Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thursday's Reflection: Second Wind

Sometimes when we are with friends and clearly it is time for the evening to end--we are all tired and we have had enough wine and have covered many topics--I will get my second wind. I revive and suddenly am ready for more conversation and connection. That can happen as we are standing at the door with our coats on or when my husband is clearing the dessert dishes. "Beware her second wind,"my husband says. I am not sure why it happens, but I know even when I am home alone or spending a quiet evening if I don't get myself to bed in order to have the needed eight hours of sleep, I am apt to get my second wind and will read or watch tv or write late into the night. I seem unable to stop doing whatever absorbs me, and I don't want to let go.

Sometimes that second wind is productive. 

This time of my life feels like a Second Wind. 

I have written in this blog lately about fullness, rather than busyness, and now I find myself evaluating most everything on those terms. 

Am I merely creating ways to be busy or is what I am doing adding to the fullness of my life, of my being?

Is what I am doing and how I am being adding to the fullness of the world? 

How will I use this second wind and let it use me?

A second wind seems different from a second chance, although there may be elements of that, but rather a second wind is energy  asking me to be more of the person I was created to be. A second wind asks "What is the new horizon in you that wants to be seen?" to quote John O'Donohue in To Bless the Space Between Us, A Book of Blessings. 

A second wind says I'm not done yet. 

One day when my mother was close to dying, but not yet confined to bed, my father was going through some drawers where she kept boxes of stationary and note cards, and he brought them to me and asked if I wanted them. That didn't seem like the best timing, but before I could respond, my mother said with more feistiness than we had seen in recent days, "I'm not dead yet." 

A second wind comes to remind us of life still unlived. 

Recently on a very cold night, we took our grands out for pizza. Peter, one of the wisest seven year olds, I know, and I were hustling from the car to the restaurant, and I commented that I was cold, hungry, and tired. His immediate response was "At least we aren't sick or dead, GrandNan."

I know he's right because I can feel a second wind blowing around and through me. I'm not sick. I'm certainly not dead, and in this time of freedom there are so many ways, essential ways, profound ways, to ride that second wind. 

Joan Chittister in her book The Gift of Years, Growing Older Gracefully, doesn't use the words Second Wind, but I think she would approve. This is what she does say in the chapter about freedom:

          Freedom, in childhood, may be the right to be totally
          self-centered. In adolescence, I am engaged in the fine
          art of concentrating on myself, until I know who I am 
          and what I am capable of being. In midlife I am free to
          become skilled, to become prepared, to become expert,
          to become independent. But freedom in old age is the
          ability to be the best of the self I have developed during
          all those years. It is the freedom to gather everything I
          have learned up to this point and to put it to even more
          exciting use now. It is the freedom to give myself away
          to those who really need me, in ways I have never had the
          chance of doing before. I am free to be important to 
          people with real needs. And with that new role in life, I
          become one of those rare people who know what it takes
          to go through life, survive its dislocations, outlive its
          expectations, and negotiate its shoals…
               When I realize that freedom really is the right to be
          me, rather than someone else--perhaps for the first time
          in my life--the liberation of the soul begins. And with it
          the unshackling of the mind. I can become something
          new, as well as simply more of the old. Because what-
          ever path it was that got me here is not the only path I
          have ever considered, ever been fascinated by, ever
          wanted to explore. So, why not now, when the
          exploration is boundaried by both common sense and
          a lifetime of experience?  pp. 110-111

The last few years much of my energy has been spent coping with having a house for sale in Madison and buying a home here and doing all that is involved in moving and re-settling. I needed all the energy I could muster to do what was in front of me. Now, however, a second wind blows gently around me, calling me into a new time of creativity and authenticity. The freedom I have now is to embrace my second wind and see where it takes me. 

An Invitation
Do you ever get a second wind and if so, what do you do with it? Do the words "second wind" resonate with you as you think about this time of your life? I would love to know. 

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