“I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart.”
—Vincent Van Gogh
This Tuesday I was sitting in the waiting room for my weekly session with my young, ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ wise-woman acupuncturist. She and another colleague, Margaret, had taken photos during one of our recent flash storms. They mentioned that in one of the photos, there was what appeared to be a disc-like flying object over a field. A UFO.
Next to me sat an unassuming, average looking mom of about 40. In a nanosecond, she leapt over to the counter and asked, “Where was it? I want them to take me!”
“Looking for the mother ship are you?” I quipped.
“You bet! I’m ready.”
Ten years ago, talk of aliens and the mother ship would have had you banished from the waiting room. Lately, it’s a common topic. I don’t know about you, but like me, this mom seems to have an embedded memory of a place much sweeter than this.
If you can tell me of one person you know who doesn’t think the world is a little left of centre right now, I’ll show you a big Fibber McGee–or someone over medicating.
In my grandmother’s era, a woman’s daily focus was fairly straightforward and simple. And with your daily chores, there was no need for scheduling exercise or worrying about insomnia; your whole life was a workout kneading bread, washing, wringing and hanging laundry, ironing, scrubbing, cooking from scratch, gardening, chasing brats, etcetera, etcetera (although, judging by the overall wingspan of her underarm dingle dangle, I suspect my grandmother may have indulged in one too many lard-laden goodies in spite of all the hard labour-and her nine children-that should have kept her svelte).
Not that many years later, but seemingly light years away from my grandmother’s era, we now have a mélange of hobbies, goals, jobs, reading, technology, home, bad news, rather ridiculous tasks, and people to manage in a day, all with feelings of being over-extended. And our choices are a thousand fold.
Lately I’ve been prone to awakening early, then throwing the covers over my head in hopes of escaping a sense of doom. This week on the morning of my school coaching sessions, I realized why my sense of overwhelm is so, well, overwhelming.
For one thing, I looked at my dreaded <music here for effect> Box of Papers. I loathe piles of paperwork yet confess to being a paper packrat. In it, aside of many other stupid papers, are lists upon lists of lists. Also, as a writer, it’s littered with scrap papers full of scribbles of “brilliant ideas,” some of which I can no longer decipher.
I wrote a list of my life’s categories. Then I cluster-listed all of those notepapers (I’m a master of make-work projects). Of all things I need to be coached on, this insane list should be numero uno.
And what’s even more alarming is that if I, with my little life, have this much “to do” minus a husband, lover, children, yard, dog, or even a pet goldfish, then what does the average person out there have to do? My sister is a single mother of two with a busy practice and my brother and his wife have four rambunctious children! I shudder to think.
When I took this humongous list I’ve developed–yet again, even after my period of reflection while recovering, and held it up to my values; what I want my life to really look like, I’m back to a distinct mismatch. I don’t see a lot of joy, fun and play on that list.
It’s understandable why people want to climb aboard the mother ship (minus the anal probe). We want a reprieve from our self-imposed daily grind. We want answers. We want salvation. We’re tired. We want someone to quell our fears and take us away from our overload. (Beam me up Scotty!)
I’ve become acutely aware of what matters most here. I know it. I feel it. I taste it.
Have you ever watched the Planet Earth series narrated by the brilliant David Attenborough or Jacques Cousteau’s amazing ocean adventures or documentaries about the secret places and wildlife of our world?
I’m mystified why we earthlings come to this lush and verdant blue-green playground abundantly filled with the most amazing vistas, hidden waterfalls, spectacular sea life, iridescent Amazonian bugs and butterflies, starry, starry nights and full moons, incredible cultures and civilizations, Indian orange sunsets, breathtaking multi-hued flora, an animal kingdom of staggering magnificence–all with the freedom of choice to play in this untamed garden, yet are more mesmerized by our legacy of striving and struggling than by this wonderment. The creator of this awesomeness must be equally bewildered.
We may have placed some of this on our bucket list, but are we fostering our joy factor as actively as we are the grind list? Surely we agreed to visit this school of hard knocks for more than the pain. I have an inkling that we lined up because of that dazzling panorama.
If you had Harry Potter’s magic wand, I Dream of Genie’s nod or Samantha’s nose wiggling instant manifestation-what would your life look like? What’s on your “heaven on earth” list? Go ahead. Dream big. Nobody’s watching.
La vida es corto pero ancho – Life is short but wide.
Below is a smattering (in pictures) of what I aspire to see in the majority of my pie chart. Right now, some of it seems like a distant fantasy, but it’s not–I’ve lived it a number of times … bouts of beautiful bliss.
(Give me the wand and I’d add one thing to my ‘Love Drought’ slice. For those women who’ve seen the 1981 version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover or read D.H. Lawrence’s novel, you’ll have Mellors, the oh so manly games keeper, emblazoned in your brain. The book holds true erotica written by a master wordsmith. I’d definitely add a lot of lovemaking in that hammock below with Mellors and eliminate the Mellorbating!)
Instead of looking for the mother ship or an escape hatch, I’m aiming to solve the riddle of how to flip life on its axis and extend a big chunk of that list into the Joy-Play-Adventure category for my remaining time on this, our big, beautiful planet earth.
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© Wanda St.Hilaire