Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ramblings In My Mind Volume VI

Around noon last Thursday I started to feel some numbness in my upper lip. I wasn’t sure why, and it didn’t seem like a big deal, so I kept going through my daily work routine. Within two hours my upper lip was at least twice its size. I decided to make my first visit to our onsite clinic. The nurse asked the usual questions related to allergic reactions, i.e., had I done or eaten anything out of the ordinary, etc. I told her my life was very boring and there was never anything out of the ordinary. She then asked me if I took a specific medication which I do happen to take. She told me the worst case scenario was that I needed a shot before she called an ambulance. Fortunately she thought that was an overreaction so we didn’t go down that path. I got out of the clinic with my life and a dose of Benadryl. It did take about two days for the swelling to go down. I’m still not sure what happened. I’m starting to think it was a bug bite but I have no memory of being bitten. Anyway, I am fine. I am back to my normal size lips and I no longer resemble Donald Duck.

After 60 years of living I’ve come to the conclusion that most people are not truly happy. Many feel an emptiness or sense of longing. I sometimes feel this way myself. It takes more than money or having things go your way to be happy. I think I have narrowed it down to a few important areas. Basically, I think it’s all about having some balance in your life so here are a few possible ways to achieve this balance.

It helps to feel well physically. If you constantly feel bad and out of sorts it is difficult to be happy.

You need to have satisfying relationships with friends, family, or significant others. Everyone needs and wants to be loved even if they never say it. Beyond the need for food, shelter, and safety, I think this is our most basic human need. Many people suffer from a lack of meaningful love in their lives. They may be loved but they are not getting the love they need.

In addition to feeling and being loved, we need to strive for overall emotional wellness. Many people seem to be filled with negative or unhealthy emotions. These are not people just having a bad day. They have deep seeded and often unhealthy emotions that may need therapy. If you have uncontrollable, conflicting, or frequent negative emotions it is nearly impossible to be happy.

I think it’s helpful to have some sense of spirituality. It doesn’t necessarily require church attendance, although that’s helpful for many people. Spirituality is whatever helps you to have a sense of connection with a higher power or the deeper aspects of life and living. A sense of spirituality can give meaning to your life in ways that most daily activities can’t.

It’s Tuesday afternoon and I am staring at a blank screen. All of my commitments for the day are behind me. I have some time on my hands. I am struggling to come up with a daily thought. I am hoping that one appears before I run out of time. Recently, in my housecleaning and downsizing I found several binders filled with all the daily thoughts I have written in the last 6-7 years. I have also found five or six hand written journals that I filled with whatever events or angst filled my life at the time they were written. In addition to these binders I have posted about 850 entries on my blog since the fall of 2006 and they have been viewed by approximately 17,500 people around the world. Sitting here now with my empty mind I wonder where all the motivation and inspiration came from to write so many things. Even more incredulous to me are the number of fans I have acquired along the way. Most of my life I have felt quite ordinary and even now I don’t feel all that special. What I try to do is live authentically and intentionally. Somewhere along the way I realized I can articulate my journey and thoughts in a way that others can identify with. Except for those early journals, inspired by John Boy Walton from the old TV show “The Walton’s”, and Thomas Merton, and only written for myself, I didn’t begin write on a regular basis and never for public consumption until I was 50 years old. It’s never too late to start something, discover a gift, or to find yourself. If you’re not consciously on a personal journey of self-discovery, you can begin today. By the way, I am still hoping that Chloe grows up to be a book publisher and that Paw Paw’s thoughts are the first book she publishes.

What is contemplative living? Contemplation is a big word that many people often associate with mystical spiritual experiences. Yes, it can be that but it is also something much more down to earth. I think all people can be contemplative although it seems that some personality types are more prone to be contemplative than others. Type A personalities are generally not contemplative. I believe that to be contemplative you must be willing to live at least some of your life in the slow lane. A contemplative person is reflective, awake to what’s going on around them, comfortable being silent and still, and not usually caught up in the rat race of life. A contemplative notices flowers and takes the time to smell them. Contemplative people are usually spiritual but don’t necessarily sit in the front pew at church. They are sensitive to beauty and usually love nature. Most walk what some call “The Middle Path”. Their life is usually balanced with not too much or too little of anything. More often than not they like the simple life and it doesn’t take much to make them happy. Whatever is available is usually enough for them. It is a life that is intentional, full of wonder, and present to the moment.

No comments: