I’ve been living in the midst of a maelstrom (a powerful circular current, usually the result of conflicting tides) for the past number of days. The confluence of a number of things has left me with more than the usual confusion and uncertainty in my life. Had these occurred one at a time I’m guessing I could have sorted things out more readily but surprise of surprises I don’t get to control when things happen – or what happens – and so it’s been rather an emotional pummeling for the past few days. Let me go back about a week.
I started last week with great intentions to get a lot of work done on the theories course I’ve agreed to teach in the fall. As the development of the course unfolded I was aware of huge amounts of resistance to just getting the job done … and this is something that usually I don’t have to deal with. So, me being me, I stopped to give it a lot of thought. What was really going on here? Why was I feeling so incredibly stressed? I was feeling so rested for a while and now I’m back to feeling exhausted. What’s going on here??? It took several days, lots of good conversations with friends, some meditation, and more than a few drams of fine whiskey to figure it out, but I think I’m onto something really important for me.
I’d always told myself that the reason I’d moved away from the dreams of my youth and had the career that I had was because I had to earn enough money to support myself and three kids and I had to have enough financial stability to not have to worry from month to month whether I’d be able to cover the mortgage, utilities, food, dance lessons, piano lessons, baseball leagues, and on and on. That meant that often in my working career I went through periods where I wasn’t at all happy about my work but had to just stick with it because there was security and, in the end, a fine pension. Stick with it I did. Until the end of last October when I entered retirement. Ah – free at last.
Some months ago in the posting Keynote Tomorrow: Will It Be My Last, I wrote that “I have spent far too many years in environments that insisted that I take something complex and reduce it to two or three bullet points“. I decided then that I’d make that one of the filters through which I’d make decisions about what to do with my time; for me to do whatever the “it” is I need to know that the complexity of the issue(s) at hand won’t be reduced to triviata. I’ve been trying to work with that as a guideline and it’s been quite a helpful one.
I’ve now – through days of struggle – penetrated to a new insight. I spent all of those years working at things that weren’t necessarily enabling me to either follow my passions or use my creativity because I thought I had to … financially. Part of what I was investing in through all of those years was coming to this place of retirement where I would have sufficient income to not have to – as they say – make any “deals with the devil”. Little by little, through the reflective exercise of writing this blog, I’ve been figuring out what I really do want to be focusing on. I need to know that whatever it is I’m doing is something that has the potential to bring me/us a little bit closer to the kind of world we should – in my opinion – be striving to live in. At the beginning of the weekend, I attended an evening lecture – The Way of the Universe: Wisdom for the Ecozoic Era -with Brian Swimme. He’s a Ph.D. in gravitational dynamics and speaks about the role of humanity in the unfolding story of the Earth and the cosmos. Whatever I do needs to reinforce some of what he was talking about; the sense of connectedness with the earth and each other, the sense of us all being a part of an enormous universe that’s expanding and unfolding.
Here’s the long and the short of it. I do not want to work for money alone and it feels like that’s the only reason (most significant reason?) that I’m prepping this course. The question I’m going to have to start asking myself when I’m asked to take something on is: “Will this provide me with an opportunity to make a difference?” If it does, great. If not, well … I have to separate money-work from heart-work and remember that at this point in my life working just for the money isn’t where my time should be devoted. I’ll keep you informed about this unfolds with the theory course; with some luck I won’t be teaching it after all and I won’t have burned any bridges. We’ll see.
Well, that’s a part of what’s going on. Of course there’s always the personal/family issues that I have to deal with and they definitely continue to be a challenge. Just when I think I’m figuring things out I’m always surprised by some new scenario that seems to have come out of nowhere. This part of my life, as well, needs to revolve around a sense of oneness and care for each other as the incredible, sensitive, wonderful human beings that we are. I know that when I let myself be buffeted by other agendas I’m all too often left bewildered … and sometimes/often hurt. No intention (I hope) to this happening; nonetheless I have to start figuring out how to protect myself from the personal dramas that drain my energy, throw me off-track in who I want to be and what I’m trying to accomplish.
It’s July 2nd. In two more days it will be July 4th – one full year since I began blogging. I’m going to be launching a website this year on July 4th. Imagine that! I’ll tell you more about it, and how to find the website, in my next posting.
To everyone who’s just celebrated Canada Day (July 1st) or Independence Day (July 4th): How incredibly lucky we are to live in countries where freedom prevails, where governments change without bloodshed, and where we are free to think about and talk about and write about the way we see the world. Democracy the way we live it may not be perfect, but I for one am truly grateful to be Canadian and live at this very interesting time.
Before I get on with my day, I want to thank a few people in my life who are always there to help me through times of darkness and confusion. Without dear friends (Barb, BJ, Esther, Linda, Laurie) and family (Mom, Motti, Molly) the last few days would have been that much harder. In their honour I leave you all with this wonderful video; take a few minutes to watch it … it’s truly inspiring.