Living One's Life

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For the holidays I’m in Scotland.  Prior to this I went to India and London.  It’s great to be travelling seeing new places and having new experiences.  The trip was planned in September and revolved around coming to see a friend in Scotland. 

This morning I was walking through a cemetery in the town where I’m staying.  As I read the gravestones I couldn’t help but feel sadness, seeing the names of both young and old.  It was especially sad for me to see the names of children whose parents had to bear the grief of burying them.   I saw and continue to see my parents go through this as my sister died when she was 25.  I’m not a stranger to  death as there are also the friends that have left too soon, as well as my grandparents and other relatives.

Reading the names of people made me think about eternity and although I don’t know them, somehow they came alive again.   This is something talked about by the Stage Manager in the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder.  In the opening of the third act the monologue revolves around how something within us is eternal, but that only a select few realize this.  This takes place in a cemetery, where we see the departed sitting in chairs and a new grave dug for the very young Emily who died in childbirth.  The dead are talking about what they see on the faces of the living who have come to bury Emily and how they suffer with worry, leading them  to not enjoy life. 

The time leading up to my trip was filled with anxiety as opposed to joy.  I was scared, turning things over in my mind, not letting myself be quiet.   In India I stayed with a friend that I’ve known for 30+ years.  Instead of being totally in joy and in the moment I was thinking ahead to my office and Scotland.  I know that it takes me time to be comfortable when I move from the east to the west, it’s just a fact of life, a culture shock.  Once in London at my office,  I did become much more comfortable but then it was on to Scotland.

Relationships can be such difficult entities.  When we’re young we don’t carry as much baggage.  With age hopefully we’ve learned about how to be in relationships, whether they are about love or friendships.   I feel as if my karma/life is about learning how to do relationships.  A good friend who I had a relationship with many years ago, upon hearing that I was going to Scotland told me not to be so intense.  I know this about myself and how it can turn people off, yet somehow I persist in wanting to know and trust everything thinking that I can find all of this out in a short period of time.  I don’t pay enough attention to the diversity of relationships and how everyone has a different comfort level, ways of seeing and understanding the world.   We are alike but we are also very different.

I know that my impatience has been part of the cause of the break-up of a number of relationships.  As my sister recently reiterated, this is about understanding that relationships are not easy, but require a lot of hard work something I truly believe.  I’ve romanticized about relationships being easy, straightforward but then there are the arguments, differences of opinion, lack of respect as to how others perceive things.  We are all so very complicated a product of our parents, our friendships, where we grew up, how we’ve been treated.  Some of us know exactly what we want and where we are going but I think for most, including myself, it is a struggle, what the people in Our Town were talking about. 

As I sat in yoga last night, my friend talked about how breathing helps one to be centered to deal with life.  In those moments when I am anxious if I would have focused on this, things might have been easier.  Too often I also forget my laughter when this is all that I really need, I take life too seriously. 

Things don’t seem to turn out the way that we would like them to or maybe it’s that we don’t accept others and where they are in their lives because we want what we want.  But, I don’t think that life necessarily has to be like this. 

Internally my body doesn’t feel easy in writing this piece, I feel disappointment, longing, wanting my life to be on a specific path now.  But it’s more about the letting go of certain outcomes and just finding pleasure in the moments that make up our lives. 



Position: Lover of Life-Change Agent

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