Saturday, April 25, 2009

Two questions.
One Answer
(Ball masque: Sun)

If you had all the money you needed and wanted and your health needs met, what would you do differently in your life?

This question came to me last week after a dream. Then later in the week, a colleague of my husband’s died. And the question took on new meaning, giving it even more perspective. Because, let’s face it, death is the end of this journey. With that in mind, I asked myself, the second question.

How do I want to live from now until then?

The answer to both questions is the same. I want to do what I love to do, be with who I love and enjoy it all much, much more.

I’d still want the same house that I have. But I’d appreciate it more. I’d plant more flowers and buy more flowers. I’d let myself sit out on the patio listening to the birds, sipping my coffee, reading and writing. I’d sculpt my clay, wire and copper. I’d paint and patina. I’d write blogs, articles and interviews. I’d want to publish and show my work to share it with others. I’d still want to teach in some form or other, again, to share the delight in being creative. I’d still want to make some money along the way, as a form of validation for work well done.

But I’d do it with ease, grace and flow. Gone would be the fear and guilt that has driven my life so far. If I wanted to buy something, I’d buy it. If I wanted to eat something, I’d eat it. If I wanted to go to a show, I’d go. If I wanted to go to Hawaii or Europe or New York, I’d go.

So with all that on my mind, here’s what I did today. I walked my dog to the park and around the lake with my best friend, and husband. I cleaned my house, with my husband, daughter and son, because I like living in a fresh, uncluttered place. While I dusted away, I thought about writing this piece, what I wanted to say. I had my lunch on the patio listening to birds sing, looking at purple tulips in bloom, tasting the salty ham sandwich and creamy potato salad. I worked on a few of my sculpture pieces, answered email from friends. Then I did some errands, picking up the makings for my favorite spritz and a dozen new flowering plants to fill my patio pots.

If this sounds boring to you, so be it. But to me, it’s been delicious to just live out a normal day with a new sense of ease, grace and enjoyment.

Ask yourself these two questions and see what answers come to you. Then let me know…what would you do or not do?

Now to have the courage to book that flight to Hawaii!


Susan J Tweit said...

Lovely piece, Susan! Those are the questions that we so often never ask ourselves, yet they're at the heart of our existence. As you've noted, we live hobbled by fears and habits, and we rarely surface enough to question those sideboards we erect to narrow our life's choices.

I was struck by how much your paragraph about what you'd do reflected what you DO do in your life: walk around the park, enjoy the lilacs, sculpt, write, teach. So what you're aiming for is just the doing it without fear, and the doing it with more joy and awareness. I'd say by voicing that, by writing about it, by recognizing and putting it out there, you're on your way. Even that ticket to Hawaii could be in your reach, if you dream it!

Susan GT said...

Thank you, Susan.
You're right. I DO do what I love to do, now to do it without the fear. Easier said than done, as I'm sure we all know.

I'm hoping that you're right, that by voicing my desire for more joy and awareness that it will...once and for all...take hold. But maybe the key is...progress...and booking that flight to Hawaii!

ColorJoy LynnH said...

I love your post. I lost my father when he was 40 and I was 14. I lost my sis in law when she was 27 and I was 31. Both of these losses were timed in a surprising and sudden way.

Because of these powerful experiences, I do live every day knowing that it could be the last. I am now 50, I have had 10 years of "Gravy" over my father's life and I rarely forget that.

My life has had many phases... youth being "live more, live faster, it could end at any time!" Fortunately, now I am older and the frenzy and adrenaline rush are not part of every day.

I have work I love and people around me (especially my husband) who really love and support me. I worry about money all the time, but I am clear that "these are the good old days" as the song goes.

What I love about your post is the "ease, grace and flow." That is the piece I am missing. I have a friend, also named Susan, who uses the word "ease" often. I now at least have the concept in my mind. I have not yet learned to live that way.

Passionate people always have a to-do list that is impossibly long. I have not quite yet learned to live with mine peacefully. Will contemplate "ease, grace and flow" when I contemplate the to-do list today.

Thank you for the post.

Susan GT said...

Loss of loved ones is always so hard but I can see you learned a great lesson here. I agree that living each day with mindfulness is so important and yet, so hard to do. Worry, whether it's about money, health or love, seems so much easier to slip into...why is that?

I know I need 'ease' as much as anyone, and as I strive towards it, I'm glad to have you along that road, too.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

Susan J Tweit said...

"Ease, grace, and flow" is a lovely mantra to live by! What a lovely, gift, Lynn. I also appreciate your observation that passionate people always have long to-do lists. So true! And Susan, your quote from Barry Lopez, friend of my heart, three posts up, about creative people being able to see what we fear and show us how not to be afraid is just so beautiful, and so apt for these times, globally and personally. Yes....

Susan GT said...

Yes...long to-do lists are always there, but isn't great to have more ideas and creativity to look forward to each day?

As for fear...I'd never thought of that as a creative message, but I see that it is, indeed, true. For if we don't see our fear, face it and in doing so, see that we don't have to be afraid, then we don't really move forward. Do we?