Another warm day of California sunshine promises to unfold, so I am up early and at the keyboard to grab a few thoughts before the sun tantalizes me to go outdoors and celebrate. My mind managed to fall into a funk this past week. I expect that with retirement, no more intense day-to-day stimulation from the busy engineering world, with less discipline and focus required of me, that there might be some set backs or adjustments, in my daily universe. A road trip, some contemplation, meditation, and prayer–medicine I prescribe for myself when I know my spirit needs centering and grounding.
Autumn has an effect on the trees. They have looked so full of life, then gradually become stripped of their identity, leaving a bony-like structure onto which, eventually, a new form of meaning will be strung. I hope that my leaves in the shape of unfounded worries, silly habits, aimless ambitions, unrealized dreams, and unrealistic expectations, will soon drop off of me, so that I can find my true form and shape once again.
I tell myself that some of the things over which I become perplexed or preoccupied only need to be forgotten. My mind, when idle, likes to play little games of which I am hardly conscious. I have an unconscious and somewhat nervous habit, for example, of counting things. When I was young I would count cracks in the sidewalk as I walked to school–same cracks everyday–and then make up formulas about the variances between the number of big and small cracks. I would count syllables in words that people spoke to me, or in streams of words that I dreamed up on my own, and then look for poetic metering, iambic pentameter, in the counted syllables. Annoying machinery still running in the background of my mind that I wish would stop. Here is a comedy skit with Bob Newhart that fits me too well:
I’m no longer told by some corporate manager what to do, and am free to pick and choose my priorities. I often find myself being tugged in several directions simultaneously. I need to stop that. Slowing down, treasuring each moment, being thankful for the gift of life, looking for the beauty and goodness that pervades this earth–these are a few of the things I try to keep in the front of my mind. I get in trouble when I over stretch.