observation


Athena, as she appeared to me in 1974

I am aware of the things which grind a person down with age. And while none of us will live forever in these bodies, aging gracefully is possible and, to me at least, desirable. I think most would say stress is a killer, but I suspect there’s a bit more, as I discover a body over fifty becomes increasingly intolerant of the insult of ignorance. By that I mean what I choose to ignore, whether it be:

The blessing of movement through regular exercise that is nourishing and fun.

 

husband Chris and Chudleigh the yoga dog

 

A good night’s sleep (and this certainly cannot be minimized, I am clear and present this morning to attest).

 

If we could all sleep like dogs, I'm pretty sure we'd have it made ...

 

A good diet, meaning a deep and more profound listening to the body and less overriding of its warning signals. Whole foods are best accepted and digested, naturally, and cooking to enhance freshness and flavor is part of that, for me. (The stuff I did in my twenties would likely kill me now. If I only knew then ...)

 

 

our Hawaii kitchen


The deep need to love and be loved. At this point in my life, I find myself insisting that relationships be reciprocal, as I am much more cognizant of the amount of energy required to maintain them.

 

friend Rebecca and me, looking like street urchins on our last day before leaving Maui

 

Boundaries: it is helpful for me to gauge interaction with a yardstick of respect: both respect for others as well as my own self respect. Pushing my boundaries invariably results in feeling drained. I don’t say yes when I mean no (see my post on this), and parcel out my time in order to be as fully present to others and to myself as possible. And though I’m not always successful, more often than not is good enough.

 

volunteering dog massage at the Kohala Country Fair with vet Jody Bearman

 

I am sure there are many more aspects I could enumerate, but these jump out as the most obvious. Oh, spending time in nature every single day is the best cure for any blues or illness I know. Since I came of age at eighteen, I’ve always chosen to live in the countryside, close to the earth, starry heavens at night, and the sounds and smells of species other than human. And while I love people, some can be unintentionally inconsiderate in their drive to discover distractions to the urging of life’s unfoldment. Allowing myself balance between downtime and social interaction is perhaps the greatest gift of all. 

 

On the road into town - clears a person's mind, wouldn't you say? (Mauna Loa looms opposite the west end beaches of Hawaii Island.)

 


13 comments on “observation”

  1. Bela – you are a sister…a twin. I could have written this. I’m serious! I am so at home right here, that I could pull my blankie over me and sleep like my cat! Right after eating a lunch of fresh, non-processed food…:D

  2. These all resonate for me, Bela. Though I confess I have always bucked the trend: even in my twenties I insisted on fresh food and a decent sleep and daily hard exercise, usually outdoors. But what really strikes me here and now is this idea of reciprocity in relationships, in relationships of all kinds. Sometimes we carry others, so to speak, because of circumstances in their lives, yet if this becomes a constant energy drain we shortchange ourselves. Never has this been more evident for me, and I am thankful for the insight, for I spend more time with people who love and nurture me in return, these past few years…

    I hope this doesn’t sound too self-congratulatory, but I find I am able to accomplish more. Well, perhaps that just sounds a bit priggish, ha – what I mean is that there is never enought time for all the things I love, but more if one concentrates on people who respect that. I have a great book called Intimacy and Solitude, by Stephanie Dowling, rather old now I suppose, but what she says is that her solitude nutures her intimacy. I find it so.

    • Thanks so much VivianLea, for your insightful comments – as always. And hey, you may well deserve accolades for earning the wisdom you offer. We are all marked by experience, are we not?

      We have friends visiting from all over. I have been trading much of my solitude for the enjoyment of their company – and there has been a price for that. Though most enjoyable, it has created an imbalance that takes time to correct. However, if I had been spending the same amount of time in non-nurturing situations, I can only imagine how I would now be feeling! The older I get, the less tolerant my body has become. And while I have always been sensitive, that sensitivity has increased and I simply cannot disrespect myself anymore by placing myself amidst people or environments that drain the life out of me. Inadvertently it still happens, but I’m better at extricating myself from it. What learning there is in this life!

  3. Nice Post Bella. Very well said. I agree and thanks for sharing your observation with us. Best Regards. !!!

  4. I love your line about being in nature in touch with beings other than human. I have seen too much duplicity to be able to trust any more, and nature is soothingly honest.

    Ronnie

    • Yes, Ronnie – and thank you for taking time to comment – I strive daily to discover redemption in human nature. Miraculously, I have not given up, though some days it causes me to wonder where we as a collective are headed. At such times, nature is indeed my Redeemer – it always helps me restore balance and anchors me in Place. At such times I am reminded of the Desiderata, if you’ll bear with me:

      Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

      If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

      Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

      Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

      Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

      Strive to be happy.

      — Max Ehrmann, 1927

  5. I agree a lot of energy & effort is required to maintain relationships. But ’….relationships be reciprocal’, is this one of Dalai Lama’s or Buddhist philosophies? Or should this be seen in conjunction with ‘boundaries’ as you put them?

    • Hello again this morning, Idealist Thinker! Thanks for reading some of my posts.

      I am not aware that reciprocity in relationships is Buddhist in any way – and to be clear – I do not declare myself a Buddhist, here or anywhere – though I deeply respect their viewpoints and often quote their wonderful wisdom. Reciprocity is something I have discovered with age and life experience – the need to gently prune relationships that are draining and that are mostly “me” rather than a shared experience of love and/or support. I have long been reluctant to sever ties, once established. And so, for me, boundaries are essential – being able to say no has been difficult in the past. But I’m getting better at it!

      • Thank you for explaining how you arrived at reciprocity. Allow me to elaborate a little further. Apart from being able to say no, for me it’s also about taking initiative and being pro-active from both sides of a relationship (of any kind). As we both agree, it does take energy & effort to maintain one. Since my young(er) days, I have expected ‘reciprocity in relationships’ from people I interacted with, and been disappointed on more occasions than not. For me, it was only fair to expect that. I was told by the elders to just ‘give’ (to family, siblings, friends, colleagues and bosses) and ‘not expect’ in return, to avoid discontent. Ignore, forget & move on; ‘let it be’ was the mantra to not burn bridges. It is a constant emotional tussle. What do you make of it?

        ( P.S. – Worry not; I know you are not a Buddhist. You have mentioned it to me before, on another of my comment sprees 🙂 )

      • I think you described what I go through quite well! I was also schooled by parents and church to give until it hurt, then give some more. And I believe women are perhaps more inclined to this as relaters. I’ve learned a LOT about boundaries from men! As an aside. And while giving is my nature (and of course giving happens naturally and without expectation of ‘getting,’ in return) – still, if I notice that I’m being ‘used,’ my antennae go up and I begin backing off.

        It doesn’t have to be tit for tat, certainly, but in my mind there ‘does’ have to be some reciprocity in there somewhere. Hoping this clarifies a bit, but it’s touch and go at times, as things, people and circumstances are in a constant state of flux.

        Also wanted to respond to your pro-active mention – yes, to sit back and wait for something to happen is a sure path to frustration. And so I’m open to the flow …

      • It does clarify a bit. I understand there can be no ‘one way’ to go about this, as you said “….as things, people and circumstances are in a constant state of flux”. So, being open to the flow, like you mention, is probably what works best.

        The men-women prespective is interesting. I hadn’t thought of it like that before.


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