I arrived at yoga class feeling edgy. I’d walked there along the path, which bordered the ocean. The waters were usually calm, but yesterday the waves churned blackened seawater. I’d passed a bulldozer moving sand as it built up a berm on the beach. Clearly there were preparations underway to protect the shoreline.
But the approaching storm was only a parallel to my internal turmoil. I’d been talking on my phone as I walked. I should have been a better listener, but instead my own feelings about the situation we were discussing had leaked out. Instead of being a help, I’d piled onto the agitation.
I couldn’t settle to the class. Usually I can attune myself rapidly but not yesterday. I went through the motions but I wasn’t really there. When one of the women pointed out a rainbow on the horizon, I couldn’t even see it. As the minutes passed, I played the conversation over and over in my head, wishing I’d not spoken off the top of my head.
Finally, I began to calm and my senses took over. At about the same time, the rainbow became more visible, and began to spread across the ocean. Usually I get a sensory Ping with these marvels of nature. I searched my mind for a meaning behind the vibrant arc of colors, but I felt nothing. Then I saw a whale breach, its body totally out of the water.
The awesome sight of the huge mammal doing what it’s natural for it to do gave me insight into my own heart. I didn’t have to delve too far into the metaphor file to gain some understanding that I’m but a grain of sand on this planet. My perspective returned as I witnessed the on-going and powerful forces of Nature. And I saw being played out in front of me, the reminder that no matter how much we humans think we control what is around us, we’re mistaken. We can prepare ourselves, yet the best laid plans often go awry.
As I walked back home, the skies opened and I was drenched before I reached my walkway. With my perspective still in tact, I didn’t fret. I knew that this is what can happen even in a well ordered life. And I knew shelter was close— I’d be dry and warm before too long.
Today dawned sunny and calm, but the aftermath of the storm lingers. Huge waves are pounding the shore. More preparations have been made to limit the possible destructive force. Sandbags are stored on the walkway, ready to use if necessary. That is what we human beings do. We get ready and we do our best.
This is so me. Except I stay up late to get as much as I can done. There’s always something more to do. Like last night.
We’re living near Kona this winter and it’s not like you can just walk into Nordstrom and find a men’s robe. First of all, there is no Nordstrom. Second of all, there’s not that much need for cuddly, terry cloth robes. We even tried to find one at Target but no dice. So I said, “I’ll order you one on line, honey.”
Our ride home was so eventful, (my husband was pulled over for going 61 in a 45. The officer asked if we were in a hurry. I started to explain that we’d been behind a truck going 40 in a 55 and after the truck moved to the right when the road widened, we naturally picked up speed, not realizing it was now a 45. The officer’s eyes glazed over and he gave my husband a pitying look and a warning.)
Anyway, when we got home, the electrician, dishwasher repairman, home association landscape workers and even the condo window washers were parading through the house and outdoors.
At 2:00 PM our time, I found a vacant place on our lanai and hooked into my first Webinar, a memoir seminar put on by the National League of American Pen Women. The speaker was Janis Kearney, Clinton’s diarist. It was 7:00 PM on the East Coast. I was blown away by the technology. I even asked a question. After, since the dishwasher was finally working, I put away the clean dishes.
I got so busy that I completely forgot about the robe. Until midnight. I went on Amazon and voila, there was a robe. It’s supposed to come January 16. We will see.
My nephew recently asked on Facebook if people had any New Year resolutions. I wrote back that for one, I wanted to lose five pounds. I also said that’s always been one of my resolutions for the past 40 years. No matter what my weight is, I always want to lose five pounds. This says many things about me, none of which interest me at all. It was a joke anyway.
When I taught middle schoolers, I’d have them write five goals at the beginning of the school year and at the beginning of the new semester. I had my own kids do it too. The list wasn’t buried—it was accessible so you could glance at it every now and then. It was amazing how stating your intentions could make them come about.
I think goals shouldn’t be too lofty and they should be attainable. For example, “I will eliminate the problem of garbage” just doesn’t work for me. “I will have a recycle can in my kitchen and will recycle bottIes, cans, and paper,”—now that’s what I’m talking about. It’s a practical plan. It’s what I can do to help change the world, one person at a time. “I will lose five pounds” obviously doesn’t work for me, either. And at my age when you lose weight, your skin sags like crepe paper decorations kept up too long. Instead my goal is to eat healthily. “I will eliminate as many processed foods from my diet as possible, including Oreos, Starbucks coffee cake and Hagen Das ice cream bars” is specific and should help me healthwise. (You notice nothing was stated about wine and Martinis.)
I’m thinking of adopting or adapting Chef Angela’s idea of a yearly bucket list. She already posted her 2014 Bucket List on Facebook. (Now, that’s really putting yourself on the line—other people will know if you don’t attain an item. I don’t have that courage.) A Bucket List sounds so much more positive than a New Year’s Resolutions list. It’s a looking forward instead of back, and it can include dreams too.
One thing I have on my list I will share: “Every day, name five things I am grateful for.” I have been doing this for many years now and it’s a life changer. Every night when I lay down my sleepy head, I name five things I’m grateful for on that day. One night, the list included “I’m grateful that the toilet only overflowed once.”—it was that kind of day. But slowly, my attitude towards life changed. I stopped looking for what I didn’t have and became grateful for what I did. I’m a much happier person.
One of the things I’m grateful for is you—the people I connect with through the blog and through Facebook. You make me a much happier person too! Happy and Healthy New Year to each and everyone.
Posted in About Life in General, Aging with Grace, Searching for Wisdom
Tagged aging, bucket list, eating healthy, goal setting, gratitude attitude, happy new year, jokes, new year resolutions, personal growth, wisdom