To Be or To Do? That Is The Question

The word for today is peristalsis. That came to mind about 4:30 this morning. I decided that I like the movement of the word, which is similar to its function.

Rejoice. Hallelujah!

Our internal glory, our place of joy, enlightenment and growth sometimes gets lost in the whiskers of life, changes and problems.

There are times when reassessment is in order … when things shift and what was … now, isn’t.

One of the interesting things about life, that I have found, is that not once in our lives, does time stop. Oh, yes, it seems to stand still, of we wish we could hold a moment in time, but we can’t. Time moves.

Our lives move, too. From birth until death.

Some humans work at planning their lives. One of our earliest forays into conversation is when someone asked us, as a child, “What do you want to BE when you grow up?

Another version of the question is “What do you want to DO when you grow up?

To a young mind, those questions seem the same. As children, I didn’t distinguish the two questions.

But now, I see them as very different. One is occupational and the other is our soul, beliefs, values and, well, who we are.

After having a lifetime of professions and titles for what I “do”, the stage I am in and on, is an extension of the question “What do you want to be?”

It has morphed into who I have become.

Many of the things I have done, occupation-wise, study-wise, experience-wise ,by choice or demand, has evolved into who I have become.

An interesting thought to me is that one of my occupations, took hold so much and gelled so deeply into me, that it actually has braided over to be part of who I have become.

Writer.

There have been times when I have struggled. Just being, and being who I am, I felt, wasn’t enough. Simply being myself, without “doing” wasn’t enough.

I should do this. I should do that. Perpetual motion of the mind, placing more value on the what I do, versus who I am. Maybe it is or was an earning my keep thing. Perhaps it is societal rumblings and expectations. I have often felt that I needed to earn my right to life.

I look at the walls of my house, the art, the things that are around me and I see many things I have done.

In a way, they are me. But in a way, I can separate myself from them and not really recall making them.

When I think back to my occupations, the days I was in the workplace, I was never any of those occupations. They were skills. I did them to the best of my abilities for you I was at the time, but none of the occupations was me. Marketing director, sculptor, real estate broker, software company CEO, workshop teacher, etc … I did them all, but they weren’t me. With each, there came a point when I said, no more.

But in each one, I learned and what I learned, I put through a sieve, and brought onboard the parts that I would build into who I have become.

Why do these thought matter to me, now?

Because once again, the last four months or so, my life has taken unexpected turns.

Years ago, when I was in real estate, a friend who had gotten into the business because I had, dais, in a very distressed and exasperated way, “Why are there always so many problems?”

I laughed, looked at her and said … “That is wat we are paid to do … solve problems.”

She said that from that moment on, she got it.

And then, she quit.

That knowledge, that nugget, that life is often about solving problems, and releasing those you can’t solve, to a higher power, is something that plays out over and over. And I have to remember that when my blueberry basket gets tipped over.

There are times, such as recently, when I have had to dive under water with my eyes open, and do the breast stroke. I might not see clearly, but I must do it.

As humans, we often have to swim through uncharted emotional, fearful, uncertain waters. But in doing so, our muscles get stronger. We become stronger than we knew we could become.

After initial shock and a bit of flailing, I find that I get in a rhythm. The opposing currents subside andI get in a flow of the new and strange. And for a while, I have a new normal.

The new normal rarely lasts. Even life doesn’t last. But the ride, this wonderful ride, with its twists and turns and earthquakes and whirlwinds, when there are days that we wonder how we will get through, and times we wish would last for ever, is a real trip.

And for that, I say, Rejoice! Hallelujah!

Susan

Passing on the Joy of Photography

Grandparents pass on lots of things. Some of the things have laid in drawers and cabinets or on shelves and are lovely, and have a historical family meaning, and are lovely and meaningful.

Chances are, the grandchild will put those objects on shelves.

I have a few of those things that I will leave behind when I exit, stage left.

But those are just things. And most things, even with history, don’t change a person.

One of my grandsons stayed the night, Saturday. He is twelve. He will be a teenager next February.

These years before, there is no doubt that I have loved him, and watched him grow. But now is the time I see my work with him as just beginning.

What I want to leave my grandchildren with, is a joy of finding passions, enjoyments, learning and self expression. Since they were little, the two grandchildren who live near me, have had their own drawing journals. We have fooled with drawing and art. When my granddaughter did a cool painting, I copied it and had a print for her bedroom wall. Made. I had fabric made with one of my grandson’s designs. I want them to see the bigger picture of what they can do.

I did the same when I lived in Ohio and had my grandchildren over We headed downstairs to the art room. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to do that with my youngest granddaughter, and distance makes it out of reach for them now. I miss having that opportunity.

But Saturday, my grandson and I worked on one of the big joys in my life, and I think a growing hobby of his.

Last summer, I took my grandson to Anne Springs Greenway, a beautiful nature area, in Fort Mill, SC. I gave him a camera to use and I had one. I gave him a few pointers and off we went. I watched as he walked along. I could tell he was framing pictures in his Ming. He’d stop and squat and shoot. I could see him doing what I longed for him to do … see the world in a different way.

I took photos, too. but mostly, I was interested in watching him. What joy.

This weekend we walked in my yard and garden and he went from plant to plant and snapped. I taught him about F-stops and depth of field and filling the frame, honing in and using natural objects as frames.

After an afternoon of taking photos and watching a butterfly enjoy a zinnia for a long time, I download his photos to my iPad and we got to see the world through his eyes.

Later that evening, when we were outside, again, I taught him to look for things to photograph that weren’t as obvious as a beautiful flower. I showed him the beauty and art of photographing all stages of a flower’s life. Look for what people miss. Seek out the shot. Look at the world through a mindset that sees something interesting in most everything. Look for the story.

And that is what he did.

He mentioned that it was interesting how I painted and then made felt and baked and now do flowers. I think he wondered why I did this, but didn’t ask. So I took that opportunity to tell him why I did this.

I told him I do a lot of different things because I have a curios nature. There is a finite amount of time to live, really live, and pursue interests. I mentioned that I like to get involved with different aspects of life, master them to a certain degree, and then transfer what I have learned, to the next project. It keeps me engaged with life, I said.

Instead of him looking at me like I had three heads and four ears, I think he got it. I think that he understood a bit more about me, and in the process, learned something about himself, and life. All of these things are here for the learning. And if you look at life and the world with curiosity, you will not be bored.

I made chicken tenders for dinner and we had fresh peaches and peanut M&Ms. We ended our Erving watching Bot Wars. I love Bot WArs. We tried to decide what names we would give ourBot and how we would build it.

Sunday morning, we were up early and hit the Dunken Donuts before heading to the shore of Lake Wylie. When I asked if he wanted to eat his donuts at Dunken, or go to the lake, he said, “Let’s go to the lake and catch the early sun.”

I smiled. I had taught him well.

When I showed him my blog, he asked if I would use his photos. Of course. So this morning, the photos are by CJ. And I share them proudly and with a smile on my face.

Susan