Friday, February 05, 2010

Awesome Things Volume III

Using your time well. No, I am not talking about being more productive. I am talking about creating balance in your day. Work is important and it takes up a big chunk of your day. However, you are not what you do. It's also important to find time for play, leisure, rest, and reflection. If possible, on these cold winter days, one should find time for looking out of windows and drinking hot chocolate. Break the cycle of running, running, and more running. Take time to do nothing. Take time to enjoy something or someone you love. Life is short. You don't want to look back on your life and wonder what you did because it's all a blur. As Gandhi once said, "There's more to life than increasing it's speed". Michael Brown once said, "Balance is found in the tension of opposites". Spend some time trying to figure out what I am talking about. 8-)

Books! I love books. I have been a lover of books since my childhood. I'm a little old fashioned so I have not yet bought into the new electronic books. I prefer the smell and feel of a real book in my hands. The love of books is a big part of who I am today. My favorite author is Thomas Merton. If you have liked my daily thoughts in the past, these "Awesome Things", or my online blog, you can thank Thomas Merton. He was my inspiration for writing my own thoughts. There's a book inside of me somewhere that hasn't been written yet. Books have taken my mind and imagination to places my body will never go. As Robert Fripp once said, "Me and a book is a party. Me and a book and a cup of coffee is an orgy". If you don't read, you will never be truly educated.

Being at home. There is a Native American saying that "In old age nothing is better than a warm fire". As I age I understand this saying more and more. I love being at home even though my home is currently in chaos. At the end of each workday I love when I cross the threshold of my front door and I enter the warmth and familiarity of my home. My house is old and imperfect, much like my body, and, like my body, it is where I live. The older I get, the less I want to be "out there". I would rather be home than anywhere else. Enjoy your home. Make it a place of refuge and comfort.

Quiet moments. After I get out of bed, shower, get dressed, prepare breakfast, and make lunch each workday morning, I allow myself about 15 minutes to just sit in silence with a cup of coffee and usually some type of inspirational book. These are 15 of the best minutes of the day. Later in the day, if the weather is nice, I try to take a break outside, sit on a bench, and watch the water fountain. Most days, unless it is raining, I take a contemplative walk around the park. During lunch I often eat alone, not because I am anti-social, but because I need the solitude. These quiet moments throughout my day keep me centered so I am better able to deal with all the other demands of the day. I try to be in the eye of life's hurricanes.

Fridays! Do you ever pay attention to the elevator conversations on a Friday morning? To say that most people feel a sense of relief that it is Friday is something of an understatement. It's ok to feel like that. If you've put in a good week of work, you deserve your weekend and some rest and relaxation. I'm usually thanking God it's Friday, too.

Having lunch with friends. Yesterday I had lunch with two friends who happen to be monks. One was Fr. Michael, who is a little older than me, and the other was Br. Frederic, a monk for 56 years. He is 86 years old and has a mind sharp as a tack. Many, many years ago when I entered the monastery, he was one of the monks who interviewed me. The two of them were in town on business so they called me up and invited me to lunch. Anytime you can have lunch with a friend or friends, you should do it and remember, it's not about the food. It's about the friendship.

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