There is a different feeling in the air. The energy has shifted dramatically.
Spring/summer is full-on and people are outside, and planting, and shopping for flowers, and meeting up with friends again. COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, and there’s so much more happening in the community. In-person yoga classes have started, the recreation center is full of people and friends are beginning to drop by again. Downtown is crazy-busy, it’s difficult to park and huge events are beginning.
I suddenly got too swept up in it all a couple of weeks ago, so that by the weekend I was exhausted. I’m not used to being so out and about. The whole last year has been about quiet time and more time in myself, instead of out in the world.
So I stopped, and took the weekend to reassess how I really want to do this transition time in my daily life. How do I want to balance being more social while guarding my solitude? I made some decisions about what is the most important for me now, after this year of being quite self-contained.
Many of us are starting to emerge into community life again. Our older generation has been the most careful staying closest to home, up until early spring when we got vaccinated and absolutely had to see our grandkids. But what do we want to do daily, here in our regular day-to-day lives? Did COVID-19 teach us anything about what’s important, what we love, the earth? Anything about what precious time we have left in our lives and how we want to spend it?
Bill Plotkin, in his book, “Nature and the Human Soul,” says our elder years are “about the relinquishment of effortful striving, a cessation of the usual attachment to outcome. We no longer have a personal agenda of projects to accomplish ... but more simply a path to enhanced fulfillment in the moment.” We are moving from a life focused on work and achievement to an existence centered in the present moment and the eternal.
This does not mean that we are not doing anything. It simply means that our doing rarely has a conscious intent reaching for some great attainment. It is more a moment-to-moment thing. The way to live is to be, as is pointed out in Lao-tzu’s piece in the “Tao Te Ching”:
“There is no need to run outside
For better seeing,
Nor to peer from a window. Rather abide
At the center of your being;
For the more you leave it, the less you learn.
Search your heart and see
If he is wise who takes each turn:
The way to do is to be.”
I was so excited to see the Western Pasque Flower blooming up in the Haviland Lake area recently. I immediately wanted to call two friends to come and see it too, then have lunch, etc. But I stopped myself. I’m now wanting more space in my life, more empty time to do whatever I feel like at the time. Fewer plans, less running around. I have learned that I am happier when I have more open time each day.
Life is full, for sure, and there is never a lack of things that interest me. But I think that’s because I’m allowing myself to wander, mentally, physically and emotionally into whatever moves me. When we have an agenda, it eliminates time to relish and discover things.
So here’s hoping the great healing from COVID-19 will continue. But also here’s hoping that I don’t get pulled back into so much busyness and external activity. We all have choices about this precious in-between time. What will you choose?
Martha McClellan has lived in Durango since 1993 and has been an educator, consultant and writer. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.