Thursday, January 3, 2013

Energy In, Energy Out

the prompt for the first day of the new year is "where do you get your energy?" those who know me probably would never think to ask that question. if you were to peek in at me on any given day you would most likely not catch me being energetic. i'm actually quite slothful much of the time. but the question stands and is a good one to consider as this new year begins.

energy begets energy and, while i enjoy lazing around with my dog, my knitting and my books, i have always respected the importance of exercise (especially to a woman of advancing age like myself) so i make it a priority to get some almost every day. i don't don any fancy exercise gear, and i normally don't squeeze myself into a crowded class with the spandex crowd to hooty-hoot and holler, but i do appreciate a hike in the woods, a brisk walk or a hard (solo) workout at the gym. in addition to feeling better physically, my emotional and psychological energy is boosted as well, and that is the energy that is most important to me at this time of my life. the biggest payoff of exercise for me is that i gain energy for writing and creating and engaging with others as well as the ability to climb stairs without groaning.

when my physical, emotional and social energy wanes (and it wanes more quickly these days) i need to sit quietly, with no companion but my dog. sometimes i knit, a zen experience for me. turning skeins into balls, patiently untangling the yarn when necessary, gazing at nothing in particular while my hands work, is centering and calming to me. as an introvert, i need that time alone to build up my reserves of energy again. tuck me into a corner and leave me with my dog and my yarn and some music and the needle in my tank begins to rise. or leave me to a good book and a few quiet hours and, before i know it, the tank is full. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

People Who Need People...

the other day i heard someone tell a friend, "you have a beautiful smile!  you should be on a christmas card!"  how great to experience someone taking the time to give another words of encouragement!  it occurred to me in that moment that all too often we are in such a hurry, or in such a self-important fog, that we rarely notice the people around us, let alone compliment them.  too often in our self-absorption, in our demand for attention for our own actions, we completely miss an opportunity for interesting, meaningful interactions with others. 

when i was young i was what people called a bleeding heart, someone considered to have their head in the clouds who thought they could make a difference in the world. i believed that in order to help others and improve the world i would need to get a degree in social work (which i did) or social psychology or a higher discipline and it'd involve a lot of long hours of study and practice. my education has made my life richer in many ways, but now that i'm older it's clear to me that to begin to find meaning in life and the way to spread hope for the future is to be kind to one another. period. there is great strength and power in the one-on-one approach to understanding and communicating and listening. we can't all be policy makers or politicians or legislators, but we all have the capacity to connect to another.

each day i feel the benefit of taking the time to connect with someone i don't yet know. people are so interesting, and everyone has a story to tell and a life to share. some days it takes a herculean effort on my part to be aware of others, but i am never sorry when i set aside my petty concerns in exchange for the opportunity to hear someone else's story. if one is open, there is treasure to be found in those you see at the post office, the grocery store, the line at the bureau of motor vehicles. 

this is not just a resolution for the new year, but for each day of however many years i have left.  there are so many interesting and wonderful people yet to meet and learn from.