I notice a tendency in myself to “just finish a few more things from my to-do list,” to keep grinding, and “once everything is done“ it will be easy to relax and have fun. While I believe delayed gratification is an honorable and productive strategy, it can be overused. We live in a society that is productive and inventive and also, in my opinion, overly focused on doing things. My children serve as inspiration and motivation to accomplish such hard work. Thankfully they have also been inspiration and motivation to sometimes “just be.”
The borders of work and play and public and private are in flux these days. While not all of this is problematic, I think the increase of purposeful- and mindful-living themes is a reaction to these changes and an indication of the needs we have for awareness in the moment. This doesn’t only mean awareness of the happy thoughts, the calm, the peace. It may not be as fun or easy, but it is ultimately helpful to truly feel anger, stress, disappointment. It means not just smelling the pretty red roses – it means getting a little whiff of everything.
We often label decay and death as necessarily bad or scary. However, as the very first signs of Fall have started to appear, here is a reminder that a peace can be found in acknowledging the beauty of endings as well as beginnings. After all, the dead roses fertilize the next generation.
“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.” ― Rumi
James “Buck” Schall, Board of Trustees
Buck, I love what you said about taking the time to smell the dead roses. It is expressed so
beautifully. Thank you. Dorothy Donaldson