Friday, July 31, 2009

Racing to the Finish Line

Commitments have over the last few months have required me to spend less time blogging and more time working. This is not necessarily a bad thing given that much of the extra work has involved helping one of my sons start a new venture which has allowed me to spend more time with him. Balancing this added workload with my already heavy schedule has, however, made me start thinking about what is it that we are in so much of a hurry about in our daily lives.

I cannot remember a time that I did not have at least two jobs and several 'projects' in the fire at one time. For me, being tired has become a way of life and luckily, I can get by without enough sleep for periods of time. My question is, "what is is that so many of us are working so hard for"? Financial gain is obvious but stops short of explaining the full picture. I could hire others to do much of the work I place on myself.

At times, some of what I have written here seems hypocritical as I talk about giving ourselves quality downtime to recharge our batteries and take time out to appreciate all the wonder that is constantly surrounding us if we just look. Perhaps this is due to the insane schedule I have kept over the last few months and I am feeling a little sorry for myself.

The world is in a hurry and so many of the messages we receive involve needing more. The need for money, success, and status are just a few of the images we are presented with each day through advertising and advice from others. Is this what really matters in the end if we are destroying our quality of life in the process? Of course not.

In a relatively short time, we will all be dead. Everything we have worked for so hard can be passed on to others, not the worst thing I'll admit, but is it worth sacrificing our own happiness? Each of us must answer this question on their own since every situation is different.

Earlier this week, I found myself in grave need for a day off. My motorcycle had been sitting in the garage all summer tempting me to hop on and take a long ride. Deciding it was time, I planned a route that would take me through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, using back roads that make one wonder how they can be called highways given that they are not much wider than an average driveway! They do however wind their way through some of the most picturesque landscapes I have ever witnessed.

I purposely did not take my camera to prevent me from paying more attention to photo opportunities than the breathtaking vistas and mountain lakes my route would offer. Ten thousand foot mountain passes barren of trees offer a sense of wonder as to how these mountains have slowly made their journey from the ocean floor over millions of years to give us the opportunity to see them in all their grandeur at this time in history. They did it by not being in a hurry. I really should have taken a few pictures!

The message I am trying to present, for myself also, is that many of us need to slow our lives down once in a while. We will get to the finish line soon enough. As the finish line happens to be in the shape of a headstone, why be in such a rush to get there?

Just a little something to think about, says he as he points to himself!

Post from the Archives: How does a Microwave Work?

When I put a cup of water for my tea in the microwave, I press a few buttons to set the time, hit start and before I know it… hot water. I cannot think of a time when I stood waiting and pondered just how the energy waves interacted with the water to create heat. I just accept that the microwave works.

We rarely look at life like this way. We look for reasons behind the most trivial things. Why did they say that? What did they mean by that? Why is the world such a painful place? We dissect and ponder, looking for hidden meanings of things or in the words and actions of others.

On the emotional level, the human mind has trouble accepting things as the way they are. We want life to conform to our needs. We want others to change, making them more acceptable to the way we think they should be. We may spend years waiting, as a song says, for the world to change, believing that it is just a matter of time.

The answer does not lie in knowing why the world is as it is. Peace comes from accepting that there are things we cannot change. This knowledge leads us directly to the present moment, the only time we have full control over who we are. In this moment we can decide how to look at things, how to react, and whether we are compassionate to ourselves and others.

We are only here for a short ride. Accept the things you cannot change. Make the most of the present moment as this is where your life is right now. You will never have a better past. The future is yet unwritten. You can choose whether to fret over what made the water hot or you can just enjoy your tea.