“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” Eleanor Roosevelt
There should have been an eleventh commandment. Live in thy moment! It’s so simple, and yet it’s taken me a lifetime to understand the significance of waiting for all the dots to connect. That’s so kindergarten. Get shit done. I’m not talking about the dishes. I’m talking about your dreams. And don’t let anyone tell you it’s not important, or worse, a waste of time.
You’re not sitting shotgun. You’re driving the dream. Go ahead, stick your arm out the window, let people know you’re going to make an unexpected turn, and watch how your life unfolds.
There were so many things I wanted to do with this life. I was going to learn to fly planes like my dad, play doubles tennis like my mom, and create beautiful needlepoint like my Aunt Neva. A few of those might be out of reach, but my most powerful desire has always been to write, and it clung to me as if fleas on a dog.
The problem is I waited. I thought I needed permission, a bigger vocabulary, a room of my own, a good hair day, and fewer distractions or detractors.
And guess what?
Just like smooth skin, taunt tummies, and the ability to fly, the opportunities went into a witness protection program, and I never saw them again. Well, at least not in their original packaging.
The only time that is yours is the present. We know this. And by the way, any given moment is never going to be perfect. Just ask my therapist. [yes, that would be my sister Nancy, she’s not licensed, but she’s seen it all, her advice is damn straight and tends to favor me]
She says, “It’s now or never”(Are you hearing echoes of Elvis?), and she’s never fuzzy about that because life has taught her otherwise.
That might be why I’m publishing my first book, riding a tandem bike, and walking the Camino in my 60s. Trust me, nothing is perfect at this particular juncture, it’s just my moments are scattering as if roaches when you turn on the kitchen light.
As Federick Buechner says, “Listen to your life… touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis, all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”
That might be why we’re so enamored with Taco Tuesdays. What did you think I was going to say?
And for goodness sake, don’t expect some knight in shiny armor to rescue you from yourself. I found out the hard way that excuses will dictate my potential if I allow them to. Or worse, getting trapped by my own antiquity. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the best part about the past is its past. Shaming, blaming, and weaponizing the past is asphyxiating, life is breath, not suppression. The most optimistic thing you can do is call PG&E before you bury that shit in the yard.
Speaking of which, your attitude has a lot to do with it, and some wise ass said this is within my control. It’s a glass-half-full kind of philosophy, and this is apparently learned behavior. When my attitude flails, it usually means I’m stuck in some unattractive pattern, like the weather, and it’s holding me hostage.
Those are my clouds, so to speak, “but now they only block the sun, they rain, and snow on everyone, so many things I would have done, but clouds got in my way,” sing it, Joni.
Do you remember Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh?
“Good morning, Eeyore,” said Pooh.
“Good morning, Pooh Bear,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it IS a good morning,” he said. “Which I doubt,” said he.
“Why, what’s the matter?”
“Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”
“Can’t all WHAT?” said Pooh, rubbing his nose.
“Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush. …I’m not complaining, but There It Is.”
I’m not complaining. Bahaha
The thing about optimists is they’re always sure the thing will work, the idea will spread, and the right people will find them. And therefore, they are more likely to give it a try. Right?
I have a challenge for you. In the next few days, do something spontaneous, something you normally wouldn’t consider but secretly want to do. If it involves knives, unusual heights, or Thai massage, take along a chaperone. And then share in the comments. Give us all something to gossip about.
Last night Julie took me to an event at a local winery. It was one of those last-minute, spontaneous ideas. Those are always the best. Here I thought she was asking me to babysit, but she was asking me on a date. And our neighbors, Sue and Taylor, who have season passes, joined us. Or, more accurately, we joined them.
It’s called the Songwriters Series, and it’s sponsored by Clos Lachance Winery. They invite songwriters to attend the event and share with the audience the circumstances around why they wrote a song, and then they play the song for you.
Simple idea, huge fun, and damn if it didn’t catch on. There had to be hundreds of people at this event.
We brought our own beach chairs, picnic baskets, and blankets. After staking out our spot on the lawn, we set up the portable table, munched on Mendocino Farm salads, sipped good wine, and bonus, it’s outside under the stars. A stellar combination.
The interesting thing about songwriters is they are not usually the ones who make the songs famous. They write songs that well-known singers buy and turn into hits. How these writers are able to find just the right words that resonate with so many people at the same time is beyond me.
Listening to music can be a transformative experience, especially when you connect with the emotion or sentiment of the lyrics.
I think the stories behind the hits are the most fascinating part of the whole experience. One guy wrote an entire song in two days after a painful breakup. Another was inspired to write about her complicated relationship with a man she both loved and hated. We’ve all been there. Sometimes when I listen to the words of a song, it’s as if the artist is broadcasting my thoughts because we’ve all survived painful episodes in our lives, and a song can be a testament to our collective memories.
The lineup last night was incredible. They had Randy Montana, Carolyn Dawn Johnson (love her last name), Tyler Reeve, and D. Vincent Williams. Google any of their names, and you’ll recognize many of their hit songs but possibly not them.
D. Vincent Williams was about to quit the music industry altogether when he wrote I’m Movin On, and it changed his life forever. He says, “it’s not about being clever, it’s not about being creative, it’s about being honest. And I got that lesson along with an amazing turn of events which landed that song with Rascal Flats who made it famous.”
That’s a powerful lesson for all creative types. Honesty resonates.
Williams writes, “There comes a time in everyone’s life when all you can see is the years passing by, and I have made up my mind that those days are gone.” Damn. That’s gold.
And when he sang I’m Moving On for us, it just about took me down. I linked it below, you’re welcome.
Time is too short, do not waste a minute with people, thoughts, or stagnant patterns that don’t know how to trust, giggle, applaud, hope, sing, explore, and believe in the majesty of every moment. The present is best experienced as the eve of life, unselfishly and with enormous grace. And the best part of all, “life has been patiently waiting for me, and I know there are no guarantees, but I’m finally ready.”
I’m Living in the Gap, seizing opportunities. How about you? What’s new?