Sunday, July 22, 2007

LIVING THE SIMPLE LIFE


Since I retired it seems like everyone who visits me leaves emotional problems at my door. I don’t want them but I still get them. It’s true that with less physical participation in the world around me, reflection is my prime occupation. So with this being my current thought agenda, of course that is what visitors, in all graciousness, are going to discuss with me.

Certainly, we could discuss more practical things, but as a retiree, no longer propelled by the forces associated with rung-climbing, financial gains, or glowing acknowledgments of progress made, I’m not exactly in the loop. And furthermore, it seems to me, that I am suddenly finding that an age gap of a meager 10 years readily explodes into a gap of gigantic proportion when I engage with my juniors in conversations that focus on the dynamics of competing in the work-a-day world. I guess the forces that used to push me to play at politics by subduing my real spirit, or applying the right spin, or speaking with wary reservation, have fallen into disuse, and thus pretty much caved to my failing memory.

But in discussing emotional problems with others, I have discovered something surprising. There was, and never will be, a generational gap in the basic needs of the human soul for love, hope, happiness, and courage no matter how successful or famous we may become. These needs remain for all time, and for all people, as fundamental as our physical need for food, shelter, and clothing.

Ultimately the basic essentials of life, whether physical or emotional, never change even in a world strained by shifting tides, seasonal changes, and weather that coddles one area while badgering another. A world, where almost daily, our surroundings are altered in unexpected and spectacular ways. Where issues of tolerance stagger far past or fall well short of the equity mark. Where environmental concerns raise us to a panic level. Where moral conflicts drive us to utter distraction. Makes one long for a simpler life, doesn’t it?

And so, it seems to me, if we can return to a simple emotional life in the way so many people long to return to ‘the simple (physical) life’, everything will become mighty fine. Simplifying might allow us to find soul space outside of the rushing tide of greed, competitiveness, and pack-thinking about money, success, notoriety, self-fulfillment, and self-enhancement. And in that new freed-up space something else can take root and thrive – something soft and gentle and comforting.

I’m thinking maybe peace and solid appreciation for each new day. Like the consequences of industrial effluent on the climate, too much emotional effluent creates a sea of toxins in the soul. A massive thing called corruption.

Yes, our physical environment needs protection, but so does our emotional environment.

13 comments:

jim said...

Just a word, please pardon my intrusion, and please ignore my blogs, I didn't come here to attract you there, they are not written for people really.

But I saw you at Bradfords and was glad, that is all, very glad. You are food for hope and faith, and of course, you are right in this post. I will try to read others as time permits. Thanks and my best to you Lady.

Roberta S said...

Hi jim. I will wholely pardon your intrustion but I will NOT ignore your blogs unless you absolutely insist. I don't understand a lot of what you write but at the same time woven into that which you write are things I very much understand and they are well worth thinking about.

So if I don't see you at your place or at mine I'll probably still see you on occasion at Bradfords. He does have fascinating perspectives on so many things

Matty said...

roberta,
Again it shows that you do reflect on life with all its beauty & ugliness. Take power away from people and prestige, and money..and homes,,,,,and they all have the same needs....to be accepted, to be loved and to be listened to.
Whether I'm speaking to seniors or to my neices...there is no age gap. We're all speaking the same language.
Now I will have to check out Jim's blog to see if I could understand him. You've made me curious?? okay nosy..

Matty said...

Curiousity killed the cat..now my brain hurts.....like mind freeze!

Roberta S said...

No sympathy from this corner, matty. You were adequately warned right up front.

i.e. "not written for people"

:)

Dick said...

Easy for those of us who remember a time before the ceaseless noise & clamour when there was that 'soul space' to yearn to return. How do we uneducate & disengage those for whom the storm is the norm?

Pauline said...

The good old days were not always that good - maybe instead of trying to go back we can find a way to move forward that incorporates those things we need most - love, hope, happiness and courage - and quiet space for reflection. Interesting post as always.

Roberta S said...

Hi dick, I guess the return can't be deliberate and strategized. Returning to a simpler emotional life. Because the planning, the scheming runs in direct opposition to simplification. Maybe the trick is to stop caring about complications. And maybe I just don't have a really good solution how to get there.

Roberta S said...

Hi pauline, the older one gets the gooder the old days get. At least that's what some of my upcoming blogs continue to suggest. To look for peace of mind by moving forward to that 'goal' seems to defeat the purpose. It can be misery to live life cloned to think so seriously about goals and our good times as progress towards those goals (i.e. rewards).
Your point is well taken, however, and I will continue to contemplate it. Thanks for the visit. I have to say that so often your poetry and descriptive language of the natural beauty that surrounds us often gives me the same therapy I have discussed here. 'Appreciation of a new day and the simpler things. Thanks for visiting.

Pauline said...

Roberta - I am not sure one can look for peace of mind, one must create peace of mind. And that might mean letting go of the nostalgia for what never really was (hindsight always makes things look better or worse than they were) and making our present moments be what we want them to be. I agree we should simplify - but just how do we do that? What do we get rid of? And how do we deal with those who don't want what we want? Besides, I think going back is not possible - life seems to be a forward motion...

Roberta S said...

You're right, of course, pauline. Life is forward moving and there is no going back. But it seems to me that in my writing attempts, I always have to look back to find a context for forward thinking. I don't know how others float imaginings to the surface and articulate them, but that is how my head works.

But truly, now I'm too confused to know if I live this way, or just write this way.

Pauline said...

How I wish we could be face to face having this conversation - I agree that we refer to the past to inform the present, though more and more it seems we don't do that thoroughly because it seems we don't learn from our mistakes (using the royal we here, as in humankind). What current science suggests (if I'm understanding it correctly) is that is how our brains work - we bounce new ideas off old ones and the only time we make a lasting change is when our emotions are directly involved. And the best motivations for change are expressed in a positive emotional context.

Roberta S said...

pauline, I find that final comment you made absolutely fascinating particularly the "positive emotional context." Makes good sense to me and at the same time reminds me that often I am not as open-minded as I could be -- mind shut down by negative vibes.