Musing at Summer’s End
I hope the summer has been a good one for you. If you follow me, you will know I took the summer off to reevaluate my Podcast and consider where I would place my focus in the next phase of my podcasts. I created my Podcast based on the ABCs of the Journey to Inner Wisdom. I did follow the alphabet, more or less. It was a good system for my monkey brain. I interviewed many people with interesting and diverse journeys. I found each of my guests inspiring, and they certainly added to my own, I hope your journey to inner wisdom.
So, what did I come up with as I reflected… well the best-laid plans of cats and women… so much for the pause… maybe the pandemic was enough of a pause for me… I don’t know, but it was difficult to get that pause time in this summer.
We went on a vacation that had been delayed for 3 years. We had a wonderful time in England, Ireland, and Scotland in May with dear, lifelong friends. I had planned on hitting the ground running when I got home… well, at least spending time at my desk reviewing my work of the last year and a half… jet lag seemed to take over, and I spent a lethargic month… don’t get me wrong…I worked in the garden, did art, quilted, and cleaned until I didn’t recognize that it was me cleaning…not my favorite thing to do… I was not in the reflecting mode, so you could say I was procrastinating. I like to think about it as letting my unconscious do the work and waiting for my intuition to kick in.
Then my brother died unexpectedly, and time slowed down as my siblings, my mom, and our partners readjusted our mindsets to having an empty space in our lives. I am still amid this life transition as events come up, and I am taken aback when he is not there. And the grief goes on…
The highlight of my summer is when my grandchildren come for “Gaga and Papa Camp.” This takes some planning and preparation… and then they arrive, and it is nonstop for two weeks. This year, it was followed by a wonderful weekend in Montreal and a Cirque de Soleil show for all.
Now it is mid-August, and I have not taken any conscious time to consider how to proceed with my podcast… at least consciously. So, I just surrendered and relaxed. I came across a book, “4000 Weeks: Time Management for Mortals” by Olive Burkeman.
It got me thinking about how I use time, how time uses me, and how we get tied in knots about time. And yet we have no control over time…only over ourselves. We all have about 4,000 weeks in our lives. Not a big number in the larger scheme of things. I am at the other end of that 4000! I think that there are two reactions that can occur when we figure out the approximate time we have left here…I could get to my bucket list, go into FOMO mode, worry that I am not doing enough, wallow in regret about what I have not done… or I could go with the flow of life, take the pressure off, hit the mindfulness button, and enjoy what is in front of me. I was reminded of this last evening as I sat out on my deck looking out at the bush, the trees, the hydrangea tree covered with blossoms, watching a couple of deer grazing in the field, and noticing that the days were getting shorter. I savoured the moments. Taking the time to be in no time but the moment. Those moments of surrender and detachment give me joy. Worrying about my podcast sucks the energy out of me and takes me out of the moments I have. So, I am taking time in the moments I have, just now, I was making my tea, and as the kettle boiled, I watched a chipmunk skitter across my back porch. I marvelled at the 5-foot tall ferns in my Jurassic Park-like garden, and I let calm wash over me and let the life force move through me.
In a roundabout way, the book is about mindfulness. Those 4,000 weeks are a speck in the bigger picture, so be present and enjoy the moment… as busy as life may be.
This brings me to this moment – releasing the pressure to produce, to write, to revise – I am going back and reviewing and revising. It seems that I always circle back to awareness, and so it will be – awareness and our journey to inner wisdom.
So, Awareness it is. And I know that it is as much for my own need for awareness as anything. Paying attention to what I care about, what gives me joy, and not being pulled in by distraction. I can only do that by practicing awareness and being more mindful of the world in and around me. I have been distracted and have not been paying attention to the life in and around me. When I get into that phase, it is like being a zombie, as Bernice Chestnut would say.
Distraction, as Oliver Burkeman puts it, “…needn’t refer only to momentary lapses in focus, as when you’re distracted from performing your work duties by a ping of an incoming text message, or a compellingly terrible news story. The job itself could be a distraction – that is, an investment of a portion of your attention, and therefore of your life, in something less meaningful than other options that might have been available to you.” P 92
The Journey to Inner Wisdom continues with awareness and how we become more aware to live fully in the moments that we have. Reviewing, going deeper, circling back, reminding ourselves about who we are on this fleeting journey.
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