I have to say, there are some pretty fantastic benefits to being old and observant. Or maybe I should be saying wise and observant, but let's be honest, wisdom comes with age and quite frankly, I am getting aged or as my twenty something kids would say "Mom, you're old".
I am ok with that.
Being old doesn't faze me.
Being old without being observant scares the shit out of me and it is far to often the normal.
In my late 40's I started realizing that there is a seductive trance that starts to engulf us humans.
We begin to become complacent in the complacency of living.
Not really happy, nor unhappy, just sort of breathing without taking a breath, talking but never speaking and listening but never fully hearing.
We eat until our bellies are full but never feed our souls. Our minds are working over time with the chatter of nothingness, our eyes seeing only what our illusions allow us. Our hardened hearts pumping the blood of life dutifully without our noticing the subtleties of its grace.
"I am here, in your heart, hear me, feel me, know me."
We are busy, busy, busy. Busy with running our lives. Running our kids here and there, running our chores, our jobs, our social lives, our relationships, our financial future, our family, our faith. We run and run and run, but we never stop. We never win. We never jog. We run, even when we run over our friends, family, loved ones. We don't notice the path of destruction we leave when we run...we just run because that is what we do.
Few among men are they who cross to the further shore. The others merely run up and down the bank on this side.
We believe we are running our lives, but in reality, we are just running from life. We forget to live a life worth living. We let our lives run us and we just try to keep up. We "keep on keeping" and "run on Dunkin" and we are none the wiser.
"Older but not wiser."
We are so busy, busy, busy that we forget to notice the loneliness of this sport without a team. The solitude of running offers little time for social engagement and interaction with members of a team.
We often forget that WE are ONE WITH not just one.
I am he
As you are he
As you are me
And we are all together~Lennon
When did we stop observing?
When did we stop meandering?
When did life begin to bind us to money, possessions, competition, wars?
When did the butterfly become just a butterfly and a star filled night become bedtime?
When did we stop staring at the moon and wonder if it were really cheese?
When did ice cream become fattening instead of amazing?
When the hell did televison become "reality" and nature become a fucking parking lot?!
When did bombing countries become just another news ticker and when did we stop looking for the butter under our chins while making wishes on dandelions?
Why do we wait until we are sick in bed to "call in sick"?
When the hell did Ferris Bueller's stop playing hooky?
Was it when we got old or was it when we stopped being observant?
We stopped observing life!
We stopped living with intention.
We decided somewhere along the way that an alarm clock should be the first thing we hear to start our day rather than the first ray of sunlight kissing our noses.
We decided that after the nightly news is bedtime rather than falling asleep with the light on and a book in our hands or better yet, in the arms of our lover.
We watched time.
We listen to music on the radio rather than the music of nature.
We swim in pools, not ponds, eat fish from the grocer instead of the streams.
We buy our food rather than cultivate it.
We don't eat ice cream because we are lactose intolerant!! WTF?!
When did we begin to allow life to run us rather than us flowing with life?
I will tell you when.
When we decided being an adult meant not being a kid and being a kid was the only time we are allowed to observe anything.....everything!
To question anything and everything!
To ask millions of "how comes" and "whys."
To dare to question the unknown and observe the how comes.
How many times have we answered our kids questions with laughter but got annoyed when adults asked the same thing.
My kids both asked me "Mom, why is my poop brown"? and I always laughingly answered them, but heaven forbid I ask them the same question!
NO! I get, "MOM! STOP ASKING ME THAT QUESTION!"
Geez...let's go back to being a kid, kids. No need to yell at me. I just asked a question....
How do we begin at the beginning?
You know, the toddler years?
Those years when we opened every door to see what surprise was hidden. When we banged on pots and pans with wooden spoons just because we wanted to make music. We didn't care whether or not the music would earn us a living. We just wanted to make music. Bang the pots with spoons and giggle with delight at the sound that we created.
How do we bring back the unabashedly curious little soul that annoyed the hell out of the adult?
How do we change this perception that when "adulting" one must not bang on pots and pans.
Is there a way to "adult" with play-doh and finger paints? Is there a path to joy, love and creativity once we hit "adult" that doesn't start with frown, furrow, fake and forget?
Can we pick buttercups and put them under our co-workers chins?
Why not? We are aging, not turning to stone!
Our age does not automatically prevent us from being child like. Our idiotic belief systems do.
We most certainly can be playful and we can encourage those around us to do so as well.
We can start by leading by example.
The next time you are running late, slow down. Be late. It's OK.
The next time you don't have time to cook dinner, eat a big bowl of piping hot oatmeal with maple syrup.
Better yet, eat an organic waffle with a scoop of small batched ice cream and real whipped cream and enjoy every bite-full.
Just because we are allowing ourselves to be kids doesn't mean we shouldn't eat wholesome "junk" food.
The next time your kids want to jump in a puddle, let them! While you are at it, jump with them. Laugh and be silly with your kids...get wet, you won't melt!
The next time you get the sniffles, call in sick. Don't wait for the flu to keep you in bed. Get some kleenex, turmeric and ginger tea, and a great book while you enjoy getting well.
The next time your boss sets a deadline, don't fret.
We all have deadlines, you can do it without losing your hair.
Be calm, be happy and be of service.
Seriously, we all have jobs, deadlines, bills, kids, soccer, baseball, dinners and more. We also have time. We have time for all of life. Just make sure you are using your time to live life well.
Turn off the news on the TV.
Nothing ruins "adult" more than someone jawing their opinion at you.
Turn off the phone.
YES. Turn off your phone for the first hour at home and at night one hour before bed. Nothing productive comes from your cell phone once the kids are asleep and the moon is beckoning an audience.
Wake up in the morning to the sun kissing your eyes open.
Meditate for a minimum of 20 minutes in the morning.
Allow the loving Universe to awaken you to the day.
Enjoy that cup of coffee or tea.
One of the best things about "adulting" is that first warm sip of coffee or that first sniff of Earl Grey. Aaahhh....
Sing in the shower, dance while getting dressed, kiss yourself in the mirror. All the kids kiss themselves in the mirror.
They are beautiful and so are you.
Enjoy your job.
Even if your job sucks, there is something to enjoy. If there isn't, leave.
You do not have time to waste 40 hours of your week in some shithole.
No kid would ever stick around if they weren't have fun.
Adults shouldn't either.
I'm now nearing my 51st year as a child and every day I observe wisely and wisely observe.
I watch closely the beauty blossoming around me.
I feel deeply the laughter and the tears of the "living news" as well as notice my thoughts when I get inside myself too long and quickly change them if I need to.
The Cathedral of my soul needs some dusting once in a while, but I'm not going to polish the floors with a toothbrush.
I hear keenly the words of the people around me and if their words wound me, I move on to happier voices, whether family or friend. Children know to leave when the "mean kid" is around, so do I.
I choose to be nourished by high quality, often sweet and gooey, organic nutrients, not the sale brand, stuck in a corner bin of outdated hurts, angers, judgement, beliefs, and hatefilled people. I eat, drink and be merry with merry people and I never, ever wait until I am sick to "call in sick". That would be a huge waste of a perfectly perfect day.
I turn my phone off when I read, walk, sing, dance, laugh, eat, play and poop. I turn my phone off. I tune out so I can tune in. Daily.
Meditation starts my morning and ends my day and is more than often my 3:00 pick me up.
Without having this time to hear God, my prayers to God are useless.
I kiss myself all day long. Yup! I do. I see a mirror and there I go, kissing all over the place.
Now when I hear Paul and John remind me to "wake up, get out of bed, drag a comb across my head.", I do so at my own old pace. Slowly, intently and playfully and I never waste an opportunity to yell...
"Hey, kids! I have a question for you!"
Yeah, I like being old and observant. It has its perks! Give it a try.