birthday parties, funerals, kid’s house, grocery store. I constantly daydream about having a couple of hours TO MYSELF.
So here is your scenario. You have two hours free any time during the day. My pretends fairs better, say, after work. Yours can be whenever. Loved ones: gone. House: clean. No soccer games, hospital visits, or fests to get in your way.
How would you spend those two hours?
As I ran around the house this morning getting ready for work, feeding the dogs, putting the gym shoe one of the dogs brought upstairs to sleep with back where it belongs, flipping through the TV stations looking for a weather report I already knew, trying on my third outfit because the first two made me look like a pudgy pie, realizing I’ll have to take a banana that’s seen better days and a huge container of leftover macaroni and cheese for lunch because I don’t have time to divvy up the leftover into human-sized portions, I wondered ― where has the magic gone?
Oh, I know “cosmically” it’s still hanging around, in and through me. I know it’s outside in the morning sunrise, in the beauty of Bach on SIRIUS XM POPS and the bright fuchsia of the flowers outside my window. I know it’s in the tinkle of a baby’s laugh and the breath of a secret. Blah blah blah. All I knew was that I wasn’t feelin’ it. And the day was going to go downhill if I didn’t find it soon.
Magic is one of those words that can ruffle feathers in certain spheres. So to distinguish the word that boasts levitation and lightning bolts from the one that’s benignly linked to the soul, let’s talk about the latter. The one that sparkles with positive vibrations. The one that binds friendships and leaves a smile on your face. This sort of magic makes size 18 look like size 10, makes your doodles look like a Picasso, and your sing-with-the-song-on-the-radio voice sound amazingly like Whitney Houston or Harry Connick Jr.
In the frustration of having to get up early on a Saturday morning to work my second job, I found myself wishing I could connect to all sorts of magic. Time travel and teleportation came to mind, along with channeling the winning Lottery numbers and seeing a 1967 427/435hp red Corvette in my driveway instead of my beat up Honda. Realizing that cosmic power was not mine to wield, I would have settled for a bit of the buzz that would have automatically washed, dried, folded, and put away my six loads of laundry on the floor next to my bed or scrubbed that line of black stuff from beneath my open window.
The skeptics and the pragmatics say I should stop being so selfish and me-centered; that I should use my magic for world peace and feeding the hungry and stopping the drought in Texas. That sort of magic is way beyond the ability of both me and my blog, but, trust me. Should my omnipotence ever reach that level of magicology, those would be the first things I’d handle.
I think it’s a universal to want to quickly and guiltlessly make our lives easier. Who wouldn’t want to whip up gourmet meals with a flick of the ‘ol wand? A twitch and voila! Duck a l’ Orange! Who wouldn’t like to turn water into wine ― or at least into a German Weiss beer? Who wouldn’t want to buy a pound of ground beef and be able to make enough burgers for a game night of 30 people? What’s wrong with wanting a little hocus pocus in our lives?
It doesn’t mean we aren’t willing to carry the burden that’s already strapped to our ankles; that we aren’t willing to work out way through adversity to see the sunshine on the other side. Magic is not a cop out ― it’s a viable tool that, in the right hands, makes our lives easier, opening our cosmic space so we can pursue more “enlightened” and worthwhile pastimes.
Somewhere in our under-used brain mass lies a spot where all things are possible. A direct line to the energy that pulses all around and through us ― the cord that connects us with all living things. As we age we realize that spot is not so much buried as it is forgotten. We find that when we least expect it our desires produce the most magical results. We find we are creative, expressive, loving, and intelligent. We don’t have to twist in angst for hours and days about decisions that need to be made right away. We don’t over-analyze the pros and cons of turning left instead of right ― we just turn. Whatever’s there is there. And we’ll handle it just like we handled everything in our lives.
Isn’t that what magic is all about? Finding our way through life one day at a time, making the world a better place by sending out positive thoughts and feelings? Knowing there are some things we can change, some things we cannot. And swirling our hands and saying a little chant or turning in a circle clockwise three times then counter clockwise two turns does the same thing as plain paying attention. We’re moving forward anyway. We are working on a better life, not only for ourselves but for those we love, for those we know and for those we will never know. What does it matter if you make a brew of chamomile tea and mint and rose petals and a pinch of cayenne and call it a magic potion or a refreshing experiment? What does it matter if you sage your house to protect it from dark energy or if you grow pretty flowers and mow your grass for the same effect?
We perform magic all the time. Every time we pet our dogs and make them feel good, every time we wrestle with our kids or grandkids and make them laugh. Every time we make a meal from scratch or go to work so we can pay our bills or give money to charity. Every time we wake up and see sunshine or rain or two feet of snow, we experience magic. For we have seen nature, we have seen the light. And have found a way to handle it, to transform it, to make it our own or a way to get rid of it.
Now, if I could just turn the clock back an hour, seeing as I’m going to be late for work…