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.

Kara –  A true story

The joy of feeling, at last, joy
lost young, 

through a life’s work regained,

was shining in my eyes.

You touched them with your gaze,

warming in ancient remembrance.

I gently turned to leave alone

to spare the cost I would not pay,

But you were braver than you knew

and chased me when I tried escape

And heated me with honesty;

that I would give you more of life

than ever I might take away.

So simply was I undermined

my solitude revealed as fraud,

my trust returned in taunting lines,

that ran as tears along my face.
Despite the fact that you have fled

Across the land unto its end

When all you sought was granted you

And proved more than you expected.

I keep the gift you left with me

I need not ever choose between

the beauty of your company

And being true and truly me.

So lover let me call you friend.

More Gently Than Frost

Refusing all invitations
You are excluded by no one.

Trusting no one
you are never deceived.

Bright and strong
you are never defeated.

Green thorns grow on bare stems
beneath the spring sun,

As if holding fragile blooms
safe from corruption.

Take my hand let us gather flowers;

we will hold them more gently than frost.

On Winter nights, your heart frozen,

your eyes weeping snowflakes that gather,

 In drifts around an empty bed;

there you may learn
that tears are only water
to make the heart grow.

A note to my daughter

Driving nearly 2 hours round trip 

to Share an Easter brunch

between school work and homework.

It amazes me how much beauty and joy

I receive 

from the gift of Your consideration

Having earned a place in your mind and heart is surely

one of my most meaningful accomplishments.

Love, Dad