Racing Against Myself

She had passed her whole life as does everyone,
rushing and dreaming in blind, deaf refusal of the miracle of each moment.”*


It’s dreich today and I’m incarcerated again, so…  Writing.

Recently I completed a blogging course #MyBlogSchool which was a delight, start to finish.  If you want to start a blog of your own, or if you’re floundering with your writing, I highly recommend this class!!!  The instructor is pure gold!

There are eight modules and I mentally assigned myself one each week for eight weeks but I fell behind.  I hastily dashed off a note to the instructor, explaining/justifying my tardiness and received the mother of all wake-up calls: You can’t fall behind! And, The only person in the race is YOU!

Yikesabee!  So, so true of me.

That a dear, on-line friend, a woman I’ve met only once, knows so much about me and seems to have such an accurate and deep insight into my psyche was a bit astonishing. 

First, allow me to introduce this adroit diviner:  Our instructor, Kerry.  Many years ago, a friend who has blogged since blogs were first invented (much like Kerry, herself), suggested that I would thoroughly enjoy reading (subscribing to) “Pickle Me This” (Kerry’s blog): If you love books and good writing, this is the blog for you!  I visited Kerry’s site, fell in love, subscribed and thus began my fan-girling of Kerry.

About a year later, I noticed that Kerry would be a featured speaker at the Lakefield Literary Festival.  It seemed  obvious (an omen, right?) that I was meant to attend her workshop.  I did, and it was an equally informative, inspiring and enjoyable morning.  I left feeling enthused about my sad wee blog, about writing in general, and about my own niche in the blogosphere.

Since then, we’ve begun following each other on social media and Kerry has provided some funny, quirky, helpful, supportive and – always – encouraging and kind feedback. She has one of the strongest moral compasses of anyone I know and never fails to check me if and when I wander astray. Obviously still fan-girling here which, perhaps, is why the #MyBlogSchool response was not only rousing but, if I’m completely honest, upsetting as well.  Does Kerry really believe I’m in blind, deaf refusal of the miracle of each moment?  She is, I’m afraid, correct.

How did this race mentality begin?  Best I can figure is that one year I received my mesothelioma diagnosis, the next year I turned sixty, and suddenly everything was vastly different.  My awareness of the impermanence of life mushroomed – I realized I’d already lived more of my life than I had remaining!  Yet there was is so very much more I want to see, learn, accomplish, try…

On your mark, get set, go: The race was on!

By “more”, I don’t mean setting and striving for goals, which are measurable but experiences, which aren’t.  Life is both finite and unquantifiable so how best do I squeeze in as much as possible without that refusal of the miracle of each moment?  

Slowing down, being patient and observant – all whilst the camera is in my hands – is never a problem.  My issue is with all the other moments; it seems that I need to learn to do the same when my cameras are at rest. Long ago, before digital GPS and satellites, sailors used the North Star to chart their courses and navigate.  I need a mental North Star of my own, a gauge of that awareness.

Writing is a privilege.  I know that I am one of the luckiest ones because I have as much time as I want for my writing.  Beyond a privilege, though, writing is a great pleasure, and being able to write and post as frequently or infrequently as my whim dictates is a real gift.  I hate to think I’m rushing this amazing and comforting experience rather than luxuriating in its joy. 

I most definitely do not want to live in refusal of the miracle of each moment so learning to slow down, to stop racing against myself, control the agenda, amend the plan all became my new imperatives.

For me, a soul who loves permanence, changing the habits of a lifetime is a personal pilgrimage of Herculean proportions. It takes willingness to change, and time.  Lots of time.  This practice of self-assessment and adjustment is both challenging and uncomfortable!

That was over a month ago.  Since then I’ve been trying to use the  visualization technique – imagining that within each moment there is a space, a pause which allows room for the seeds of new ideas, fresh thoughts, updated opinions all to germinate and grow.  Space for me to feel and think in a completely different way.

Recently, now and – hopefully – going forward, I am trying to check myself – not just when I’m writing, but also at other times throughout my day – to ensure I’m still on track.  Still making the most of every moment.

Life does move very fast and the older I get, the faster it seems to fly by.  Wanting to make the most of every minute of every day, however, does not mean there has to be a mad dash to the finish line.  I get that.  I wrote it and I understood the concept as I was typing, yet delivery on that promise to myself is much, much trickier.

“The only person in the race is YOU!”  Kerry’s comment was bang-on and I am so very grateful to her for the gut-check, for slowing me down, for teaching me that I needed my North Star.  For prompting me to remember that my life, my family, my friends, my photography, my writing – the whole lot – is a gift to be very deliberately savoured and cherished.

Kerry reminded me to stop rushing and dreaming in blind, deaf refusal of the miracle of each moment.

Thank you, KC!  xxxx

‘Til next time, y’all…

*Umberto Bartolomeo

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