Reflections on Water
05 February 2018 | Zihuatanejo
February 5, 2018
At first glance, the light glistens off the waves in the sea. If I look a little deeper, I might see a fish or a turtle swimming underneath. And if I look really deep... What might I find there? That is one of the pleasures of cruising; an almost forced opportunity to contemplate.
I used to lead a very, very busy life. As a television producer, I worked 50 to 60-hour weeks. With two children in the house, there were dance lessons to go to, choir practice, volleyball and basketball, Cub Scouts and Brownies, doctor appointments, recitals, homework and well, you know how it goes. And now, with modern technology bombarding the airwaves, the influx of news is constant. I found myself always running, running, running, always doing or planning. I loved that part of my life, but there was little time to sit still and just be.
My life is different now. Because of Jay, I have this incredible gift of living two lifestyles; one is our land-based home on Martha’s Vineyard, and the other is our west coast house, our boat, Cadenza, currently in Mexico. The real prize, though, is time. I have time to stop, look, listen. Time to look deeper.
I’m turning 60 this year. I’m okay with it, I guess. It’s just I am watching my body change and that is hard. My chin is sinking into my neck. Lines mark my face. Age spots are appearing on my hands. My skin is sagging. This is also the time of life where we watch our parents age too. A preview of what might be in store for us. Many of you know my mom suffered from Dementia. The long goodbye, I call it. We watched as her body functions started to cease, one by one. I have often wondered why. There must be some greater purpose for the aging process, but what? And then I read a really good novel, “Breakfast with Buddha."
“Breakfast with Buddha” is about a middle-aged man traveling home to North Dakota to settle his parents’ estate. His sister talks him into taking her friend, Volya Rinpoche, a spiritual guru. Life lessons are learned along the way. It is sweet, humorous and thought-provoking. At the end of the book there are questions for the author. Below is one of them.
Question: “In explaining your belief system, you once made the following statement: ‘In a mysterious fashion not completely understandable to us, everything moves the individual toward humility.’ Please elaborate.”
Author: “If you are young, beautiful, strong, and talented and live long enough, all of that will be taken away from you. If you are tremendously rich, you can’t carry your wealth across the threshold of death. Those are facts, not tenets of any religion. For all but the most conceited or desperately insecure, it seems that you get wiser as you age, and that wisdom and humility go hand in hand. I know it isn’t that simple, and I know some older people who are far from humble. But it seems to me that life is a kind of boot camp, designed to break you down and build you up in a different way – if you let it. So, you lose your ability to sprint a hundred yards, but maybe you gain something more important in the process.”
My prayer has been to age gracefully. For me that meant physically. Now I understand that aging gracefully has nothing to do with the physical and everything to do with the spiritual. This little insight has opened a new window into how I look at my future.”
Thank you, Gail, for sharing this book.