Convergent Circularity

infinity

“I wish I was who I was when I wished I was who I am”

40 years ago a friend had this phrase posted on the inside of her front door. I have remembered her and it ever since even though I have no idea where she is today nor spoken to her in decades.

This morning I awoke with the Jimi Hendrix version of All Along the Watchtower running through my mind. It, like my friend’s door quote, induced reflection. Remembering the past is pleasant for me but I cherish today and don’t long for its predecessors. I remind myself to appreciate who I AM right now and that I AM a compilation of past experiences, present endeavors, and current aspirations. I recognize that it all may change by tomorrow. So what do I do?

I maintain my fighting posture… It allows me to embrace what I am presented with that appeals to me and repel what approaches me that is distasteful. It allows me to move through LIFE!

fighting stance

Do not think that this posture presents a “joy ride”. It is solitary which can become lonely. It is solemn which can become sad. It is deliberate which can become burdensome. But it is LIBERATING because it is my Divinely Inspired Journey on The Path. I recognize that I AM the star of my show and I acknowledge that I do not write the script. Throughout this journey I AM sustained by MOMENTS of BLISS and OUNCES of FAITH!

A blog post such as this emerges with they coincide. I continue the sojourn and I AM THANKFUL!

a way to a good start

man looking in mirror

When I awaken and come before a mirror I exhale upon it. When I see vapor I smile and say “alhamdililahi!”. I AM here! I recognize that some that were here yesterday are not here today. I have a responsibility to make the most of the day.

My life is fairly good but I still have to remind myself how fortunate I AM to be here sometimes. You know the saying “…life has its adversities.” As we travel the course of life those adversities can sometimes get bring us down. Maybe you are fortunate and it doesn’t happen to you. I’m not so lucky. It happens to me every so often.

My environment is pleasant. My dwelling place is simple. Stress is minimal. I have people close by that usually bring me joy. So when I am visited by this melancholia I can usually be touched by an interaction or a memory that encourages it to dissolve. I then begin to take on a task that I can “throw myself into”.  If I need to rest before I start, I DO.

Now the best thing about this is that it allows me to manage. This approach can not be called problem-solving because I really don’t change the presenting conditions. Its probably more appropriately referred to as ” refocusing attention”.  Rarely do I actually change the particulars of the predicament. I just alter how I perceive and react to them. I AM then able to continue and prepare myself for the next step. I AM able to attain small successes that develop into significant achievements. I won’t win a Nobel Prize and you won’t see me on the evening news. Come around though and you’ll probably find me at peace. This is the key to my day-to-day approach to life.

It’s working! I have been around for a while now and I’ve experience many more “ups” than “downs”. I’m glad to be able to say so. It’s good to remind myself of it.

Cat-Looking-in-Mirror

When I look in that mirror do I see myself as I AM or is it as I WILL BE? No simple answer but seeing the reflection means I’m a winner!

IS too…

I AM IS

I have got lost in the city of love,
I am being cleansed, withdrawing myself from my head, hands and feet.
I have got rid of my ego, and have attained my goal.
Thus it has all ended well.
O Bullah, the Lord pervades both the worlds;
None now appears a stranger to me.

By: Bulleh Shah (r.a)

…and The Sojourn Continues

Simply Savoring Simplicity – a work in progress…

Far too often I am confronted by people who have chosen to DO LIFE rather than LIVE LIFE.  Doing Life is popular in these times of multitasking and bottom line analysis. Staying on top of everything is the alleged goal. Getting there fast is important because you have to leave soon for the next destination. Many tell me this is how it must be done. The TV advertisements remind them  to “JUST DO IT.”

I prefer LIVING LIFE, in fact savoring it.  My world is built for comfort…not for speed.  I live in a place that enjoys a 12-month growing season so usually what is not done today can be accomplished tomorrow.  Breaks are routinely taken throughout the day for prayer and meditation. Our family always makes the time to eat meals together. When I meet you and  ask, “How are you today?” I really want to know.  It’s not just a courtesy.  You can drop by for a visit unannounced. If you’re hungry you can eat. If you’re sleepy you can sleep. We don’t have a great deal but you are always welcome to share it. LIVING LIFE this way is simple and humane.

But I clearly recall when I was DOING LIFE.

It was a RAT RACE

                                                         

I was allegedly upwardly mobile. There was always another ladder to climb but no time to really assess where it would take me. Although focused on Doing Good Things I believed I had to get to the top to achieve them.  “The top of what?” was not considered a legitimate question.  Upon arrival, time was of the essence because there was always the next ladder to scale – a new challenge.  Among my fellow climbers, I was lauded for demonstrating leadership, commitment, intelligence, and success.

As Nelson Mandela reminds us, “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”  I was always climbing until the day I stopped, looked around…and started ASCENDING! A series of events (referred to in previous posts) helped alter my perspective. I began developing an appreciation for all those things I had crawled over while climbing to the top. I recognized that the important view had nothing to do with being at the top of anything – it was really about what was within.  That was when I began LIVING LIFE. I continue to do so.

I still face challenges and have great expectations but I maintain a pace that allows me to cherish the successes, contemplate the set-backs, and prepare for the restarts. I relish the experiences.  It feels pretty good. I AM living the good life.  As a young man that was my aspiration but I realize now that my definition was murky.  Now that it’s clarified, I proceed in relative peace. Granted, it’s taken a while – almost a lifetime – to get here, but it’s not over yet. According to one of my teachers,

“Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished:  If you’re alive it isn’t.”

I mention this today because I want you to know.  I prefer LIVING LIFE.  It is sometimes bitter but more often sweet. In either case, I now have and take the time to savor it. I Am a simple man who is now a seasoned connoisseur.

Alhamdulilah!

from a simple seed…

Long ago a simple seed was spawned.  Gentle winds carried it not far from the tree that created it.  Before the heavy rains came, it settled in a patch of earth and began to take root. Soon it sprouted, breaking ground and being drawn upward by the rays of the sun.  This is how it began.

Its development suggested promise.  Changing seasons became years and the sapling continued to grow. It was nurtured. Growth spurts were substantial and required that the young tree be moved.  The powers that control such things transplanted it a few times.  The tree’s root system remained intact and so it managed to flourish in each new place.  Adversity came in the form of droughts and floods.  Lightening occasionally altered the angle of its branches.  Periodically it was pruned. Nature took its course.

The maturing tree served many purposes.  On sunny days it provided shade.  During storms of all sorts its broad canopy offered shelter.  Items that needed tethering were often attached to it for security.  Things that were precious were hidden deep inside its trunk. It was never used for fuel because the forces that condone such things determined that its value lay in longevity more than immediacy.

The tree also bore fruits.  The fruits never fell far from the tree but were sometimes carried afar to serve preordained purposes.  In the places that they settled, the fruits of the original tree combined their goodness with the richness of the earth to support growth in new ways and new places.  And the cycle continued…

This simple tree has become a communal anchor with deep roots; a tall, sturdy trunk; and broad, expansive branches.  Today it stands strong — worn smooth in some places, nicked  and scarred in others — but in graceful maturity and useful flexibility. It serves well and IS well.

You will not miss the forest for this tree.  There may stand many forests because of it.