Where We Are All Alive Always

Recently, I was reminded I have been blogging for 10 years as of this month. It doesn’t feel that long any more than it feels like I am in my 70th year. Once I would have been world weary with the passing of a decade and getting older—I would have put it in a box and labeled it—agonizing over the passing of time, as if I did not live in the eternal present. But that’s fear for you.

When I began blogging I was terrified of putting myself out on the Internet, especially my writing. What did I have to say that had not already been said (and no doubt much better than I could). I was trying to define what was possible, as if I had that kind of power, when all I had to do was wake to the world as it is.

Despite all the fear, I was determined to have a post published on January 1, 2012 so I posted Andrew Marvel’s poem, “To His Coy Mistress”; the opening line is “had we but world enough and time.” It was not me actually writing but it was a blog post published. I had to begin where I was as I was, not that I knew that at the time.

And there was something else about 2012 that was important. It was the year the world would end, according to popular Mayan calendar conspiracy theorists. After all, it was on the History Channel so it had to be true. So, it could be a short blogging experience—there was that—but the Mayan calendar possibility worked neatly into yet another version of a book I have yet to finish. So many signs, so little time.

Early on, I found the structure of the blogging challenge, a Round of Words in 80 Days, quite helpful. I had to publish my writing goals, whatever they may look like—daily word count or number of writing hours. I tried all the strategies but what worked for me was blogging regularly. Still does.

About seven or eight years into blogging I added another blog, aimforeven.com, because I wanted to explore, specifically, the idea of living evenly, not to settle for mediocrity but to live with an open heart, constantly mindful of life, digging deep into change and what it offers.

I thought I might write a book about aiming for even, if it worked for me. It has. As for the book, I have shelved it for that other book that never goes away and is making yet another appearance. My 70s feel like the years I will write my books, and I put that down to blogging, the constant flexing of the writing muscle. It’s not about the fear of finishing or self-publishing that stalls me.

In these last seven years, there have been so many new health scenarios. First there was one hip replacement then another, some of my cervical vertebrae needed to be fused, I fractured my pelvis, and now I am dealing with what appears to be a herniated disc in my lumbar area (I’ve had this happen three times), and I cannot stand long enough to take a shower.

I have ordered some durable medical equipment for the bathroom, and I am now outfitting my wheelchair to accommodate my package and mail pick up in the lobby of my apartment building. This is the stuff of getting older, being offered new lenses through which to view life, and the adjustment takes awhile. In the meantime, awareness is key.

And yeah, I aim for even. Living evenly gives me space no matter how little there may appear to be. It’s great for the tough stuff in life, those moments that take the breath away, especially when it involves the ones we love most.

My 90-year-old father is living with stage four pancreatic cancer. It’s been hard waiting for the diagnosis that the early scans made obvious. Dad says, “Well, the first day I blubbered, but then I decided to get on with it.” He knows there will be more days of blubbering, as he calls it, but he also knows that no one is guaranteed tomorrow—not a one of us—so we might as well dig deep into today to see what it offers. And that’s what he does and has done all his life.

Being 90 is just a number to Dad for he has always been so much younger than his years but he rather likes the idea of living to 100. There is something to be said for having lived all the days of a century and staying curious about life, as my dad does. At 88, he decided to retire to do other things beyond being part of the everyday work world. Not surprisingly, Dad was onto something.

A New England Journal of Medicine study, published in 2018, revealed the years of 60 to 80 as being our most productive. My father has certainly proven that to be true so it may be that that 90 to 100 are our prime retirement years, whatever that may look like. I remember reading about a writer who thought his most productive writing years were in his 90s. He was 104 and still writing.

In a sense we have “but world enough and time” if we live in the moment we have, immersed in what the day offers, unconcerned about the past or the future, for no one lives there. No one. The eternal present is where we are all alive always.

Working with Myself Rather Than Against

There is no returning to a blog. There is only the next post. I like that about blogging. I’ve always taken it seriously knowing every post requires a degree of vulnerability.

I’ve explored whether to continue this blog, after beginning AimForEven.com (AFE). It seemed there was a connection between this blog and AFE–at least in my mind–so, I let AFE grow into itself and discovered where and how the two blogs intersect.

As for this blog, it was a weekly blog until I had three major surgeries in less than two years, in addition to being chronically ill. I’m still chronically ill but having two “new hips” has dropped my pain level significantly. In response, my energy level has risen, although it remains limited.

Once again, weekly posts seem possible. They may turn out to be bimonthly posts but I’m aiming for weekly, initially. I am calling them the #LongerView, another look at an issue or concept published in an AFE post.

Originally, I hoped to post daily on AFE, and I worked hard at it but soon, I found I was working against myself. The purpose of aim for even is to do just that. It is not a daily grind but working with the energy I have to meet my responsibilities and obligations. It is far more practical to post on weekdays only.

Since July, 2016, I have published 175 posts on AFE. There is a pattern emerging; I believe there is a book in it. I won’t know unless I try, and I’d like your help, if you’re willing. You don’t have to do anything other than what you’ve always done.

Just let me know if there is something you like or would like explored more. I read every comment very carefully. Many times, comments have resulted in blog posts.

The idea of AFE may sound mediocre in a world driven by divisiveness and competitiveness but AFE is far from settling for average or a bit above. There is no settling involved, just the opposite. AFE is living with integrity by learning to live with the reality I have, not the reality I want. It’s eminently practical.

It brought me through these last two years of surgery, illness, and loss. Zen, of course, plays a huge role. Every time I frame my day for the experience that it offers, I accomplish more than I thought possible. Every. Single. Time. That’s what AFE—the book–will explore.

This blog has a steady readership, and I am grateful. For years, you have overwhelmed me with your loyalty and your compassion. Some of you have asked me about writing a book. I tried more than once but I was trying to return to a life I knew both as a writer and as a human being.

But there was no returning, no getting my life back.

Now, I work with the reality I have, often surprised by what I am offered. It requires an evenness of mind–equanimity–curiosity helps me stay open.  A sense of humor allows me compassion. It reminds me joy is available in every moment, if I will just “be” in that moment.

As Toni Morrison said, “I always start out with an idea that becomes a question that I don’t have the answer to.”  Exactly. I aim for even.


When Reality Calls

Perfect storm Sandy arrived as predicted, forever changing millions of lives, a staggering reality. Three bloggers that I read regularly have written about their new reality–thanks for making the effort to publish your posts–as usual, each of you inspires, making all of us a bit more grateful for you as well as the lives we have.

Poet Anne Michael’s reflective post: “Weather like this is refreshing, my sister says, even if frightening, because people need to be reminded that technology cannot control everything. The hurricane interrupted cell phone use, communication systems, transport networks, traffic, electrical grids. We ended up wet and cold and we needed to take shelter with friends and to share supplies and stories, to wait awhile before we hurry on our way.” Read more….

Bottledworder provides his usual thoughtfulness regarding his reality:  “In situations of such magnitude, you’re lucky if you can manage some description with integrity and so I decided to just record what I saw and provide my tiny bit of detail in the great picture of what happened. So here it is.” Read more…. 

Layla from Cat Wisdom 101 is candid: “I’m not used to being restricted with Wi-Fi but the past few days have taught me not to take anything for granted. Being a hardy Canadian, I’m used to harsh weather but nothing could have prepared me for Sandy. We’ve weathered Nor’easters, power outages, flooding, major trees uprooted but I’ve never wrestled one on one with a force like Sandy.” Read more….

Another blogger is not yet able to get online—Stephanie and her family may be without power for another fifteen days is the latest word—we have been able to communicate via Twitter, on almost a daily basis.  True to her generous and kind nature, Stephanie’s last “tweet” of the day is a “shout out” regarding other blogs. She’s like that.

While I am not a fan of Twitter, I have seen remarkable exchanges not only during Super Storm Sandy but during storms/disasters not so perfect or super. The reality of any storm, especially a perfect one, is that its seemingly omnipotence does end, leaving an aftermath of stories, lives forever changed as they rise in resilience.

Not in the path of this super storm, I watched and wondered. I began to consider all of the blogs that I follow and read regularly. Each is an invitation into a world I would have missed if it were not for that blogger. In myriad ways, their perspectives add new dimensions to my reality. I had not considered the world of the blogger in this regard.

And because I, too, respect all the forces that exist beyond humanity’s grasp, I do not want to wait a moment more before acknowledging some of the blogs that expand the universe on a regular basis.

Here are some other blogs that rock my reality:

Adrian Fogelin’s Slow Dance Journal: “I am both wonderful and a genuine waste of skin. Like water I assume the shape of the vessel into which I am poured. And that vessel is your opinion. I can’t be alone in this.” Read more….

August McLaughlin: “Blogs grow along with us. It only makes sense that they’d change as we do.” Read more….

Diana J. Hale: “Their dystopian vision of a world surviving on salvaging rubbish is not such a fantasy as might be thought.” Read more….

Matthew J. Wright: “The only real way to do it was abstract the whole thing – take the shapes out of the context and turn them into something else. A trick that writers use too.” Read more….

Sigrun: “What really impresses me is how Oliver manages to capture the mystery of the world, its vastness and beauty, in very simple, ordinary, everyday words. She makes it sound so easy, but of course we all know that nothing is more difficult than simplicity.” Read moreLinks….

Let’s all go out and rock a little reality.

Dear Reader

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Today, I came up with a tag line for my blog: A Boomer Being. It’s on the left hand side of the screen, beneath KM Huber’s Blog. My belief in Oneness and my attempts at Being are the basis for this blog but you, Dear Reader, are its heart.

Thank you for visiting my blog—whether it’s your first time and last time or whether you’re a regular—in that moment, we connect in ways we may never realize. That is “spooky action at a distance.”

My blog has been up for less than two months, and your incredible response warms my heart, truly. In fact, you’ve changed my life, and I mean that with all my heart.

If you blog or participate in social media, you know the fear of “pressing” your words into print. Chagrin, terror loom. You really can’t take those words back. Oh, you can delete a published blog page or a comment and never hear about it but here’s a hint: commit the word cache to memory. I promise you at least one pair of eyes found your words, knows what you tried to take back.

Technology just may force us into being thoughtful and patient, qualities we do well when we are them. Magnanimity is a  marvelous  human trait that is not used as frequently as it might be but blogging and writing in the ether give new meaning to being in the moment.

Welcome to the world of the open heart: the 21st century.

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There is a revolution going on across the globe every minute of every day. We are seeing ourselves as we’ve never seen ourselves, and it’s a bit of a shock, which revelation always is. There seems no place to hide but there never was is what we are discovering.

As an aging feminist and boomer, I was born to revolution; as an aging writer, I know I am living in a golden age of words still being arranged and rearranged but language is within the Oneness that connects us all.

Dave R Farmer
WANA Commons

At almost sixty, I am categorized as a boomer by virtue of my age but I really am a hippie, still. Yet being, really being, is new to me after six decades of a lot of doing–and not always well. Now, living moment by moment, I am not rushing anywhere anymore for anyone. Frankly, it is all I can do to be for the rest of my life—it’s that compelling.

Some label life as spirit being human, and it just may be, but life is an experience that we take in and let go, usually unevenly, especially the letting go part.

But maybe now that we reach round the world any time we want to, we will open our hearts to each other completely. Certainly, it seems we can, Dear Reader, although I did not believe it two months ago.

You, Dear Reader, showed me all is possible, and for you, I blog.

ROW80 Wednesday Word Marking:

From January 2 until February 4, my goal was to write 250 words per day—as blog posts, fiction, or nonfiction–for an approximate total of 8250 words.

Beginning February 4, I started the “30-minute” stretch in which I write for 30 minutes. So far, that has generated just over 9,800 words, almost half of those words will see another format. I generate another 1200 to 2000 words per week as blogs, fiction, and nonfiction.

I achieved my goal of returning to writing regularly.  Now, the 30 minute stretches have found focus as drafts of future blogs, eliminating the time crunch of making the Sunday and Wednesday press deadlines. My goal is to schedule my all my blogs so I am not on “deadline” ever.  For this round of ROW80, I am just over 20, 800 words.  I am so pleased that I am writing regularly.

I signed up for Bob Mayer’s Idea and Conflict Workshop that begins March 3.  With this workshop, I will finally start putting together pieces of  a story I’ve had for sometime–my first write-through of a novel seventeen years ago.  Structurally, I never considered it a novel–it’s always been an exploration of my writing process–I knew there were some strong pieces without a true story. With this workshop, I’ll test my idea, which means I have a novel to write, and I am excited.