Posts tagged ‘wisdom’

Finding North

The recent celebration of Valentine’s Day put me in mind of some of the sweeties of my past.

In high school, I had a friend who became my boyfriend for a few months in our junior year.  He broke it off after a brief but wonderfully sweet time dating.

His reason he thought we should no longer date was that he felt “like a compass going by another compass” when we were around each other.   At the time, as a sixteen-year old girl, my reaction was–and this is a problem?  I thought it was true love.

He however, even at sixteen or so, had the wisdom to know that you always have to know where north is.  Whatever is happening around us, whatever life brings our way, we have to know where north is, stay with our own center, not be blown off course by the winds of life.

Now, I understand that when you throw a mortgage payment and a child or two and having a career and continuing to learn and grow in life into the mix, two compasses next to each other doesn’t make for a good match.  A spinning compass has a hard time getting the credit card bill paid and putting dinner on the table, much less living life with grace.  Though I love my husband deeply, our lives are complicated enough without that spinning compass feeling that I thought was so great as a teenager.

That I remember Andrew’s words indicates not the depths of my broken heart, as I liked to think at the time, but that some part of me recognized the wisdom they contained.  It took me years–and a few more heartbreaks–to understand them, however.

So, I remembered them again on Valentine’s Day, as I cleaned our bathroom floor, grateful for the all the kinds of love in my life that I give and receive that help to keep me on course, steady, aware–in most moments, if not every one–of where North is.

February 21, 2011 at 6:54 am Leave a comment

What we do matters.

We wrapped up the season last week at the CSA where I work, Sunrise Farm.  To celebrate a successful season, the farm took the farmers to the Farmer’s Diner for breakfast, where we enjoyed good food and even better conversation.

At one point, someone brought up the futility of compact florescent lightbulbs.  Her point was, not only does it not matter what we do as individuals when it comes to light bulbs, light switches, or where we set the thermostat in our homes, but that it actually gives us a feeling that we are doing our part, when all of these measures are ineffective.  So we lose focus on what needs to change, by spending time changing lightbulbs.

This happens to run exactly counter to my own belief, that we as individuals can create change in the world, and that we do.  Each one of us, with each choice we make.

It led to a lively and lovely discussion, with all of us providing facts and ideas for all sides of the question.

One of us made the point that finally quieted everyone down.  It went something like this–if an object (or problem) is large enough, fifty or fifty thousand or even fifty million people pushing on that object is not going to budge it an inch. But if we bring intelligence to the question, if we look at where can we push, where can we focus our energy to get this thing to move–then it takes only one of us, or five of us, to create movement.

We bring our dedication to a problem, to our practice, to a seemingly unmovable mass.  We may push and shove, recruit our friends, cross over into stubbornness and then wear ourselves out, and nothing changes.

Then we bring our dedication and our wisdom to a problem, to our practice.  We push intelligently.  We use all the tools we can find.  We know when to take breaks.  And, pushing on just the right spot, we cause this mass to move, we begin to unravel this huge problem, we begin to see progress in our practice.

So, yes, what we do matters.  How we do it matters, as well.

The only thing better than good food is good food for thought served right along with it.

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Thanks for reading.

October 20, 2010 at 11:34 am 2 comments


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