Every once in a while a door opens from our past and allows us to revisit friends and colleagues and experience once again good times from an earlier period in our life even if it is at an otherwise sad occasion.
One of my husband’s college band students had died and I went to Portland over the weekend to attend the memorial service. It was soon evident that this was more than just a memorial – it was a celebration of this talented young man’s life: by family, peers, and past teachers. CCC band Hawaii 002 001
Musicians have a camaraderie and bond shared in their love and expression of music. Mark was an excellent trumpet player, band teacher and administrator. In commemoration of Mark’s life in music, a group of 10-12 musicians played at the beginning and middle of the memorial service.
LeRoy’s band 001At the reception afterwards, 17 jazz musicians formed a band and played the music they loved: the big band sounds of the 40’s and 50’s. It was a celebration of the love they share as musicians. They played for the joy of it in the moment and in remembrance of those no longer with us.
In last week’s blog, “I want to do it all”, I mentioned 3 things to consider when picking and choosing between the things you want to do and are required to do. Becoming flexible allows you to handle additional but temporary responsibilities.Identifying and eliminating time wasters gives us the advantage of effectively scheduling our work week to include both rest and relaxation and projects that feed the soul.
A piece of driftwood will drift down a stream at the mercy of the current, wind and waves. We often live our lives like a piece of driftwood, at the mercy of the winds and currents of life, reacting to whatever is happening instead of proactively accomplishing objectives.
Much of the distress we experience in life comes not just from becoming overwhelmed with time pressure and unreasonable expectations; but feeling we have little control over anything, especially our time.
I want to do it all! I want to travel, sing and dance, write and give workshops, teach, have time for friends, read a book every day, entertain, have long conversations with good friends, etc, etc, etc.
However, I soon find myself at odds with time. There are only so many hours in a day after all and unless I can somehow come to terms with what I am able to do each day, I will soon become dis-stressed.
Since I had made the decision long ago to avoid harmful stress, the choices I make are important. While I can’t control events, I am the one who chooses to be in charge of my life. That includes how I choose to respond to events and circumstances.
So then – how do we choose between all the things we want to do?
We had just built and moved into our new home and were in various stages of unpacking and trying to find a place to put things.
A vertebra in my lower back had been gradually deteriorating putting pressure on a sciatic nerve. Without warning, it could trigger a spasm in my left leg, culminating in a leg cramp that locked my entire leg in a rigid position. Once locked, I was unable to move it until it had run its course.
However, if given enough warning, I could alter the outcome of the spasm. If caught early enough, I
I am a visual person and with the help of my wonderful webmaster, Laura Christianson from Blogging Bistro, I have a new website with an invitation to “Let’s Talk” to anyone who stops by.
It is by deliberate design that my new website features a table and two chairs, with a pot of tea (or coffee) – an invitation to sit and chat.
At the bottom of each page you can imagine yourself stepping out of the stream of life and into the small boat, floating lazily on its tether, to relax for a few minutes or hours, allowing the gentle rocking to take away all cares of the moment .
Life is full of unexpected joys and pleasures. It is also full of devastating events, tragedies and cruel misfortune that change our lives forever. The expectations we held have been shattered: that marriage we thought would last forever, the disloyal friend, the perfect family, or the accident that forever changed our ability to do things.
The sun was setting, as our sailboat glided silently over the calm waters of the Columbia Bar – a stretch of treacherous water that can challenge the most rugged sailor when the tides drastically change the waters trajectory.
We were on our way home after several glorious weeks of cruising in the San Juan Islands. It took almost an hour and a half to reach Astoria.
After quickly scanning our charts, we decided we could reach a tiny cove located in the upper part of the Columbia River. Cruising at 7 knots, we continued to make our way through the expanded mouth of the river where water spread out over a wide expanse of water giving the illusion of a huge sea of navigational water. Only those who had studied their charts knew that going outside the clearly marked channels could quickly end up running aground in the surrounding shallow water.
The time has come to have that meeting with myself. I sit down with a clean pad of paper, my “Have to do” list made earlier in the week and a determination to find both short and long term solutions to the overwhelming string of demands on my time.
As is my practice, I start my session with a prayer asking God for wisdom, clarity and strength to follow through. It is so easy to gloss over the things I may be doing that contribute to my problems.
The phone hasn’t stopped ringing – the kids are fighting again – the teacher called to schedule an emergency conference about your child’s schoolwork – your boss is uncompromising as the company instigates new policies, little time for training and additional workloads for everyone – you can’t afford to lose your job – nobody seems to care – and you are exhausted.
All you want is a quiet evening of peace and quiet, free from any more problems. And then the phone rings, and you cry, “Not another problem, Lord. I can’t take anymore.”
But this time the phone call is from your best friend, who patiently listens as you unload your frustrations. But when you hang up the phone, although some of the pressure has been lifted, you know it will begin again. You have asked God for strength, thanked Him for your special friend and the daily strength He gives you. But the problems are still there and you know you can’t continue like this.
A professor was giving a lecture to his students on stress management. He raised a glass of water and held it up in the air. Then he asked the class, “How heavy do you think this glass of water is?” The students’ answers ranged from 20gr to 500gr.
To which the professor replied, “Does it matter how absolute the weight is or does it matter how long you hold it before it becomes a heavy burden?
If I hold this glass of water for a minute, it won’t be too heavy. But if I hold it for an hour, I will have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it all day, you may have to take me to ER. It is the exact same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
It is so much fun to have something new: a new job, new clothes, new adventures, or a new vision for the rest of your life. But along with the excitement and anticipation also come doubts and fears.
What if what I am attempting to do fails? What if I haven’t prepared enough? What if. . . Anything new has its thrilling and daunting moments.
Here We Go
I am stepping out with a new website! Yes, it is still called Focus with Marlene. But it has a new face – a new heading – a new presentation.
“Let’s Talk” is my new format that replaces “The Counselor is In.” Old blogs are still stored with instant access. While I will continue to write and speak about life strategies, I want to expand on past topics and talk about new concerns.