Sunday, May 27, 2007

Content to Just Be

My favorite radio program ended after midnight. I donned my backpack and climbed aboard my trusty Schwinn mountain bike and rode down to Fat Albert's convenience store in the cool and humid night air. I walked into the store and prepared a large cup of hot chocolate and purchased a red hot pickled sausage.

"Will that be all?" Kim, the clerk, asked as I handed over some cash.

"Yes ma'am," I said, leaving the store to sit outside on the bench and drink that frothy concoction.

I managed to escape the usual hundred questions about Carolyn and whether or not I have talked to her or seen her. She worked at Fat's for years.

As I sat there sipping on my hot chocolate, I thought about life and what I wanted to do with the many decades ahead of me. Most people have school, careers, families, grand aspirations, etc. I read a lot of journals and there seems to be a lot of much ado about nothing – people always living frenetic lives filled with the cookie cutter sameness of a million other Americans.

"Certainly there has to be more to life than money, a job, kids, and keeping up with the Joneses," I thought. "Everybody does that."

I inhaled and exhaled deeply enjoying the night air as a welcomed calmness and peace overcame me. I realized I was exactly where I needed to be in life. I was content to just be – content just to be alive. There I was – sitting on a little bench outside a convenience store in the still of the night enjoying the greatest gift of all, life. I had finally found my grandest aspiration.


alphabet soup said...

Good for you Andrew!! And keep on see so much more of life's detail when you walk about everywhere.

Ms Soup

Summer said...

I love that you feel that way. Some would say, "But you're not doing anything!" We are so programmed that we have to be "doing" something all the time to be fulfilled.

BTW, hot chocolate and red hot pickeld sausage???? Blech!

abbagirl74 said...

Well, the work and hustle and bustle are my life. It is what I chose to do. However, my life is not for everyone. I wouldn't say I am one of the Joneses, but perhaps a long lost cousin? hehehe... Anyway, how about Dumpster Dan? Is he well? I had a dream about him night before last and I don't even know what he looks like. I dreamed that he was very sick. Please update on him when you do get a chance. I love reading about him so much.

Martha said...

I've been reading your blog for a while, but never felt compelled to comment until now. There is more to life...and I believe that "more" is only what we make of it. I'm glad you feel content and that you had a moment of peace. Most people never get that in a lifetime.

zirelda said...

You know, you have a unique opportunity with your life. There is more and you have the time to explore it. I'm certainly not a Jones but I have to live that high speed work, come home, work, come home thing to survive. I find it difficult sometimes to follow my passion because of the time restraints.

You have the time to explore and follow yours. How cool is that?

Eric Valentine said...

A feeling like that is almost like having climbed out of the shower. Not a care in the World and a whole fresh start to a brand new day.

Take a deep breath Andrew, for these moments last but a brief second as life moves rapidly on.

Love the way you write my friend. :)

Barb said...

Often I need reminders that my worth is not measured by career success, rather success in my heart. So often unattainable, but so often a goal. I can no longer work a "job", and feel like a schmuck more often then not...until a wise person reminds me that "I am exactly where I need to be in life" so I too am content just to be alive...

Thank you Andrew~~~

b said...


I thought you might like the "Tao Te Ching" by Lao Tzu. In case you haven't read it, here are some excerpts from the Penguin edition. Take care, and thanks for the great blog.

"The whole world recognizes the beautiful as the beautiful, yet this is only the ugly; the whole world recognizes the good as the good, yet this is only the bad.
Thus Something and Nothing produce each other;
The difficult and the easy complement each other;
The long and the short off-set each other;
The high and the low incline towards each other;
Note and sound harmonize with each other;
Before and after follow one another.
Therefore the sage keeps to the deed that consists in taking no action and practices the teaching that uses no words.
The myriad creatures rise from it yet it claims no authority;
It gives them life yet claims no possession;
It benefits them yet exacts no gratitude;
It accomplishes its task yet lays claim to no merit.
It is because it lays claim to no merit
That its merit never deserts it."

"I do my utmost to attain emptiness;
I hold firmly to stillness.
The myriad creatures all rise together
And I watch their return.
The teaming creatures
All return to their separate roots.
Returning to one's roots is known as stillness.
This is what is meant by returning to one's destiny.
Returning to one's destiny is known as the constant.
Knowledge of the constant is known as discernment.
Woe to him who wilfully innovates
While ignorant of the constant,
But should one act from knowledge of the constant
One's action will lead to impartiality,
Impartiality to kingliness,
Kingliness to heaven,
Heaven to the way,
The way to perpetuity,
And to the end of one's days one will meet with no danger."

"If you would have a thing shrink,
You must first stretch it;
If you would have a thing weakened,
You must first strengthen it;
If you would have a thing laid aside,
You must first set it up;
If you would take from a thing,
You must first give to it.
This is called subtle discernment:
The submissive and weak will overcome the hard and strong."

"When the way prevails in the empire, fleet-footed horses are relegated to ploughing the fields; when the way does not prevail in the empire, war-horses breed on the border.
There is no greater crime than having too many desires;
There is no disaster greater than not being content;
There is no misfortune greater than being covetous.
Hence in being content, one will always have enough."

"He who is fearless in being bold will meet with his death;
He who is fearless in being timid will stay alive.
Of the two, one leads to good, the other to harm.
Heaven hates what it hates,
Who knows the reason why?
Therefore even the sage treats some things as difficult.
The way of heaven
Excels in overcoming though it does not contend,
In responding though it does not speak,
In attracting though it does not summon,
In laying plans though it appears slack.
The net of heaven is cast wide. Though the mesh is not fine, yet nothing ever slips through."

"A man is supple and weak when living, but hard and stiff when dead.
Grass and trees are pliant and fragile when living, but dried and shrivelled when dead.
Thus the hard and the strong are the comrades of death; the supple and the weak are the comrades of life.
Therefore a weapon that is strong will not vanquish;
A tree that is strong will suffer the axe.
The strong and big takes the lower position,
The supple and weak takes the higher position."

"A man of the highest virtue does not keep to virtue and that is why he has virtue. A man of the lowest virtue never strays from virtue and that is why he is without virtue."

2 LMZ FARMS said...

You know , I think you have a life most people would enjoy having. You are content with where you are and what you have. You are the type of person, you take me as I am. Sure, I would like to have a lot of things, but, I'm happy with what I have got. You are a very talented person, who can capture someone with your writings. Leave the hustle and bustle to the other people and keeping writting. You have a gift so use your gift.
Have a good one.

VAfriend said...

What a wonderful feeling and place to be in. You have great friends and great readers to your blog.

When you move in to your new home plant a garden. It is becoming one of my favorite pasttimes. I love watching it grow, flower, and flourish in vegetable or fruit. I bet you would love it too!!

Autumn said...

Glad to hear you're feeling good. Take care.

Cheryl said...

Some of my best times are spent sitting on my porch. It' what makes the rest of my life do-able. I have no long term plans.