“Come on in, sit right down,” says Aunt Ida. “Sit! Bowzer, Sit!,” we tell our dog. Yet how many of us actually SIT … I mean really sit.
If you are used to working on your feet, sitting can become a huge relief to your legs, feet and back. But if you sit down on the job, unless you have a desk job, sitting down can be a ‘no-no.’
People in this world are used to going non-stop. Rarely do we sit, unless we sit at our jobs or in traffic or on some form of public transportation like a bus, train, subway or plane. But when asked to ‘sit’ – there is a bit of hesitance that comes with it, a bit of guilt, and yet after enduring a long, stressful week, where we dream of sitting and relaxing, we somehow don’t do as much of it as we should.
Lots of people don’t even sit down to eat anymore, they eat on the run. And some people don’t even sit down to watch TV – they are working out as they watch the tube. The other day, I saw a mother in her jogging suit, talking on her cell phone with one hand and pushing a stroller with the other, which happened to have the same hand holding a dog leash. The dog was also ‘not sitting,’ but running. Nearby was a lake with many ducks. The ducks were not sitting either, they were waddling looking for food, no one was sitting watching them.
Cat Stevens still may be “Sitting,” The Moody Blues may ask “Are You Sitting Comfortably?” and Otis Redding still may be “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” – but the great lost art of sitting and reflecting, not sitting and multi-tasking, seems lost.
When you sit down and stop your world, not only are you still, but your world can spin in a more positive direction if you take time to sit, enjoy, relax and be. Sometimes we don’t have enough time to think, sometimes we don’t have enough time to breathe and reflect. But most of all, we have learned to view the great art of sitting as a waste of time.
When you take a moment and talk to someone older, they will tell you that sitting is a wonderful thing. You can sit down and take the time to learn from others. You can sit down and get acquainted with new people. You can sit down and take a moment for yourself to reflect on how wonderful your day went or how beautiful tomorrow is going to be. But most importantly, you can sit down and simply be yourself. No one is expecting you to be anywhere, be anything to anyone, you are simply allowed to just sit there as you are.
It’s that ‘joyous time of year’ again. And it’s funny how much this season has changed over time and how much of it has remained the same.
When I was a little kid, I can remember adults trying to put on their best face making the season bright and bountiful. But behind the holly-wreathed doors, I would hear the bitching and complaining about how women were the ones who would have to make the season happen if the season were to happen at all.
The gripes would include having to do all the planning, the baking, the holiday card addressing (and keeping track of the new addresses, the moves, the cards returned from old addresses or deaths) and then do all the meal planning, meal shopping, gift planning and shopping and wrapping and packing for mailing, standing in line at the post-office, planning for the unexpected drop-by guests, handling relative accommodating for overnight stays, stressing over the lack of space for everyone and dealing with airport pickups and returns, and of course the cleaning before visitors, cleaning up after baking and cleaning up before stay overs and before the meal. And this cleaning process also included cleaning the silver, bringing out special occasion linens and doing that clean up, preparation and then the decoration, tree, walls, lights and making sure there were festive candles, scents, firewood and the list goes on. This was all followed by also preparing for care packages of leftovers and then writing of all the thank you notes and preparing for New Year.
There would be this ‘knowing’ look in the aisles of stores while grocery shopping, big sighs in the lines where people waited with armfuls of goodies, with a glimmer of disgust and frustration. But at the end of it all – everyone was ‘happy.’ Of course the complaint would be that it took nearly two months to prepare for a moment where the meal was gulped down in less than twenty minutes and the present opening took less than ten. It’s kind of like a rollercoaster ride where you wait in line for three hours and the ride is over in two minutes.
The holidays happen the same time every year. But each year people get stressed, and sick with the flu from the stress, late hours, overtaxing of the body, mind and spirit.
It’s pretty amazing though that at this time of year, the average human who celebrates this one season can do all of this and survive it.
During regular life, away from the holiday season – life can be and is, just as hectic, but it’s not as glaring. Whether it’s dealing with birthdays, weddings, graduations, anniversaries, funerals, births, moving, job changes, commutes, house buying or selling, everyday task-mastering of business, personal, family, friends, neighbors, occasions, obligations and events…. Life can be crazy.
And whether you are dealing with crisis of illness and disease, accident or financial, career or family matter, life has a series of bumpy roads, obstacle courses and uphill battles to resolve and overcome.
But if it weren’t for all this, would there be the joy, peace and elation of life’s moments of gliding? Perhaps if it weren’t for all this, there would be no true appreciation and enjoyment of the good times, great moments of victory, achievement, accomplishment and endurance…
Think about that. If everything in life were easy, there wouldn’t be motivation to do much of anything. People would get laxed and lazy, disconnected by nature due to the fact that everything would be so joyous and effortless that they would end up having no emotional connection to the outcome of anything because nothing was put into it.
Nothing was more clear to me, than after watching Donny Osmond win Dancing With The Stars. The road up until his win was difficult because it wasn’t just the road he was on, it was the past roads behind him, the current road working hard to achieve the win and the road ahead of him as the outcome based on his performance all rolled into one.
When you live in a spotlight of expectation, expectation puts added pressure on you. When you are a perfectionist living with this spotlight, your self-imposed pressure can get the best of you. When you have had difficulty in the past dealing with social anxiety disorder in the arena of performance, and are performing with a broken toe, the flu and flying back and forth between Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Utah non-stop all week and performing a regular non-stop gig, even more so.
When you are trying not to let down a bunch of long-time fans who have been by your side for the past 46 years of performing, being the oldest contestant still in the running trying to keep up energy-wise with your peers who are the age of your own kids, that alone is huge. But when you are doing all this knowing you want the time you’ve spent away from your wife and kids will not have been for nothing, while also dealing with your own personal friendly sibling rivalry to come out ahead (also knowing you were winning for her as well – because at the time when she was performing, she was dealing with the death of her father, her own divorce and other family issues, while trying to lose weight to get healthy) well… the tears of joy behind the victory say more than you’re just happy you won.
We all go through the rocky road of life’s events. We all endure moments of difficulty, challenge and a path full of obstacles to navigate around, many emotionally, mentally and physically taxing times to juggle simultaneously while having a smile on our faces.
But again, if it were not for all this, the moments of victory will not have been as sweet. So whether it’s a holiday, a season, a life event, a competition or simply a moment to see what you’re made of …. We must remember that in order to enjoy the GLIDE in life, we must power through the rocky road.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, And someone can be the apple of your eye. One bad apple don’t spoil a whole bunch, Unless it’s the apple in your American apple pie. Apple isn’t only a computer, Nor just the name of Gwenyth Paltrow’s daughter. An apple isn’t only for your teacher, Or simply scraps for piggy fodder. An apple isn’t all that evil, Unless it is from Snow White’s witch. While many men may curse Adam, For taking an apple from Eve, that b***h. But we mustn’t see only crab apples, Nor the apples of shrunken head dolls, But rather embrace the apple, And the tree from which it falls. The apple is more than Delicious, And Granny would tell you so, For McIntosh, Fuji and Braeburn, Are just part of the list, you know. Here come Jonathan, Pippin and Gravenstein, Nicola, Baldwin and Rome, Adams Pearmain and Ambrosia, Pink Lady and Ginger Gold. And these apples adorn the Gala, Even Rambo makes a Cameo… James Grieve takes on the Empire, As Ben Davis bites Taliaferro. But Liberty will always stand, Like a Honey Crisp Northern Spy, And Pink Pearls and Paula Reds, Will make Jazz apples shy. But no matter how you like d’em apples, Don’t forget what they are truly for. Apples are here for your health, And so you can remember your ‘core.’ So take a bite out of life, Enjoy it along the way. And there will be much more of life to come, If you eat your ‘apple a day…’
In high school, I heard a saying from one of my teachers... “There are people who make things happen. People who watch things happen. And then there are those people who ask ‘what happened?’ “
While everyone laughed when they heard this, it was interesting to take a look at it from the perspective of everyone thinking they were the ones who make things happen. It was also funny to see that everyone automatically assumed that the people who asked, ‘what happened?’ were lazy people who were clueless and out of touch with the world.
But as life went on, I learned to honor the fact that sometimes you can’t always be making things happen. Sometimes you have to watch things happen because it is what you observe that can help you see a new direction you are supposed to take things. And if you are always so busy making things happen, you’re too busy to watch things happen and then you end up becoming the very person who asked ‘what happened?’ Take a look at the housing industry, the banking industry, Corporate America, Enron, 9/11, GM and even Global Warming.
You can have a bunch of people rallying to save the world, but then no one is actually doing it. You can have people be so busy pointing fingers when things go wrong, but then no one is minding the store. You can have people watch all this and sit back and do nothing. And you can also have a world so ‘in their own world’ – they are missing the very things that caused all these things to happen and they are now sitting back and asking ‘what the heck happened?’
Birds have a very interesting world. They sit, they watch the world. Sometimes they hunt. Sometimes they are the prey. But a lot of the times, they sit and watch what is happening. And if something is happening and they either need to get away from it or go toward it, they fly.
While we humans are not born with wings to fly we can change our own flight pattern by taking a bit more time to sit and watch what is happening. People who panic tend to do rash things and ultimately cause an unnecessary domino effect in this world. People who think they are invincible, sit too long and then end up becoming victims.
There is another saying…. “suit up and show up, s**t or get off the pot.” And that has its place in life, too.
John Mayer’s song “Waiting For The World To Change” used to get me upset…. Part of the song is true and I comprehend his generation’s thinking there was nothing that could be done to change the world. But there is an echo that I hear, or rather, the Mother Teresa screams I hear from afar that beg to differ. “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop,” which basically say Mayer’s song is a copout.
As the birds watch what is happening, and continue to breed and fly, As they watch their eggs get eaten, or their new babies simply die…. In the world that is changing, where life on earth is tough, They simply live life each day and, that is truly enough. The birds will sit and reflect, who knows what they really see. They observe and help us realize, the best things in life are free.
I have this frame on my desk that reads “To be a star, you must shine your own light, follow your own path and don’t worry about the darkness, for that is when stars shine brightest.”
I love this. It’s actually a postcard I had found in a card shop and I liked it so much, that I bought it and framed it. It sits on my desk as a reminder to always stay positive.
There are days…and we all have days, when situations get the best of us, when we are not in our best place. And those are the days when this reminder rings a little louder.
But this saying is also a reminder that we need to stay true to who we are as people and not compromise integrity or our own core values.
I believe it’s important to stay true to your heart and what you believe. If we give up our own identity and our own beliefs and morals for the sake of trying to advance our lives, we give up more than just that, we give up our soul. Life is nothing without your soul. It is empty, meaningless and doesn’t hold any value or purpose or passion.
We all have to stand for something in order to truly be.
I don’t believe people who say they don’t believe in anything, because if that were true, this would mean they don’t believe in themselves, or anyone in their life. They don’t believe in any season or cause or reason to do anything about anything and in essence, they wouldn’t be living life.
Jadedness and negativity do not breed life – not just for the person stuck in this dark space, but for all those around them who are affected by this ugly non-productive energy. No one wants to be around people who don’t believe in anything... particularly those who don’t believe in the very day they were fortunate enough to wakeup in. Otherwise, why take on the day if you don’t believe even in that?!
The light we all hold inside us is amazing. It can brighten someone else’s day. It can bring about unexpected things. And the light can hold us up in our own dark times to plow onward, to have hope, to desire something for ourselves or for someone else.
Sometimes we’re not even aware of our own light or the power of it. Maybe a random act of kindness can change someone’s life. But I am a firm believer that if there are those who are interested in what you share and how you show up in the world, your light may have a brighter purpose than you realize.
This is a time when people need a little light. And if we all take the time to shine our own upon those needing it, we could just make this world a brighter place to be.
My father always said that everything should be done in moderation. Work and play, studying and hobbies, eating and drinking, exercise and rest.
But of course, this also meant to do everything in moderation….the very best that you can. As oxymoronic as that sounds, you have to understand that being part of a struggling and hardworking World War II generation, “doing your very best” also meant just that – as best as you can…as you can.
When I look at the important of balance in life I also look at the gift that this brings. There is a fine line in balancing everything. Life is, in itself, a balancing act.
People who spin too many plates are always afraid of having one crash down. But there is also the understanding that life is short, and without many plates spinning, you don’t get to experience life in its rich, fullest allure, either. Balancing and managing your time is a challenging task when you are trying to live life to the fullest, but there is also the crashing and burning by trying to do too much.
There have been many times in my life when I have laughed at the idea of reading the book “Meditations For Women Who Do Too Much” … simply because I am usually doing too much and don’t have the time to read this book. But somewhere along this road called life, I have discovered that if we take the time out of each day to just balance out our own energy, we will have more energy and time for ourselves, for our loved ones and all the things we enjoy.
This ‘pause and reflect’ is indeed a pause for effect. Just a few minutes each day to focus, re-center and concentrate on what balancing means to our health, our minds, bodies, spirits and our well-being, helps us become better at just BEING. And this means… we become better at being who we are in our ‘best self-mode’ and show up better, happier and more aware of ourselves and our surroundings.
Perfecting our own balancing act is a gift we can give to ourselves, especially as schedules get busier and demands get the better of us. We can be more in tune with what we need mentally, emotionally and physically, if we take the time to honor the balance we all deserve.