anxiety, friendship, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness

A Radical Thought


“Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement…get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted.  Everything is phenomenal, everything is incredible; never treat life carelessly” — Abraham Joshua Heschel

It’s been a quiet week here, not much excitement when Andy and I keep trying to see if we can do an organic version of “Dueling Banjos” with our respective nose-blowing (trust me, “Dueling Banjos” sounds way better).  So far we haven’t had much success with our syncopation.  And because he’s the one who introduced this little bug into our house, he’s also the one who is eschewing chicken soup sooner  (he would insist that it’s a function of his recuperative powers – do not believe him).  Not the most delightful way to spend a week.  But, in one significant way these have been some really good days.

I’ve been agitating a lot lately about what to do next.  What should this chapter look like?  Does it need to look like anything?  How do I frame the story line?  All good questions; none providing any further clarity or movement just yet.  If this was an existential crisis, I could just leave the page blank and tell myself it’s the best answer.  This is an itching-in-your-heart conundrum.  If you’ve got any ideas, please share them with me.  Maybe I’m too far in the woods to be able to see with the greatest clarity.  Ah, but this is not the point of this post…

I came across Heschel’s quote on Monday and wondered if I was in fact approaching life too carelessly.  Certainly one assumes a certain amount about the moments in a day.  I wonder if we could move forward in any way if we stopped and realized that every single moment, action, word, etc is not to be assumed.  I have always been conscious of some of the smaller nuances that might otherwise go unnoticed – a change in the heft of the air as we move slowly towards spring, the state of the buds on a tree, the morning conversations among the neighborhood of cardinals that check in with each other as the sun considers rising.  I listen to the world as fully as I can.  But could I be missing something?  Oh yeah, I’m missing a lot.

I began thinking about all the delicious moments that I recognize but dismiss too quickly, not allowing them to be savored as is their due.  Slipping under the covers – the feel of cool sheets against my skin.  I burrow into the hug provided by our feather-bed and give myself over to the lusciousness of it all.  There is no better feeling.  Or so I thought.  The next morning with chills and a head more congested than the DC Beltway at 8:45AM, I stepped into the shower with the temperature as hot as I could handle.  The spray stung at first, and then became a steaming, head clearing, soothing haven from my sniffling, eye-tearing, coughing self.  I stood there just marveling at how good it felt and so I remained until the water heater began to hint that it needed a break.  Could anything be better?  Later, when I went outside with the Sirs for one of their daily constitutionals, the wind was delightfully suggestive.  Living in gratitude is an overused expression; as is living consciously.  And I can’t say that I have managed to really do either this week.  I can say I’ve been aware of some of the elements of a day that I may notice, but definitely dismiss too quickly.

Maybe this all has to do with having some of my senses dulled and as a result, others see the chance and clamor for attention.  Maybe it’s the result of this pinball game my head has been playing trying to arrive at my-next-thing.  Perhaps it is my soul’s way of reminding me that I trade each minute of my life for something – and I’d prefer it to be something I appreciate.  Regardless, I discovered that with little effort I could find something in each day that I had not fully noticed before.  Savoring at least one element among the myriad elements that comprise a day, which had merely been assumed and acknowledge it.  It offers some balance to my angst, some delight that offsets a stuffed head and achy cough.  I can’t say that I’m amazed; I can say that I’m awake.  Good morning and Happy Friday everybody.




31 thoughts on “A Radical Thought”

  1. I’m coming with 1/2 a suitcase filled with ideas and a couple of them are radical; what I missed out on in the 70’s I am making up for now – at least in my head. I, too, share the joy of being awake, but look forward to the next chapter. I am hoping we can find the balance to write it together. Have a fabulous weekend my friend. To the moon and back…

  2. Thank you, Mimi! I so needed this today. Now, if you two can work up The Orange Blossom Special, please record it for me.-)

  3. Don’t tell me that the woman who tosses off “the sun considers rising” isn’t ready to write the next chapter. You are ready to write anyhing my friend. Feel better.

    1. Ah Jill, your perspective is skewed – and I’m so grateful. Who knows what is percolating in this head of mine – it’ll come to me I’m sure. 🙂

  4. I know there’s been a bit of ‘congestion’ in your head of late, lovely friend, both figurative and literal, but there’s not a doubt in my mind that you’ll sort it all out and that the next chapter will be revealed, likely in a way you never imagined. Whatever is coming your way, I have every confidence that you will meet it with the grace, elegance and joyful spirit you bring to every encounter. I wish you ALL good things honey and love you all there is….xoox, L

    “Destiny grants us our wishes, but in its own way, in order to give us something beyond our wishes.” –Goethe

    1. Laughing – leave it to you to draw that parallel – and yes, literal and figurative congestion – how accurate!! I do feel that whatever is next, it will be right (though I would love to know what ‘it’ is)..And I know that you’re right there with me honey – always. And for that I’m already way ahead of the game…xoxo, m

      ps. And you did it again – Geothe! Perfect!

  5. Hi ‘soul sister’. Your post resonated with me this morning because I have been going through this same thing myself. I had been putting all negativity down to ‘getting over the loss of the other half’, even though I thought I had let all that go. But of late there had been renewed periods of either anxiety or blankness. I have slowly come to realise that entwined in all of this has been my loss of purpose, my loss of direction (in my case as nurturer and homemaker). This is not confined to divorce as it also exists in widowhood and retirement. The loss of purpose. It is a huge loss. It is an intense loss. It is a grief. Once I recognised this loss of purpose as separate (not linked with the loss of companionship) and as a grief (and not insanity), the anxiety of it all lifted from me. As a ‘grief’ one is allowed a period to ‘mourn’ it; then gradually pass through the stages of grief (shock, anger, yearning, sadness, acceptance) until you finally let it go. Once that happens you are able to channel the previous energy put into mourning, into a new direction, a new purpose.
    But first, you have to fully mourn the loss (of your previous purpose, your previous career, your kids living at home or whatever), fully close the door and fully let it go.
    And just to let you know that even though i recognise all this, i am not quite there yet. Even though I have let the ‘homemaker’ role go (sort of); i still do yearn that the kids might still “need” me (whereas they are fully independent young adults); and of course whenever they come around, I start busying myself, cooking and cleaning and making beds and singing – because I feel needed again. At some point, I will also let that go (that need to be needed).

    Then upwards and onwards Mimijk, you and I, together we will stride forward into a brand new day, a new life, a new purpose.

    1. Hi there ‘soul sister’…I’m so moved by your words. There is no doubt in my mind that emotional homage must be paid to our past, to that which grounded us and defined us in so many ways. And transitioning from married to not-married is more than just a chapter – it’s a book!!! As is transitioning from raising our kids to watching them rise. I have no doubt in my mind that you are going to flourish in this next chapter, and find incredible joy and purpose. I’m SO happy that we are on this walk together!!

  6. feel better mim and my mane man…this is such a timely and amazingly clear post considering the clogged drain it came out of. you do amaze. and can i just say…elizabeth? wow…channeled more than one I’m betting. between the two of you today, i see something…in the distance…and it looks like me…only smiling. hugely! such hope mim…xoxo

  7. Speaking about amazement. I’m amazed at how you start a post going right, veer completely left and then bring it back again – and somehow it all like a Rembrandt. Mastercraftsperson you are. Yes. Now. Present. Moment. Gratitude. I’m on your bus Mimi. Loved your post.

    1. I’m not sure that my ability to go right and then cut to the left is really reflective of any talent – unless the Rembrandt your referencing is a NASCAR person..;-) I am beyond grateful that you’re on the bus with me David – you know that (but I’ll tell you again and again again).

  8. I am torn here…How can I hit “like” knowing you felt like crap? Okay, safe to say, I love everything you do, but let’s be clear that I “dislike” that our Mimi is being attacked by tissues! Hoping the bass in that cold finally adjusts it’s settings my wonderful friend!! 🙂

    1. You have made me giggle and start coughing at the same time (which is no easy feat, let me tell you)…Getting better every day and so happy you came by and brightened my day!! 🙂

      1. you can always count on that Miss Mimi !! and very glad that you are on the mend as well!! hmmm a giggle and a cough….I believe that would be a gough or would that be a ciggle?? I like ciggle myself 😉 Keep smiling sunshine!!

  9. I love the opening quote! Something I “know,” but that came become so easily lost in the daily shuffle… hope you’re feeling better

    1. It really can so easily get lost in our day-to-day craziness, can’t it? I’m so glad you liked the quote (for which I can’t take any credit) – I too thought it was a brilliant reminder! Thanks for stopping by..:-)

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