Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Miscellaneous Thoughts on a Rainy Day, a post by Nancy L. Agneberg

A rainy day, and this time I see some green where there has been brown all summer. My office windows are steamy from the ongoing simmering summer heat, but outside the streets are wet and temporary puddles have formed. I don't know if this will make a difference to the farmers, but I am grateful for this change, and I wonder what has been unleashed as the rain is released from the heavens. 
     I didn't sleep well last night. Yes, it was warm and perhaps that was a factor. In fact, when we came out of a restaurant at 10 after a long, leisurely dinner with friends, the air was thick and heavy. Not an ounce of refreshment in the air. Perhaps I was a bit overly stimulated, thanks to our wonderful, many topics explored conversation. I often get a second wind after 10, but last night I was tired, and I didn't want to prolong the day. Instead, I wanted the next day to come. 
     My sleeplessness was one of anticipation. This often happens to me, as perhaps it does to you, the night before we leave on a trip or have a big event scheduled the next day. I enter the next day before the next day arrives, and I am unable to sleep. The next day, today, however, has no special starred event. Nothing is listed on my calendar. My list of activities for the day is entirely of my own making. Exercise. Laundry. Emails. Post office and grocery store. 
My anticipation, it seems, is far more open ended.
     Last week we had 6 showings of our home to prospective buyers. Six showings in 8 days. Surely, that means something is going to happen. More showings perhaps or even an offer. I wanted the day to come so I would know. Will there be a showing today or will I get a call scheduling a showing for later in the week? Will there be an offer? I want something to happen and how can it happen if I am asleep! 
     What I need to remember is that even when nothing seems to be happening; even when I feel stuck and there is no apparent movement in the desired direction, change is occurring. I just can't see it yet. I just don't recognize it yet. Change is hovering, but it still looks similar to the way it has always been. 
     My job is to rest when it is time to rest. Be awake and attentive when it is time to be awake. My job is to free myself from preoccupation with the future and be present. 
     Eventually, I fell asleep, turning the hours over to the rhythm of night into day. And in the morning I offered this prayer by Philip Newell:
                     A Prayer for Presence
In the gift of this new day.
in the gift of the present moment,
in the gift of time and eternity intertwined,

let me be thankful
let me be attentive
let me be open to what has never happened before,

in the gift of this new day,
in the gift of the present moment,
in the gift of time and eternity intertwined. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What We Talk About When We Talk About the Weather, posted by Nancy L. Agneberg,

     Finally, it rained. I wondered when rain finally came if people would come pouring out of their homes, interrupting whatever they were doing at the moment--wooden spoon or fresh laundry from the dryer or the morning newspaper in hand. Would we take photos with our iPhone and send them immediately to everyone we know? "Guess what, it's raining! Praise the Lord." 
     Praise the Lord! 
     We have been waiting and waiting and even though this morning's rain didn't last very long, it raises hope. It reminds us that there is an end to everything, even draught. 
     Oh, how thirsty all the yards and gardens are in the neighborhood. Each lovely home is surrounded by a moat of crackly straw. The pond in the wetland is dry to the last drop, and I wonder about all the life that pond normally supports. The critters who called the pond home truly know what it means to be thirsty. 
Summer vs Winter
     Maybe I should pretend it's winter. I love winter and find the coziness of staying inside during the winter to be a productive and creative time for me. With a shawl wrapped around my shoulders I delight in doing the next thing or nothing. Either way is a choice. However, the summer heat encourages neither productivity or creativity in me, only apathy. I am restless, but lack energy to find direction. In the winter I relish the indoor time, but in these days of scorching, breath-taking heat, I resent the closed windows, the fake coolness (even as I am grateful for it!), and I want porch time restored.  I want relief from the draught. 
     What would satisfy my thirst and end my inner draught? 
     Can I move from a state of emptiness and inertia to Sabbath time?
Ending the Inner Draught
     I just finished reading a book called Chasing Matisse, A Year in France Living My Dream by James Morgan (www.chasingmatisse.com) in which the author lists his desires. "Read. Write. Paint. Think. Travel." So clear and clean. He unveiled his thirsts and even though, as he adds, "Not that it's ever as simple as that," he has found a way to live his desires. 
I practiced a list in my head almost unwilling to commit my yearnings to writing, for what would it mean if I stated them so directly and clearly? What excuses would I have to overcome? How would I have to live in spite of the draught?  
     If that exercise seems too hard, Alice D. Doar, author of Live a Little! offers another opportunity in the August O, The Oprah Magazine.  Complete the following statements, but don't think too long about any of them.

I could blow an entire rainy afternoon___________________
When I was a kid, I used to love________________________
I've always wanted to become really good at______________
If I could do one thing every day of my life, it would be_____
I can lose track of time when I'm________________________
Nothing clears my head like____________________________
When I'm feeling drained, all I want to do is_______________
I feel most connected to my body when I'm________________
In my daydreams, I imagine myself______________________
I get a shot of energy when I___________________________  

     Any surprises? What do your responses reveal? Are there any changes you want or need to make in your life in order to live more authentically? Is there anything you are thirsting for that can be fulfilled even in times of summer dryness? 
     Here are my answers:

I could blow an entire rainy afternoon reading.
When I was a kid, I used to love to ride my bike.
I've always wanted to become really good at singing.
If I could do one thing every day of my life, it would be to write and to hug my grandchildren.
I can lose track of time when I'm writing.
Nothing clears my head like making a list and writing in my journal.
When I'm feeling drained, all I want to do is eat and read.
I feel most connected to my body when I'm doing T'ai Chi.
In my daydreams, I imagine myself thin and a published author.
I get a shot of energy when I complete all or a part of a writing project or when I am in the midst of a substantial conversation. 
     Reading my answers I notice ways I can easily enhance my life and choices I can make that will help me balance Body, Mind, and Spirit. Furthermore, none of my responses, except perhaps riding a bike, is related to the weather at all! Nor is my list of desires, which I finally dare to write down. 
     Read. Write. Spend time with family and friends. Pray. Teach.  
    Any season is the right time to connect with your essence. Any weather is the perfect time to do what nurtures your soul and gives life to who you were created to be.