Sunday, May 17, 2020

Love Letter to My Life #23: dancing through time

"Dancing through time"
by Joyce Wycoff 

(We know the day we were born, but most of us do not know the day we will die. This love letter to my life is written on the day I've designated as my death day, the 17th of every month, and reminds me to be grateful for my incredible life.) 
 I love Google.

Recently, I was thinking about my life and the dance of time and money when one of those odd memories popped into my head: “time is money - look in the clock.” I remembered it was from an old sitcom and vaguely remembered it being a mystery sitcom. That’s where the synapses parted ways and left me in the dark.

Until I googled the phrase and this answer, given twelve years ago, popped up in a forum:
Yes, this was on My Little Margie. They went to the house of a dead millionaire to find his treasure. His parrot kept saying "Time is money -- Look in the clock." But there were thousands of clocks. There were also sliding panels, secret passages, and a chair that dropped you down a chute into a big net in the basement. Most of the regulars sat in that chair eventually. I especially remember Margie's father Verne going down the chair. (There was a similar chair in one of the original Topper movies).
Taking it a step further, I discovered that My Little Margie aired from 1952 through 1955. I must have seen it when I was about 10 because that’s when we first got television. The Wikipedia synopsis triggers more memories:

Set in New York City, the series stars Gale Storm as 21-year-old Margie Albright and former silent film star Charles Farrell as her widowed father, 50-year-old Vern Albright. Many of the shows episodes are still available but apparently “Parrot Gold,” which features the line about time and money, is not available.

So, back to the dance of time and money. Most of my life was focused on career and money. However, 2008 changed all of that as the economy unilaterally decided I was retired. It took several life-style readjustments before my income and expenses began to balance out, but now I am in a lovely place where I can live on my Social Security, which is good timing in this covid-19 world of financial turmoil.

What I’m rich in right now is time … and a willingness to be open to whatever comes my way. Almost two years ago I began the practice of celebrating my death day every month on the 17th. It seems to create a momentary vortex, a black hole that sucks new energy into the mix of my life. Flitty little things like memories from an ancient sitcom as well as things with a little more substance such as the incredible book Ten Thousand Doors of January.

My standard process as I near the 17th is to watch the ideas showing up that I might want to write about. Often words and sentences start to form, especially in the twilight hours of the morning. I hold them loosely, letting them develop like steeping tea. More often than not, they turn flat and are replaced by other possibilities. 

This month seems to be following that pattern. A couple of days ago the theme of time and money appeared with that little sitcom phrase. I followed that lead until it stopped, and then waited. Apparently it was done and I needed to move on.

Corona Curiosity aka Corona Wisdom

Yesterday, a new thread dangled itself in front of me. Since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve been creating a journal of sorts about it, exploring the rich field of new learnings and endless drama. At times, I’ve felt like I was on a mission to synthesize this unique experience and tease out actions and stories that represent the whole of the pandemic. In the beginning, I expected this journal to become a little book of 30 pages or so. It is now sitting at 112 pages and I have begun to wonder when it will be complete.

The new turn began as I read about the mental health problems being created by the stress of the disease and financial devastation. My intention was to create a two-page spread in my normal format, synthesizing the issue and pairing it with an inspiring quote and a piece of my art. But, things changed along the way. 
Change #1: Suddenly I became clear that I was part of the problem. I was writing about these times in a way that amplified the stress and fear. I had to stop. I want to spread peace and kindness on the water, not add to the divisiveness of these times. I didn’t want to stop writing about this pandemic, but I wanted to do it in a different way: instead of feeding the negativity monster, I wanted to share wisdom and create peace.

Change #2: As I decided I needed to lessen the negative input I was absorbing from social media, I spread my yoga mat and clicked onto my browser to find something soothing to listen to, instead of my normal chanting playlist. I’m not sure how it got there, but the tab I clicked was on a TEDtalk by a Shaolin master, which was automatically followed by a talk by a Buddhist nun. That seemed like a confirmation of my new direction.
Not that I want to be a Buddhist nun or necessarily even a Buddhist. I also know I don’t want to be rich or famous; so, in our western society’s view of success, the question is always ... what else is there? 
That's what I was trying to clarify when I recently went through a 5-year planning process. The result of that thinking showed me that what I really want is to keep learning, creating, connecting with myself and the Universe, and sharing what I’m learning. This is who I am or at least who I want to be.  This is what brings me delight. 
Of course, the Universe and the 7 billion other inhabitants of this planet are buzzing around creating circumstances that will ultimately affect me. Just as I can't imagine that five years ago any of us would have thought we were sheltering in place, wearing masks, and watching an unseen enemy make mincemeat of our lives. So come what may, my job is to stay focused on my four priorities: LEARN-CREATE-CONNECT-SHARE and keep my actions in line with them.

Stay safe and find ways to feed your spirit.


Master Shi Heng Yi – 5 hindrances to self-mastery

My Path To Becoming A Buddhist | Emma Slade

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