The Art of Living

The Art of Living

For most of my adult life I have experienced something that feels a lot like hunger. At times the feeling lies quietly in the background like a dog waiting for the door to be opened so it can run free, only occasionally demanding greater attention.

There has always been an empty spot in my life. Commonly that feeling is almost unnoticeable because my attention is directed to accomplishing tasks I need to finish or to enjoying the completion of something I have worked on and am grateful to have completed. Still, when things calm down, in the quiet moments, I can feel it; the hunger for something I have never been able to clearly identify.

One of the positive aspects of Covid, if there can be said to be one, is that I have had a great deal of time to read and to think; Time to return to my Philosophical and spiritual life.

During the 11 months of this crisis I was fortunate to spend four months with my youngest child and my granddaughter. I flew to Los Angeles to see them in March, and given Covid, ended up staying for months before I felt I could safely go home. My granddaughters pre-school closed and I gratefully became her daycare provider and play companion.

The depth of love and closeness I enjoyed with my grandchild was a gift beyond conception in and of itself. The privilege of getting to know my youngest daughter as an adult: to appreciate her kindness, her generosity, and her intelligence, and the ways in which she makes things work with such skill was equally rewarding. (I’m convinced that anybody who doesn’t get to know their child all over again as an adult is missing something.)

The point of Sharing this is that these experiences silenced my nagging hunger. I have been home since June, and am only now beginning to understand the gifts I have received, and consider how next to apply what I have learned.

In striving to understand my experience, I have identified three main components of my satisfaction. The first and most difficult for me is self acceptance and self-love. I have worked toward this for years but, until now, never truly felt “Good enough”.

I realize I have begun to love myself. I am certain that this is the result of putting myself, my needs, and my desire for validation or consideration aside to pay attention to other people‘s needs and other peoples ideas. The choice to do this made my interactions more satisfying, the depth of my connection to others stronger, and the outcome of what we achieved together more beautiful. The same consideration also increased my experience of being appreciated and my appreciation of the person I was spending time with.

This brings me to the second Component of my satisfaction, which concerns the experience of myself as having a meaningful place and purpose in other peoples lives. Experiencing being needed, and having a purpose in my family, my social group, and my community, has left me feeling loving, satisfied, and untouched by the nameless longing That has been part of my life for so long.

The third component, Which I am only now addressing, involves finding a meaningful way to contribute to the world around me. By meaningful I mean one in which my activity increases the quality of a life, or lives in the world around me.

A friend once told me that trouble is the reward for growth. The idea is that every time you grow, the world unloads more responsibility on you. My latest growth spurt has left me once again looking for the next meaningful step in my life. At the age of 70 it seems I must once again ask myself who and what I am and what purpose I have in the world around me. I’ve been thinking deeply about this and have come to some conclusions.

My experiences over the last year have led me to believe the life is constructed to provide fulfillment and success. Given what we have all been through you may find this ridiculous, and yet, I believe I have found the secret to knowing the truth of this. The next few months I will be writing down what I believe it takes to live joyfully and find the answers you need to move forward. I have been away from This site for quite a long time And I’m not sure anybody still looks from my posts, Still, I hope my thoughts will interest some of you enough to engage with me on this journey. In the meantime stay safe and keep the faith.

I believe that each moment of life offers me everything I need to find my way in joy.

A state of mind

Since 2016, The greatest portion of my thoughts have been clouded by a sense of impending danger.

One of the results of this is that I find myself, literally, hungry for good news. I suspect I’m not the only one who feels this way and so I am going to share some good news.

A number of years ago my youngest daughter, who I raised as a single parent, moved across the country. In her second year away my granddaughter was born. From the time she moved I have been able to see her and speak to her, and my granddaughter. I visit twice a year and in the months between we frequently FaceTime and share everything from new toys to bedtime stories. Today’s technology has allowed us to remain part of each other’s lives in a way that has never been possible until this decade.

I recently turned 70. The children are grown and I have retired. Being single, and living in an extremely rural area, I spent a great deal of my time alone. I can only imagine what people in my situation felt before cell phones, FaceTime, zoom, and all the other ways in which we are now connected, we’re possible.

Now let’s see how connected we can stay❤️

Anguish

I will never understand them,

never cease to fear them,

never find enough empathy

to accept their poisonous Indifference.

Indifference to the illness or death of a child,

because of their skin color or national origin,

to lead in the water of thousands,

to the callous destruction

of nature’s last sanctuaries.

It feels less like indifference than rage.

Like a murderous revenge,

a strike at those things accorded a beauty

they have never been able to feel.

A way to own, or at least deny others,

the use of anything, potentially an obstruction

to: their bottomless hunger, the burning lack,

the emptiness they try to fill, with imagined victory,

and an odd satisfaction in their ability

to evoke our grief.

Who will bring back the lost children,

the missing species, the reviled refugees,

the shriveled forests,

Or mend our kinship?

What will you feel

When your lies are exposed

and the damage is irretrievable?

to whom will you reach out

without finding everywhere

The anguish that is your legacy?