Musings

Throughout my life many things have provided inspiration. Not feeling any particular motivation right now so I went through all of my digital pictures, and I think I have taken more pictures of the great blue herons that live near my dad’s house than any other single subject. I found myself taking pictures of them again just yesterday.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Muse.”

Food for the Journey

We human beings need food to survive. Eating engages fully our most intimate senses: touch, taste and smell. Throughout our lives we use food to celebrate and to share as well as to hold body and soul together. In the course of life different foods become symbols. As we near death we do not need to eat for sustenance, so a last supper is not a physical need. The question of what one would have is really “What do you want to remember as you leave everything you have ever known behind?” I can’t answer that for myself, but here is a story that relates:

My grandfather died from Kidney cancer in 2002. He was on hospice in a skilled nursing facility. He wanted to eat bacon with his pancakes. But he had come into the facility from a heart attack and someone had checked the box on his diet sheet that said he was to have a low salt, low fat diet (he might have weighed 100 lbs at that point and he was 5’7” in his prime). Logic be darned they wouldn’t just give the guy a strip of bacon.

It took me three days to get that order changed. By then Gramps wasn’t eating anything, but when they brought in his breakfast he saved the piece of bacon to eat later. He died a couple of days later and the strip of bacon was tucked in a drawer, along with the shaker of salt I had smuggled in for him. I wonder if the smell comforted him, and if that strip of bacon nourished his soul.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry….”

Cause

The point is not to do remarkable things. but to do ordinary things with the conviction of their immense importance.-Teihard de Chardin

It feels good to have a cause. Passion makes effort seem effortless. You focus in on the task, the cause, and don’t notice how much time and effort you have expended. After the thrill is gone you are tired and things seem to drag that you never noticed before.

“Flow” is what it was called in some homeschooling circles. I love flow, but in real life, at some point, you have to wash the dishes and clean the toilets (unless you are wealthy enough from your flow to hire it done). Otherwise your quality of life deteriorates, flow or no flow. That means learning how to control the flow, how to stop and restart. This is not my particular gift. I like to finish things, not leave them hanging.

My life has had both flow and ebb. Lately I am in an ebb energy wise. I have been doing a lot of dealing with what I call “the stuff of life”.  A surprisingly large amount of this comes from causes. Then it sits, useful and valuable, waiting for the thrill to return, which it rarely does. More often a new passion starts up and, since clean up is not much fun, the detritus from the last project gets shoved into a box and more stuff comes in. Dealing with the stuff of life brings back memories, good and bad, but for me the energy drain comes from the feeling of unfinished projects looming. And, as much as I like to finish things, I hate to give up on things, so dealing with the stuff hits me hard. I get no sense of accomplishment from dealing with the stuff of life. 

The Teilhard quote above is one I ran across over 20 years ago, in a Chinaberry book catalog*. I had a young child, a husband who was working all hours and out of town a lot, and worked as a stress engineer at Boeing. (In case you are unaware: A stress engineer deals with strength of materials, not psychology.)

An awful lot of what I did both at work, like evaluating no less than thousands of  over-driven and under-driven rivets, and scratched and dented parts, and what I did at home like change diapers and do dishes was not remarkable. I felt overwhelmed a lot of the time and like a failure. Where was the bright shiny future I was educated for? When I came across this quote I wrote it out in pseudo-calligraphy on a 3 x 5 card and posted it in my cubicle.

Another quote I came across during that crazy time is:

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes is is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying “I will try again tomorrow.”-Maryanne Radmacher

This also helped me to survive that busy, stressful time. I realized that I am not a driven achiever who thrives on success and have slowly started to come to terms with the reality that maybe my “cause” is the everyday stuff.

On into the foreseeable future my cause is to keep trying again tomorrow as I go through stuff. Trying to see, and embrace, that just cleaning things up is worth doing. It would be a lot more fun to start a sewing project…however, I have just been told that it is time to feed the cat, the most immensely important task there is.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Blogger With a Cause.”

*Chinaberry is a good example of someone (obviously with more energy and talent than I) making a fine business. I do not usually promote any business, but Chinaberry does have wonderful products chosen with a sense of stewardship of the world.

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