Friday, June 7, 2013

Living, Not Visiting, a Post by Nancy L. Agnebe

I bought an ironing board and iron for our apartment. 

I arranged for Internet here, too.

The bookshelf is becoming full. 

     I guess we live here and don't just visit here. More and more I realize my life is here as well as in Madison. In the recent past having an apartment here felt like a transition, a symbol of moving eventually, post Bruce's retirement, from Madison to St. Paul. An interim place while we attempt to sell our house and before we buy a house in St Paul. We would dash in for the weekend, clothes on hangars (No need for an iron!), and our dance card full of events and dates with friends and family. The grandkids would be excited to see us, and the two days would feel like a mini-vacation. 
     Gradually, there has been a shift, a feeling of being at home. A sense of normalcy. I have a full set of make-up and skin and haircut products here. We each have slippers and a robe in our closets. There is Diet Coke and wine in the refrigerator (and not much else) and bagels in the freezer. The shift, however, became more apparent over the weeks I spent here before and after Dad's surgery. I am aware that I will be here more frequently as we help Dad make the transition into senior living and then ready his house for sale, but the shift from visiting to living here is not just about amount of time spent here.  That is a factor for sure, but the shift is more about living fully right now. Living life fully and not just being a visitor in my own life
     As part of a new writing project I have been re-reading the journals I kept when we moved from Minnesota to Shaker Heights, Ohio, in 1994. A major change for us all, and while it was our choice, responding to an exciting career opportunity for Bruce, it was not without difficulties. Soon after we moved there, I experienced some unexplainable leg pain. My right leg ached for weeks until I invited myself to meditate about the pain. During the meditation I saw myself facing north with one leg stretched across Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin and reaching into Minnesota. Home. The other was tenuously perched in Ohio. Uncomfortable to say the least. What I needed to do was pull my right leg into Ohio. I needed to plant myself in Ohio, and until I did, I could not have much of a life there. With that realization my leg pain disappeared, and I opened to a new stage in my life
     This transition is different. It is true that I think longingly about living in St Paul full-time, and I admit to a number of plans for my St Paul life. I would love to start a small spiritual direction practice here--just a few clients. I think about starting a contemplative writing group, my own version of Miriam Hall's gifted writing groups in Madison. I think about volunteer opportunities, perhaps doing life review or journal writing in senior living facilities. I have registered to take a class at The Loft Literary Center this summer and look forward to more involvement there. The list is growing. However, I want to be clear. My life in Madison will continue to grow and satisfy. For example, I intend to start a contemplative retirement circle in Madison in the fall, and wherever I am, I will write. Wherever I am, I will connect with friends and family. Wherever I am, I intend to be open to life in that time and place. 
      Once again the lesson, the hope, is to Live Now. Live in the Present. Live in the Moment. Wherever you are. 

In what ways is life offering you the opportunity to Live Now?

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