A humorous, optimistic blog about Food, Family, Friends and Faith

Yesterday I read an outstanding blog by James Kullander. Jim’s an old friend of Rick’s and mine who has just left his job of 20 years and is going to the south of France for the summer to finish two books and ponder his future. Jim’s in his 50s and has reached the point in his life where he decided to abandon the known and leap into the abyss of the unknown. He decided that to live his life fully and in the present is more important than living a comfortable life knowing that next week he’ll be doing the same thing as this week, that the check will be coming in the mail and that he will always be able to get strawberries in the winter. Learning, exploring, expanding, discovering who he really is and what Life is really about are his goals. Truly admirable courage.

His blog got me thinking about the period in my life when I was like that, when every day was an adventure and nothing was certain. When living in the moment was the rule rather than the exception. I toured the world giving concerts, going to new places. I ate fois gras in Hungary before the Iron Curtain fell and then again after. I went to a theater guarded by armed guards in Israel for a concert when I was in high school and kissed a boy on a black sand beach in the Hawaiian moonlight when I was in college. I’ve driven a truck in Denmark, wandered through a sculpture garden on a Japanese hillside, and sat and listened to the silence in a stiflingly hot empty church in St. Martin. I’ve been yelled at by drunk old men and been pursued by a troop of amorous soldiers, with whom I shared a meal and a dance. A man in Jerusalem offered to buy me for a few camels. Another man told me I had beautiful ankles – he wanted to nibble on them. I’ve learned that fresh, sticky figs taste best when they are warmed by the Italian sun.

I loved that period of my life, when living was the focus. I miss it. I miss traveling and seeing new things, tasting new foods. I miss the blast of Middle Eastern sun on my skin and the smell of diesel fuel on backstreets in Vienna. My life now is a series of monotonous routines, punctuated by financial crises. Get up, go to work, come home, make dinner, listen to the TV blaring downstairs, go to bed alone. Do it again the next day, and the next. I try to find joy in what I do, and, to be fair, I love working with passionate teachers like M and J. I love that I still have the opportunity to play music. I love trying new recipes and cooking for people. I love my daughter and my husband and our home. They are my safe zone. So much about my life is good.

However, there are still days when I listen to my soul whispering to me that there is more than this. I want to surrender to that seductive whisper and fall in love with Life again. On days like today, surrounded by falling snow and silence, when I have time to think, I get restless. I want to pack my bags and, like Jim, move to the south of France and discover myself all over again. As he said in his blog, “the search for self and the search for God are one and the same damn thing.”

I don’t want to be able to buy strawberries in the winter.

* * * * *

Jim’s blog is: http://theleapintothevoid.wordpress.com/

P.S. to all – I realize this is outside the realm of “humorous and optimistic”, but it is my truth and I felt it needed to be told.

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Comments on: "The Winter of my Discontent" (6)

  1. I love, love, love this post.

    You are an amazing writer and you have had an amazing life. Who knew?

    What I love about this is how you describe your early adventures in the context of your reflections on your life now. The contrast is poignant and deeply felt.

    Daily life can be a total drag sometimes. But one of the important lessons I’ve learned in Buddhism is that our own individual happiness is dependent on little more than our own state of mind. I know that sounds lame. But many times it’s true. One Western Buddhist master, Jack Kornfield, wrote a book called After the Ecstasy, the Laundry. Meaning that the spiritual life and all its glory is live right where you are, right here, right now. There is no “there” somewhere out there.

    That said, a change a scenery and breaking up routines can help sometimes. And I hope you are able to make whatever changes you are hungering for. Life. Is. Short.

    • Jim – I’ll definitely look that book up. I was reminded as I read your comment of something Joseph Campbell said, “Find a place inside where there’s joy and the joy will burn out the pain.” I know that right here is where I find my bliss, but over there would be good, too. 🙂

      P.S. Thanks for the comments about my writing.

  2. Elizabeth Lesser said:

    Colleen!! What a beautiful piece (in response to another beautiful blog post from Jim.) I loved learning about your early wanderings and explorations. Your honesty and clarity really touched me. Yes, you long to search and wander and explore, but you also are aware that the fruits of your earlier courage gave you the sweet life you have today. I guess that’s called maturity?? Ah, but for a little adventure thrown in there to spice things up too….Anyway, great blog post and I miss seeing you and Richard. Remember days like today when Jim and I would spend endless hours working with Richard and you would feed us?
    Elizabeth

    • Yes, a little adventure would be good. It’s the hot sauce of life.
      I do remember cooking for you – I loved doing that! One of my first forays into authentic Mexican cooking was for you and Jim. Good memories.
      Thanks for your kind words, Elizabeth.

  3. Cat Donnelly said:

    Col,
    Every day I am struck by how similar we are and this is no exception. I mean, my life wasn’t quite as romantic as yours, but we are in the same place now.

    i think that the daily routine lulls our spirits to sleep. We are in a chrysalis, waiting to break free. Our time will come soon, when we’re through with our obligations and get our lives back. I can’t wait!

    Your life sistah,

    Cat

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