Enjoy a serendipitous respite

How about the  soft, gentle, soothing sounds of a 7-person lyre ensemble interspersing their play with cosmic poetry?  Their audience has nothing to do, but listen and enjoy.  Applause withheld until the end, not to break the mood.

Valerie Poplawski

Valerie Poplawski

What a wonderful, truly soothing, short, uncomplicated, unexpected, relaxing,  time out!

In this case, the announcement of this unusual program in the newspaper, simply called to me.  Without much thought, I just had to get in the car and go.  It turned out to be the best kind of hour- long “time out” in a peaceful location, among like-minded others who also felt they had to be there.   Listening to lyre instruments in concert, was a first time experience, and actually, very nourishing to my soul. Continue reading

Take Time to upgrade, or rather, make some changes

This, I’m afraid, sounds like work, beyond the bounds of the reflecting/sorting ideas that tend to populate Take Time for You posts.  Yet, I think we can all experience that feeling in our lives when how we are, no longer fits with our surroundings. And something must be done.   Maybe the kitchen needs painting—urgently—to match a new sense of need for nourishment.  Maybe our circle of friends needs some refreshment to match a new vibrant energy we feel.

This refreshment I seem to crave is demanding time from me.  No To Do List is in the picture.

How I explain this unexpected new urgency to myself is this:  This past year  I went through a huge period of change in my external life–a move to a senior complex, a major surgery, serious downsizing and selling the family home.  Shortly after that, there was an unexpected and painful release of very old emotional baggage. A cleansing of the innards so to speak.   I am now a “lighter” being.  Or at least that’s the feeling.

All of a sudden who I am now, no longer fits with what I have around me. Continue reading

Take time to live

What a strange title you might think. After all, if we breathe, we are all alive.

But what does it mean to really “live”?  And how do we assess what “living” means to us  at each stage in our journey through life?

WhyNot-coverI’m pondering this question with increasing frequency, particularly in relation to two elders who caught me off guard by so deeply appreciating my book Why Not Do What You Love?  Small minded me, I never expected that those much nearer to the end of life would be among an enthusiastic audience for a book about creating a more joyful and satisfying future for oneself.  I perhaps, was wrong.

First let me tell you about Dennis, my former long term neighbor, who is twice retired.  Once from his very successful career as an engineering project manager and next from his very satisfying retirement activities of rescuing abused dogs and doing fine carpentry. He was 80+ at the time.   Having reviewed a copy directly upon publication in 2010,  Dennis called me within 24 hours saying that he wanted two more copies for his adult children. He hadn’t been able to put the book down, as it had helped him to review the arc of his life and the way he had lived it. He judged himself to have done very well on the “do what you love” scale.  He had concluded he had known how to “live” and was still practicing.   Clearly he wasn’t making any more plans, but he had given himself the gift of honoring the life he had lived.

I thought Dennis an anomaly.

Three years later I now reside in community with other senior independents, most older than I.  My new neighbor asked for and purchased the book last week.  He’s 92! In our very brief conversation, he shared that given the residencial complex we share will likely be his “last stop,” and he intends to “live” for the rest of his days as opposed to just exist. A worthy goal, it seems to me. He thought the book might give him some ideas.

I can’t wait until our next conversation to see what form his “living” is wanting to take.

And so I have been encouraged to pose the question more widely in this post.

What does it mean to you to really LIVE?  What choices are entailed in the decision to “live?”  And how do you take time to do it?

At this point, I am looking at the question from a new angle, and not taking it for granted that I know my own answer.  The question just won’t let go of me.  So I’ll accept it as my goal and see what I start noticing.

What I am getting clear about is you are never too old to contemplate the doing of what gives you joy and meaning,whether it be looking back to assess or looking forward to commit.  I thank my two elder friends for being such good models for that.