I hear it all the time, about the gapping space, the empty nest, the wide open summer with nothing to do, the unplanned future, the yawning retirement, the isolation, the loneliness, the cavernous time, the restless waiting, the mournful bereavement, the sense of uselessness, the feeling of being set adrift.
It is all so unnecessary. Seize the day instead. Please!
By divine design, you already include all good. You do not have to yearn for it. It is not used up or spent. It is never ending, and never lapsing. We choose our attitude. Don’t pretend for a minute that our circumstances dictate to us how we feel. You are here for a reason –to vibrantly live– not just exist, and certainly not to struggle or languish. Infinite good, omnipotent power, boundless opportunity, and endless ideas, surround you if you’ll only tune in, notice, and embrace it.
Emily Dickinson never left her yard, but gave us a goldmine of joyful musing and intrigue, quietly left right there in her desk drawer.
Learn a new language, or play an instrument, try a new cooking method, or hike in a new place. Volunteer for your local library sale, or clear trails, or take a temporary job, or apply yourself to a cause you believe in. Write a fantasy novel, improve your bowling or golf score, plant vegetables, or do Tai Chi at dawn in the park with mist rising as the day warms. Take an internet course, learn a new computer program, start a book group, or a dog walking business. Learn silversmithing. Build a handicap ramp for someone that needs one. Try a square dancing group, learn to sing in harmony. Master painting portraits, go skinny dipping, ride your bike on the rail trails, climb a mountain, run a marathon, read all the Pulitzer Prize winning novels. Try foods you’ve never heard of, declutter your home, tutor a child, take in a foster kid. Sew a quilt. Enter a competition. Go where you’ve never been before. Start growing dahlias. Contemplate nature. Help the disadvantaged. Learn about sustainability. Go zero waste. Read aloud to the elderly or the blind. Start a community garden, take a role in community theater, be a staff person at a summer camp, travel cross country by bus, hunt for geo-cashing clues, donate to a food pantry, play bridge, chess, dungeons and dragons, squash, or tennis. Wash your car or your kitchen floor. Answer questions on Quora. Join a church or town choir. Travel to the rainforest, go on safari, float on a kayak, learn to paddle board. Be persistent, be tenacious, be optimistic, be creative, be generous, be receptive, be kind, be encouraged. Take food to shut-ins. Pray for the world, and let your practical actions supply proof of your sincerity.
It is not about where you are. It’s not about what you’ve done before. You are not your lazy habits or limited by inertia. You are the consciousness that can make a better choice than that. This is about the love you are made of. It needs to be expressed. It is chaffing to be manifested. You feel bereft because you have so much to give, and there you are, idling, instead of brimming over with excitement to offer your unique and necessary self to the world. Give yourself what you need. Give to others what you can. Release the past and future to embrace the most fabulous possibilities of the now.
Emily Dickinson never knew we’d know her name all these years later. But we do, because she was grateful, and did what she could with where she was. She loved, even though she was by herself and went nowhere. She still was able to bring herself to bear on the world in a positive, contributing way.
Are you grateful for the wrapper on the bread? Have you figured out yet that the proverbial glass is never ever half empty?
Stop sitting and gazing figuratively at your navel. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Launch yourself on a treasure hunt of really noticing all the good that is present. Your constructive attitude and thoughtful action can multiply that present good exponentially, whereas inaction and complacency drowns it out, and would even try to gradually extinguish it. Reject the ingratitude of a barren moment! God is Life, never unproductive nor infertile. Life is exciting, joyous, abundant, mindful, actively engaging with infinite good. That is who you are and what you are made of. Get off your couch, you have living to do, and butterflies and fog and ice cream to go marvel at.
Feeling left out or left behind? Take the lead instead. Feeling you need more from others? Be more complete yourself. Live within your own sphere of influence. Do what you can do something about: your attitude, approach, and activities.
Dance in the moonlight, tickle a kitten, rest in the quietude of a silky bubble bath with scented candles and soft music wafting. Or blare some reggae, or baroque chamber music, or syncopated ragtime. Think of others and not just yourself. Be interested in other people. Help those you that you can. Have flowers in your house. Grow mushrooms in your basement. Start an artist journal and fill a page each day. Make popovers or sourdough, kimchee or kombucha.
You are needed. You know what to do. Just do it! Life within you is a still small voice, unmistakably prompting you to be happy, giving you space to fill with your consciously chosen joys. Do not be ungrateful, and whiningly ignore Life’s urging. Regularly get out and water your life so it blooms in proliferation. The more active and grateful you are, the happier you will be.