Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Resolved to Mindfully Flourish

 Life seems normal, and then it doesn't. 

Car noise is dramatically reduced. I like that, but it's not normal.

Spring prolifically bursts forth. I love that, but I can't go to parks and view the beauty. Not normal.

The phone barely rings, people are less visible. Solitude is precious, I like it. But it's not normal.

We cook all our meals at home. Healthy, delicious, but it's not normal to be banned from restaurants.

Grocery shopping requires distancing, masks, paranoia really. It used to be a pleasant break in my day to go shopping, to wander the aisles, peruse the products and produce. Now, it's a mad dash in and out with a concise grocery list in hand. It's not normal.

The mail comes and we have to think about what we touch after we bring it in, we must immediately wash our hands, set the papers and packages aside as if they are time bombs, toxic, crawling with deadly creatures, with they very well might be. This is very abnormal, and very disconcerting.

I can't hug my children, my granddaughter, my friends. This is crushingly not normal.

Things seems normal, until they don't.

To say it is unsettling tries to describe the indescribable. 

Everything feels.....off. Out of kilter. 

We have little control. The virus has much control. The virus calls the shots. The virus - the invisible virus - terrorizes us, silently, psychologically, emotionally. It toys with our spirits, our minds, our roles and purpose. Mercilessly. Ruthlessly. Flamboyantly. Only in the sound of its gasping victims and the hissing, clacking rhythm of the ventilators does it speak to us of its power, its intent: to use us up until we die. To kill us. 

Thankfully, our own invisible immune systems fight battles victoriously, for most of us.

Still, we don't know which way it will be for each one of us. Which will we be in the end?

Uninfected and vulnerable for the next wave?

Infected and survived and thus immune?

Infected and killed?

The choice is in God's hands. And He has good reasons for it all.

Still, it is an abnormal world we now inhabit and it suffocates.

I feel immeasurable sadness.

Still, I have a choice in how I pass through this.

I could dance along the rim of self-pity's abyss - tempting, pointless.

I could languish helplessly in the middle of the brutal tug-of-war between social extremes of deepest tragedy and unparalleled acts of selflessness and beauty - exhausting.

I could ostrich my genuine reactions, masking them behind flimsy platitudes, supercilious spouting, or empty-calorie activities - untenable, unhelpful, unkind.

I could conscientiously face the disruption of normal life, look it squarely in its menacing face, grasp tender compassion in one hand, creative determination in the other, review my beliefs, inventory my haves and have-nots, summon truth, beauty, and simplicity, then, map a new purposeful path to walk for however long the abnormal is normal - mindful flourishing. 

The choice is entirely my own - I choose mindful flourishing.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Hemingway Himself

This post is for me. For safekeeping.

Years ago I read this snippet from Hemingway in the preface of my son's copy of A Moveable Feast.  Succinct and so Hemingway, it just struck me. Hard. I don't really know why anymore than that the sentence perfectly exhibits Hemingway to me, his style of writing. For some reason I laugh out loud every time I read it. When reading it out loud to my family, I laugh. They laugh. But do they laugh because I laugh, or do they get the same impression as I? Who knows. We do, however, oft repeat, ". . . and the ring was in the garden," when the subject of Papa comes up.

I dislike the book. I dislike the liberties Hemingway takes with people who were good to him, considered him an intimate friend. He was untruthful as well as unkind. A sad way to treat people. He paid for it for they, as forgiving as they were, never thought of him quite the same again.

Here is the passage, my favorite part in italics:

"For reasons sufficient to the writer, many places, people, observations and impressions have been left out of this book. Some were secrets and some were known by everyone and everyone has written about them and will doubtless write more.

There is no mention of the Stage Anastasie where the boxers served as waiters at the tables set out under the trees and the ring was in the garden.  Nor of training with Larry Gains, nor the great twenty-round fights at the Cirque d'Hiver. Nor of such good friends as Charlie Sweeny, Bill Bird and Mike Strater, nor of Andre Masson and Miro. There is no mention of our voyages to the Black Forest or of our one-day explorations of the forests that we loved around Paris.

The five people seated at the table, left to right are: Gerald Murphy
Sara Murphy, Pauline Pfeiffer, Ernest and Hadley Hemingway in
Pamplona, Spain, summer 1926
It would be fine if all these were in this book but we will have to do without them for now. If the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction. But there is always the chance that such a book of fiction may throw some light on what has been written as fact."

Ernest Hemingway, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba 1960

This little personal post shall sit here, for me, just in case I need to get the quote right.

And the ring was in the garden.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

January 2nd

For me, January 2nd is the beginning of inward time where creativity makes promises along with already sprouting daffodils, where rest is plentiful, where warm glowing indoor moments are created under the sky's blanket of gray, where pensivity dominates, where my sun-hungry body determines it can withstand the gray days of January and February because Spring is coming. Spring is coming.