“He exists as certainly as love and devotion and generosity, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.” Frances Pharcellus Church in the most reprinted editorial ever from Sept 21, 1987 edition of the New York Sun.
I do believe in Santa Clause, and fairies and heroes.
I believe in the basic “goodness” of others, sometimes I even believe in the basic goodness of myself. There is no belief involved, but sure sound knowledge, that as I focus outward and am more concerned with what I can give than what I can get, I am happiest. Fear is made up of False evidence appearing real, Ego run rampant, Avarice instead of gratitude, and Resentment. I do not choose to live in fear. Today I would rather live on faith, for all impossibilities there’s hope.
Faith has done right by me and my life is made up of many miracles, some small some large.
I also know that when my life is spent balancing good health and a quick mind on the point of spirit (meaning equal time spent developing all three) that I am healthiest and most productive. To only feed the mind and spirit and not care for the body with healthy foods and exercise leads to fatigue, weak muscles, aches and pains….basically being fat and lazy. To care for the body and feed the mind but neglect the spirit leads to disillusionment, jaded perceptions, then anger and bitterness or hopelessness and despair. To practice a spiritual path and care for the body but neglect the mind and only feed it the junk food of novels, television and pop culture creates a person without the ability think for themselves, an individual without purpose, led easily by Big Brother. We are what we “eat”, and that includes all the ways we consume and digest, mentally, physically and spiritually. I have tried all forms of imbalance in my life, and fallen flat on my face each time as surely as I would plopping on a 3-legged stool with one cracked leg.
Today, I choose to challenge my mind with new tasks daily. Now when I still had children at home, just keeping up with them and figuring out how to provide for us and maybe create a little structure with the house and food pretty much covered the nimble mind bit, but now I do it through Netflix’ing documentaries; playing word games; reading math and science nonfiction works that stretch my understanding; reading the Weekly Christian Science Monitor (don’t let the “Christian” in the title fool you, it is THE most unbiased writing on this side of the ocean), National Geographic and Mental Floss; listening to classics, rock concept albums, jazz, BBC world news and audio books in my car instead of the latest pop music. I must learn five new things a day, sometimes that just means a new skill for an old talent, like how to knit cables finally or socks that match. Doesn’t mean I don’t do the pop culture things as well, I love “Big Bang Theory” and “Community”, Debbi Macomber novels, Adele, and “People” magazine (I read it in the checkout line!), I just balance the “junk food” in with real mental nourishment to keep me sharp and growing.
I nourish my spirit by meditating daily. One third of my reading choices are picked to provide nourishment for my soul. I actively seek out opportunities to do random acts of kindness. I review my day and keep a gratitude journal, and now as a new assignment I will also be writing five times during the day I showed good judgement, compassion or discipline. Today I also build my spirit by blogging, journaling and reading other peoples blogs, by setting goals and thinking before making choices to see if they reflect my goals, and sometimes by making the uncomfortable choices or voicing the unpopular opinion. I do not want to be a part of the banality of evil observed by Hannah Arendt. “It’s easy enough to judge soldiers at Abu Ghraib or bystanders during WW II who failed to find their courage when unconscionable things were happening before their eyes. It’s a lot harder to acknowledge or even realize how often we avoid making uncomfortable choices in the course of our daily lives by attributing the small injustices that momentarily grate at our consciences to the system, or the circumstances, or our superiors. Or how rarely we bother to ask what role our own passivity and acquiescence may play in enabling unconscionable things to be done in our name.” an excerpt from “Beautiful Souls” be Eyal Press.
Keeping my body healthy, well that’s pretty easy when I really DO want to do more triathlons; in fact keeping the outside healthy is a popular theme in our society, it’s the inside we are encouraged to neglect, because mindless drones separated from conscience are easy to enslave and rule.
Yup, reality is that we are a heavily classed society in a world riddled with an addiction to cruelty, violence and immediate gratification of whims. It is also true that many of the people with the money and power seek only to maintain their own aspirations for more and we without bread are told if we are good and serve well then we get to eat their leftover cake.
But you know what, I look at the bigger picture and I change the world a little bit each day when I change me. That which I give energy to grows stronger, and I do believe in Santa Clause and all he represents.
I do not expect my mission statement will look like others or that the tasks that balance me will mirror other’s tasks, but I do know from observation that when an individual neglects the inside for the outside, or the outside for the inside that they are unhappy and unhealthy. I also know from observation that those who balance care of their mind and body on a practice of compassion (spirit) seem to bounce back happy from even the heaviest wave of trouble.
So there you have it. That is my mission statement for the next half of my life written on my 50+ birthday, OK started on my birthday but finished and posted a couple days later, I plan to continue believing in Santa Clause, dancing with fairies and daily prepping for the time I am needed to be a hero.
What’s your mission statement?