I went to our writing class yesterday morning (Cia stayed home for some needed solitude), and, once again, I was deeply inspired by the writing that was read at the end. These folks – all ladies, except for our leader – are in their 70’s and 80’s, and are thoroughly honest in their writings about their personal experiences and feelings. They find the strength, every Friday, to say the most heartfelt stories about themselves, and to share their scariest or happiest thoughts. What Delycia and I especially enjoy about the class is that it’s the only one of the several adult groups we meet with that involves no arguing, no interrupting – only civil and sincere sharing.
I enjoyed cooking for Cia and me this week. Slowly, I am letting go of my anxieties and defeatist thoughts about cooking, and finding the genuine peace that can come from quietly and carefully preparing a meal for a loved one. Last night, I cooked up a simple pizza recipe, and as I was getting it ready, I was able, at least now and then, to stay centered and focused on what was happening right now, this moment – the sprinkling of the cheese and the sauce, the careful placing of veggies around the pizza dough, the scattering of some additional sauces across the top. I’m finding that even preparing an easy pizza can be an almost spiritual activity – some moments of silent, pleasing meditation in the kitchen.
We went to the Y after lunch yesterday for our daily workout, and I decided to do a quiet, almost meditative upper body workout – no super-high heartbeats, no exhaustion, just slow and steady raising and lowering of weights. It was fun to go from machine to machine in the fairly empty workout rooms, just patiently pumping away, feeling my breath coming somewhat harder and stronger, looking around occasionally at the other men and women working hard, and sometimes stopping to stare out the huge windows at the always lovely seacoast just beyond us.
Here’s beardless Hammy having fun …
Later, we went to a friend’s home for our bimonthly ‘centering prayer’ gathering. There were just four of us this time, sitting silently for 60 minutes and then sharing some thoughts at the end, and I found it to be a fulfilling way to start bringing the day to a close. I almost fell asleep a few times, but that seemed almost fitting, since the day itself was starting to fall asleep. Overall, it was 60+ minutes of insight and peacefulness for me, as it usually is.
Delycia and I had a brisk and tiring (for me) walk yesterday afternoon, about 3 miles along lovely River Road. I found it quite exhausting mostly because of the length of time – 60 draining minutes of walking briskly in a fairly robust breeze. I still don’t have the right mental attitude for that kind of drawn-out walking. I guess I want to get the exercise over with so I can get on to other less taxing activities. I simply have to settle my thoughts and embrace the fact that 60 minutes of fast walking can be 60 minutes of amazing adventure.
April 10, 2019 This morning, I finally saw an elephant that’s been in my room – my life – for most of my life. The elephant’s name is “good friends”. Here’s how it happened . . . I had been planning for a week to take our car in for service and just wait at the dealership for most of the day, until the car was ready. We have just one car, and I had forgotten to make an ahead-of-time appointment, so my only choice (I thought) was to just wait for the car until the service guys could fit it in to their schedule, even if it meant 6 or 7 hours of waiting. What happened this morning, however, was that I finally saw the elephant. For some reason, it suddenly occurred to me that I have many friends nearby who could help me in this situation. Sitting in the early morning light in our sunroom, I realized – duh! – that I have friends who not only could help me but would be happy to help me in this situation. I thought about this unfamiliar, newly uncovered fact for a few minutes, and then decided to take action. I sent messages by email and text to several friends, and within 30 minutes I had replies, and was all set to drive to the dealership in a few minutes, picked up there by a friend and driven home, and then picked up at home in the afternoon by a friend and driven back to the dealership. It was a rather astonishing change for me, an abrupt vision, you might say, where I was able to see what had been right there – in the room – all the time: good friends. I wonder … what other elephants that I can’t see are in the room of my life?
Yesterday we attended the bi-weekly meeting of our classics book club, called CLAM (Classic Literature At Mystic), and I think we both found it to be a fulfilling and friendly evening. The discussion concerned some Hemingway stories, and the words we shared opened some new doors for me on these sometimes puzzling stories. Hemingway wrote in a simple, straightforward style, almost to the point of putting a reader to sleep, but yet there is something strong inside his writing, sort of like an iceberg carrying tons of weight beneath the surface (a metaphor that someone mentioned last night. Delycia and I both said that the discussion was friendly and spirited (even with occasional interruptions), and we agreed that that these are kind and congenial people, and friendship awaits us every other Tuesday evening.
Today, Delycia and I took a healthy walk in the beautiful April sunshine, up and down the road into the Peace Sanctuary on River Road. We always enjoy that walk – the deep, quiet woods, the pumping of our hearts as we climb the hill three times, the outdoor air and sunshine. When we returned home, I felt fresh enough to write this poem: