Thursday, April 25, 2013

Vows of Stability: Good to Be Here in This Place

We have just enjoyed a whirlwind visit--24 hours--with my spouse's dad and step-mom.  What a treat!

I rearranged my work hours on Tuesday so that I could be fully present.  I know how lucky I am to have a boss who lets me do that.

We spent hours relaxing in between fixing meals.  We got caught up on family news.  We did some creative play with alcohol inks, our newest creative toy.  We went for a walk at the beach after dinner.  We enjoyed an ice cream extravaganza at Jaxson's in Dania.

Why is it so easy to do these activities when we've got out of town visitors and so hard to remember to enjoy the delights right outside our door when it's back to regular life?

Part of it is that I do have to exercise, to do certain chores, and go to work.  But I wonder what might happen if I approached every day with the resolve to do one thing that reminds me that I live in a delightful place.  It's so easy to let the drudgery of daily life overtake me.

I've been wrestling lately with my longing to be elsewhere.  Even though I know that if we picked up and moved, I'd miss this place intensely, I still find myself looking at other parts of the nation.  I want a little farmstead in the Blue Ridge.  I want a place that's more like a real college town.  I wonder what it would be like to live in the middle of a metropolis, like Manhattan.  I want to go back to school, debt be damned!

I am drawn to monastic practices for many reasons, but one of the things I admire most about monastics is their vows of stability which means a commitment to place.  Sure, I say, it's easy to be committed to place, when you've got a wonderful monastery and beautiful grounds, like at Mepkin Abbey.

But I have a beautiful place here, full of galleries and amazing public libraries and museums and goodies of all sorts.  I have the Everglades to the west and the Atlantic to the east.  What more could I possibly want?

Sandra Beasley has been thinking about the delights of her hometown, Washington D.C., in this blog post, and she's been strategizing about how to better utlilize what's there and what to create to make it better.

I read her post, and I feel this longing to move to a city where I could build a life that's closer to what I had in mind as the ideal.  But lots of elements of life that I love are right here, just a short walk or a car trip away.  I'm not going to find a place that has both mountains and beach and a cheap farmstead that I can buy--all in the middle of a big city.  If I did have a farm, I'd grow tired of the chores and long to have time to play with alcohol inks.  If I made a living as a writer or a farmer, I'd spend untold hours worrying about the next writing project or the next harvest and all the things that could go wrong--just as I do with my current job.

It's been a good morning.  I've made cookies for a festival of desserts at work tomorrow, I've written a poem based on yesterday's blog post where I talked about poems carved of stone vs. poems with bits of pie dough stuck to them, and I did some revision work on my memoir.  I'm getting some laundry washed, even as I type.

As they said in ancient communities, it is good to be here in this place.

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