Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Cultivating Calm

There are only a few more days until October is wiped off the calendar and November rears its far-too-busy-for-its-own-good head. The days start moving fast and furious once November arrives, and the next thing you know its Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Taxes and death. Ho! Ho! Ho!

I plan to mark the days without fail beginning November 1st with the opening bell of NaBloPoMo and ending January 1st with the closing bell of Holidailies. This means sunshine, lollipops and puppies for those of you who get cranky when I don't post more often, and 60 days of torture, Tuna-style, for those of you who feel the Internet is already overloaded with mindless minutiae.

I'm here to make everybody happy and prove I'm an equal-opportunity panderer. You're welcome or I'm sorry. Whatever works for you.

I have several things up my sleeve to keep my blog busy over the next several weeks and to avoid falling into that trap of describing my lunch on a daily basis. Today? Pizza! I'm not going to spill the beans until November 1st, but suffice it to say, I'm not entering this exercise without some sort of plan. Oh, I have a plan, alright. Of course, it may get abandoned by day three, but as of right now, I have a plan.

Over the last several months I have been aware of trying to cultivate calm in my life. Sometimes this has been done nearly frenetically. Must have calm NOW. Must regain control over the insanity of life NOW. Must find peace, contentment, understanding and happiness NOW. I have to admit, demanding calm in ones life is not only contradictory, it usually doesn't work. But at the same time, I've found that calm doesn't generally knock on the door, or roust you from an afternoon nap. It's neither gentleman caller nor Boy Scout, so if you don't do something slightly proactive, nothing is going to happen and you'll never get across the street.

It's a fine, fine line between demanding calm sit down for dinner NOW and hoping it might drop by for a casual chat.

I've found the best solution for me is two-fold. First of all, I've been actively reengaging in things that cultivate calm. I've been reading a great deal, which is fairly unheard of outside of my annual book-a-day marathon during my week at the beach. I've been re-energizing myself with music, finding lots of new repertoire, but this time for myself, not for my students. I've been cleaning more for peace of mind than for fear of death by lint. I've found time to get myself outside to breathe fresh air and remember where the truly beautiful things are in this world.

In short, I've been busy actively cultivating calm.

But perhaps more important is that I've made a conscious decision to be open and aware. Aware that calm exists in any situation, and open to seeing and experiencing that peace. It might not be as demanding as hiking or reading or singing or cleaning, but being mindful of the possibilities that lie within people and places and circumstances has already brought me a sense of peace and appreciation that I might have otherwise missed.

Over the next few months I hope to talk a little more about being open and aware. Sure, there will be the usual memes and cartoons and jokes and whatnot. But two months is a long time to talk about what I had for lunch, so here's to hoping that I'm open and aware to the so much more that exists in my life.

And tomorrow? It's leftovers.
Just in case you wanted to know.

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