The last little season of time has been something really amazing to me. I’ve been channeling some frustrations and challenges that I’m unable to alter but at the same time I have known that I’m on a course to a different place. My post a while back about Rebalancing began to touch on the process. But lives are like onions, layer after layer and sometimes we unravel one layer to find the effect cascading into another and another and another.
I was talking with my insurance person this morning. I’ve been working on ticking off the last of the big items from my to-do list. Moving house is never an easy thing and doing so in a new state has been eye-opening to say the least. That conversation about insurance seemed to go well and I turned my attention to smaller things.
A frame finally arrived today so I could hang our most recent poster acquisition. Now, I almost never hang posters in the house! Why should I, I have plenty of my own work. And if I’d bring them South we have plenty of other art that I could hang. But at one of our last National Wildlife Refuge visits we picked up a lovely poster that poked hard at my heart and I had to have it. So we brought in a poster size frame and up it went today!
A nice morning so far, and afterwards I got back to my organizing — trying to get more of the clutter put away and organized so it can be found when needed. I actually got rid of three containers I’d been using in lieu of filing drawers for the last 5 years. Somehow emptying the last of those crude boxes and slipping the contents into the right Pendaflex hanging file was just one of those times in life when order ruled in the Cosmos and there was harmony in the world.
I’m truly humbled that we have been able to have such a fun retirement these 5 1/2 years. This whole “retirement” thing came upon me when I was little expecting it — our plan had been to work for another few years and I never dreamt we’d be able to retire when we did comfortably but not extravagantly. My dreams of retiring were much more modest than what we’ve been able to do and I never cease to be thankful each and every morning that the sun shines and we’re still on the right side of the grass, still smiling, still happily together.
But for some reason this last few months seems as if the rest of our retirement has fallen into place. Perhaps I shouldn’t say “the rest of” — as in a permanent sense — maybe the better word might have given the idea of the next chapter — but the point is that I was ready to be out of the coach, I was ready for more stability, I was ready to be able to look at life through a different time perspective and a different motivation perspective. And I was ready to have a place for things that wasn’t makeshift. As much as I loved living in the coach space was always at a premium and I was always looking for something. Here, I may still have things to put away but for four months I’ve been able to find things, to work off my to-do list, to see a beginning, a middle, and an end. RV’ing was fun; but for me it’s time to do something else.
It’s funny how emptying out those three little boxes could have such a calming impact. It was as if those three little pieces of cardboard stood for something monumental in our life and that chapter was now over. Legal papers fit in one. Travel brochures for Texas were all that remained in the other — it has been partially empty for some months now. And the third box was shipping supplies: envelopes, tape, labels, twine and such. Nothing of major consequence — even the legal papers were temporary documents — important originals are all locked in a safety deposit box. But emptying them out was cathartic. For several months they had been sitting in the office closet on top of some plastic storage tubs. I’ve moved them off the tubs whenever I’ve needed inside the tubs, set them aside and replaced them gently — but never opened them, never wanted to think about them. Today I woke up and I just knew it would be the day to face what was inside — not ominous contents, but the ominous reality that these things now had a place to live. They didn’t need to be “boxed up” and transient anymore. They had a place in our life.
When I was thirteen or fourteen I read my first book ever about Zen philosophy. Heck, in Jr. High school I had organized a little philosophy discussion group — four or five of us would meet in the backstage area under the auspices of our counselor and English teacher and spend two afternoons a weeks discussing the great minds of the past. But my interest in Zen thought predated even that. I came to appreciate a certain mindlessness. A certain ease with life. When I came across this quotation from Eckhart Tolle I zipped back 50 years to a simpler time and four or five of us sitting around on uncomfortable chairs in a backstage makeup room thinking we were pretty cool talking about ideas. Especially when others were out on the playground chasing after balls and smashing into another team in some vain hope of sports glory.
You know, youth is so vain. The young mind has a hard time conceiving anything outside itself. In youth there is a great sense of “self.” One of the readers wrote a comment recently in relation to contentment. They said that unfortunately contentment can look like depression to an observer. I suppose that is true. For people who are in the midst of a striving world, the absence of striving appears as if the person has given up. But it’s sad that if you’ve found yourself at peace with the world, others would think that you have given up. For those whose sense of ‘self’ has evaporated there’s no longer any need to strive and fight. And finding contentment is about acceptance not about what you want. It’s about seeing the positive and not being bothered by the negative.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m still bothered more than I should be by negatives. Especially political ones. I’m working on that. And my upset isn’t (I don’t think) an obsession. I’ll talk about everything and anything and for a few minutes here or there I’ll talk about politics and then go on to photography, and then go on to travel, and then go on to something else and something else after that. The fact that we make an observation and move on is no different than conversation — except when we’re the only one talking about the elephant in the room that everyone else is trying to avoid. But you all know that I never did have a very good social filter. What goes in, comes out again.
Anyway… this morning that was about how I felt. No more resistance to life. It truly is a state of grace, and ease and lightness.