beckycochrane [userpic]

Advice worth more than five cents

September 15th, 2009 (05:20 pm)

current mood: contemplative

This is the small version of the reflecting pool at the apex of Houston's Police Officers' Memorial on Memorial Drive.

You can see more photos and a detailed description of the larger memorial at the above link. The names of the men and women from the police force who've lost their lives in the line of duty are etched into pink granite. There's an on-duty police officer on guard at the memorial twenty-four hours a day.

The memorial grounds provide a great spot to let grass tickle your bare feet. The memorial's sculptor, Jesus Bautista Moroles, envisioned the area as a place where people could play, relax, and picnic. It's people and dog friendly. There's a path for walking. By venturing a few feet off that path, you can see Buffalo Bayou. If you're lucky, you might even spot a dog or two splashing in the water on a hot day. The area also provides a beautiful view of the downtown skyline.

After shooting those photos, I was sitting in a shady part of the memorial the other day and working on some paintings I had with me. I'd stare around me for a while, then I'd focus on my paints again.

Finally, I heard myself wondering, Does anyone sit still and do nothing anymore? I honestly can think of only three people in my life who are able to simply sit and do nothing. We're either working or using our so-called "idle time" to shop, watch TV, read, knit, paint, draw, cook, play with our kids or our dogs, sew, clean house, talk on the phone, get online, maintain our cars, meet friends for coffee or tea or cocktails or meals, perform services for our communities or schools or churches... If we're outdoors, we're walking, hiking, playing sports, running, biking, gardening, fishing, overseeing our animals, listening to our entire music library on the go, talking to people (in person or on cell phones), texting, attending concerts or sporting events... If we do find ourselves with an honest-to-goodness block of time with nothing planned, scheduled, or pending, how often are we thinking, I need to...I should...I have to...I ought to... Are we afraid of even a few minutes of doing nothing? Do we have that little regard for our own quiet company?

There's a perception that in the old days, people were industrious every minute that they weren't sleeping. I don't think that's true. I think there were times that people just sat still, their only noise whatever nature provided. Comparatively, our lives are a cacophony of competing, endless noises, and even when we force stillness into our lives, we think we should be meditating, mentally organizing, planning, plotting, deciding, praying, doing yoga or Pilates or dance... Getting massaged or manicured or tanned or exercised or being somehow entertained and diverted...

There's nothing wrong with just being still and silent and letting our minds--our Selves--empty for a few minutes. It gives those Selves a chance to be refilled with the serenity and sense of well-being that gets converted into the energy we use for our busy lives. "Just breathe" is not only a line in a movie or a song or a bit of wisdom to make you pause before speaking or reacting. It's for living. For being.


If you own any of the books in the opposite side bar and would like them signed, mail them to:
P.O. Box 924104
Houston, TX 77292
Please include three dollars for return postage. Thank you.

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